Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: More Blood And Steel

 Since I still have a pile of "Warrior Women" themed album covers I thought I'd dish up a second helping.

 Hope you like them.

  Stream - Chasin' The Dragon (USA 2005)

 This fight doesn't seem particularly fair.  He's got full plate armour and a frigging dragon. 
 Blondie, on the other hand, has a tabard that doesn't fit properly and a lot of self-confidence. 
My money's on her, mainly because it looks like she's just about to stab that Nazgul wanker in the bollocks. .

The band doesn't seem to have any music on Youtube, sadly. 

Burning Vision - Positive Forces (Austria 1987)

Now what does this cover remind me of...?
Oh yes. This B-Movie cult classic.
Image found on: http://wrongsideoftheart.com/
Please don't ask me why there's a disco-ball made of brains on this album cover. It was the 80s.

As an aside, I did watch "She" again in hopes of getting a review out of it but when it was all over my notes read like this 
1. Sandahl Bergman would have made a much better Red Sonja that Brigitte Neilsen
2.  ...Dafuq did I just watch?  
It's an odd movie, to say the least.



Hrom - Queen Of Steel EP (Canada 2012)

The Queen walks away from another battlefield, victorious but a little annoyed.
The shop promised they'd have the rest of her armour ready for the battle and when she went to collect it, the buggers had gone off on holiday.
Somebody is getting a morningstar facial, mark my words.



Band website here: https://hromcan.bandcamp.com/

Twilightning - Delirium Veil (Finland 2003)

There seems to be two versions of this album around but this one has an elf-girl with a sword  so I'm going to use it. 
One of these days somebody is going to explain to my satisfaction exactly why so many fantasy females have a thing about massive shoulder-guards. 
She could easily wear that thing as a breastplate after all. It's damn near big enough.



Dexter Ward - Rendezvous With Destiny (Greece 2016)
The better album covers make you ask questions. What's the story here?" usually. 
Am I the only one who wants to know what a post-apocalypse amazon is doing on the moon and singularly failing to die of oxygen deprivation? 
I like this cover. It's nicely done and she has this air of ""Don't screw with me." that's always a delight.




Leather Synn - Honour And Freedom Single (Portugal 2015)


I was going to make a joke about tit-tape but she looks like she knows how to use that broadsword so..um...let's not.





And finally: 

Damned Nation -  Road Of Desire (Sweden 1999)

Sometimes even the most ferocious sword-maiden has to stop awhile and smell the flowers. 



And on that note, we shall take our leave of these fantastic lands and come back to the
grey, rainy mundane world. With bills to pay and Britains Got Talent back on TV...
Oh...Bollocks.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...Blood And Steel

 Hello and welcome to today's episode of Heavy Metal Cover Girls.  


   For this collection of album covers I will be revisiting a theme I've used before and is in fact the one that started this whole series of posts.

    If you're going to have a fierce warrior on your CD cover, why does it have to be a man?  

 I know I keep coming back to the whole "Women Warriors" theme but so do cover artists, which means I have an entire folder full of broadsword-swinging beauties ready to be unleashed on the world. 

 Before I start, I will say this: Some of these ladies are warriors who happen to be women and some are a clear case of  the artist being told "Draw a sexy woman - giver her a sword too."  I bet you can spot which is which without too much effort. 


  Thy Majestie - Jeanne D'Arc (Italy 2005)

  Power Metal bands love concept albums.
 This one is devoted to the young woman who saved France and is, i feel, a good place to start.


It's also the last time on this page that you're going to see anything resembling functional armour so if you are a military history buff .. 

 Stop reading now. 


 These Sicilian boys play grandiose Power Metal so Rhapsody is the obvious reference point.



Falkirk - Anthology (France 2013)


 Not bad as fantasy armour goes but there's still an inexplicable gap right where you really need something solid.
 As far as I can tell, the front seems to be fully protected so why has she got a gap over her kidneys?

  Then again. our heroine has her own dinosaur so is anybody going to get that close?  I know I wouldn't.

