Monday, November 5, 2012

The Story of Rock 'N' Roll Comics

The Story of Rock 'N' Roll Comics is a documentary following a comic series that released many controversial takes on old legends and crazy events in rocks history. Ranging from stories on Bon Jovi, The Sex Pistols, and Metallica the comics quickly gained somewhat of a cult following. The story shows us through the short life of Todd Loren (publisher of Rock 'N' Roll Comics), starting with the years leading up to starting publishing to the time after his death that led to the comics demise.

Throughout the documentary there are various interviews with people who knew Todd Loren. Many who hated him along with a few he loved him, the general consensus between them all seems to be that Todd Loren didn't care for paying and crediting people much. Many of the stories about how he went about business are extremely entertaining. My favorite happens to be the fact that he would put the contract on the back of checks so in order to get their cash they HAD to sign the contract.

 It is hard to argue that Loren didn't inspire some people out there during his short. Going from shipping out mailorder bootlegs to starting a craze with unauthorized comic books is definitely a big jump. The fact that the company died out shortly after Loren's death is certainly a testament to how important he was to the whole project. Controversy sells for sure and he belted it out like no other, whilst sort of sparking a debate on the First Amendment and an ever-growing list of people wanting to file lawsuits against him.

Overall this is a very solid documentary. I can definitely appreciate to the fact that I had little to no knowledge of Rock 'N' Roll Comics before popping this DVD in. Even with that fact I was sucked in and after viewing am considering tracking down some issues. Highly recommended for those into rock and documentaries. Todd Loren definitely created a rockstar persona for himself without even having to pick up an instrument. The disc is also packed full with special features, over two hours of them to be exact. There is plenty of extra material to dive into here after viewing the film itself.

Slaughter Tales

Slaughter Tales is Johnny Dickie's director debut feature film. It is hard to talk about the film without mentioning the directors age, who was a mere 14 years old during the making of the film. The best thing about this project is not necessarily the film itself but the fact that someone at such a young actually did what many think about doing. Make a feature film. That takes balls and dedication, especially with the small amount of money that was put into Slaughter Tales.

Slaughter Tales is a horror anthology that follows a young man who is viewing a stolen VHS tape for the first time. This VHS tape takes us on a journey through a few stories of the macabre. The journey kicks off with a few trailers (à la Grindhouse). This may be my favorite part of the film overall and I think it would be cool to see Dickie go back and turn these crazy ideas into shorts or features.

One of the main things that you will notice upon first viewing is that the setting is almost always the same. Another thing is that there are only a handful of people in the cast. This may become tiring to some but the few characters in the stories keep things interesting with their colorful language and facial expressions (see commentary for a hilarious conversation regarding this). Another thing that catches the eye is the use of stop motion. This technique isn't seen often these days in horror and it is very interesting and somewhat surprising to see it done by such a young director. Also seeing Dickie doing dangerous flame stunts in his house is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This kid doesn't read the warnings about playing with lighters and matches!

Overall Slaughter Tales is not a very good film from a technical standpoint. That being said if you are a fan of no budget cheese the fun factor within this flick is undeniable. Being a huge sucker for anthologies and cheese myself I obviously had a soft spot for this one. Slaughter Tales is a fun time from start to finish. While it may not have the best effects, or dialogue and plot, it makes up for it's shortcomings and then some with it's charm. I can't necessarily recommend this for everyone, but if you like anthologies and can deal with heavy doses of cheese then Slaughter Tales is worth a look.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


 Famine is the latest flick from Ryan Nicholson. This film has been highly anticipated from Plotdigger fans for awhile now and as usual it was worth the wait. Nicholson has came out with a fairly impressive list of films since he began directed and has an ever increasing list of products in the works. It is amazing to see an independent director taking on so many projects and being extremely consistent when it comes to the outcome. This man is a film-making machine. During the first Famine charity event horrible events occurred and a teacher was left badly burned and horrifically disfigured. Sloppy Seconds High School has decided to give the Famine another shot five years later. Unfortunately this proves to be a major mistake that everyone involved will regret. If they make it out alive...

