Monday, 28 July 2014

The Metal Project: Mexican Metal Maniacs

How do you like the new header? I thought it was about time I gave these posts a little visual impact.
 As to the claim I'm making - so far as I know, nobody else is doing this so what the hell.

  One of the more delightful things about this whole project is the way I've found myself discovering bands from all sorts of places around the world. I was vaguely aware that they had to have some sort of Heavy Metal scene but was shockingly ignorant as to how big, dedicated and enthusiastic they might be.
 Mexico is a great example. Up until fairly recently, I'd never heard a Mexican metal band in my entire life.
Now I know better. 

 Anyway, here's some bands that deserve to be better known outside Latin America. Enjoy.

 Ancesthor - Thrash Metal Iron Smash (2011)

(I don't know why but I'm getting a bit of a Death Angel vibe from these guys.)

Honour to: Ancesthor Official

Merciless Disaster - Speed Metal Revenge (Demo 2013)

(So raw that it's bleeding - but not without charm.)

 Khafra - El Metal Ilego Para Quedarse (2001)

(Straight-ahead fists clenched Trad Metal. Unusual solo)
Honour to: leospeed thrash

Steel Sentinel - Heavy Metal Night (2013)

(Has a mid 80s Eurometal/NWOBHM touch to it.)
Honour to: malignus sentinel

Survival - Speed Metal Freaks (2011)

( Starts with a loud "Aaaaaaaarrrgggghhhh!" I approve.
And they aren't kidding about the speed either.
I am not responsible for any injuries you may sustain headbanging to this. )

Honour to: Possessed By Metal

Evil Blood - Thrash Metal Assault (2012)

(Thrash with Black Metal-ish vocals)
Honour to: Possessed By Metal

And finally, a track I found just as I was about to wrap up...

Ereshkigal - Black Metal Storm (2012)

(Black Metal with some surprises)
Honour to: marco97219

If you like what you heard, swing by the channels I've listed and check them out.

That's all folks.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Leaving Footprints

On July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Lunar Module and walked on the Moon.

 His footprints are still there.

 The moon has no rain to wash them away, no plantlife to cover them over and the solar wind that brushes the moon is feeble. Barring a meteor strike, those footprints are likely to be there for a very, very long time.

  In a cave in Romania archaeologists have found human footprints dating back 36500 years.  The people who made them are so long gone that even the dust of their bones has dissolved away, but we can still see where they walked.

 On the way to work I walk past a little patch of pavement repaired with cement. Human nature being what it is, and kids always guaranteed to be right little sods,  there are footprints in it..
  I don't know how long that cement has been there. For all I know, those kids are now parents themselves.
 I do know that people will strolling past those prints until the next time the council digs up the pavement.
 So about another decade then.

  The other day for some bizarre reason I decided to pop back and revisit a forum I used to frequent until 2011. In a coincidence that even I don't believe, some of the regulars were talking about people who weren't around any more. And my name came up.

 Which got me to thinking.

 At one point or another I've belonged to a number of online forums. Some, I posted a few times then never went back. Others, I chimed in  regularly and often for several years before gradually drifting away.
 Even so, my name is still up on their members' lists. There's threads I posted in that remain active to this day.

  You'd have to dig deep into the archives, but my contributions are there for anybody to find and read.

 When it comes right down to it, there's little bits of me scattered all across the internet. Little echoes of the person I was and what I was thinking right at that very moment.

 Footprints preserved in binary code.

  Sooner or later the time will come when I blog one last time and then walk away. This will become yet another one of the millions of webpages that never update but lie abandoned and forgotten, like ghost towns in the desert. I'll have left behind another period of my life and another set of footprints.

  There's no way of knowing how long any of these things are going to remain, but I have this faint hope that in a century or so, there will be a cultural historian studying the early 21st century and he or she will stumble across this page.
  So, if you are currently hunched over an old, dusty hard-drive poring through the files, trying to make sense of it all, I'd just like to say this.

 Hello. My real name is Dale

Don't let the Internet fool you. The 21st century wasn't totally full of dickheads.

But most of all, I want to say

Big D was here.

 And long after we are both forgotten, long after the great cities have crumbled into ruins, Neil Armstrong's footprints will still be up there on the moon.

 That's all folks. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Anime From The Vaults: Explorer Woman Ray (1989)

"Ancient temples, sinister villains, and hair-raising chase scenes.
 These may sound like the highlights of the latest Indiana Jones film, but they are also the domain of Ray Kizuki.
 Archaeologist and black belt extrodinaire, the explorer woman has come to a remote corner of the world where a vast, legendary temple has been found. With her Ray carries a mysterious, mirror-like object once owned by her father and rumoured to be the key to a lost civilisation. "

 One of the things I am grateful to Youtube for is the old, frequently obscure anime, that's been uploaded by fans who refuse to let these titles fade into the darkness.
  I have every intention of doing write-ups for some of the more interesting  - starting with this one.

