Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Film Review: Raw by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Drama, horror
Date of Release: May 14, 2016
Companies involved: Petit Film, Rouge International, Frakas Productions
Director: Julia Ducournau
Starring: Garance Marilier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Naït Oufella, Laurent Lucas
Plot: A vegetarian girl that studies veterinary goes into the hazing ritual, where she’s forced to eat raw meat, awakening something dormant inside of her, something very primal and dark.
Review: From the very start, the premise of a female Hannibal Lecter is a refreshing touch, before this movie I’ve had yet to see a female flesh eater. I felt the family meal scene at the start with the Justine’s mom shocked face and very angry reaction when she sees her daughter tasting meat is already a foretelling, all starts small, like any building the character development is solid from the start in my opinion. The music was interesting and felt like a good complement to the scenes. The fact that we all harbor an inner beast to an extent helps relate the viewer to the movie and Justine’s struggle when first trying meat. The rash scene is a good touch to add realist and the nurse saying “oh It’s just food poisoning probably, you’ll be fine” makes it better. The look on Justine’s face when her roomie is “busy” is priceless, was a hilarious touch. The acting is quite intense and convincing, for example the hairball puking scene or the teacher stating that he’d rather see someone who fights their way in daily than a “straight A“kid. Another hilarious scene was the rooftop talking between Alexia and Justine, the sisters seemed far friendlier that at the start. The wax scene between the sisters was a bit over-acted, specifically I couldn’t buy how Alex fainted however I guess it was used a s a catalyst for the next scene where Justine finally has a new snack and her sister’s surprise when she wakes up. The spiral of decadence from star kid to what she becomes it delightfully done. All in all it’s a movie I recommend to anyone who doesn’t mind blood and has a taste for light gore along a love for dark, dark primal urges. If you don’t like blood, can’t stand blood or just can’t see an animal’s dissection just stay away that’s my word of advice. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Full Length Review: MOGWAI Every Country’s Sun

Every Country’s Sun
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Coolverine: An odd start but appreciated with the instrumentation, got me hooked from the start which is a good sign. Loved how the drums kicked in, not full force but moderate with an upbeat style.The fact that is instrumental made me enjoy it even more.
Party In The Dark: Nice kick-in drums with a warm voice, the track flows smoothly although the voice had a bit too many effects but it is enjoyable still.
Brain Sweeties: Smooth flowing with a very warm vibe between drums and what seems to be a keyboard, really a charming piece from beginning to start, it is my favorite track, it is also another instrumental track.
Crossing The Road Material: A bit of a funky-ish vibe on my opinion, liked it from the start, the drum/guitar felt complemented and I loved it. I also liked the steady bass line, yet another instrumental, is my second favorite track.
Aka47: An ethereal intro, which I found interesting given the name, I admit I expected furious drumming and heavy guitar riffs, instead I was gladly surprised with smooth instrumentation that reminds me of when you meditate.
20 Size: A rock intro with a very delightful guitar fingering and charming drums. It is epic from the start, instrumental yet again but quite amazing in my opinion, the riff doesn’t get old and flows smooth, like a water cascade.
1000 Foot Face: A sad-ish start coupled with voice on a bit of an Arabian style while keeping a warm ethereal vibe, ideal for meditation perhaps, for once, I felt an instrumental wasn’t ruined by the singing.
Don’t Believe The Fife: An ethereal intro again, with some light yet precise drumming. It is a track with a mystery vibe, full of epicness, the kind of music I’d use for a movie where you meet the bad-ass cool-looking character, loved the bass line along the keys here and there.
Battered At A Scramble: The distortion n the guitar, made me felt it was time for a rougher style however the rest of the instrumentation said otherwise, was gladly pleased regardless. The best surprise was the shift from calmness to a rock-ish up-beat riff, was really un-expected to me.
Old Poisons: First piece that starts all rock from the moment 0. Loved the riff and the bass line, the drums felt a bit behind what I had expected but regardless it’s an interesting track. It is my third and last favorite of this album.
Every Country’s Sun: Nostalgic, melancholic start. It is interesting and flows although I felt it needed vocals. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Track List:
1. Coolverine
2. Party In The Dark
3. Brain Sweeties
4. Crossing The Road Material
5. Aka 47
6. 20 Size
7. 1000 Foot Face
8. Don't Believe The Fife
9. Battered At A Scramble
10. Old Poisons
11. Every Country's Sun

Full Length Review: OH HIROSHIMA In Silence We Yearn

In Silence We Yearn
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Ellipse: The guitar sets a nice atmosphere, the voice enters in a smooth way, with a touch of melancholy, then drums enter in a good rhythm, not too much not too little, in the right mix to finally start with all the energy when we less expect it although the guitar line gets a little too repetitive and old fast even while it’s a tad fancy.
Mirage: Loved the drum intro, and in general the whole vibe of the song, the guitar precise riffs made it better, although t I liked the voice I felt this track should have been instrumental rather than sung. Other than the repetitive guitar lines at moments it is my favorite track on this album.
Ruach: Liked the intro while the drum felt natural and in sync the guitar makes some Arabian vibe with the fingerings. It is my second favorite. Yet another theme I felt the singing while nice ruined the vibe of what should have been an instrumental in my opinion.
Holding Rivers: The guitar rhythm felt smooth flowing complemented by the voice in some parts, love the guitar fingerings coupled to a fine drumming and felt t he piece was solidly put together, it is my third and last favorite.
Aria: Felt this piece was somber than the rest, the guitar arpeggio along the voice set the dark melancholic tone, the slow drumming felt like the missing piece on the musical puzzle it was, it’s another great track because of its smooth flow.
Drones: The silly scale up & down felt like a fresh move, with the steady drums and bass, it is the final track of the album, honestly while it flows it just gets old quickly with the constant keep of the same rhythm on the guitar, wouldn’t say this track is bad but I will say t is not my cup of tea. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Track List:
1. Ellipse
2. Mirage
3. Ruach
4. Holding Rivers
5. Aria
6. Drones