The band seem to be at the crunchier end of Euro Power Metal - Gamma Ray/ Iron Saviour and so forth. 



Corniger Calvarium - Edad Media (Argentina 2016)

 A cover I rather like, mainly because of the expression on her face. Is it just me or does she seem a bit annoyed? 

 And  here's what they sound like. Track takes a while to get going but is worth a listen if you like Doomy Heavy Metal.

 The full album can be found on the band's blog: http://cornigercalvariam.blogspot.co.uk/

Seducer -'Eads down See You At The End (UK 1986)

If the purpose of the cover is to make you want to buy the album it worked because I used to have this LP.
And all the time I owned it, I never noticed what she was doing with her left hand. 
Hopefully somebody was able to stitch her fingers back on afterwards. 

 True to their album title the band are full-throttle NWOBHM. 



 Reactory - Killed By Thrash EP (Germany 2013)


    Something, something Axe Attack something.
A deliberate tribute to the metal album covers of the 80s?  Possibly.
I love the fact that one of her decapitated victimt till has a lit fag in his gob. 

Does it surprise anybody to learnt that Reactory are  smack-in-da-mouf Thrash?


 The artist wasn't even trying with this next set of armour. 

 Dead Earth Politics - The Queen of Steel EP (USA 2014)

  Poseidon finds himself forcibly retired and as a further humiliation, gets poked with his own trident. 
Maybe he should have listened to his chief bodyguard when she asked for a proper breastplate.
He should definitely have paid attention to her muscles instead of her boobs. 

I'm going to lie though. I like this cover - nice expressions on both their faces.
She's absolutely fucking furious while he's clearly thinking "Aw bollocks..."

DEP are Thrash/Groove. Bonus points for having a warrior woman in the vid.

 And finally, a good contender for earliest "Woman with Sword" album cover.

Uriah Heap - Fallen Angel  (UK 1978)

A piece of artwork by fantasy legend Chris Achilleos, a man who created some gorgeous, fierce warrior-women over the years. 


 Uriah Heap are one of those bands that used to be classed as Heavy Metal but got left behind when the boundaries shifted.  


 I hope you liked the covers, I hope you liked the music and if there's any theme you want to see, why not let me know? 

 That's all folks.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Metal Project: C Is For Caligula


 Welcome to another collection of metal songs that share two things in common.

1. Every single one has "Metal" in the title.
2. All the bands start with the letter "C" 

Beyond that, we have a variety of styles and homelands on offer and I hope you'll find something to like. Enjoy. 

Cage - Metal Devil   (USA 2007)

(Pounding USPM in a sort of Priest/Iced Earth/Primal Fear vein. I am impressed)


Honour to: 3952217

Caceria - Satanic Metal Warrior (Paraguay 2010)

(Breakneck South American Thrash with a surprisingly melodic solo)


Honour to: UnderMetalPY

Culprit - Metal Heart (USA  1985)

(Underground US Metal - Sound quality not great but still an interesting find.)



Honour to: Rare & Obscure Metal Archives

Cendra - Metal Punk (Spain 2016)

(Black Metal and Punk have a drunken shag behind a skip and create this filthy blast of "fuckyou") 



Honour to: FB Metal Groups 5

Band homepage is here: https://www.facebook.com/cendra666/

Child Saint - Maid of Metal (USA 1989)

(If you're a connoisseur of 80s US Heavy Metal I think you might dig this.)


Honour to: deadhorse99

Camos - Black Metal Night (Brazil 2009)

(More Thrash/Speed than Black Metal but the song is pretty cool so who cares.)

Honour to: Everton Borges

Caligula - Metal Queen (Sweden 1991?)

(NWOBHM-sounding Trad metal from much later than you'd expect.)

Honour to: dyvelstoned

Chaotic Bastard - Metal Justice (Chile 2014)

(Galloping Thrash with gang vocals)



Honour to: Raul Witchfinder

Centurias - Metal Comando (Brazil 1988)

(Enthusiastic Trad HM)


Honour to: Rick Wild

Cumchrist - In The Sea Of Heavy Metal You Are Plankton (USA 2002)

A very long title for a very short song.