Like any other flick in Plotdigger history Famine is packed full of wacky, over the top characters. This is what gives the film that trademark "Plotdigger" stamp. The over the top characters keep things fresh even when much isn't going on. Another thing that will catch the eye upon first viewing is the production value. If any Nicholson film is going to bring Plotdigger a wider audience it will definitely be Famine. The production value is in a completely different ballpark when compared to their past films. Even with the production upgrade it is obvious that Nicholson hasn't changed his ways much. Oddball humor is still injected frequently and the acting is still about on the same level as previous efforts (ranges from pretty good to pretty bad).

The gore is outstanding as usual. Any Plotdigger fan knows what to expect in this department. If there is one thing that is always on point in a Plotdigger flick it is the violence. The kills aren't necessarily up to par with the many epic ones we saw in Gutterballs but they certainly aren't underwhelming. With that being said the killer in this flick is awesome. The villain sports a school mascot costume while picking off the oddball teens one by one in grizzly fashion.

Overall Famine is another great flick from Plotdigger films. I wasn't quite as impressed as I was with Gutterballs, Torched, and Hanger (which I consider to be my favorites) but it was definitely up there with Bleading Lady (which I found to be nothing short of superb). With all that being said it is obvious that I am a gigantic Plotdigger fan, so the fact that I don't consider this to be my favorite should not detour you from checking this out. This film is great. Nicholson has proven to be one of the most consistent current directors, and Plotdigger is definitely near the top of the list when it comes to independent companies churning out horror. Recommended. Plotdigger fans will get the goods delivered to them and this may just be the film that expands the audience. Definitely worth the wait.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blitzkrieg: Escape From Stalag 69

Blitzkrieg: Escape From Stalag 69 is Keith J Crocker's(The Bloody Ape) low-budget take on Nazi cinema. Blitzkrieg, for the most part, takes place at a Nazi camp where the people being held are planning to escape. The Nazi community in this camp is beginning to have some serious problems amongst themselves about the way they handle their business. The uprising is being planned at the perfect time and it may just work considering the bond between the Nazis is at its weakest.


The last thirty minutes of the film really makes it somewhat worth watching. The violence gets cranked up. We see nipple cutting, castration, and some fairly sleazy moments that involve the sexy Nazi women. This whole section, leading to the conclusion, brings back that trashy feel that caused me to enjoy The Bloody Ape so much. Some scenes of dialogue are fairly interesting, and surprisingly the dialogue isn't completely ruined by the acting (which actually isn't too bad from most of the cast). The conclusion is very pleasing and is pulled off well. The writing for the film is certainly not bad, it just needs to be trimmed down in a major way.


The movie shows a bit of both worlds while we are guided around the Nazi camp. It dedicates a major chunk of time to showing the shenanigans that the Nazis have from day to day in the camp, but at certain points we get to see things from the perspective of the people that are being held there. These sections are where the movie really shines most. Unfortunately these moments aren't utilized very often. This wouldn't have been too much of a con but due to the fact that the movie is heavily driven by dialogue seeing things through the eyes of the Nazis grows to be quite tiring.

The main problem with Blitzkrieg is the runtime and pacing. The flick clocks in at around two hours and twelve minutes. For a no budget film (with a few exceptions) this length is practically suicide. As mentioned before it is mainly driven by dialogue and fairly low on action. The pace of the film rarely changes up until the last thirty minutes or so. Once things do really pick up in this last section it is great but sadly the hefty section before that causes the overall film to suffer.


Overall Blitzkrieg is by no means horrible, but it doesn't really have enough going for it to warrant any replay value. Popping this in right after viewing The Bloody Ape and going in with high expectations I can safely say I was left disappointed. On a rainy day with nothing to do this could possibly be slightly enjoyable. The main flaw is the fact that right when things begin to pick up the average viewers attention will be completely lost. I found the final half hour to be GREAT, but even at that point it couldn't save the film from falling somewhere below average.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Bloody Ape

This is the first full-length feature from Keith J. Crocker (who more recently directed Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 in 2008). An artwork tagline has never been more accurate. "100% PURE UNDERGROUND TRASH!", truer words have never been spoken. The Bloody Ape is an oddball sleazefest from start to finish and is sure to fulfill all of your trashy cinema needs. The film was shot on Super 8 for maximum drive-in style pleasure and sports the dirty look of many of the exploitation classics we all know and love.