Monday, October 30, 2017

EP Review: INVERTIA The Crimson Screen Vol.1

The Crimson Screen Vol.1
Independent
Release Date: October 26, 2017
If Halloween-themed industrial metal were such a thing then it would certainly lie amidst the crooked veil of musical dissonance to be found in the melodies of INVERTIA. Their new EP titled 'The Crimson Screen Vol.1' is a sort of amalgamation of psychological horror, tech-death and moments of industrial breakdowns. It starts off with 'Lykanthropos' which is fairly standard and short. Luckily this track is then followed by quite possibly one of the most instantaneous and gripping songs in contemporary extreme music. The song is called 'Cast No Shadow' and it literally has everything; - heaviness, technicality, dissonance and counteractive melody. 'Face on His Face' begins with a thirty-second tape intro before bursting into a solid number comprised of inventive drum fills sprawled across the face of the track. 'Created from Cadavers' continues the horror theme and also showcases a little bit more of the group's industrial identity as you can hear some of the really organic keyboard lines showing through during the middle section. This four-track EP is cerebrally impressive and viscerally enjoyable and it oozes a sense of subtle psychological derangement throughout. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. Lykanthropos
2. Cast No Shadow
3. Face On His Face
4. Created From Cadavers

Serialization: A Darkness Within by Alexander Z. Kautz (Chapter Two)