Honour to: Metalcaxias

That's all folks. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Games With Names

  Lately I've found a new way of amusing myself.

  At work the office radio is currently tuned to Breeze FM, a local radio station that has the motto "Tune In, Feel Good." and tends towards cheerful DJs playing pleasant songs that are easy to listen to.
 Not exactly my preferred musical fare but still more fun than Radio One and as long as I get some 80s pop in there, we're good. At work you just want something tuneful in the background after all.

  Now Breeze run a regular daily feature called "A-Z" whereby listeners can get in touch and request certain songs provided they fit the letter of the day: One day it's artists beginning with "B"; the next, they want bands starting with "C". You get the drift.

 I liked this idea. I started using the website to get in some some selections that were probably a little optimistic. (Realistically, anything with guitars in it that wasn't by Fleetwood Mac was a tad unlikely.)
  But it did mean I got to hear my (real) name read out on radio and sad specimen that I am, that kinda made my afternoon.

Then I had a mischief-fueled brainwave. 

"I wonder what other names I can get them to read out." 


  When I sent in song suggestions I started getting a little more creative with the names I used. Here's some of the ones that have been read out on the air by a slightly bemused DJ. 

Thrud the Barbarian

Pic sourced from Titan Comics

Red Sonja

Pic sourced from https://www.dynamite.com

Conan

Pic sourced from PINTEREST

Fluttershy

Pic reated by Rainbowcrab and sourced from http://www.equestriadaily.com

Princess Luna

Pic sourced from MLP Wikia

Ethel The Frog. 

Pic from my collection of album cover art. Yes, this was a real band.


  Now hopefully the guys at Breeze FM found this amusing because I'd hate to think I was making somebody annoyed or upset. I definitely don't want anybody thinking "Oh God, not this twat again."

  I think they are starting to catch on though, because recent suggestions have passed by unheralded.

Maybe using The Dog of Wisdom was a mistake?  Could be.

  That's all folks. 

  PS: I think it's only fair I give The Breeze a plug http://www.thebreeze.com/

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Metal Project: B Is For Barbarian



 Hello and welcome to another installment of Metal manificence, brought to you today by the letter B

 That means bands have all sorts of delightful words to play with in their choice of names. B is for "Black", "Blood", "Bastard", "Bulldozer", "Battle" and "Barbarian" - all very, very metal whereas "Bunny" isn't.

There may actually be a band out there called "Bunny Brigade" but I'm not sure I want to go looking for them.  

Black Vomit 666 - Intro/Alcohol y Metal (Colombia 2015 ) 

Hateful Black/Thrash


Honour to: FB Metal Groups 5

Barathrum - Warmetal (Finland 1997)

(Black/Doom Metal with hints of the epic)

Honour to: INACTIVE (for now)

Blood Slut - Metal To The Core (USA? 2010)

(I'm fairly certain this is a bedroom project but what the hell - the song fits the criteria I'm looking for.)


Honour to: THRAXMAN

Incidentally, with that song I've now hit the 1300 songs mark.

Bloodhammer - Casted In Metal (Finland 2003) 

(Abrasive Black Metal)


Honour to: AAVE

Battlerage - Raw Metal (Chile 2011)

(Galloping Heavy Metal)


Honour to: Truesteel Heavymetal

Brain Damaged - Dosis de Metal (Colombia 2012)

(Typically South American take-no-prisoners Thrash metal)



Honour to: LethalBrainDamaged

Barbatos - Hells Witching Metal (Japan 2015)

(Typically Japanese deranged Metal/Punk mashup)



Honour to: Nuclear Sodomy

Bulldozing Bastard - Street Metal Death Squad (Germany 2013)

(Black/Thrash Onslaught)



Honour to: Nuclear Sodomy

BlackShore - Black Metal Untermensch (Germany 2011)

(Believe me, before I posted this I checked to make sure I wasn't sharing some NSBM shit,
but it looks like these guys hate that Nazi bollocks more than I do.)
  