A man running around with a carnival showing off his ape and bragging about how safe and harmless he is has been rabidly approaching his breaking point. After a series of unfortunate events he turns his ape loose to go on a vicious rampage. The ape goes around and takes out all of his masters enemies by following the scent of delicious bananas. Meanwhile a black man has stumbled into the bigot filled town, and naturally the law enforcement (even with the knowledge of the violent ape on the loose) concludes that all of the murders must be his doing. As the plot unfolds we quickly discover that the black man the crimes are being pegged on is actually the only half decent person that is located in this shithole town.

The Bloody Ape doesn't hold out on the violence and nudity. Crocker knew exactly what the audience wanted when making this flick. While the gore may not be the best in the world it is made up for with all the comedic elements throughout. One of the highlights would definitely have to be the castration scene early on in the film. This happens right when a change of pace is needed to keep the film interesting and kicks off the apes killing spree quite nicely. While the ape pillages the town we also get to see a few naked women whom he completely violates and kills.

What more could you ask for in a Poe "Murders in the Rue Morgue" adaptation? The cheese is cranked to the max and within the 77 minute runtime you will be introduced to some of the biggest scum of the earth. This town is crowded with racist people and you, the viewer, get to see them picked off by a giant bloodthirsty ape. Watching characters getting picked off has never been so satisfying (aside from that Bible thumping bitch from The Mist). The acting of course isn't the greatest but they isn't really anyone particular in the cast that makes it unwatchable. If you're a fan of cheese flicks there isn't much of anything here that will have you rushing for the eject button.

Overall The Bloody Ape is a solid trashy flick. It does an amazing job paying homage to an era of sleazy flicks packed full of offensive material. This film may not appeal to everyone and that is probably very apparent after viewing the coverart and/or reading the description on the reverse side. So obviously as long as The Bloody Ape finds the right audience complaints should be kept to a minimum. Definitely an extremely fun watch. Recommended.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Disco Exorcist

The Disco Exorcist follows Rex Romanski. A young stallion who bags more ladies in a month than you probably have in your life. Unfortunately he picks up quite a foul lady (Rita Marie) who is not so fond of his "hit it and quit it" behavior. Rex is a big fan of fuck flicks and his main attraction is certainly actress Amoreena Jones. Eventually Rex ends up with the actress he idolizes and they bump into Rita at a club. Upon seeing Rex with another woman Rita breaks down and puts a curse of Amoreena. Things only get worse for the couple from there.

In a world where the act of digitally aging a new film to make it look like an old "exploitation" film seems to be all the rage, the almighty Richard Griffin has come to save the day! Finally someone has created a film that actually comes close to offering us fans the feeling that those classy flicks had. This is not a way of saying that I hate all of these "Grindhouse" style movies. Most of them are enjoyable. The fact of the matter is that I never once find myself saying "this actually seems like it could be from that era". That is what separates The Disco Exorcist from these other films. It simply works. Everything. The acting, setting, plot, all the way down to the soundtrack. Richard Griffin really hit the nail on the head with this one. While I have been a fan of all his other work in the past this movie certainly wins its spot as my favorite.

The acting in the film is not necessarily award winning. Although, considering the budget this film had, there is a great amount of talent here. The entire main cast does an excellent job throughout and it is actually pretty impressive. The gore is good when it pops up and there is plenty of sleaze crammed into the short runtime (trust me, PLENTY). The Disco Exorcist knows its audience and has found a solid balance of story, nudity, and blood. There is not one moment in the film that failed to entertain. There is also a great deal of humor injected into The Disco Exorcist. Romanski's sidekick Manuel provides comic relief practically every time he is on screen. When the club janitor comes into play some hilarity assumes as well.

Overall The Disco Exorcist is the perfect example of what these throwback style films should be. All of these other flicks try so hard to be "edgy" and "old school" and meanwhile this low-budget film leaves them all in the dust and makes it look easy. Highly recommended to any fans of this throwback style movies, horror, sleaze, or just independent film in general. Richard Griffin just keeps hitting the horror community up with great flicks so consistently. He is quickly rising on the list of my favorite filmmakers. GET IT.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Lost Realities Of Hog Caller

The Lost Realities Of Hog Caller is a found footage movie that follows the exploits of the elusive, Satan fueled group of outlaws that make up the band Hog Caller. Local news anchor Skip Jenkins is on the hunt to find the members of Hog Caller and gain more info on them. When he stumbles upon a case of VHS tapes that were supposedly owned by Hog Caller at a swap meet he is in for quite an insane viewing experience. Once the film kicks off and things get surreal it doesn't let up for a second. Prepare yourself for a roller coaster ride of insanity, and also, boatloads of pork.