A Darkness Within
Fiction by Alexander Z. Kautz

Chapter Two

I had passed the first night in the house on the beautiful old Colonial style couch, covered with an old military jacket that I had always loved. I had slept dreamless beneath the dim golden glow of an old hurricane lamp.
The morning had come all too soon. Dull and gray, the glow was still enough to intrude upon the stillness and force me to slowly crawl from off the couch.
Although I had already decided that the home was much too large for my girlfriend Keiko and myself. It was my intention to stay there until I could interest a realtor in the place.
We had been friend's for many years and supported one another through several failed relationship's. In the end we had fallen deeply in love. Often we had both wondered why we had never considered being together before?
She had always said that she feared we might lose what we already had. But, it had only grown stronger over time.
We had been engaged almost five years. Neither of us pushing the actual marriage as things seemed comfortable just as they were. But, we did have the committment!
Keiko had been hesitant about my staying in the place at first. She had never felt comfortable around my sister and for personal reasons, became very concerned about the whole idea.
I looked around at the lavish furniture and thick layer of dust. It would need some work, but nothing that we couldn’t easily manage ourselves. I would have to be cautious though...
Placing a hand to the middle of my breast, I felt along the ridged scar of my heart bypass surgery. It was almost two years now since the heart attack that had almost ended everything.
I had a new lease on life, but would have to be careful with pushing my limitations. Keiko had her reasons to be worried. But I had promised to take it slow and easy until she arrived.
After a shower and change of clothes, I took my heart medication and busied myself with grocery shopping and all necessary cleaning supplies.
It felt so strange to have such financial liberty. No debt's or concerns about bills. I could only bless and thank Veronica within silent prayer....
In truth, I had more regret than words could ever hope to express, but had never been able to properly express things where she was concerned. Somehow, it had always came out wrong or become twisted? Whether by my own doing or her endless suspicion of all people, I would never truly know or ever understand?
It was a dull, bitter cold and rainy afternoon as I began cleaning on the third story. I spent the entire day and evening dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and sanitizing everything.
Long after dark and light-headed, I realized after completing the third story that it was time for my evening medication and something light for supper.
I had a sense of true accomplishment as moving all the supplies down to the second floor, I turned the lights out behind me.
It was during my descent that I thought to have noticed a movement in the darkness behind me. Was it just some shadow in the corner of my eye?
Turning to look back, I silently paused while gazing into the darkness. It was moment's like this that I could only blame myself for having an overactive imagination and having watched an endless stream of horror films.
Above all else, I had always had the greatest love of haunted houses and ghost stories.
Rubbing at my face within a chill that now followed to where I stood, I felt something of a twisted smirk pull at my lips. I would have to be careful that I did not allow my own imagination to carry me off.
It had happened quite often as a boy. Once, while wandering the immense memorial garden of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, I had paused near the old Eaton family mausoleum.
It was a warm summer night and during the slow passing of dusk. I looked upon the large stone structure, the lions of whom so vigilantly guarded the entrance and suddenly, thought to have become aware of another presence?
My heart had leapt into my throat and as my eyes had searched the growing darkness all about me, assumed to have no longer been alone in that silent place of the dead.
Terrified beyond my wits, I had run from that place! My imagination devising and expanding upon the story of which I intended to tell my mother! But the shame of lies and having frightened myself had soon changed that as returning home, never uttered a single word about it.
There had been several such events. So many in fact, that I had learned better nerve than most and to always question things rather than simply panic.
As mother had always said; often there are rational explanations, if one has the mind to consider.
Our mother had been always been a positive and strong woman. Though small of body, she had been stout of heart and possessed true courage of conviction. I bless her memory each day for having given us the education, love and support that had brought us safely through so much.
Through her many years of hard work she had always attended to us but never to her own health or needs. Sadly, it was due to this that we had lost her suddenly because of health complications. She had been my best friend and I missed her more than words could ever hope to express...
Dinner was simple and according to my diet, broiled chicken, wild rice and green beans. I had learned to accept this new lifestyle change, which in any event was still better than the alternative.
The day had taken more out of me than I had realized and after doing up the dinner dishes, I retired to the main floor living room.
Unlike the pale blue decor of the second floor or cream and white shades of the third, the main floor was all done in wine colors, amber lighting and gold trim.
From the gorgeous crushed velvet curtains to the lavish furniture it all had a sense of old Vienna and being of European descent, appealed to me within so many ways.
Antiques had always warmed my heart. Having been surrounded by such things all of my life they offered a familiar sense of comfort, home-coming.
Lighting a fire within the hearth, I slumped into the comfortable old chair, sinking down and feeling rather at peace.
Reaching for my evening tea, which sat upon the table beside the chair, I breathed deeply, sipping at the hot soothing liquid and gazing into the flames.
Where had the years gone? It seemed a lifetime ago, the last time that I had heard the laughter and loving voices of family and close friends. Sadly, I could only blame myself as losing all track of time, rarely called anyone that did not endlessly pursue me. I had become reclusive....
A sudden noise, the tea spilled in my lap as leaping from the chair, I spun toward the ringing phone!
Within moments I had dashed across the room and into the kitchen, pulling the receiver from the wall unit, answered,
"Hello?" I swallowed hard, attempting to catch my breath.
"Andrew, sweetheart, are you alright?" It was the soft voice of my dear fiancé Keiko, calling from a business trip in Los Angeles.
Working as a fashion photographer she often attended conferences and meeting with project coordinators. Usually I would travel with her, but circumstances being what they were, we currently existed by phone calls alone.
"Sorry sweetheart, I should have called you--," I slapped a hand to my brow, saying,
"I was so busy getting moved into the new place and sorting things out that I just got lost in it all."
"You think you’re lost now?" She laughed, saying,
"Just wait until I get my hands on you, mister!"
"I'm looking forward to that--," I chuckled, putting my tea cup down on the long kitchen counter and taking a seat at the table, asked,
"How much longer are you going to be in L.A?"
"Well--the clowns responsible for the next shoot can't seem to organize this one?" There was hesitation in her voice. A sound that I knew all too well as she added,
"I might still be a week on this one?"
I knew how hard being apart was on both of us. So did what I had always done. Teased her relentlessly, saying,
"Oh, good! That means that I won't have to send the dancing girls away yet!"
"Funny guy." She growled with a little laugh, saying,
"If I catch you near any other women? When I get done with you--you will never need another woman as long as you live."
Her voice though sweet as any angel's bore certain threat within warning. She was of Japanese descent. Dark haired, tall, athletic and sensual, though quite capable of putting me in my place. That sweet smile and those large, deep brown eyes conceiled a temper that few would want to provoke!
"That's what I love about you Keiko--no beating around the bush." I laughed, tapping a finger on the table in thought and saying,
"Dear, I've been thinking? Maybe we should just sell this place and get a little condo. You know, something cozy enough for just the two of us."
"Remember that last used car that you bought, without me? We said that we would never decide on anything over the phone again--," She sighed deeply, saying,
"Let’s discuss that when I get home, okay?"
"Fair enough sweetheart!" I felt a strange chill creeping along my spine. Glancing over my shoulder and into the living room as a shadow suddenly sped past the open doorway! Frightened, I simply stood and stared, peering from side to side, unable to determine the source?
"Dear--you there?" She called into the phone after several moments of silence, awakening me from a strange spell.
"Oh, yes darling--I'm just really tired, long day." Clearing my throat, I nervously turned to gaze back into the living room, tensing as the lamp suddenly went out! Nothing but the firelight dancing upon the walls and ceiling within the darkness.
Old bulb's--it must have just died after so many years of use? Simple enough...
"Andrew--," Her voice becoming stern as she asked,
"You would tell me if something were wrong--right?"
"Everything is just fine dear." I tried to reassure her, saying,
"I just had an old bulb die on me and got a little jumpy in the dark."
"This coming from the man who watches every and any horror film that he can find? Now you know why I said that we need a break from television." She laughed.
Indeed, she had grounded me wherein watching television was concerned. We had agreed that we would live for one year without our beautiful, fifty five inch, Smart TV with three hundred watt, theater, surround sound.
The theory being that it would bring us even closer together and inspire the creative flow within us! Good Lord, I missed that damn television!
"I know sweetheart, it's all about personal communication, bringing us closer together, inspiring our artistic sides--," Before I could continue rambling on she cut me off, saying,
"I can tell by your tone that this isn't making you very happy."
Looking over my shoulder and into the far corner of the kitchen where the TV and surround system stood, still boxed, I swallowed hard and said,
"Oh come on now dear--it's fine. It really was a good idea. I'm feeling a lot more creative now and well---God I miss you!"
"You're such a bad liar." She laughed,
"I miss you so very much too dear. You sound beat? You're not over-doing it again, are you? You know that you're supposed to be taking it easy. You have to be careful with your heart."
"I know it sweetheart!" I stayed focused on that dark, open doorway, saying
"Give me a call tomorrow and let me know how you're doing, honey. I'm going to just putter around here, get things cleaned up a little. Nothing serious."
"Alright dear--," She already sounded concerned, hesitating before saying,
"You be careful, you're my whole world."
"You're mine too, darling." Sighing deeply I looked away from the darkness. I missed her so very much, especially now. Rubbing at my eyes, I spoke quietly, saying,
"Sweet dreams and see you soon, I love you, so very much. Be careful out there."
"I love you too--," She fell silent, then said,
"And Andrew? I will be home soon. Photo shoot or no photo shoot."
"Alright my love, take care. See you soon." I bade her farewell, never saying good-bye was our promise. We only ever said, see you soon within parting.
"See you soon, my love." She blew several kisses before hanging up.
I sat there for several moments, listening to telephone's hum and gazing into the dark living room. It's just a burned out bulb and nothing more...
I forced myself to hang up the phone and retrieving a new bulb from a kitchen cabinet, slowly made my way into the open doorway, peering inside.
Absolute stillness. You could have heard a pin drop within the deep shadows The numerous figurines and ornately carved antiques caught within the fire's light, cast ghastly and twisted shadows which danced demonically throughout the room.
The coals suddenly crackled, startling me and causing the bulb to fall from my trembling hand, shattering upon the tiled floor!
"Stop it!" I shouted at myself, slapping a hand against the wall and cursing under my breath, said,
"See! This is what happens with no TV! It's just too dark, too quiet and let's the imagination run wild!"
The moment having passed, I straightened up and looked around. Within a few moments, I had tidied up the broken fragments and marched into the living room, changing the bulb in the old lamp.
Switching it on, I stood there for several moments, pondering the calming golden glow of the old lamp. Admiring the shimmering reflections within the long and hanging lead crystals that adorned its base.
"You need some rest old man--," I slowly rubbed at my eyes, returning to my chair before the hearth and muttering, said,
"You’re starting to let everything get to you."
It wasn't just being alone in this large, old and unfamiliar place. But the fact that I was now alone with my own worst enemy. My conscience and imagination....

