Friday, 23 December 2016

Have A Metal Christmas

Since it's my last post before shutting down for Christmas I thought I'd share some Christmas Choons  with you.

 Not surprisingly Bing Crosby is not on the playlist.

 We shall start with this Melodic Rock Version of a Wham song.
I hated Wham - still do in fact - so this version by DAILY GRIND is a vast improvement. 

For some reason a lot of Rock Metal/Bands cover that song.  There's at least  3 others that I know about. 

Power Metal heroes THEOCRACY have a number of Christmas songs.
I picked this one because they managed to make a  Rudolph song that's catchy, amusing and pure Power Metal. 

I posted ORION'S REIGN last year and here they are again with another cheerful take on a traditional carol.
I rather like the operatic duet-y bits and they way they break out some PM shredding for the hell of it.  

In case you're wondering - and you probably are - the girl in red is MINNIVA who has her own channel.

If you're all Christmassed-out then I have the perfect song for you, courtesy of US Loons PSYCHOSTICK.

Somebody needs to give these guys a TV show or something.

And to finish, one of the rare Christmas hits I will admit to liking without apology or irony.

RIP Greg Lake.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Metal Project: T Is For Thunder

List of metal songs with metal in the title

  We're almost at the end of 2016 and thank The Seven Deities for that because this year has been bollocks.

But I still have time to squeeze in some more metallic tunes for you all so let's have at it.

Today's selection is brought to you by the letter T.  I think I have put together a wide variety of sounds and scenes for your perusal. Enjoy.

Thunderfist - Screamin' Heavy Metal (USA 2012)

(Heavy Metal thundering along at a rate of knots. I approve)

TarthariA - Metal Salvation  (Russia 2014)

(It's interesting how many bands - and fans - treat Metal as a religion.)

Honour to: Igor Anokhin

T.N.T - Heavy Metal Noise (Germany 1984)

(No Frills German HM - but still got some nice touches. I rather like the bass. )

Tchort- Love Metal (Canada 2000)

(Groovy 70s-flavoured Stoner Metal)

Honour to: Kosta5

 By way of complete contrast, here's another Canadian band who sound nothing like the above.  

Tribunal - Pop Métal (Canada 2013)

(Beyond my powers of description. Just listen to it.)

Honour to: Tribunal officiel

Tyrant - Warrior of Metal (USA 1985)

(US Metal from the 80s Underground scene)

Honour to: Sebastian Loredo

Torment Of Abyss - Anti-Human Black Metal (Colombia 2015)

(Harsh and about as un-Christmassy as you can get.)

Honour to: Andres eslava

Titanic - Metalový Svátek (Czech Republic 1989)

(Speedy HM from behind the Iron Curtain.)

Honour to: Novaciny666

Terror Strike - Executioner Thrash Metal (Chile 2009 -I think)

(Typically frantic South American Thrash)

Honour to: Corpse Drinker

Please remember to visit and support the channels I've linked here.
I could not do this project without their hard work.

This has been another episode of The Metal Project: Compiling the Ultimate Metal Playlist 

That's all folks. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Book Review: Pat Kelleher - Black Hand Gang (2010)

Book Review:  Genre: WW1 meets SciFi

  On November 1st 1916, 900 men of the 13th  Battalion Pennine Fusiliers vanished without trace from the battlefield.   Their fate has been one of the enduring mysteries of the First World War. 

 The official story is that they were all lost when a massive German mine was detonated, causing the half-mile wide Harcourt Crater. 

 The real story is far, far stranger. 

     I was poking about my local library when I spotted a trio of black-covered paperbacks on the shelf.  A brief look at the striking cover art and intriguing backcover blurb and I was immediately sold. 

  The idea of a group of fighting men being transported to an alien world is not a new one - Pournelle/Niven's Janissaries  and Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen immediately coming to mind - but as far as I know the protagonists are usually either from the remote past or plucky Americans.  Black Hand Gang  is unusual in that the stranded squaddies are British Tommies from the Somme trenches. A Pals Battalion from the North of England, to be precise. That makes this book a little easier for me to relate to. 