   Explorer Woman Ray never got a UK release but since it was one of the earliest anime titles to be released onto the US market, I suspect it showed up on a lot of people's tape-trading lists.
  I know I saw this anime years and years ago but that was a copy of a copy of a copy, so actually watching it without all that lovely tape-fuzz was a pleasant experience.

  Anime fans were a hardy lot back in the day. We'd put up with a level of glitching and Potato Quality that would make kids today punch the monitor. We got a lot of headaches, mind you.

  I digress.

 The story is pretty much the same for each episode and can best be summed up thus: Bad guy Rieg and his vest wearing henchmen try to misuse the powers of an ancient temple. Rayna "Ray" Kizuki tries to stop them.  Stuff gets wrecked.

  It's a simple formula but it works quite well.  "Indiana Jones" is definitely the right reference point as there's plenty of chases and running around dodging falling masonry.
 On the subject of stonework, both episodes take place in the sort of vast, multilayered temple complex you only ever seem to see in Tomb Raider games or adventure movies.  Their builders - the vanished PreColumbian civilisation known as the Ords - clearly thought big and seem to have a thing for precarious walkways. And mirrors. Big mirrors.

 It's never really explained how Ord temples managed to turn sunlight into some sort of Mystical Super-Energy or what the hell Rieg wants with it.

 Then again Rieg wears one of those opera capes with big, flarey collars. That pretty much tells the entire world that he's not only a bad guy, but the sort of bad guy that thinks his destiny is to be God-Emperor of Earth. He has a tendency towards monologuing and gloating that bites him in the ass big time.

 Meanwhile heroine Rayna is initially a cold fish but warms up slightly as events progress. In Ep 2 you get a little more insight into her history and why Rieg is not her favourite person in the world.
 She's a badass, naturally. Fearless, determined and knocks bad guys about like roided up skittles. Rayna is who Lara Croft wanted to be when she grew up.
 Somebody thought it would be a great idea to lumber her with a couple of mildly-annoying teenage girls as sidekicks. Oh joy. I live in hope that Bumbling Comic Relief is a trope that will die off soon.

The whole thing is a little dated, but animated quite well by 80s OVA standards and the action scenes look pretty good. The boat chase in ep 1 is a particular highlight, as is the opening train hijack. .

  In short, if you like 1980s action anime, or just fancy a nostalgia trip, "Explorer Woman Ray" is a fun way to kill some time.

Here's the Youtube link. 

 That's all folks. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Women Wrestlers Smile For the Camera

The post I originally had in mind is currently stuck in the mire known as "Writer's Block" so I had to hurriedly come up with a backup plan. Then I remembered that I did a bit of scanning a little while back...

Since I haven't done a wrestling post in a while - and they always seem to go down well - here's a few scans showcasing the height of women's wrestling fashion (circa 1989.)
woman wrestler 1980s swimsuit
   Candi seems quite sure how to spell it...flashes her pearly whites backstage.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Metal Project: Ten Of The Best

The Metal Project: The Internet's largest collection of Metal songs about Metal. 

  By my reckoning this the 100th post I've made under the banner of The Metal Project. Considering the whole thing started with me a bit bored one night and wondering "How many Heavy Metal songs are there that actually have "Metal" in the title?" that's not bad going.
 So today I'm going to do something a bit different. In the two years I've been doing this, I've found a lot of cool songs I didn't know existed. Here's ten of my favourites.
  Every single one of these is something that was new to me at the time. I hope you'll come to like them as much as I do.   

Adam Bomb - I Want My Heavy Metal (USA 1984)

Honour to: George Gogos

Ambeon - Cold Metal (NLD 2001)

Honour to: Astrid Van Der Veen

Atomik Cocktail - Metal Rages On (USA 1991)

Honour to: Belkastrelka

Beautiful Sin - Metalwaves (Norway/Germany 2006)

Honour to: Evil Kingdom

Braddock - Metal Up Your Ass (Spain 2011)

Honour to: Eduardo Patlan

Dexter Ward - Metal Rites (Greece 2011)

Honour to: David Ranogajec

Messiah Prophet - Heavy Metal Thunder (USA 1986)

As well as a Youtube channel he has a blog too. Check it out. 

Sillwell -Street Metal (USA 2011)

Honour to: StreetMetalMusic

Stos - Heavy Metal (Poland 2012)

Honour to: La Kampa

Strident - Power Metal from Space (South Africa 2011)

Honour to: Strident Official

And just for the hell of it, I'm going to leave you with a band and a song that defined metal for me.

Judas Priest - Metal Gods (UK 1980)

That's all folks. See you at 200. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Motorcycle Mamas

  Hello and welcome to another edition of Heavy Metal Cover Girls, a semi-regular feature where I post a bunch of Rock/Mertal album covers loosely connected by a vague theme. And by the fact that there's always a decorative young lady front and centre, obviously.

 Today the theme is "Motorbikes"

Go ahead and get the joke out of your system. You know the one I'm talking about. Something about "Throbbing"

Ready to ride? Then let's go.

