Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Big D Takes Some Pictures Pt II

Evening all. Here's some more pictures that I've taken over the years.

As it turns out, even my limited talents cans till take a decent picture when I have the entire sky to aim at.

I won't bother adding captions. What would I say "Here's a cloud. Here's another cloud. This is.. oh wait.. that's also a cloud."

This was taken from the seafront by the Southsea Rose Garden
If you look carefully you can see ships on the horizon.

Also Southsea seafront, this time looking towards Gosport. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Big D Takes Some Pictures

  Photography is one of the many hobbies I have that I'm not terribly good at. If anything, after years of practice I seem to have got worse.
  Having said that, every once in a while I accidentally manage to take a picture that I'm happy with.  Over the next few posts I plan to share some of them with you. Please be gentle.

 One of the things I really appreciate about living in Portsmouth is that it's on two ferry routes. Which means that lots of interesting cars pass through on the way to the Isle Of Wight or Brittany.
  I can't say that I'm a petrolhead or a vintage car buff but when I see something like this gorgeous Frazer-Nash sitting in a carpark, I can't help but take a closer look.
I've blanked out the number-plate. It seems polite. 

 This old gal sticks out from everything in the carpark and for a 3 mile radius. 

This was a special thing they ran in the dockyard one slightly damp Sunday. 
Bus tours using proper, old vintage buses. 

  It's weird. The seats were cramped and uncomfortable, the engine was so loud my nosehairs were vibrating and I could have overtaken the bus on foot - and I still enjoyed myself!

  Do the exact same trip on a modern bus and I'd get off in a right grump but because I was riding on a bus older than I am, I had a great time. 

(If you're one of the tourists wandering through the picture then hello there and I hope you don't mind.)

And lastly. 

I took this picture 15 years ago and I'm still wondering what the story behind this is.  

  I mean, it's about 9 feet off the ground so somebody went to a lot of effort to put this particular bike up in this particular tree.  I pity the poor sod who had to get it back down again. 

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...And Skulls

  Hello and welcome to another edition of Heavy Metal Cover Girls; a series where I post cover art from Metal/Rock/AOR bands that features women and ramble on about whatever loose theme they seem to share.

  Some themes come up a lot. I have entire folders full of angels, demons, women wielding swords, guns or guitars and a surprising number of women wearing pretty dresses totally failing to do anything you'd expect from Heavy Metal.

And butts. Lots and lots of butts.  

  However tonight I'm going to pull up one of the rarer tropes. 
Women and skulls. 

  As we have seen before and will continue to see again, a simple idea can be taken in many, many different directions.  Of course the obvious question to ask is: How did she get that skull in the first place? 

  Stormwitch: The Beauty And The Beast (Germany 1987)

woman with skull and mirror
 "My darling Mirror man, I brought you that skull you wanted. Now what do I get in return?"

Definitely something creepy going on here but she's wearing a camisole so most people take a while to cotton on.

The title track is more melodic than I was expecting. 

Does anybody know who does the female vocals on the track?
It sounds like Betsy Bitch but I can't be certain.

The next cover shares a lot of elements with the one above: - skull, pretty girl, moonlight - but manages to conjure up a completely different vibe.

Night Mistress- The Back of Beyond (Poland 2011)

meal cover girl skull moon light album art

Just a young woman taking her pet skull for a walk under the moonlight and crooning to it. Nothing to see here.

Night Mistress are another surprise.
I was expecting Symphonic Metal but got crunchy Power Metal that's not bad at all.

Visions Of Atlantis - Maria Magdalena Ep (Austria 2011)

heavy metal cover girls women skulls heep
A picture that screams "Sanity has packed its bags and gone away, leaving no forwarding address."

The sheep just make it weirder.

Visions Of Atlantis are Symphonic Metal with tag team male/female vocals.

Atomic Flower - Ungrateful EP (Switzerland 2015)

woman dancing with skull

Sometimes I struggle to see how the cover matches the title.

Don't get me wrong, I like the cover. I just have trouble seeing anything that says "Ungrateful"
I suppose decapitating somebody and dancing around waving their skull suggests a certain lack of gratitude...

Atomic Flower are on the lighter end of trad. Heavy Metal.

Minotauri  - Minotauri  (Finland 2004)

Metal album elf woman cleavage

When the Queen Of the Elves leaves a party in a huff, she really does leave with a bang.
Serves them right for being mean about her dress.

A cover I rather like because it conjures up all sorts of images of Italian Fumetti and 1970s Horror movies.
In this case the skull is just coincidental.

Minotauri are another surprise. I was expecting an Italian band from the 1980s.
What I got was 21st century Finnish Doom Metal with a big nod to Sabbath.

Pacho Brea - En AlgĂșn Lugar De Ninguna Parte (Spain 2015)

I immediately noticed two things.
1. The enormous burning skull. It is very, very big isn't it?
2. She's wearing the biggest, clompiest boots ever. How does she move in those things?

If you like the distinctive Heavy Metal that comes out of Spain, you might dig these guys.

Nunslaughter - Upon The Altar (Compilation USA 2014)

metal album cover topless woman skulls, satan, sacrifice

|I don't think I'm going to take the skull off you, love.
I just know it won't end well.
You know I can see the four creepy fuckers behind you, don't you?
Now go away and summon occult forces somewhere else.

Nunslaughter sound like you'd expect a band called Nunslaughter to sound.

And finally...

Moore - Dance Of The Damned EP (USA 1996)

Oh that's just tacky. 
Probably uncomfortable too. 

