Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! 2008 has been good to me, but as far as the state of the world goes... that is a different story. Here's to a better and brighter tomorrow, and thank all of you for reading.


During the mid 1980's to the very early 1990's, when metal was at it's peak, there were very few bands that pushed the genre outside of it's limits. Of course you had the greats: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, etc. But there were very few that had the courage to look outside the genre for inspiration. Only a small handful, in fact. One of these is Trouble.

Trouble came out in the mid 1980's. They were a heavy doom metal band, but something about them was different. They had a firm grasp on Black Sabbath and Pentagram, and borrowed from their sound and made it their own. They were also heavily into the Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the like from the late 1960's and early 1970's. They also incorporated these influences into their sound. What you wound up with was some ferociously heavy yet melodic psychedelic doom metal, years ahead of it's time. Before the rise of grunge, before the boom of stoner metal in the mid 1990's, there was Trouble, cranking out their own brand of mind blowingly heavy music. Many bands, such as Fu Manchu and Kyuss, owe some debt to Trouble's tainted reefer.

Trouble's sound is incredible. Crushing, thick, heavy riffs, frayed nerve endings guitar solos, and the desperate yet melodic vocals of Eric Wagner make for overwhelming yet addictive listening experience. Another unique thing about Trouble is their subject matter. Instead of your typical cliched metal lyrics of death and destruction, their lyrics are very spiritual, yet filled with doubt. They received a lot of flack about their Christian beliefs. At one time they received the cursed label of "white metal". No term can be wronger in describing their sound than that. If anything, their sound is gray and tortured...torn between the want to believe in a higher power and the harsh reality of life. It is very hard to make that leap of faith, but what do you do when you are dragged down to the bottom and there is nothing left to believe in? Do you believe in nothing or in the hope that there is something else? Trouble's lyrics walk this line between faith and doubt very carefully. In the end, you are left feeling just as uncertain or depressed as you did when you first started listening. There are no answers. Ultimately, Trouble's version of spirituality is no different than that of The Beatles, or of Black Sabbath circa "Master of Reality". Take it or leave it, the music is still heavy as ever.

Their early work is their heaviest. "Psalm 9"(1984) is a crushing piece of doom metal from start to finish. "The Skull"(1985) is slightly more varied. By this time, the drumming and songwriting had improved greatly, making for some irresistible head banging all the way through. On "Run to the Light"(1987), their sound began to mature, with keyboards and more melodic and trippy sections, but they keep that paranoid, crushing, impending sense of doom all the way through.

Trouble's later efforts are incredible as well. Breaking out of the doom mold and more into extremely catchy retro psych rock...but that is for another day. Right now, soak up the doom of Trouble's first three albums. They are best if listened to in chronological order. After hearing "Psalm 9" you want more, after "The Skull" you are absolutely hooked, and by the time you hear "Run to the Light" you will be obsessed...

Here's "Bastards Will Pay" from "Psalm 9"...

Here's "Fear No Evil" from "The Skull"...

And here's the video for "Run to the Light".


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Dario Argento's "Mother of Tears" is the long awaited finale to the "Three Mothers" trilogy. The trilogy started with "Suspiria"(1977), an insanely aural and visual roller-coaster ride that was about the witch The Mother of Sighs. Next came "Inferno"(1980), a more subdued but still highly visual treat that was about the Mother of Darkness. Finally, after 27 years of waiting comes "The Mother of Tears"(2007).

"The Mother of Tears" is a movie that I had highly anticipated and had lofty expectations for. It is about an ancient urn that is opened that contains the third mother, the most powerful witch in all of the trilogy. Her resurrection brings about a literal hell on earth, with crime, murder, and gore running rampant through the streets of Rome. All of the witches across the world are converging on the city, ancient to meet the third mother and bring about an unleashing of evil of apocalyptic proportions. This movie does have a strong end of the world vibe, as you are hit mercilessly with shocking images of gore and brutality one after the other. Of course there is also nudity and lesbianism a plenty, which is ok by me. Someone has to stop this witch, but who? And how?

