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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Stoned Age: A Very Bitchy Movie Review

This movie must have had a budget of $100 and some stolen Ox 45. Whoever said this was better than Dazed And Confused was clearly paid to do so.

This was a failed attempt at stoner/rocker humor by dumbass movie executives who obviously don't know what they're doing. They were trying to portray a demographic that they don't even understand. Of course I resent the portrayal of Metalheads as horny, drug addicted Neanderthals. The main characters' entire Modus Operandum is weed and sex. If you mistake my righteous indignation for defensiveness, just think how obnoxious it would be if Hollywood presented Country fans as Bible-thumping bigots, Hip-Hop fans as uneducated thugs, or Punk Rockers as ornery brats.

Every single character is an irritating  combination of pathetic loser and selfish prick. Even the love interests are slutty, backstabbing harpies. The requisite hot blonde chick is first introduced as a skank demanding drugs from the protagonists. When they say they don't have any Crank, she just keeps going down the list of outdated street terms for meth that the screen writer probably learned from a Reagan-era "Just Say No" after-school special. The gross misuse/overuse of slang was completely distracting, but since the plot was so predictable it didn't really matter anyway.

Not only was it predictable, but it also required a ridiculous suspension of disbelief. There are two-- Count 'em, TWO --- "Hot chicks" that everyone is after. A whole herd of heshers break the law, risk life and limb, and generally go out of their way for a mere CHANCE to bang the babes who aren't even that bodacious. I understand that cartoonish, ridiculous situations have a place in Metal comedies (Ex: Wayne's World, Bill And Ted). But this is fucking stupid. 

 Although I hate the movie as a whole, one scene stands apart, a paragon of exquisite stupidity that would never be seen outside the film industry:  One protagonist, Joe, gets his ass kicked by his partner in crime,  Hubbs, for listening to an 8 track. According to Hubbs,  "Don't Fear The Reaper is a pussy song."

... Said no one ever! Even people who don't consider themselves Metalheads recognize that track as a masterpiece. It's fuckin' classic. What kind of idiot would even write that line in a script? Falser words were never uttered.

 The sad attempts at humor constantly miss the mark. The only saving grace was the constant Blue Oyster Cult references, and even those got old after a while.  Let me spare you the misery of watching and just sum up the script for you:

"Hey man, let's find some chicks so we can get laid, dude! Bro! Bodacious! Awesome! This weed is skank! Those bitches are fine! We're using slang! Bro!"

 This single pentagram is only to acknowledge the soundtrack, which includes Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, T-Rex, Ted Nugent, Foghat, and of course, copious amounts of B.O.C.  Yeah, the soundtrack is the solitary good part.  Only one fucking star out of five.

For more of my bitchy reviews, check out my not-so-nice thoughts on Hesher.  Or if you want to see my blind hatred of untalented bands, here's a link to my review of We Came As Romans.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Band Review: Serial Hawk

Marshall stacks were made for bands like this. Painfully loud, obnoxiously catchy, and somewhat tribal in their melodiousness, this is one exceptional Stoner Metal band. Although they sound similar to Sleep, Serial Hawk surpasses them in darkness and brutality. They have abandoned the twangy psychedelic riffs of old school Stoner Doom in favor of more sinister guitar hooks. Similarly, the subtle darkness that characterized the Stoner Metal of yesteryear has evolved to vivid lyrics that are just plain relentless. The lurid imagery leaves little unsaid: "Hands and feet are tied, he's been dead some time. Silence means nothing." 

Although the vocals are harsh, they are not gutteral. They are very primal sounding, almost animalistic. I imagine this is what it would sound like if you awoke a sleeping beast, or maybe if you stumbled upon a Lovecraftian Elder God.

The melodies themselves are very primitive and ancient sounding. The overall effect is reminiscent of perfectly preserved mummies found in bogs,  Mayan ritual sacrifices, and other creepy historical shit. If these comparisons are going over your head, maybe you need to take a hit or two before listening. Don't get me wrong, Serial Hawk is talented enough to keep the most stone-cold sober straight-edge punk entertained. However, I must admit that  getting high as a kite enhances the experience.

They have their own website, but you can also check them out on Reverbnation, Bandcamp, and Facebook. Their EP is available for purchase, which is a steal at only $10.

What's not to love? I give them five stars outta five.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hell In July *Updated*

Hell In July is the  aptly named national tour featuring Six Feet Under, Decrepit Birth, and Cannabis Corpse. *UPDATE*  The show made headline news, and here's a link to the article.

The show got off to a good start with Oscillation. The vocals are uber-deep growls, and occasionally reverb with an effect that resembles Autopsy's sound. The guitars and bass are aggressive and catchy in the vein of the Deathcore genre. This band is comprised of former members of Soul To Rest and Obelisk, keeping elements of both bands. Death Metal Party Sludge hybrid! 

Cassovita Is an instrumental duo of a drummer and a guitarist. The riffs are intricate and technical, complimented by the fast and precise drumming. The result is an extremely dynamic musical style. The audience is kept on their toes with abrupt changes in key and time signature. Some songs transition so intensely that it's almost like getting two tracks in one. 