  The book starts with the 13th Bn preparing for an attack, introducing us to a variety of characters  that would be instantly familiar to anybody else who grew up reading "Charley's War" before the mists of battle clear to reveal an Alien planet. 
 Not, sadly, the Elysium the Tommies initially think it is.  More of a Hellworld full of vicious predators and man-eating plants. 
 While the Fusiliers are still trying to get used to that, the other intelligent life on the planet makes itself known and the book moves up a gear to an action-packed climax. 

  I was very impressed with Black Hand Gang.  Pat Kelleher takes an idea that's been used before and puts enough of a spin on it to make it interesting. The story takes a while to hit it stride but the necessary scene-setting doesn't drag and the dazed reaction of  the Pennines to their new surroundings was, I thought, really well done. Liked the punchup at the end too. 

   There's two more in the series. I have them sat on my shelf back home and I'm looking forward to reading them.  

 The author has a webpage here:
I wonder how many people stumbled across it and thought they'd found a genuine WW1 mystery?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Sad Angels

  Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Where I post a bunch of album covers that are interesting, well-done and starring attractive women.  Truthfully, the last is probably the most important element.

 I've covered angels before in their guise as heavenly messengers and enforcers. (See Album Covers tab for more details)  However today we're looking at angels that are having a hard time.

  For some reason there's a lot of angels looking sad and a little defeated by life in modern art. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Maybe the idea of a being that's used to soaring through the sky sat down in the dirt with the rest of us is a powerful one.
 Not surprisingly this carries over to metal album cover artwork. If you think about it, the artist is combining two longstanding trope that metal artists absolutely love: women being artistically miserable and women with wings.

 As we shall see, there's a lot of ways this particular theme can be interpreted. The girls we're about to meet today range all the way from "a bit fed up" to "Heartbroken and lost."

  Enough of me trying to sound erudite. You're here for the pictures and I'm happy to oblige.

 Liberty - Sunrise (Ukraine 2007)

He said he would come and he didn't. 
I wore my pretty dress and he didn't come.
Bloody Metatron. Always too busy. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Terrible Metal Album Covers XXIV

  I haven't done one of these in a while so what the hell, here's a selection of album covers that have bad ideas, bad execution and occasionally bad use of fonts as well.
I do have one disclaimer though. Just because the cover is terrible does not mean the band suck.

 Remember that Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Riot, Fates Warning and a host of other great bands all put out CDs with covers offensive to the eyes.

Now read on.   

Profanator - Libido Clerico

terrible metal album cover art
I only just realised that she's supposed to a metal version of  The Virgin Mary
Even before that I just thought this cover was tacky as hell

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Metal Project: S is (Also) for Samain

The ultimate metal playlist, The Metal Project.

  The Christmas songs have already started playing on the radio.  Christmas isn't for another 18 frigging days!  Christ knows how I'm going to retain my sanity.

 But I know something that will help.  Heavy Metal and lots of it. 

  Now I know I've already done S in this current run through the metal alphabet but I deliberately restricted myself to one word so it doesn't really count. Plus I have a whole pallet-load of metal mayhem to deliver to you lovely people.  Plus it's my blog and my Metal project so I can cheat if I like. So bollocks. 

It's Finland's Independence day today so how about we have some Finnish metal for the opening salvo?

Steel Mammoth - Metal Infant (Finland 2007)

(70s style Heavy Rock)

Honour to: Steel Mammoth Topic

Ok, that wasn't what I expected either.
Let's try again.

Sargeist - Anti-Human Black Metal Wrath (Finland 2001)

(Exactly what you would expect from the title.)

Honour to: Inactive - For now

Sinawe - Metalizer  (South Korea 1990)

Tagged as Hair Metal but on this track they're full on Heavy Metal 

Honour to: Penzalpain

Seax- Forged By Metal (USA 2016)

(Frantic Speed Metal. Bit of an Agent Steel vibe maybe?)