'The Mother of Tears" does tie the trilogy together, something that has not been done before in the previous two. It ties together the story of the three witches, and how their rise to power came about. You also learn about the centuries long battle to destroy these witches. The main character's(Sarah Mandy) parents were white witches that died fighting the The Mother of Sighs, the witch that Suzy Banyon killed in Suspiria. It answers many questions that any fan of the first two movies might have.

All in all, "The Mother of Tears" left me with mixed feelings. It is lacking the overwhelming lighting and visual effects of the first two movies. It makes up for some that though with the signature dream-like quality and eye for suspense that permeates all of Dario Argento's work. The sound track is not as wild as Goblin's music in "Suspiria", but it is still creepy and powerful, scored by ex-Goblin member Claudio Simonetti. There are some parts of the movie where the budget seems a little strained, and the effects aren't as convincing as they are in the previous two. I have had no complaints about the casting of Dario Argento's daughter Asia Argento in his previous movies, but her acting in the lead role as Sarah Mandy in this movie seems rather strained and overdone at points. Lastly, there is the ending, which I thought was a little rushed.

All that being said, "Mother of Tears" is still a great movie and a fitting end to the "Three Mothers" trilogy. I think my expectations were just too high. Don't go into this movie expecting another "Suspiria" and "Inferno", but do expect to be entertained.

Here's two trailers. The first is a tame one tailored to American theaters, and the second is more graphic and revealing.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Nebula are a heavy, psychedelic space/stoner rock band that have been around since the mid 1990's. Their music is a mixture of the euphoria of The Stooges, the riffery of Black Sabbath, and the space rock of Hawkwind, all wrapped up into a sound that is completely their own. Every album they put out is consistently good, and they are always growing and expanding their sound.

Their latest E.P. 'Heavy Psych"(2008) is a follow-up to their face-melting punk/space rock masterpiece 'Apollo"(2006). It is a drastically different, much more laid back affair. On "Heavy Psych", Nebula concentrates much more on textures, layers of sounds, pure psychedelia, and slower tempos rather than sheer volume and speed. The guitar playing grows stranger with each album, with several nods to Helios Creed and Jimi Hendrix on this release. The mood is quiet and turned inward throughout. Nebula still can come on strong on this album, especially with the monster riffs on the track "Aphrodite", but they never really blast off. Still, it is a good listen.

All in all "Heavy Psych" is a quiet, contemplative release designed to hold you over til their next full length album. Whichever direction Nebula tends to take in the future no one knows, but I'm sure it will be good. "Heavy Psych" is just good enough to hold you over until then.

Here's "Aphrodite", my favorite track from the E.P.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I was at my local video store a while back desperate for something to watch. I came across "2001 Maniacs"(2004). It is a remake of the hillbilly cannibal classic "2000 Maniacs"(1965) directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis.
I have heard about the remake before, but I had my doubts. I am no fan of remakes. Why would someone want to remake this film anyway? Wasn't it good enough already? Well, I gave it a chance, and it blew me away! I was not disappointed.
Let me start by saying it is neither better nor worse than the original. It is a modern version of the story, which means more gore, better production, more risque subject matter, and other things they couldn't show back in 1965, such as sex and nudity galore. "2001 Maniacs" is a pure, fun, hillbilly cannibal movie.
The story, in short, is some college students on spring break head down to Florida and take a false detour. They wind up in Pleasant Valley, a town of population 2001, whose residents were all civilians who were slaughtered by the north in the Civil War. Every year, they come back to life, lure in some Yankees, torture them, and cook them up for some barbecue.
The movie has the same sense of dread as the original. It is just as tortuous to watch. The murder scenes are highly creative and do not simply recreate the ones from "2000 Maniacs". It even has a twist on the ending, which I prefer over the original. Robert Englund does a great job as portraying the Confederate mayor of the town. You can tell that the director and cast were having a great time paying tribute to this classic of gore cinema. The production is simply breathtaking compared to its predecessor. The acting is well above average. "2001 Maniacs" is a movie made for the modern horror fan, and hopefully it will revive interest in the works of the gore classics of yore made by Herschell Gordon Lewis, The Godfather of Gore.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Orange Goblin's "Time Travelling Blues"