What a mindfuck of a film. There are many memorable scenes throughout and this is mainly because of the extremely strange things going on. The section where Vomitorius is carrying a slaughtered pig around in a stroller and feeding it milk and ice cream was the first to stick out. From then on the film just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Eventually Osama Bin Laden, George W. Bush, and Elvis pop up in the story. Every moment where you start thinking things can't possibly get anymore strange, you will be quickly blindsided by something that completely outdoes anything prior. Also, in the world of Hog Caller it seems to be easy to catch psychedelic mushrooms while fishing (someone please direct me to this body of water). When these two start tripping balls things go even more off the deep-end.
The acting in the film is solid. Although the cast is fairly small they all hold their own. This flick has actually gotten me fairly interested in Hog Caller's music, which I'm sure is part of the goal. Upon experiencing this manic piece of cinema you truly get a decent insight on Hog Caller's odd brand of humor. While, their music may not appeal to everyone it would be hard to deny their shear ability to create excruciatingly strange, head-scratching moments.

Overall Hog Caller is an insane flick with some very odd, zany moments. The film gives an interesting take on the "found footage" genre and really just goes balls to the wall throughout. It really plays out like a long, well made music video. This is by no means a bad thing. I can't recall the last time I was this entertained by a movie that was music related. A fair warning should be left here for anyone planning on viewing the film. The music of Hog Caller is very abrasive and harsh and does play quite frequently in the film. Even if you're not a fan of this style of music I would still recommend the film because it is really something you should experience once. Fans of all things surreal, heavy, taboo, and just downright wrong should get a kick out of The Lost Realities of Hog Caller.

The Gardnerz- It All Fades

The Gardnerz are back for their follow-up to The System of Nature. An album I reviewed with much praise. This time around the release is in EP format. Fortunately for all of you fans it still clocks in at a healthy 35 minutes. It is clear when listening to It All Fades that The Gardnerz are no "one trick pony". These guys all have chops with both their instruments and writing abilities.

As mentioned in my previous review for the band's full-length, for a melodic death metal band these guys sure know how to churn out some kick-ass riffs. It All Fades is no different. If anything this aspect of the band has grown. Every single riff on this release sticks with you immediately after hearing it. I also see some influence of Death possibly leaking through in some of the playing here. One of the best moments on this thing would have to be when the opening track "Don't Look Back" slows down and goes into some clean vocals. This moment just builds and builds until eventually we break back into the fast paced riffing featured at the beginning of the track.

Each track on this release is really like a journey. The EP is almost impossible to not listen to as a whole. It all comes together very nicely and flows with a vast amount of perfection. Not one track here is skippable. It seems as though the clean moments heard on The System of Nature have been added a bit more often on this EP. That being said the heavy moments have gotten much more intense and I really believe the band has found the perfect balance of all of their elements on this release.

While I hate to dedicate an entire paragraph to a cover song I really think the cover on here deserves it. The Gardnerz rendition of the Darkthrone classic Transilvanian Hunger is simply astounding. The track features beautiful female vocals throughout, not a single harsh vocal is used. The instrumental has a very clean, full sound going for it. It is amazing how The Gardnerz completely changed the overall sound of the song, but even with that fact, this very clean, beautiful version of the song still manages to hold the same atmosphere of the Darkthrone track. It's an amazing feat and a very mind-blowing listen. When I first saw the tracklist I was worried about how this would come out. Upon listening that worry is completely gone and this has become my favorite track on the album, and possibly my favorite cover song of all time.

Overall It All Fades is an amazing effort from The Gardnerz. I thought The System of Nature would be an extremely hard release to follow-up, but they really outdid themselves with this one. Needless to say if you are a fan of the previous album pick this up. Also highly recommended to fans of death/doom metal. This release is truly the definition of what I want out of a release of this nature and it is very good to see The Gardnerz always taking steps in the right direction.

