Saturday, 21 December 2013

Taking a bit of a break

 Thanks to a combination of work, Christmas and other things, I'm not really going to have too much time for the blog for the next week or so.
 So, I'm going to take some time off and come back just after Christmas. See you all then.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Comics: Marada The She-Wolf TPB (Titan Comics)


  "Her mother was the first born of Caesar. Her father, a prince in his own land, a slave in Rome.  At the age of four , Marada saw her father broken on the rack, disembowelled and, finally, drawn and quartered. It was a public execution and, though the Prince was a long time dying, he uttered not a sound. That night, Marada's mother fled the eternal City, taking her child to be raised free, far from the place that had claimed the life of her beloved. That was twenty years ago.
 The child is a woman now, and that woman a warrior known and respected throughout the empire"

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Metal Project: Heavy Metal Heaven

The Metal Project: Heavy Metal Songs About Metal, gathered in one place.

  My last collection of songs was, I have to admit, quite a harsh listening experience so today I'm going to go for stuff that's a wee bit more melodic. You'd be surprised at how much Heavy Metal is actually quite singalong.
  Relatively speaking.
 Enjoy.

 Majesty - Metal Union (Germany 2013)

(Manowaresque "Hail Metal" Anthem)
Honour to: b3rgaz

Lawless - Heavy Metal Heaven (UK 2013)

(A band that just went on my "Investigate further" list. 
Catchy & melodic.
And they're British!)
Honour to: Dromedarius

I don't post many ballads so this next one is a bit of a novelty.

Terasbetoni - Metallisydan (Finland 2005)

(Stirring, "Lighters in the air" Power Ballad)
Honour to: kechrin

Rocka Rollas - Riding The Metal Storm (Sweden 2012)

(Uptempo and catchy Power Metal)
Honour to: Nergal135

Sorcerer's Spell - Jagermeister Metal (UK 2012)

(Bloody hell. Another British band!
A catchy ditty about the infamous liquer)
Honour to: SorcerersSpell

What the hell. Let's have another British band.

Battleaxe - Movin' Metal Rock (UK 1984)

(NWOBHM)
Honour to: DieLiebeNerthus

And finally...

Reckless Love - I Love Heavy Metal (Finland 2013)

(A poppy, Leppardesque hymn to 80s Glam Metal)
Honour to: Sam Logan

That's all folks. 





Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: Dragonwolf (2013)

"The Devil's Cauldron, a city where depravity and violence has forged a society in which only the lethal and callous can survive;  two young men who possess the intellect and ferocity to flourish, carve a name for themselves as the most efficient and unstoppable hit men. Side by side, these two brothers are the deadliest killers,  feared by even the most evil criminals...
  But what happens when a beautiful and deadly woman comes between two friends who happen to be highly trained assassins?"

 "Dragonwolf" tells the story of two men, once friends, now mortal enemies and, through flashbacks, how they came to fall out over a woman.
 Not a massively original story but it's put together well, nicely shot and the fight scenes aren't bad at all. Energetic and reasonably inventive, in fact.

 So why did I stop watching this film halfway through and throw it back on the shelf for two weeks?
 In fact, the only reason I bothered picking it up again was that I haven't done a film piece in a while.

The problem is the dialogue.

 I don't know if this is a foreign-language film that was dubbed by minimum wage nightshift workers suffering from sleep-deprivation or the entire cast are all speaking a language they only just learnt. Either way, things move along Ok when nobody is talking but as soon as anybody opens their mouth it gets uncomfortable to listen to.
 It doesn't help that our unfortunate thesps are given lines that desperately want to be Tarantino-style cool but veer off course and hit "Pretentious" instead.
 There are other problems. One supporting character has a bad case of Incurable Ham Actor. Another is the sort of jive-talking Black Guy stereotype that stopped being acceptable somewhere in the 80s.
 Then there's the three swordsmen who seem to have teleported in from another movie entirely - some Japanese thing about demon-hunters would be my guess - quickly followed by a swordswoman dressed like a go-go dancer who seems to have been added purely to up the fanservice quota. God knows she doesn't really do much beyond tidy up a few plot holes. It's a bit random.

Dragonwolf does have some things going for it - fights especially - and if it wasn't for the hamfisted dialogue I'd be a lot more impressed.  Approach with caution.