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Full Length Review: BLASPHEMY Fallen Angel Of Doom…

Fallen Angel Of Doom… 
Reissue to be released on Evil Dead Productions
Now this is a blast from the past to wake up to on a rainy Sunday if ever there was one. Outside my window it’s dark and rainy, and I am re-experiencing a phenomenally extreme album. Blasphemy’s underground classic Fallen Angel Of Doom… was first released by the now defunct label/distro Wild Rags Records in August 1990. Though several bootleg copies have been released since, an official vinyl, cassette or CD release is reportedly hard to find today (probably even harder to find a copy of their 1989 demo Blood Upon The Altar). The Canadian satanic skinheads took an extended hiatus from recording in 2001 but they’re still actively performing from what I have read. And in 2015/16 they released a live video and album on Brazilian Ritual Records, Brazilian Ritual: Third Attack (the video is a split with Revenge, Goatpenis and Bestymator). Evil Dead Productions is releasing a limited reissue to check out if you missed it in 1990. 500 copies and 66 copies of a special edition box set with a CD, a cassette and patches are planned and pre-orders are now available. I’d advise those of you reading this to purchase a copy as Fallen Angel Of Doom… is a monster of an album and a milestone in extreme music. It was cult before there was “kvlt”, a logical progression from Venom, Hellhammer, Sodom and Sarcofago. Resolute, primitive, ahead of its time. With songs like Hoarding Of Evil Vengeance, Desecration, Weltering In Blood and Goddess Of Perversity, and the band’s stage names (Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds, Caller of the Storms, Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity and 3 Black Hearts of Damnation and Impurity) you knew something disastrously Manichaean was waiting to be turned loose on mankind, and anything you heard before would sound cultivated in comparison. Everything about this album was malevolently evil like nothing else of its time. The demonic, vomit-spewing vocals, the calamitous guitar progressions and lead solos, the unabated percussion and the distorted production, constructed a sound that was frightening in its intensity. It personified society’s deepest fears of ritual murder and forbidden occult practices from centuries past. If you were a longtime metal fan from Black Sabbath to Slayer it was a virtual banquet as Blasphemy lyrically pushed the occult angle far further than most bands dared. At times it sounded like too much of a blur, but there’s always a need for albums with production jobs like this and the intended effect has proven to be influential to this day. Love it or hate it you can judge for yourself when the reissue is officially available. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Winds Of The Black Godz (Intro)
2. Fallen Angel Of Doom
3. Hoarding Of Evil Vengeance
4. Darkness Prevails
5. Desecration
6. Ritual
7. Weltering In Blood
8. Demoniac
9. Goddess Of Perversity
10. The Desolate One (Outro)


Film Review: Power Rangers by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Action, Sci-fi, Adventure
Date of Release: March 22, 2017
Companies involved: Lionsgate, Saban Films, TIK Films, Temple Hill Entertainment, Video Cine, Toei Company
Director: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G and Elizabeth Banks
Plot: 5 kids whose fate end up intertwined become the new generation of Power Rangers, to prevent the forces of evil to take over and to protect the rest of humanity since they are the only defense against them. This is the start of the ZEO Generation Power Rangers.
It’s a different take on the loved franchise from the start, with a more active Zordon and a re-design on many of the character’s looks.
The start is already a bit hilarious with the “cow/bull” scene.
I felt this Jason was wilder man that looked for redemption rather than the calm relaxed guy we have loved & known for ages which is a fresh touch.
For the first time we see the rangers’ parents from the start –at least I don’t remember seeing any parent of a ranger except maybe for Justin the blue ranger that was a kid on turbo- and also we get to see a more realistic school vibe, finally we just don’t see the lead teens on a too TV show-like environment where we can’t see their inner struggles; since they don’t have any nor do they interact with other students –and if they do it’s not for long- which is a marked difference from the original series and adds a bit of a more relatable approach which it’s a positive point on my book.
Honestly the personality revamp of the protagonists turned me off in some cases, as I mentioned above regarding Jason for example or actually pleased me like Zordon’s more active role and the back-story of him being a ranger instead of just a plan mission giver on a tank.
The music is selection is interesting and fits the moment which is a strong point in my opinion.
The group morphing scene felt a bit too flashy for my taste but it wasn’t awful at least, however the fact that the first single morphing scene was unstable felt like a good point.
All in all it wasn’t a bad reboot but not my cup of tea either. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Friday, October 27, 2017