I just received Orange Goblin's early classic "Time Traveling Blues"(1999) as a Christmas gift the other day. It is the missing link to my Orange Goblin collection. It is only their second album, and their insane biker metal sound would not flourish until a few years later, but this album has some killer tracks. Infinitely better than their first release "Frequencies from Planet 10"(1997), "Time Travelling Blues" is still a straight ahead wear your influences on your sleeve effort, but their sound is starting to come into it's own. It sounds like a cross between Kyuss, early Metallica, and early Sabbath, with some dabbling in space rock, wah-wah, and organ thrown in.

"Time Traveling Blues" starts out really heavy, with James Hetfield-like vocals on "Blue Snow" and "Solarisphere", and gets trippier with more melodic vocals as the album progresses, especially with "Lunarville 7, Airlock 3" and the excellent spaced out final track "Time Traveling Blues".

Here's "Blue Snow", the addictive first track from "Time Traveling Blues". Enjoy.


Helios Creed. An incredible singer/guitar player who started out in the science fiction, psychedelic punk band Chrome in the mid 1970's through the early 1980's. After leaving Chrome he went solo, recording several albums from the mid 1980's though today. His best work is Lactating Purple"(1991). It is die-hard psychedelic space rock, like a much, much heavier 1970's Hawkwind. The vocals are back-masked and distorted beyond recognition. The music is blistering, mind blowing space metal, with heavy, backwards, slowed down and sped up guitar tracks layered over a fast, driving beat, loaded with distortion. Helios Creed's guitar playing brings to mind Jimi Hendrix at his strangest. Helios Creed's philosophy of the guitar is to turn everything on at once and see what happens. "Lactating Purple" gives you the feeling of traveling through space at light speed, loaded on psychedelics. Of course there is some time for you to land and stretch your legs, to soak in some bizarre alien landscapes before you blast off again into hyperspace.

Helios Creed has left behind a huge body of material throughout his career. Start out with "Lactating Purple" and venture out into his other albums if you like what you hear. If you're like me you will be hooked, and you will be on a life-long quest to find everything he has ever recorded. And believe me, it is a daunting task indeed.

Here's "Nebuchadnezzer" and 'Modular Green", both from "Lactating Purple". Enjoy, and have a safe landing.

Friday, December 26, 2008


THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE. A b-movie masterpiece from 1962. This movie is filmed in stark black and white and is simultaneously creepy and hilarious throughout. It is about a mad scientist who is also a neuro surgeon whose girlfriend is decapitated in a car wreck. He preserves her head and goes on a quest to find the perfect body parts to rebuild her. Where else does he go to but the sleazy strip clubs of New Orleans to find his victims? We get to soak in the atmosphere of 1960's New Orleans burlesque as our mad scientist searches for that perfect female...but he can't seem to find her.

Jump cut back to the laboratory. The decapitated girlfriend's head is mad as hell, and she's gained telepathic powers. She's communicating with a thing in the closet. What is this monster? It seems that our mad scientist has had several failed experiments....

Jump cut back to New Orleans. Our man has finally found his woman...a beautiful art model who's face has been disfigured. But who cares about the face? He just needs her body...
So he seduces the model, takes her back to his place, drugs her up, and gets her ready for surgery.

But what about that thing in the closet? It has already killed his assistant... Revenge is sweet, isn't it? Watch as bloody havoc ensues and black and white blood sprays all over your TV screen! This movie is pretty gory for 1962.