How much did I pay for this? £4
Was it worth it? I'd be lying if I said I was anything other than disappointed.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Beauty and the Beast

  Welcome to another edition of Heavy Metal Cover Girls, a semi-regular feature devoted to the lovely ladies who grace the covers of  Metal, Hard Rock and AOR albums.
 There are lots of album covers devoted to half-naked men but to be honest, I'm never going to be posting any of them. Sorry.
 Anyway, the theme this time around is: Women and their pets. Some of which must take a hell of a lot of cleaning up after.

 Let's start with the one that inspired this particular post.

 The Ragged Saints - The Sound Of Breaking Free (Finland 2013)

One of my favourite recent album covers. 
Just screams "Joy" and "freedom" doesn't it?
Band website here if you want to have a listen: http://theraggedsaints.com/

Continuing the "Big cats" idea.

Elikat - Caught In Love EP (Spain 1989)

Another cover that's rather elegant.

If you're not a big fan of snakes, look away now.

Atrocity - Okkult  (Germany 2013)

Just out of shot, several nervous roadies armed with baseball bats, just in case the big-ass python gets peckish.

Sturm Und Drang - Gaduation Day (Finland 2012)

Graduation from "Snake-dancing stripper" school presumably. 

Alright snake-phobes you can come back out now. 

Sphinx - Burning Lights (Germany 1985)

You know, I think if she wants to walk around in a swamp while topless, I'm just going to let her get on with it. She's got a freaking crocodile. You'd be amazed how much personal space people are willing to give you when your pet can bite their leg off.

Altar Of Sin - The Damned Dogs From Hell  (Spain 2010)

I like dogs. I think I prefer Labradors though. They are less inclined to try and eat your soul.

Zodiac - A Hiding Place (Germany 2013)

  Screw having bluebirds as your Animal Friends. They might sing all pretty and stuff but can they bring back a moose for dinner? If you're ever alone in the forest try and make friends with the wolves. Apart from anything else, if they like you, they won't rip out your liver and eat it while you're still alive.

Longings Past - An Angel's Tale (USA 1994)


Aethra - Tales from Distant Skies And Far Beyond (Mexico 2003)

A couple of young ladies and their scaly BFFs. Since the natural instinct of the dragon is to eat maidens, the early training routine must have been interesting.

And finally, one last Big Cat cover. 
I know the joke you were expecting me to make.
Not going to happen.

Twisted Tower Dire - Make It Dark (USa 2011)

A cover that to me, says "Shit. We're lost"

That's all folks.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Wall Art in Portsmouth and Southsea

  I'm not one of life's travellers. Some bloggers are out there trekking around the world, watching the sunrise from the mountains of Peru, drinking tea with Tuaregs, dancing on a beach in the moonlight...that sort of thing. And good luck to them.
Me? I'd rather stay home with a good book and a plate of nice biscuits.
Still, in my own small way I do a spot of exploring from time to time. Instead of going left to go home, I'll go right. I'll suddenly decide to see what's down the little alley I've walked past a hundred times. Sometimes it's fun to see what happens when you go the long way round.
 That's how I came to be poking about around the back of Southsea's shopping centre and discovered that somebody had done a spot of decorating;
southsea wall art

Wall art

Southsea street art
 For context, each of these is about 6 feet tall.

 That got me thinking. "Y'know, there's other stuff like this that I walk past all the time. Maybe it's worth documenting"
 The next set of pictures are all from Guildhall Walk, on the wall above..err...the public bogs. 
Sci-fi wall art
 A few years back the Portsmouth City museum had a Sci-Fi exhibition and these went up to promote it.
Pompey street art
 The exhibition has been and gone but the aliens and monsters are still here.
Portsmouth street art
I did a bit of Googling and it turns out these were done by Sifer Design
If you look HERE  you can see all of the paintings in context.

The last pics are from the hoardings surrounding the old Zurich building, just off Portsmouth city centre. There's quite a few of them but these two are my favourites.
Strong island mural
  I'm convinced that whoever did this is a Metalhead. If it's not on a metal album cover, it ought to be. 
Portsmouth mural
Sadly this one has been knocked about by wind and rain so a bit battered. Shame.

A little bit of research reveals that these were done with official sanction by a team of graffitti artists under the banner of We Are Pseudonym.  Article HERE.

 There's more artwork scattered across Portsmouth and Southsea so next time I'm feeling energetic, I think I'll dig out my camera and go do a spot of exploring. 

 That's all folks. 
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