Film Review: Torture Room by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Thriller
Date of Release: 20 July 2007
Company: Cerebral Experiment
Director: Eric Forsberg
Produced by: Laurel Firouzabadi as assistant producer. Eric Forsberg as producer, Karen Forsberg as producer
Starring: Lena Bookall, Barry Ratcliffe, John Forgehman
Plot: A young American woman with a history of Arab boyfriends is targeted by homeland security, accosted, dragged in for questioning and held as a prisoner in a secret facility where she is tortured and brainwashed, all under the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act.
Review: The movie is intense from the start, Lena Bookall’s acting is impressive. It shows the dark side of humanity, the sadism human people can have along the lack of empathy. Sometimes the real monsters aren’t the ones that are far but the ones closer to us. Evil comes in many forms, sometimes the kind looking neighbor is actually someone waiting to murder you in your sleep or to just harm you in other subtle ways. I don’t mean we should be paranoid but just address the fact that we truly never know fully anyone else. In general the movie felt with a stable flow, the character development was intense, more specifically the torture scenes. It’s a movie I can recommend but not to anyone, by that I mean, if you got a sensitive mind you better watch something else. The acting in general is quite intense, pretty much could almost feel their pain. The false kindness scene is one of my favorites, a wolf dressed as a lamb to say least. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Film Review: I Am Legend by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Drama, Horror, Sci-fi
Date of Release: December 05, 2007
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Will Smith, Dash Mihok, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan
Plot: A disease kills all humanity apparently, except for one, Dr. Robert Neville that tries to find a cure to it, he and his dog try to survive in a very dangerous world where when the sun goes down, it’s hunting time and he’s the prey.
Review: It flows smoothly; the fact that he’s the only human at first is a good touch, a man and his dog. During the movie, we see a rivalry grow between the Alpha infected male and Robert. The character development is stable, smooth although I admit I wish I could have known more of the Alpha infected. Sometimes, fighting so long to survive makes one unable to socially interact easily but can they be blamed? They just did what they had to survive and it takes its toll, both the good and the bad. This movie is one I’d re-watch just because of the acting that is quite convincing and a charming story. Sometimes we must make choices and we must learn there are consequences for it. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Film Review: Urban Legends by Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Genre: Horror, Mystery
Date of Release: September 25, 1998
Companies involved: Phoenix pictures, Canal + Droits Audiovisuels
Director: Jamie Blanks
Produced by: Brad Luff as executive producer, Gina Matthews as producer, Michael McDonnell as producer, Mike Medavoy as CEO of Phoenix Pictures, Neal H. Moritz as producer, Brian Leslie Parker as associate producer
Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Wit, Rebecca Gayheart
Plot: There's a campus killer on the loose who's making urban legends, like the one about eating pop rocks and soda at the same time will make your stomach explode and the one about a psycho with an axe stepping into the backseat of your car at the gas station when not looking, into reality.
Review: The acting is decent but I just couldn’t get myself into it fully because of it, it is a shame since it flows smoothly at times and I’d say it does fulfill to an extent the purpose of a horror movie to watch on a boring Saturday/Sunday night. Felt the character development was quite good, one specifically, the story was interesting as we see the transition from nice to pure dark. The best point of it was the fact that evil doesn’t give up easily. All in all, while it is decent movie but doesn’t quite make it on my favorite ones list. -Sophia Cynthia Cabral

Full Length Review: INFINITAS Civitas Interitus

Civitas Interitus
Independent
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Sometimes when I hear of new folk metal bands I have mixed reactions. First it’s always welcome to hear of a band doing something to add more scenery into their music by working string instruments into it. Then I wonder if there is a band out there who can take their music further than a band like In Extremo. Few bands could but many come close in their own way. Some coming to mind are Finntroll. Amorphis, Ensiferium, Mithotyn, Wintersun and Bran Barr. It’s pleasing that Switzerland’s Infinitas (not to be confused with the German black metal band) can be added to this list. Even without the complete number of instruments In Extremo record with they have a way of captivating the listener by making use of what they have on hand. On Civitas Interitus the violin is mostly to complement the standard guitars, bass and drums. The band sports a female vocalist for those of you into the mystical qualities of female fronted bands. What distinguishes Infinitas sound wise from folk metal is their emphasis on odd melody and catchiness, along with noticeable classic thrash influence. Their first EP Self Destruction was released in 2015 while this debut full length was released this year. Apparently it hasn’t taken them long to develop and find their own voice. You get a feeling you’re going to get something different from what you would expect from folk metal from the introduction The Die Is Cast, a theatrical piece depicting someone awakening to find himself in another world, one that is unusual and mysterious. One you might think was imagined by a classical metal band. The intro is followed by the song Alastor, a bizarre mixture of mournful violin, trenchant black metal influence and brighter thrash influence. Somehow the band makes the combination work and the pieces fit together through arranging them properly. The job is so convincing that Civitas Interitus begins to grow on you before the second track ends. The contrast between the mournful and the uplifting is an innovative proposition as to what can be explored in the folk metal genre. Labartu continues this inventiveness, opening with a medieval theme that exercises your imagination while setting the tone for the following progressions. You get more opportunities to use your imagination from the chimerical instrumental Aku Aku, the track Skylla that goes from goth metal to serene instrumentation to a theatrical ending, the song Amon that makes more use of the contrast between violins, black and thrash metal and finally the epic track A New Hope that takes the album’s narrative aspects full circle as the unnamed speaker from the beginning travels to other unknown worlds. Vocalist Andrea Böll who also contributes percussion is adept at projecting her voice, providing a vitally strong female presence that doesn’t overwhelm what’s going on behind her. Infinitas is obviously making an effort to stand out and fans of thrash and folk metal should check them out. -Dave Wolff

Track list
1. The Die Is Cast
2. Alastor
3. Samael
4. Labartu
5. Aku Aku
6. Skylla
7. Rudra
8. Morrigan
9. Amon
10. A New Hope


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Single Review: SECURE The Future Like It Supposed to Be

The Future Like It Supposed to Be
One particularly common theme amidst contemporary Alternative / Nu metal groups is the tendency to focus on surrounding circumstances appertaining to the current political climate. SECURE, hailing from Russia, are fairly politically active as far as their lyrical essence stretches. Their new single, 'The Future Like It Supposed to Be' is a mildly tongue-in-cheek, emotionally-driven song regarding the innocence of childhood and how we're all incarcerated in cotton to a degree until we experience enlightenment. The song deals with the process of overcoming blissful ignorance, stepping back and viewing the current state of affairs in its most objective and raw setting. Musically it is a thriving mish-mash of screaming verses, pensive breakdowns and ambient transitions. It's a pop song in many senses of the word though the thought-provoking nature of the track in terms of imagery definitely counteracts pre-determined ideas of pop stylings. The production of the drums in particular impressed me as I appreciated how dynamic, crisp and "full" they sounded. -Jaime Regadas

Video Review: AFTERMATH Opiate Of The Masses (Live)