Recommend only for those whose tongues are firmly implanted in their cheeks. I dig this movie!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tubeway Army

Tubeway Army was a highly innovative band that was around from 1977-1979. Their sound was a unique fusion between punk and science fiction and the perfect blend of guitars and synthesizers. The music is coldly futuristic, catchy, and way ahead of its time. Gary Numan's bizarre, paranoid, science fiction-laced lyrics about androids and such are top notch, and sound as if they could have come from a Philip K. Dick novel. His voice is detached yet melodic and fits perfectly with the music, sounding almost like a more futuristic Bowie. The best part about Tubeway Army is the way the guitars and the cold synths work together to create a perfectly clean and hyptonic sound. Their best album is "Replicas", with their self-titled debut album coming in second. In the early 1980's, Gary Numan went solo, releasing the hit single "Cars". Though still impressive, his solo work is not a quite as strong as his work with Tubeway Army in my opinion.

Here's "Are Friends Electric?", "We Are So Fragile", and "Down in the Park", three of Tubeway Army's many great songs.

We Are So Fragile - Tubeway Army

Down In The Park - Tubeway Army

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


JOY DIVISION. Stark, depressive, bleak. The perfect soundtrack to a gray landscape, cold and minimalistic, yet emotive. Ian Curtis's vocals are haunting, offering a glimpse into a world in which there is no hope. The music is simple and catchy, yet devastating, like a much, much darker version of Gary Numan's Tubeway Army. Joy Division was only around for about four years, forming in 1976 and breaking apart after their singer hung himself in 1980. Here's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Transmission".

Monday, December 22, 2008


Everybody know who Herschell Gordon Lewis is? He made the first gore film, BLOODFEAST, back in 1963. It showed tongues being ripped out, brains being gouged, and people dying with their eyes open. When it was showing at drive-ins it caused traffic jams. Although mostly known for gore, he made other films based on social commentary like SHE DEVILS ON WHEELS and SUBURBAN ROULETTE. He stopped making movies in the very early '70's. All have extremely poor acting, and a low budget, but are very entertaining. Except for BLOOD FEAST.
The problem I have with this movie is it has a snail's pace, the acting is horrid, and you want to take a shower after watching it. Don't get me wrong. I love bad movies. I've seen tons. And I know the ones to stay away from and this is one of them. But for some reasons you can't take youre eyes away...
And 40 years later here comes BLOOD FEAST 2! I was skeptical at first but I broke down and bought it. A new Herschell movie!!!!!
Let me give you the story behind the two movies: in the first one, Fuad Ramses is a caterer who is possesed by the goddess Ishtar. He must find women to kill and mutilate in the basement of his catering business so he can give a human sacrifice to Ishtar. Of course the police catch up to him and he is killed. Now, Bloodfeast 2. Fuad Ramses' grandson moves into the same catering place run by his grandfather and becomes possessed by Ishtar. Of course he goes on a killing spree and serves his victims to his guests. Many bizarre twists ensue…
BLOOD FEAST 2 is very fun. H G LEWIS did a great job directing and the acting is good, the production is smooth, the writing good. There is tons of gore and some naked women, and a rockin' soundtrack by SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS. It doesn't take itself too seriously and is especially vicious when it shows how slow the police are at figuring things out.
This movie is great fun and what a comeback for Herschell! And may I mention there's a cameo by John Waters? Buy Bloodfeast 2 now and go rent or borrow the first one.

Heres's the trailer for the first Blood Feast.

Here's John Waters as a priest in Blood Feast 2.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


"Cannibal spiders creep and crawl,
Boys and ghouls having a ball,
Frankenstein, Dracula, and even The Mummy
Are sure to end up in somebody's tummy"