Warg- Below the Misty Mountain demo

Warg is a two piece black metal band from New Jersey. This is their first demo released on Horizon Productions. Below the Misty Mountain features three tracks of pure consistency. The production (as to be expected) is very raw. With that being said it isn't hard to listen to at all. This demo seems like it would actually be extremely easy to digest for someone just getting into the genre.

Upon first listen the main thing that sticks out is the guitar playing. When the guitars first kick in on the demo I was immediately reminded of Fester's album "Winter of Sin". This was an old school death/black metal release from Norway, a release where the guitar playing stood out to me in particular. Each riff variation feels like it is slowly building up to some type of climax. I was very fond of Fester's album and this demo is by no means any different.

While when looking on the surface this may just seem like the typical, run of the mill black metal release I really feel there is something deeper here. The title track features some sloppy melodies that actually give the entire track an eerie atmosphere. While on the previous track "Riddles in the Dark" a very epic, uplifting vibe is given off. These two tracks feel like a rather odd combination, but luckily it flows nicely. The vocals are everything you would expect on a release of this nature. They are not particularly raspy or wretched, more of a strained high pitched cry. The vocals are often drowned out by the instrumentals. This is not a bad thing, it actually sort of adds to the atmosphere of the demo.

Overall Warg's first effort is a great one. Even though there is nothing too out of the ordinary that I can put my finger on there is definitely something here that keeps me coming back. Highly recommended to any fans of black metal or anyone looking to get into the genre. Great gateway band that actually churn out some high quality music.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Spill Your Guts


I Spill Your Guts is James Balsamo's follow up to Hackjob. While Hackjob was not necessarily a bad film it did come across as quite underwhelming in every department that this film really shines in. So if you checked out Hackjob and didn't enjoy it I'd still recommend giving this a watch because it is a major improvement. Filled with blasting metal and packed full of kills this flick is sure to meet all of your foul needs. My hat is off to Balsamo & Co who have managed to take a gigantic step in the right direction with this film.

Dennis and Joe went into the military as friends but after a major mishap overseas Dennis ended up taking a bullet to the neck. The doctors don't expect him to make it through the night and his ability to speak has diminished. Taking advantage of Dennis's inability to communicate, Joe decides to tell everyone that he saved Dennis. This makes Joe a very decorated soldier and he believes when he arrives to his old friends he'll be swimming in pussy. Little does he know Dennis still has plenty of fight left in him and he plans to do everything in his power to pay Joe back for his lying ways. Dennis makes his way around New York slaying anyone with any relation to Joe, or anyone who gets in his way for that matter. With each innocent life taken, Dennis gets one step closer to getting revenge on this so called "Hero".

From the moment that Joe tells Dennis about his little lie the killing spree begins. This movie takes no time to get going. After a few minutes of dialogue it is just kill after kill. For a low budget flick like this that formula works perfectly. Seeing the fallen soldier lurk around the New York streets dead set on vengeance is a very thrilling experience. The acting is solid, the editing is good (and also a major improvement over the last effort), and the pacing is absolutely perfect.

As in Balsamo's last film you will see tons of familiar faces making cameos throughout. Also something will saw in Hackjob was a ridiculously huge soundtrack. This film also delivers that, working in great bands like Ghoul, A.N.S., F.K.U., and Cannabis Corpse amongst an endless list of others. Which leads me to my only complaint about I Spill Your Guts, the sound. The sound bounces all over the place on this thing. Some scenes of dialogue are insanely quiet while others are very loud. In order to hear most dialogue without going deaf (by the frequent, loud music) you'll have to work the remote a bit while viewing. That being said, this is by no means a major issue and doesn't really take away from the film itself at all.

Overall I Spill Your Guts really has me excited for James Balsamo's next movie "Cool As Hell". While I was not completely satisfied with Hackjob I was still looking forward to this, and it really lived up to my expectations and even exceeded them. There were so many things about Hackjob that could've been so much better and I truly think Balsamo tied up all of the loose ends with this one. Highly recommended for fans of low budget flicks or slasher films in general. This one has a little bit of something for everyone.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gut (2012)

Dan and Tom used to be great friends in childhood but unfortunately, as many friendships do, that bond has faded. Now the two work together at an extremely dull office job where the cycle never seems to change. There is simply no light at the end of the tunnel and this fact is taking it's toll on Tom. Dan does his best to get the friendship back where it used to be but Tom just isn't having it. Now that he is married and has turned into a model citizen he doesn't have time to sit around at Dan's house watching cheesy horror flicks.