Opiate Of The Masses (Live)
Recorded Live on September 20 2017
Playing with Sacred Reich at Reggies, Chicago, Illinois USA
From their upcoming full length There Is Something Wrong (Zoid Entertainment)
Still more blistering music from the thrash era yet to be discovered, or rediscovered as the case may be. Aftermath from Chicago was active since 1985, a year before Metallica toured with Ozzy and thrash metal was first recognized by MTV and Hit Parader magazine. People mostly considered it an underground trend that would fade away in a few years, but the crossover between thrash and hardcore was in its infancy and renewing its energy for punks, skins and rivetheads in the US and abroad. Aftermath’s newest live video, Opiate Of The Masses, reflects that period when bands could inspire kids to enter the pit before the initial song of their set concluded. As with other bands I’ve reviewed, I’m hearing of Aftermath only recently, after several demos released from 1985 to 1994, their first full length Eyes Of Tomorrow from 1994, their reformation as Mother God Moviestar in 1996, and the rebirth of Aftermath in 2014. Their releases have been few and far between from 2010 to the present, but this new composition they previewed in their hometown last September shows their collective foot in the door as they prepare to unleash There Is Something Wrong. Twenty years of experience has made them determined for There Is Something Wrong to be heard and appreciated by today’s generation of metal fans. This can be clearly perceived as they direct vitality through this song with such magnitude you would think they were still in their twenties. The clubgoers in front of the stage seemed to recognize their aggressiveness as they greeted the band with vociferous exuberance the instant they concluded the piece. All through it I heard the band’s belief in their new material with the heart I remember from the bands of yesteryear. More so their musicianship has tightened honed their youthful vigor, giving them the validity they would need to grow on domestic and overseas audiences. Opiate Of The Masses proves how much There Is Something Wrong will be in demand once it’s released. -Dave Wolff

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Video Review: ZEBULON KOSTED With The Best Of Intentions

With The Best Of Intentions
From their latest album, YHNRYHNC released June 6, 2017 by Hammerkrieg Productions
Video released October 2, 2017
Zebulon Kosted is a solo project founded by Rashid Abdel Ghafur back in 1999, when most black metal was moving from cultdom to mainstream acceptance. From 2000’s release of the debut full length IO to 2017’s release of You Have No Race You Have No Culture, Ghafur has supervised an endless stream of albums’ promotion and distribution. In that time he has also appeared on an even greater number of split releases with a long succession of bands. A complete list of full length and split releases is at Encyclopedia Metallum for your referral. Listening to the track With The Best Of Intentions from their new CD I can definitely attest it’s as caustic and trenchant as black metal comes. It’s pure cult without the ‘kvlt’ label that seems to be surfacing everywhere at present. My first impression: think of Burzum with twice the rawness, intensity and sense of cerebral torture and you have an inkling as to what you’re getting. The raw guitar sound, the unornamented lead guitar, the yawning bass, the concussive drums and alkaline vocals, mingled with an atmospheric section or two, all formulate a devastating, dissonant cacophony. The arrangements and the biting production fills you with illustrations of sealed crypts, dead breath and rusted torture devices. These mental pictures have a double meaning when you view the promotional video. This begins with a shot of trees and a grey sky suddenly turning to blue, with dark rain clouds. The shot fades into a panoramic view of a mountainous field with a cabin in the foreground, fading in turn to a new series of images including a bustling city, a factory spewing pollution, a super sized McDonald’s dinner (Corporate Deathburger anyone?), oil fires at sea and out of control wildfires. The sequence of images, if my perception of what Ghafur had in mind is accurate, makes a statement that corporations are causing more widespread destruction to the world than musicians ever could. Given the reputation metal bands have long been blanketed with, it’s a fitting statement to make about a self-interested society that doesn’t consider the long term effects of their greed, needs a scapegoat, and claims to have the best of intentions. The nature and animal shots added serve to remind you of a world being slowly overtaken, until there is eventually nothing left. -Dave Wolff


Monday, October 23, 2017

Full Length Review: AXEMASTER Crawling Chaos

Crawling Chaos
Release date: November 24, 2017
Guitarist Joe Sims emailed me an advance copy of Axemaster’s upcoming full length Crawling Chaos after reading my review of Black Dungeons, a track appearing on their recent anthology Blessing In The Skies (And Other Cuts From The Chamber). As this song was first released on an early demo of theirs Sims wanted to know my thoughts on their newest material. Given my expanding inclination toward reading H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, Noël Puente’s cover artwork depicting a reawakened Cthulhu wreaking havoc on society was my first attraction. The immediate threat to civilization and the resulting panic among the people boasts an aura of impending doom on a global scale much like Nuclear Assault, Megadeth, Tankard and Destruction had in that crucial first decade of thrash metal. The polished and meticulous expertise of Puente’s artwork reflects the artwork done for the countless number of present day thrash bands. Axemaster composed ten songs for inclusion on Crawling Chaos which reflect their years of experience as an active band through all their lineup changes, disbandings, reformations, and so on. You can hear how it has weathered and matured their sound. Their biting thrash crunch and classic flavor is still present but the open, untamed energy of their early days has given way to studious songwriting delivered with slow tempos and riffs written with forethought, showing more in common with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Manowar. Things get to a solid start with 10,000 Pound Hammer but Crawling Chaos doesn’t really get moving until the third track. By then those slower riffs I mentioned begin to grow on you. Axes Of Evil is particularly haunting with its carnivalesque lead guitar work and the bell effect recorded over the chord progressions. Flowers For The Dead is another song assuming a haunting tone. The vocals of guitarist Geoff McGraw are as hypnotic and mesmerizing as the music behind them. It’s as if Alice In Chains ingested copious amounts of acid and peyote and spawned a song like this. The brief interlude Mystify The Dream Hypnotic continues in this style with inventive guitars. The second half of the album takes heavier and darker turns as Aldar Rof sounds heavily inspired by Manowar, Shallow Grave is built on the concept of a metal ballad (without the pleasantries usually associated with it) and Death Before Dishonor is strongly tied to the band’s inspiration from Black Sabbath. The solos are tightened next to the demo track I reviewed the other day. And again I only have one complaint, about the production that tended to sound too thin for the material. Musically there has been a world of improvement on Axemaster’s part and I hope they continue in the direction in which they’re heading. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. 10,000 Pound Hammer
2. Crawling Chaos
3. Axes Of Evil
4. Flowers For The Dead
5. Mystify The Dream Hypnotic
6. Aldar Rof
7. Shallow Grave
8. Death Before Dishonor
9. Bravado
10. Knight Of Pain