Honour to: Krinka Kirka

And to finish, one from this year. 


 Barbarian - Absolute Metal (Italy 2016)

(Rapid Speed/Thrash that slows down in the middle to give headbangers a chance to catch their breath - then goes Tonto again)

Honour to: Vor VZakone


I just found out that there was a Death Metal band called VORPAL BUNNY
Ah, metal...you never cease to surprise me.

Do you want to hear what they sounded like?


That's all folks. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Film Review: Blood Street (1988)


 As-kicking PI Joe Wong is hired to find a beautiful woman's missing husband but instead he finds himself in the middle of a drug war. 
  
 Starring

Leo Fong in a horrible hat. 
(No kidding. It looks like a gorilla was playing with it.)  
Richard Norton in a tiny pair of speedos
(He's only wearing them in the one scene but dear gods, that's enough)
Ex-Playmate Kym Paige
(Trying to play a femme fatale)
Chuck Jeffries
(Trying to play Eddie Murphy)
A bunch of people
(Trying to act. Who cares. They're all gonna die anyway.) 

This is the sequel to Low-Budget cult fave LOW BLOW  which I stumbled across by accident and decided to watch through a mixture of morbid curiosity and a need for a new post.  

 "Blood Street" can best be summed up as an attempt to update the classic film-noir to the era of "straight-to-video movies about druglords." 
 (Has anybody ever sat down and worked out how many of those there were in the 1980s? There must have been hundreds of movies about plucky cops/PIs/ex-soldiers trying to take down a guy in a baggy suit and his army of pony-tailed mooks called "Bruno" )

  Joe Wong plays the classic PI, complete with world-weary voice-over, but breaks out the martial arts and a sawn-off shotgun when things get dicey. I'm actually amazed at how casual he is about killing. Leaving aside the frequent shootouts, at one point our hero skewers a pub-brawling baddy with a flung dart - just for the hell of it. 
 I will say this for "Blood Street": If you like violence there's plenty of it. When Joe isn't breaking somebody's arm, the rival drugs firms are  gunning each other down in broad daylight.      


 The problem is, none of it particularly well directed or choreographed so it has minimal impact. 

And I think that sums up this film. Minimal Impact. 

 The story happens in choppy fashion, rather than flowing, and I really have no idea why they decided to throw a long flashback in halfway through because other than giving Joe Wong a chance to get reflective, it has nothing to do with anything. 
 The acting is variable. Richard Norton does probably the best performance and when that happens, you know something is wrong.  Leo Fong is monotone through the entire film, making his "quips" land like custard on a paving stone and Kym Paige ...wasn't hired for her acting chops. 
 The music is better than "Low Blow's" soft-rock synth noodlings in that this time we get 1940s jazz noodling instead. I think that was a deliberate attempt to recreate the aforementioned film-noir atmosphere but it sits a bit strangely beside 1980s hair and Uzis.

Also in this film  

Casual racism
(Joe Wong is Chinese. This is pointed out frequently
Violence against women that's slightly disturbing.
(Nobody has a problem with slapping a ho'. Or shooting her in the back either.)
Some terrible attempts at sexiness.
(The opening orgy scene is less erotic than your average Duran Duran video)
Gangsters who have a curious reluctance to use guns on the hero.
(Fuck knows why. They're ok with gunning down women in cold blood after all.)  
Bad attempts at wit
A colossal waste of Richard Norton's proven martial arts skills.
(The guy could fight. Maybe the climax should have used that.)
Speedos.
(No. No. No. No. No.)

To sum up: If you like dumb low-budget 80s flicks about white druglords or want to check out everything Richard Norton ever did then you may like "Blood Street" I wasn't impressed.

I'll end with a question: Why "Blood Street"? why not Blood Streets?   That would make more sense. 

That's all folks 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

I Have Another Guest Post Up

Mike from the excellent Mike's Daily Jukebox asked me if I wanted to do another guest post for his blog.

The theme: Top Ten "Metal" Songs Of All Time. 