A sudden turn of events occurs when Dan receives a disc that Tom simply has to see to believe. Sadly once Tom views what appears to be a snuff film there is no turning back. Once they view the film Tom just wants to forget it altogether, but these movies just keep appearing in Dan's box. Eventually familiar faces get involved in the snuff flicks and Tom finds himself in too deep. Suddenly the office job seems less menacing in the grand scheme of things. Let the downward spiral begin.
The first thing that sticks out about Gut is the overall look of the film. This looks very professional from start to finish and there was never a moment where the words "low budget" crossed my mind. Everything in this aspect of the film was done perfectly. The lighting, shots, locations and everything down to the closing sequence just felt right. There are only a handful of characters in Gut and fortunately there isn't a weak link in the entire cast. The two main characters did an amazing job of capturing the daily grind of an office job and really did an astounding job setting the mood of the film. Then, much to my surprise, when shit hit the fan in Gut and things took a much more serious turn the acting still remained solid on everyone's behalf. This is a rare occurrence in this type of film.

The film leans more towards the drama/thriller category. With that being said, even though I can't really call this a straight up horror flick it definitely has a dark enough atmosphere to appeal to all of you horror freaks. Overall the film has a pretty original storyline and everything unraveled without a hitch. Any independent filmmakers looking to get into making feature length movies should check this out and take notes. Gut was incredibly well thought out from start to finish and Elias really hit all of the nails on the head with this one. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zombie Babies

"What's grosser than a pile of dead babies?"

Zombie Babies is one of the latest over the top cheese-fests being put out by Independent Entertainment. The film is directed by Eamon Hardiman, who is also behind the madness that is the Porkchop series. Given the director and the subject matter of the film this one is sure to turn some heads. The flick follows a group of four couples that are attending the annual abortathon. This little shindig is hosted by some degenerate rednecks that are attempting to step their game up after the recent legalization of abortions in their area. Little do the couples know they are in for a weekend that may be their last. Unfortunately the abortathon has been botched and is overrun by re-animated baby fetuses who are out to get revenge.

Just by the synopsis of the film you should know what you are getting yourself into. So if you're easily offended the best thing for you to do would either be to avoid the film altogether, or try to grow a sense of humor and bask in the gigantic chunk of cheese that is Zombie Babies. The film is very tongue in cheek and there are many comedic elements instilled throughout. So even with the "intense" subject matter there is nothing too disturbing about it. Sure it isn't politically correct but if all horror was we would have a very boring and vacant genre on our hands.
Zombie Babies is very reminiscent of the Ghoulies series once the babies spring up from the dead. So go into the film thinking Ghoulies with more abortion and feces and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The effects in this film are not too shabby, and the kills throughout are absolutely awesome. The film features one of my favorite kills in recent memory involving an umbilical cord. I won't give away what happens but let's just say anyone that enjoys a solid, clever kill will get a kick out of this one. The re-animated babies are done in a very old school manner and while they may look crude at times it all adds to the fun factor.

The only real quarrel I have in this department would be the horrible green screen moment with all of the fog when the couples first meet up. I fully understand that this is a cheesy low budget flick but just getting a few shots in the woods wouldn't have hurt. I couldn't even direct my attention to what was going on in that scene because of how distracting that background was. Obviously, being a low budget flick the acting isn't going to be top notch all of the time either, but for the most part the actors do their thing and deliver decent enough performances. Dr. Burt Fleming stuck out in particular, by far giving the most zany, over the top performance in the movie. Without a doubt my favorite character.

Overall I applaud everyone behind Zombie Babies for delivering a nice and much needed breath of fresh air to the zombie subgenre. Being a category of horror that seems to get more and more saturated by the day it is extremely nice to see a flick coming out with a fairly original stamp on it. While Zombie Babies isn't the greatest film ever made it achieves what it was meant to. It is a very fun flick with wacky characters and some gross-out humor, simple as that. Recommended to those of you who can't get enough of the cheese.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moloch/Yudlugar- Dissonanz Split 7"

What we have here is Dissonanz, a pairing of two bands with vastly different sounds. On side A we have Moloch. Moloch is a one man depressive black metal band that has had a slew of releases since forming back in 2002. On side B we have Yudlugar, a project that has been labeled "blackened speedcore" which immediately peaked my interest. I came in expecting a possible mix of fastcore and black metal (which was a complete misunderstanding on my part) but instead I got some extreme blasting noise with a bit of black metal influence. While I was disappointed at first, I took some time to fully digest what I was hearing and did my best not to be close-minded about it.