Desmadre are pretty damn rowdy. No, scratch that, they are fucking RAUNCHY. They are a flashback to old school Grind, with the same fast, catchy riffage of Hardcore Punk. I guess that makes them Grindcore, doesn't it? These guys are straight up scary. Translated from Spanish, their band name means chaos, turmoil, disorder, that kind of thing. It suits them. 

Carrion Kind is another Metal group that emerged from members of broken-up bands. They, like Oscillation, retain aspects of their members' previous bands. So think along the lines of Grinkai's funky beats with Grind inspired riffs and some gutteral vocals thrown in. They are completely wicked. 

Abiotic's music sounds like the name implies: Morbid, dark, and sinister. This band is grade A top quality Tech-Death with elements of Prog.  It was around the time they hit the stage that everyone simultaneously got the munchies. I couldn't do much headbanging, moshing, or thrashing in general. I was too busy eating overpriced chile cheese fries and drinking shitty beer.

Cannabis Corpse was a lot of fun. Their sense of humor was spot on, and their sound was almost studio quality. They sound great on record, and it was the same on stage. The music is hilarious, with themes like getting abducted by pot aliens, or killed by weed monsters. 

Aaaand here's where the bad news starts. Right before they completed their set,  Bill Robinson of Decrepit Birth announced that the whole show would conclude with Cannabis Corpse' final song. The venue stopped the shindig short on account of alleged underage drinking. Instead of doing something reasonable, like kick the minors out of the bar area, they brought everything to a grinding halt. So two of the headliners, Decrepit Birth and Six Feet Under, were screwed out of playing and the audience was screwed out of seeing them. Fans booed, refunds were demanded, sheriffs were called, apologies were offered, but at least it was good while it lasted. Everyone from the promoters to the crew to the bands themselves cranked it to 11 to put on an incredible concert. Although I am disappointed that I missed two spectacular bands, the show was great from start to (early) finish. Oh yeah, did I mention it was fucking raining for part of the show?!  Yeah, those guys kick ass.

By the way, this whole tour was instigated by the release of Six Feet Under's latest creation, Unborn.  Even if you didn't get to see them this time, remember to support them and all the work they put into this album. Also, this is a TOUR. Give it a day or two and the same line up will be playing within driving distance.

Cheryl's final thought: I'm usually not this petty, but $3 for warm Budweiser and then you gyp me out of seeing two great acts? Don't mess with my booze and Metal. The venue gets a rating of a sad face. 

Meanwhile, the concert itself gets four stars. The line up was sick, and the crew worked wonders.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Intronaut Concert Review

Metal is described as many things, but seldom as serene. Prog Metal line ups such as this defy preconcieved notions of the genre while still remaining TRVE and heavy. Nationally renowned bands Intronaut and Scale The Summit headlined this show, but it was immaculate from start to finish. In the beginning....

Distances of Albuqurque NM is defined by a dichotomy of overwhelming heaviness with intense beauty. You know those pictures of outerspace, where the nebulae look so striking but there is no rhyme or reason to their appearance other than the basic laws of physics? That's like this band, making chaos seem gorgeous. The riffs, percussion, and vocals are all extremely harsh, but there is something intriguing and deep about their caustic sound. On the rare moments when your own head isn't banging, it's lots of fun to see the band thrashing around on stage.  

As In We  is a gem of high octane music, immaculately composed and expertly performed. They just returned  to Santa Fe to a loyal fanbase, after being on tour earlier in the year. Although I consider them Metal, this band transcends genres, and is indeed an experimental blend of different styles. I would say Post-Prog-Instru-Metal, but that just makes me sound like a douche.

In a night dominated by Prog, Torn Between Worlds stood out as the only Grind band. Each fast-paced, aggressive track is introduced by a sound clip, then the musicians proceed to violate the audience's eardrums. Out of the whole line up, this was the only band to incite a mosh pit. As usual, they fuckin' killed it. 

Scale The Summit offered a stark contrast to the relentless fussilade of Torn Between Worlds. This band has a musical style so smooth that it borders on jazzy.  Although  they were very smooth and ambient, they still had the virtuosity and intensity that defines Metal. The guitarists are very talented, and there are some moments of Satriani-esque shredding.  This would make a great soundtrack to sipping brandy out a human skull by the fireplace, wearing your burgundy velvet robe and reading Chaucer. This is a pristine example of melodic instrumental music, with a variety of influences that extend beyond the Hard Rock circuit. 

Intronaut makes some stunning music, and their sublime melodies were given a cutting edge by their thunderous percussion. This is another group that balances intensity with precision. Their formidable stage presence was amplified by projected images. The visuals morphed from soaring eagles to burning embers to abstract kaleidoscopic effects, and so on. I overheard one audience member muse: "I don't know if I like them or if I was hypnotized into liking them." Unlike that dude, I know for a fact that I love this band, but the trippy visuals didn't hurt. 

So there you have it. That was about 5 hours worth of hard-hitting, crowd-pleasing, ass-kicking music. Five stars outta five for sure!