If there's any songs on Youtube I couldn't find them. 
I didn't really look that hard, mind you. 

That's All Folks.  

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Metal Project: Welcome To 2018

metal songs about metal, songs with metal in the title.

Hello and welcome to the first Metal Project post of 2018.

Normally I try to post the song but in some cases the only thing I can find is a promo video.
Since I've got a nice little pile of those waiting to be shared I'm going to pull out a few at random and put them up for your perusal and approval.  Hope you like them. 

Shoeilager - Metal (France 2011)

Honour to: Jeff Metalbox

Southeast Desert Metal - Desert Metal (Australia 2016)

This band is from the Australian Aborigine community of  Central Australia.
 Further proof that metal is for everybody, everywhere.

Honour to: The BlackWreathTV

Freedom Call - Metal Is For Everyone (Germany 2016)

Honour to: Steamhammer

Metrakillator - Heavy Metal King  (Spain 2016)

Honour to: Metrakillator

Despite me picking videos at random they all seem to be from 2016 for some reason.

Feanor-We Are Heavy Metal  (Argentina 2016)

Honour to: Massacre Records

I reckon 5 tracks is enough to be getting on with.

Please remember to visit and support the channels that posted these videos.

That's All Folks.  

Monday, 1 January 2018

Cheapo DVD Review: Galaxy Raiders (2016)

  "Rocket ships, rayguns and robots abound in this heart-stopping tale where stellar adventurer Saber Raine is hired to guide three soldiers on a rescue mission to recover a prince and princess abducted from their home world. The trail leads them to a mysterious planet inhabited by strange mutants, Alien outcasts, renegade mercenaries and Sinjin, an evil overlord with sinister plans to conquer the Universe. Can Saber and his allies complete their mission and stop Sinjin from unleashing his wrath across the galaxy?"

  Before I talk about the movie itself there's a couple of things I feel I ought to mention, both directly related to the cover.

  Issue#1 is the prominent billing for Cynthia Rothrock.  While she's credited right alongside Caspar Van Dien  at least he's in the whole movie. Cynthia shows up ten minutes before the end to deliver a few lines of dialogue and then slopes off again. Personally I think that's a bit cheeky but if I'd bought the DVD because I was a big fan of Cynthia Rothrock I would be quite annoyed.

  Issue #2 is about the name of the film. As soon as I picked it up there was something bugging me and I couldn't work out what.  Then I did a bit of research and it clicked.

The original title was slightly different:    
No Cynthia Rothrock, you notice. 
   Leaving aside the fact that this particular cover is a lot less cluttered than the one I ended up with, the immediate question is: Why the change? 
 And the answer is easy enough. 

  Not only has Star Raiders been repackaged in a cynical bid to cash in on the success of Star Lord, Rocket and co. but the DVD designer even nicked the exact same font, the piss-taking wee bollocks.

  Sod it. I'm going to make a cuppa and wait for my rage levels to drop.

Ahem. Hello again.
You know, I've got halfway down the page and I haven't even started on the movie yet.
That's rarely a positive sign.

  The first thing you notice is that the CGI used for the spaceships is not particularly good.

  That's Kids TV standard. Also a bit silly. 

Better design. Not better CGI, sadly.

  Unfortunately Galaxy Raiders suffers from a bad case of low-budget which explains a lot of other things.

Like the rescue force consisting of three people.

Or the bad guy's army of villainy consisting of  a tiny bloke, and two...things.

In the background you can see one of the villain's ultimate soldiers.
We never see more than two at the same time so cynical me suspects
 that the production team only made two costumes.

Do you want to see what the bad guy looks like?

Here you go.
Looks pretty badass. doesn't he?

Except that he's got the not-remotely badass name of Sinjin
which immediately conjures up images of a gin-sipping upper-class twit.

 Caspar Van Dien and Cynthia Rothrock aside, the cast is made up of people I've never heard of which means the quality of the acting varies from "OK." to "Ouch."  I have a sneaking suspicion that the two Name actors got paid more than the rest combined. 

   It occurred to me afterwards that if you took away the rayguns and rocket-ships you could easily do this same story as a Fantasy film without changing anything else.  Think about. You have a small team of proud warriors recruiting a mercenary to trek through the forest to the hidden lair of a wizard and rescue two kidnapped royals.
 Hero Saber Raine even carries a sword. 

  A guy called Saber who carries a saber (sic). I see what you did there. 

Hmm. I wonder if that's going to pay off later in the film?


I must admit that short as it was, I did like this bit.

    Moving on to positives...

  Caspar Van Dien makes a likeable hero with some attempt at depth and I did enjoy his aforementioned brief scene with Sinjin's leather-trousers wearing sidekick. The two most entertaining characters in the film sparring verbally and physically was fun to watch. 

I would also add that when you get to see what's under Sinjin's mask it's really rather memorable. 

However the ending is a blatant hook for a sequel that may never get made - which annoyed me - and as I mentioned earlier, if you are waiting for Cynthia Rothrock to show up and do something badass you are going to be disappointed. 

  This is all you get. 

You couldn't have her kick somebody in the face?
Not even once?

To sum up: 

How much did I pay for this?  £2
Was it worth it?  I think I paid about a £1 too much. Some Ok moments plus a lot of generic, low-budget filler does not a great viewing experience make.  Never mind the blatant bait & switch. 

Not recommended unless you're a big fan of Sy-Fy originals and that sort of level.  
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