Convention Review: San Antonio Horrific Film Festival 2017

Holiday Inn Ballroom, Hwy 151, San Antonio, Texas, USA
October 20-22, 2017
Okay folks let's talk about an always great, must go see event the HORRIFIC FILM FEST for the last ten years standing strong has taken place in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas this past weekend. This film fest was brilliant and, such a great fun atmosphere of people, celebs and, the most talented indie filmmakers from all over the nation showing their wonderful works of art of horror films created by their awesome minds. The event was at the Holiday Inn Ballroom on Hwy 151 in San Antonio, the admission is worth every dollar very reasonable prices for everything the HORRIFIC FILM FEST only charges 1 price the entrance fee to see all these great indie horror film everyday plus you get to meet celebs as well. When I got to the door I was greeted by HORRIFIC FILM FEST owner George Ortiz, John Macias and marketing genius Dave Gore. These three men play large roles in the film fest market in making this event all about the indie filmmaker their blood, sweat, thoughts, and tears of these fantastic talents of our nation.
On Friday I watched so many great indie films and talks of different cutting edge ideas by everyone there I was pleased to see how all these indie filmmakers help one another as it should be in helping to reach a dream all the filmmakers in attendance were all winners in my book each film was incredible but one film stuck out the most this year which is VAMP BIKERS directed by the winner of the award of best director at the HORRIFIC FILM FEST ERIC RIVAS from New York city. Vamp Bikers is a biker vs vampires movie about a town infested with vampires and bikers come to kick out these blood sucking vampires in an all-out battle in this insanely great trilogy of films with an amazing cast of actors of the cult favorite The Warriors who's acting abilities shine all through out these movies of VAMP BIKERS the cast is Angel Salazar of Scarface, Dorsey Wright of The Warriors and the man of no need of introduction Ron Jeremy also Lillo Brancato and film critic great Michael Musto play such great roles in VAMP BIKERS.
I got the chance to sit with writer/director at DIMOND MINDS FILMS ERIC RIVAS and, marketing genius Dave Gore to talk about VAMP BIKERS the vision of this film and where it is going ERIC RIVAS is a man very full of positivity, energy and heart about how he does things in his creations and ideas he is a stick to your guns type of director also I will not leave out a very wonderful talented person. ERIC RIVAS talked to me about his new signing with SONY PICTURES for his film VAMP BIKERS TRES will be pick up to be distributed through ORCHARD, NETFLIX,AMAZON in 2018 everyone keep a close eye out for VAMP BIKERS these movies are purely genius and great ! With an amazing Director ERIC RIVAS and, cast you will not be disappointed I promise you.
This year at the HORRIFIC FILM FEST celebs were FELISSA ROSE of SLEEPAWAY CAMP, ANGEL SALAZAR of SCARFACE, KELLI MARONEY of NIGHT OF THE COMET and NICK KING of SINISTER plus JOHN ALTAMURA aka TOXIE of THE TOXIC AVENGER. I got the chance to meet all these wonderful actors of such awesome films we talked about all their projects and, new upcoming projects FELISSA ROSE was such an amazing soul I was very happy and grateful to meet her we talked about the last 3 SLAYER Video's she directed herself also about DEATHHOUSE This panel of celebs was just so great this year each celeb were very nice and wonderful people to meet all the fan's loved it at this year's HORRIFIC FILM FEST like I said before you come to this event everyone is a winner!. Each Q&A was full of such fun facts of every movie they have acted in just jammed packed with facts for fan's that have always wanted to ask.
Sunday was the end of this amazing jammed packed three days of fun at THE HORRIFIC FILM FEST in San Antonio with their annual awards ceremony where all the filmmakers were winners! the anticipation of waiting for the envelops to open was at an all-time high as the winners were selected for these great awards this film fest is truly all about the filmmakers everyone wins here from the fans filmmakers everyone also a MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS TO ERIC RIVAS for winning BEST DIRECTOR this year. SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR AT THE HORRIFIC FILM FEST. -Gene Olivarri

Serialization: A Darkness Within by Alexander Z. Kautz (Chapter One)