Honour to: Seax Metal

Samain - The Metal Breaks My Senses (Germany 1984)

(Teutonic Heavy Metal that gets under your skin)

Honour to: Magus Daoloth

Sign of Evil - Venom Metal (Italy 2011)

(Somewhere on the border of Black Metal and Thrash)

Honour to:SUMMRAK666

I just had to get some Spanish Language Metal in here somewhere.

Siberia - Dosis De Metal (Spain 2012)

(No frills Speed Metal)

Honour to: Necroziur

Sanctuar - Heavy Metal (Romania 2011)

(Heavy Metal sung in Romania. Don't get that very often, do you?
Some nice guitar work too.)

Honour to: Sanctuar

And finally...

Sodomizer - Metal From Hell (Brazil 2004)

(Black/Speed Metal. Possibly recorded with the lead singer in a totally different room.) 

Honour to: necroziur

That's all folks. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Cheapo DVD Review: Axe Giant. (2013)

Genre: Slasher/Horror

 Minnesota 1895.  A logging camp is the scene of a violent and spectacularly bloody massacre.

Minnesota. The present day.   A grumpy Corrections Officer and a kindly therapist take a group of young delinquents into the woods in the hopes that a week spent roughing it in the wilderness will knock them into shape.

 We will never know whether that would have worked because some of the youngsters break one of the cardinal rules of Horror Films.

If you find something weird, do not fuck with it.   

  This enrages one of the local inhabitants and unfortunately for the kids, he's not just a deranged, mutant hilbilly with an axe, he's a giant, deranged, mutant hillbilly with an giant axe.

 Turns out the legends of Paul Bunyan were based on reality but missed out the part about him basically being a  murderous troll.

  And now he's pissed off.  Well done campers.     

I picked this one up on a whim, largely because of the cover. Interestingly, it's different from the US version in one key respect.
  Fair enough. Most Brits would have only the vaguest idea who Paul Bunyan and let's face it "Paul Bunyan" is not the scariest name ever. "The Giant Axeman of  Skullface Mountain" - now that's a scary name.
 I digress.
  When it comes right down to it, Axe Giant is a standard backwoods choppy-chop flick except for the rampaging loonie being the size of a house.  The young victims protagonists are the usual motley bunch with a thumbnail of characterisation. The cast do their best with what they have but what they have is a bit on the thin side.  By contrast older cast-members Tom Downey (Mean correction officer) and Joe Estevez (Local crazy fart) get to have more fun with their characters and run with it every chance they get.
  There's also a definite effort to make big, bad Paul a more rounded, even sympathetic character. 

 So the story is simple but effective, the acting is on the right side of decent and there's some good axe-murdering in this film. I am, however going to have to mark Axe Giant down on a couple of things. 

While the physical FX for Paul Bunyan aren't bad, some of the CGI and greenscreen is really not good. 
Not Asylum  movie bad but still weak enough to look jarring.

  I also thought the ending was somewhat contrived as it relies on massive outside interference in events. At least they didn't pull the old "Let's lure him to somewhere with lots of explosives" schtick.

How much did I pay for this? £2
Was it worth it? A reserved "Yes".  I was kept entertained if not thrilled. This is the sort of movie I buy, watch once then take back to CEX a week later.  
Axe Giant is a low budget affair. As long as you're OK with this and aren't expecting anything clever, you might find yourself entertained.  

 Screenshot time. 
 Some people consider this sort of thing fun. 
Personally I think they're mental but each to their own. 

Oh look, it's a creepy old guy. 
I bet he will provide useful exposition at some point. 
Or public masturbation. Could go either way.

"Now did I leave my keys at that last stop?
And was it this bit of forest where people disappear or the next one over?"

"What's everybody staring at me like that for?"
"Oh. Thanks for warning me you dicks. "

And to finish, I have a question that the film never explained to my satisfaction. 
Where the fuck did Paul get his giant-ass axe from? 

That's all folks. 

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