The Moloch side of this thing consists of some extremely solid depressive black metal. The track starts off with a spoken word section and shortly after we are met with some erratic, hopeless vocals (not a bad thing by any means). The instrumental for this track does a solid job at putting the listener in a trance-like state, although it is a bit disjointed at times. Moloch isn't doing much that separates this project from the pack but that isn't really something that is to be expected with bands like this. He does what he does quite well and this track may be one of my favorite tracks I've heard of this style in recent years. A thick atmosphere is created on this side of the split and it really sticks with you upon first listen. It is one of those tracks that I can put on and my mood will immediately change. That staying power is a very important factor to me when it comes to depressive black metal and I think Sergiy Fjordsson has mastered the ability to create that. 

The Yudlugar side of this split completely blindsided me. This style of music is something that has always been extremely hit or miss with me and in all honesty I'd never heard someone mesh black metal influence in with it. Upon the first few listens I thought it wasn't for me. Around my tenth listen it all sort of clicked. This is most definitely not something I can throw on the turntable any day of the week. A certain mood is certainly required for one to want to be hit with this vicious wall of noise. If you're not familiar with this brand of extremity then it will most likely take some getting used to.

Overall this split is actually a pretty damn interesting match and the two projects surprisingly fit nicely next to one another. I will say I'm glad I held off on this review for awhile and gave side B a few more listens because upon first listen this review would've been completely different. Fans of depressive black metal should definitely pick this up for the Moloch side alone. If you're a fan of speedcore or any other noisy skullcrushing musical genres then I'd recommend this to you too. This is a nice clash of two different styles that paid off quite nicely.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cognitive- The Horrid Swarm EP

Some may remember the review posted for Cognitive's 2011 Demo about a year ago. This was a demo that I was quite fond so it is only natural that I was pretty excited when I found out that The Horrid Swarm EP was finished. All three songs from the demo are used here and two new tracks are also used. The release clocks in at a short and sweet 15 minutes. By the time the last track finishes you'll find yourself quickly reaching for the replay button.

The EP kicks off with the extremely hard hitting track "In the Form of a Drone" (formally titled "Separation Anxiety"). The track bounces back and forth between fast paced riffing and snappy pulverizing sections that could easily throw any group of nearby metalheads into a frenzy. Cognitive pulls these transition off with an incredible amount of ease. This is one of the main things I enjoyed about the demo and it is good to see that skill is still being exercised throughout The Horrid Swarm. It's astounding how quickly a track can go from a jarring amount of heaviness and then just switch so seamlessly to something so crisp with an almost uplifting atmosphere. The demo tracks fit on this release perfectly and really mesh nicely with the new material we are hearing.

On tracks like "Falling Skies" and "Numbered and Slaughtered" the bass is used as a dominant instrument. It really adds to the impact of each note played. The bass is very clearly audible throughout the entire runtime but on these two tracks it really shines through the most. The solos are absolutely amazing. Which is something I've come to expect from the band.

Overall Cognitive's- The Horrid Swarm is yet another step in the right direction. Two out of two isn't bad. This release will definitely be enough to tide me over until the next one. As I said in my previous review Cognitive really has a knack for cramming a slew of great things into a very small period of time. This EP is another example of that. Fans of extreme metal in general should check this release out. It is hard to put this band in a box due to their versatility. If you like heavy, abrasive music that is not dumbed down than odds are you will find plenty that you will dig here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deathcult- Demo

Deathcult is a four piece death metal band from Chicago. The band harnesses that old school sound we all know and love but manages to avoid being lumped in with all the bands currently taking on the style. The demo clocks in at a brief eight minutes but within that time Deathcult gives a decent idea of what they're all about. They are a step ahead of most bands and are churning out tracks with unlimited replay value while still in the early demo stages.