"Brilliant." I thought "I get a chance to revisit some classics and maybe share some cool new stuff with people" 
So I put together a list of my personal faves and emailed it off.

Mike's put the post up today so I'd love it if you popped over and had a look.  

Do you agree with it? Is there a song that you think ought to be on there?  Feel free to comment and offer suggestions. 

Here's the link : http://mikesdailyjukebox.com/top-10-metal-songs-time/


Monday, 4 April 2016

Anime: Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions (2012),

I haven't had much time for blogging lately so I apologise if you've been wondering where the hell I got to.

It's also about time I did an anime review so here we go with a look at:

Japanese title: Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!
12 episode :TV series & OVA 
Highschool Rom-Com/Drama with outbreaks of fantasy.  

Chūnibyō: "A state where you're so desperate to stand out that you literally convince yourself of having a secret knowledge and hidden powers"

Which is maybe a polite way of saying "Kids who watched too much anime and got carried away with the cosplaying"

  Yūta Togashi was a chūnibyō during middle school, calling himself The Dark Flame Master, and as a result made himself into a social outcast. High school is his chance to start again with a clean slate and put his awkward past behind him once and for all.
   But then one night a strange girl with a patch over one eye drops down a rope from the flat above and asks "Did you see? Do you want to see?" before disappearing again.

 The next day, the same girl makes a scene in class, declaring that she's been waiting eons to meet him and that her hidden eye "resonates" - whatever the hell that means.


Dark Flame Master, meet The Eye of the Wicked Lord 

Her name is Rikka Takanashi, she's got a really bad case of chūnibyō and Yūta's plans for a normal high-school life are completely screwed.
 Not only does Rikka know his secret, she's decided that he's her new ally in a quest to find The Hidden Boundary Lines regardless of his feelings on the matter.

Yūta has an interesting line in interrogation techniques

This is another anime I stumbled across through watching Anime Vines. It looked a bit silly so when I found the 2 DVD set in my local CEX, I snapped it up. I then ended up binge-watching the series in two continuous sessions.
 As expected there was indeed plenty of silliness.  Yūta finds himself the unwilling straight man to Rikka's hyperactive imagination and a supporting cast that's equally peculiar in their own way.  


Kumin Tsuri. Her favourite hobby is Napping and her dream is to start a School Napping Club

The first few episodes are essentially Yūta trying to deal with the normal drama of high-school (making friends,, meeting girls and so on) while riding herd on a girl who literally cannot get a can of soda from a vending machine without turning it into a magical ritual. 

Offical Class Hottie Shinka Nibutani

 So there's a fair bit of amusement to be had in Rikka's attempts to remake reality into something cooler where she's the star and  in Yūta's inevitable reaction.  


 Except there's a wee bit more to it than that. Yūta may be exasperated with Rikka's lunatic behaviour but he's also the closest thing she's got to a friend. (Apart from equally deranged sidekick Sanae Dekomori that is. ) and the two do get some heartwarming moments.


This is not one of them. 

 Then, as seems to happen a lot with anime, the drama suddenly ramps up a lot in about episode seven and you get a much better insight as to why Rikka prefers her fantasy world to reality. For a lighthearted rom-com, there's some heartbreaking moments.  There's also some really good fight scenes even if they do tend to turn into Rikka flailing away with an umbrella once reality kicks back in.


What the hell are Rikka and Sanae trying to do, exactly? 

  I liked this anime a lot. I was impressed by the animation. (Seriously - the fight scenes are cool) I liked the characters and the way they played off each other. Some people might find Rikka annoying but as somebody else who has trouble with reality, I can kinda relate. The others all get some great moments as well.

Some scenes had me genuinely cracking up and others had me wanting to give everybody onscreen a big hug.  That's rare these days.

   Chunibyo..  is not one of those anime that takes your breath away but if you want 12+1 episodes of entertaining Highschool Rom-Com/Drama and a character who thinks she's the star of a fantasy anime, this might be a DVD worth looking at.

 Here's a little snippet for you.



 And now here's a GIF of Dancing Rikka

That's all folks. 
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