So goes Lon Chaney, Jr. singing the deranged opening song to “Spider Baby“...and just when you thought things couldn't get weirder, the movie starts.
Spider Baby is about a family that has a peculiar disease. As they grow older, their minds become younger and they become sadistic, murderous, dangerous. They can no longer control their instincts.
This peculiar family lives in a mansion and is overseen by their caretaker, played by Lon Chaney, Jr., in one of his greatest roles. When some distant family members come to visit because they want to sell the estate, all hell breaks loose!
Filmed on a shoestring budget and in black and white, this movie always amazes me. I've seen it too many times to count. The look of the film is eerie, almost dreamlike, thanks to the director, Jack Hill. The acting and the characters are amazing.....and this is what makes the movie. Jill Banner's performance as Spider Baby is haunting.......whimsical and creepy all at once......she likes to play spider by seducing her victims and killing them. Sid Haig's performance as Ralph is out there too......remember him as the clown in "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects"?
Everyone should see this movie. Look for it seek it out it's not too hard to find........
"Do you want to play spider with me?"

Here's the bizarre opening theme song...

And here's a clip from the movie.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Withchcraft. I know I've posted about them before, but I just can't enough of their unique brand of neo late '60's early '70's psych rock. I've been spinning their latest album "The Alchemist" a lot lately and I swear these guys are on to something big....
If you're into The Doors, Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cream, Jethro Tull and the like check this album out.
Here's "Walk Between the Lines", a perfect song that ventures into territory that even Monster Magnet, the kings of psych rock, have trouble pulling off. This song has been stuck in my head every day since I first heard it almost a nine months ago.

Walk between the lines - Witchcraft

And here's "If Crimson Was Your Colour", a vicious track that would do both Jim Morrison and Danzig proud.


Coroner are a highly innovative progressive thrash/speed metal band that peaked in the late '80's/early '90's. Their sound is vicious and heavy, with blazing tempos, bizarre chords and tunings, and desperate, lost in a vortex vocals. Their music gives you the feeling of being lost in a cold, mechanical world that is spinning out of control. Their influence is far reaching. It is especially heard in the music of industrial metal bands Ministry and Skrew. Their best album is "No More Color". It is a stark, pleading piece of desperation and hopelessness. From beginning to end it punishes you, with songs such as "No Need to Be Human" and "Tunnel of Pain". You will not walk away from this album in a better mood, but you will want to come back for more again and again.

Coroner was one of those bands that pushed metal outside of it's limits, almost into the realm of art-rock. They were too strange to make it big in the thriving metal scene of their time. They sustained themselves throughout their career on a small but loyal cult following.

Give "No More Color" a try. You won't be disappointed.

Here's "Read My Scars" and "Die By My Hand" from "No More Color".

Read My Scars - Coroner

Die by My Hand - Coroner


Fugazi are an excellent band that play a sort of mid-paced but highly energetic brand of punk. Like X and Nomeansno, , the bass carries the rhythm and the majority of the melody, with the guitar coming on full force only when needed. The vocals are almost spoken and take a few listens to get used to, but they suit the music just fine. The best thing about Fugazi is their highly infectious catchy choruses and the way the bass carries the music along, always in the groove. "13 Songs" is a great place to start if you're interested. An incredible album, simple but contagious. One of my favorite tracks is "Waiting Room". Check it out.

Waiting Room - Fugazi

Friday, December 19, 2008


White Zombie's "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1". At the time this album came out, my interest in metal had wained, and I was heavily into punk and the early 1990's alternative & grunge scene. I bought this album, gave it one listen and I was hooked. Metal had never sounded so good. They reminded me of Slayer circa "South of Heaven", slowed down a bit and loaded on LSD. This album is full of heavy grooves, guitar solos that sound as if they came from the bowels of hell, and stream of consciousness psychedelic lyrics chock full of references to horror, B-Movies, and trash pop culture. The music is loaded with samples from several clssssic cult films, including "Night of the Living Dead", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!". A sleazy yet ominous vibe permeates the entire album, and the songs flow seamlessly into one another, bridged together by samples. From the first track to the last, White Zombie transports you into a world full of 1960's and 1970's sleaze, biker babes, gore, monsters, and zombies that you never want to leave.

Thunder Kiss 65 - White Zombie

Black Sunshine - White Zombie