The demo kicks off with what may possibly be the most infectious death metal tune of all time. "Born to Lose" is chalk full of catchy riffs and is an anthem in pretty much every sense of the word. The other track "Mutant Generation" is no different, which brings us back to the replay value. It isn't difficult to play this release over and over again on repeat for an hour. The tracks hold up and I can't see myself getting burnt out on them anytime soon. The vocal delivery here is definitely one of the highlights. Rather than going with the frequently used guttural a more old school raw approach is used. This is nothing new obviously but they are spit out in a vicious, evil manner. The lyrics are also extremely easy to decipher which is all the more reason to chant along.

Overall these two tracks are near perfect all around. If this is any indication of what's to come from the band then their upcoming debut topping album of the year lists wouldn't seem too farfetched. One could complain about the length but with how solid these two tracks are you'd have to be a brainless mouthbreather to even think of complaining. Until the full-length is released this disc is guaranteed to stay in heavy rotation. Any fan of death metal would be doing themselves a major favor by giving this a listen and keeping an eye out for Deathcult's future endeavors.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maximum Oversatan- Too Evil For Hell

Maximum Oversatan reeks of old school filth. Upon first listen it should be very apparent where this New Jersey duo pulls their influence from. These dudes harken back to speed metal and the earliest days of black metal, an era that not many new bands seem to be gravitating towards. Often echoing Venom's early material (whom they also cover a track from on this demo) but never to the point where it seems like some shitty tribute band. Consisting of three original tracks and two covers the demo gives a nice sample taste of what this band is all about.

The first thing that one will notice when putting on this demo is the raw, throwback sound. Naturally early demos from bands are fairly lofi but if this were to be played with no background knowledge of the band pinpointing a recording date would be an impossible feat. The vocals are delivered by what appears to be a possessed man on the brink of insanity. Little technique is used and it fits perfectly with the stripped down sound Maximum Oversatan churns out. The three original tracks are fairly straightforward and to the point. Sure, at times some of the riffs may seem vaguely familiar but they hit the mark where it counts with this style, delivery. The thrashier moments on these tracks come with a high level of intensity and are sure to whip your neck into a seizure-like frenzy.

Overall Too Evil For Hell is exactly what the name would lead you to believe, a sinister, primitive slab of heavy metal. Satan would be proud but unfortunately he is not evil enough to listen. Given that we only get the chance to hear about ten minutes of original material here it is hard to form too solid of an opinion. I like what I hear though, and if you like the earlier bands that influenced black metal chances are you will find yourself playing this a lot more then once. Give this a listen, thrash around like a barbarian and perform some sort of bloody ritual.

Crypticus/Scaremaker Split CD

Been looking for a split that will pack your shit like no other? Look no further, Selfmadegod has put out a split featuring a double dose of that Razorback attack we all know and love. If you're not already jumping for joy just wait until you press play. If you still haven't changed your mind by the time the monstrous "Baron of the Dark" starts playing then you should break your listening device and give up on music as quickly as possible.

Crypticus kick things off with the punishing "Beauty & Deceased". There isn't much breathing room to be had from this point on so let's hope you packed a studded snorkel. Those familiar with Crypticus won't be surprised with what they hear. This is the typical badassery you expect to have delivered to you when you put on one of their releases. All the tracks on this end of the split have an outstanding flow going for them and it is difficult to play one without following with the others. Crypticus has a nice Swedish vibe going for them but even in the fastest portions of their material things remain catchy and memorable.

Scaremaker is on point as usual. This band has quickly become one of my favorites currently playing this style since they released their Burning Inquisition demo in 2010. Every single track they have put out is worthy of infinite plays and the five they throwdown on this split are no exception. "Demon Slave" might be the best Scaremaker track recorded thus far. It incorporates all the things that make the band great and even shows off a bit of Vanessa's elusive clean vocals within the project. They also dive a bit deeper into death/doom on the crushing "Mansion of the Macabre", which works as a closer for the release. Like most of the bands work the song is insanely catchy. The hypnotic groove grabs hold of your brain and rings it out over the tracks seven minute runtime.

Overall Crypticus and Scaremaker make a great match for this split. There is plenty of variety between the two but it also doesn't just seem like a random pairing of bands. If you don't like your metal raw then it's time to man up and start liking it that way, because if not you're missing out on what might be one of the best splits of the year. It may be a little early to start saying that but, fuck it. Get this, get your shit packed, and don't hold your breath waiting for something this great to come along anytime soon.