A Darkness Within
Fiction by Alexander Z. Kautz

Chapter One

When the news arrived that my younger sister Veronica had finally passed away from cancer, I can't say that I was as shocked as much as relieved.
She had suffered with it for only a short time but the struggle had been intense. Having never married or had children, she was the last surviving member of our line, leaving me as sole inheritor.
We had never been very close. Though a brilliant and financially successful woman, she had a terrible temper and had always been very willful. It was either her way or the highway. Something that I could never accept or tolerate for long, no matter how hard I had tried....
At the reading of the will I had discovered that within her many years as an insurance agent, she had acquired a rather old house. Which having never told me about, now fell into my possession through inheritance.
There had been a tidy sum of savings and the matter of a hefty life insurance policy. All of these meant very little wherein the loss of her life was concerned. But even if I had attempted to express this to her in life, she would have simply scoffed at the sentiment. Assuming the worst as usual....
Of all the things that had hurt the most within my life. The loss of my mother at an early age and estrangement of my sister had always cut deepest.
It was not long after the funeral that packing my own meager life, I moved into the old house on Crowley Street.
Having been involved in a serious work related accident and existed upon a pension for many years, there was a sudden sense of financial and personal freedom. I had spent a great deal of my time working as an illustrator for a small magazine. The payments had always left much to be desire, but I had managed.
In all truth, I did it more out of the pure love of the craft and those that I worked with rather than the money.
November in Vancouver Canada had always meant one thing. Rain and lots of it! Which in all respects, I much preferred over the bitter cold and snow of the more eastern provinces.
I had always hated snow. So, as I pulled in before the large old home, parking my Kia Sportage with trailer and life in tow, I paused to look upon the place.
She had kept it heated and maintained, but according to the documents had never rented the place in the ten years that she had owned it. Something that I had found odd to begin with as she was well known for pinching her pennies and making financially secure investments.
This particular place within her mind would have been little more than a money trap... All the same I was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth!
It was nothing extraordinary within comparison to many others on the same block. All were of Victorian construction and most were restored or beautifully maintained.
A three story gem, grey with white trim, it had a widow's peak, wonderful second story balcony, twin towers and stood quite separate from the others on a small lot of well kept, forested land.
I sat for several minutes gazing upon the place which, outlined by the dark, cloud filled November sky, almost seemed to fade into it's surroundings.
For a moment it almost felt like the old place wasn't even there to begin with? Perhaps, just some strange extension of my own imagination?
The thought ended swiftly as the rain came and I hurried up the front steps to the porch and fumbling with the keys, let myself inside.
There was a scent of age, but no mildew or anything that one might have expected to find after so many years of being empty.
It didn't take me long as using the little hand cart, unloaded all of my belongings. I had given away whatever larger furnishing that I had owned after having been shown photographs of the old house.
It was entirely furnished and kept in such a manner that I would require little beyond groceries and the usual household items.
I was unpacked and settled into the place just before dinner. I took a seat in a large, brown wingback chair before the hearth and weary from the efforts of the past few days, quickly drifted into a deep sleep.
All was utter stillness within the blinding darkness. Then a pinpoint of light. A pale green mist within the distance as strangely unsettled by the sickly glow, I was helplessly drawn toward it!
The darkness changed, moving all about me while becoming the shadowy forms of doctors and nurses. Which hurrying around a hospital bed within that pale green room, busilly attended to a patient.
I felt my heart pound as though it might explode from my chest! I fought not to look down upon the figure in the bed, but could not resist!
There she lay, struggling and coughing on blood as the cancer ate away at her from the inside! She saw me and beckoned with hands outstretched! Fingers grasping at the air as her eyes, pleading, bulged as she fought for breath!
Helpless! God damn me! There was nothing that I or anyone else could do to relieve her suffering!
She thrashed about, coughing and spewing blood from her nose and mouth! So much blood, so much blood! I could no longer watch, turning in horror as they sedated her, forcing her down while doing everything within their ability to comfort the dying woman!
Indeed, it was her, my very own younger sister, dying before my very eyes!
She screamed out my name in vein, her words showering me in blood as she gasped! I awoke screaming! Grasping the arms of the old chair with white knuckled panic, my eyes wide and by horror filled!
That dream, oh dear God--that horrifying last memory of her final days. It endlessly haunted, tormented, tore at my heart and soul! I threw a hand before my sweat beaded and fevered brow, blinded by the uncontrollable stream of tears, pleaded within a whisper,
"Oh God--please, please." I swallowed hard, muttering,
"Make it stop--I just can't take this anymore..."
Gazing wide eyed and forlorn into the crackling fire within the hearth, I suddenly paused in thought. Did I even light that fire? But surely I must have. For there it was, burning right before my eyes. Am I losing my mind?
My mouth was dry, hot, my lips parched. Much in the same way that a long distance runner might feel in the mid-day sun. I moved from the chair, my efforts appearing almost drunken as I made my way across the large room. Half stumbling while wandering out into the corridor and down the hall into the large kitchen.
The house was in utter darkness as switching on lights, I glanced down at my wrist watch. It was half past ten. I had slept for several hours.
Filling a glass with water and sitting down at the large oak dining table, I stared out into the night through the large kitchen windows.
Not a single sound beyond the rhythm of the gentle rain, tapping like cold fingers as it streamed down the window pane.
Within the glass I noticed my sombre reflection and moved closer to examine what now stared back.
I had just passed my fourtieth birthday that summer. Though looking much younger and still having the same dirty blonde hair, the bags beneath my deep blue eyes had darkened over time.
Those eyes that had seen so much. Since childhood I had slowly witnessed the deaths of everyone that I had ever loved. Places, faces all fading into the distant shadows of time.
This was the price that all children of elderly parents were doomed to pay. Eventually being left alone in a world filled with nothing more than the ghosts of old memories....
It was this same and immediate sense of mortality that Veronica and I had both experienced in early youth, causing a bitter sibling rivalry. It had always been a desperate attempt to attain the most attention and love from those who remained to us.
Having lost our father at a young age and been alone with our mother, who worked long hours, it was just never enough for little Veronica.
Being several years younger, she excelled within my failures. Gaining a greater education through my own academic struggles while listening as I was home tutored.
She learned quickly, astute and intelligent she soon established both career and reputation. Though I had always been proud of her, for reasons beyond explanation I had always sensed that deep down, she had always despised me....
When the end had finally found her I had not been there. Not because I had chosen to abandon her, but because she had been in a coma for several weeks, heavily sedated and mercifully, had passed quietly in the night.
Though she had finally found peace, the memories and guilt of a lifetime lost together forever haunted me. I could never find the words within forgiveness...
Rising from the chair I moved toward the sink, placing down my glass and looking out through the large window and into the night beyond. A gaunt and pale image gazed back. The dark eyes wide and empty as it's mouth widened within a silent scream!
I leapt back, startled, gasping! Then suddenly laughing out loud as I realized that it must have been my own reflection while yawning! Of course, that was all that it had been! My own battered nerves and over-tired mind working against me!
"You better get some rest old man!" I scoffed, pointing to my reflection in the glass while saying,
"You're looking like death...."