 Аметист -  Путь (Latvia 2011)

(Amethyst - Path )
 Thanks to government cutbacks the famous Route 66 has had to be downsized.

This is also the last person here who is anywhere near being fully dressed. 

Fatum - Mania Szybkosci (Poland 1989)

album cover woman riding motorbike
I quite like this one - she really looks like she's having fun. 
Bonus points for actually riding the bike rather than just posing on it. 

Want to know what the band sound like?
Honour to: rsspoland

Not bad.

Dogs n Bones - Lost Gone Wild (Italy 2008)

woman leather motorbike cartoon
She spent so much on the boots that she couldn't afford the rest of the protective gear.

Belfast - Dream Machine (USA 1994)

rock album cover sexy woman motorbike
Another one riding in her underwear
And why are none of these people wearing helmets? 

Firenote -S/t - (Finland 2009)

heavy metal album cover motorbike woman
That's a bit more like it...

Oi... hang on a minute...

How the hell do you forget to put your underpants on? 

The band has a song called "She stole my speedos" 
I can only conclude that the young lady involved finally noticed that her arse was freezing. 

 Honour to: saunci

Karma To Burn - Karma To Burn Slight Reprise (USA 2012)

topless woman and motorbike
Chelsea was a safe rider. Never had an accident in her life.
Saw an awful lot happen right in front of  her though. 

Poison - Hollyweird (USA 2002)

nude woman on motorbike
At this point the hat and boots are just for show, aren't they?

She went on to become the first person ever busted for flashing back at a speed camera

That's all folks. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Empire Rising - A Film Sold Under False Pretences

"Featuring a stand-out cast including Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave, stunning locations and epic battles, the true story of  legendary Persian warrior is told in this swords and sandals adventure that will appeal to fans of Gladiator, Game Of Thrones and 300.
 Through their mutual love of the same woman,the warrior becomes the sworn enemy of his long term friend and the original creator of the Sect of Assassins. Eventually the two will go to war and only one can survive."

 Imagine, for a moment, that you went out for a meal at your local pub. The menu shows you a big colour picture of a juicy, 120z steak with all the trimmings. It looks great so you put your order in and sit back, mouth watering.
 But when the waiter arrives he brings you a cheeseburger.
 It's a pretty good cheeseburger. Lots of cheese, maybe some bacon and you get a side order of onion rings thrown in,  but it's not what the menu showed you, it's not what you wanted and it's not what you paid your money for.  "What's the problem" says the waiter. "It's still beef, isn't it?"

 Now imagine that every time you went into that pub you were never sure whether you were going to get a steak, a burger or a plate of goat scrotums in cheese sauce.

  One of my pet hates is DVD distributors pushing out films in blatantly misleading covers. I don't mean covers that make the film out to be more exciting than it really is. That's just advertising. I mean covers cynically designed to sell a movie as something it isn't.
   Selling you steak when you're getting cheeseburger.

  As you've probably guessed by now, "Empire Rising" isn't the film I was expecting and I am a little bit peeved.

 In situations like this, what I like to do is pop over to IMDB and see what this movie was originally called.

  Doesn't look quite so exciting now, does it? Certainly not something that "fans of Gladiator, Game Of Thrones and 300" are going to rush out and buy.

  So here's the film you actually get. Omar Khayyam - poet, astronomer and man of science - pines for his lost love, becomes best mates with the Seljuk Emperor and has a big falling out with childhood friend Hassan. The whole thing is framed by a 12 year old Persian-American boy  researching a family legend.
 No battles whatsoever. I sat through the whole thing and I'm sure I would have noticed.

  Instead of an action packed swords and sandal adventure, I found myself watching a gentle-paced slice of Persian culture. It's not a bad film, in fact, and if you are interested in Medieval Persia, Omar Khayyam or Islamic storytelling traditions you might like it.
 Then again, if that's the case, how likely are you to be picking this DVD up in the first place?

   Cynic that I am, I suspect this film reappearing in the shops with that cover may have something to do with a certain film that's come out recently.
 So my guess is, some wanker with sculpted hair told his team "We need something that's got Persians in it. We'll put it out in the shops and make easy money. Now bring me cocaine and a cheap hooker."

  I've complained about "Bait and switch" HEREHERE  and  HERE and truth be told, it's got to the point where I'm reluctant to buy anything with a warrior on the cover just in case I find myself watching a Polish historical drama instead.
  That's already happened once. I wish I was kidding.

 And the reason I find myself so annoyed when that happens is this: I end up watching a film that may be erspectable but  isn't what I wanted. Meanwhile, the person that would actually have enjoyed  "The Keeper" or "A Night With The King" or the aforementioned Polish historical drama walked right past it because they saw the sword-swinging bodybuilder on the cover and thought "Dumbass Conan ripoff."
  I feel ripped off, they miss out on a decent film and nobody is happy except the distribution company.

I hope the extra money they got makes them happy.  the people behind this bullshit all wake up one day to find mice gnawing on their testicles.

   Expect to see lots and lots of "Empire Rising" DVDs to turn up in your local second-hand place soon.
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