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Showing posts from December, 2007

The chauvinist guide to feminism, part 1

Feminism. To some of us, just like other excuses for ineptitude, not a religion but a way of life. To others, it is one more reason not to speak your mind, not to honour your true feelings and slowly wither under the weight (and they do have the weight advantage) of political correctness and equal opportunity. Similar in frustration to being stuck in a confined space with a religious nut, trying to put the Christ back in Xmas, when there was no Christ in Christmas in the first place. After decades of cooking our own meals, doing our own laundry and in some extreme cases, even watching soapies, it is time for one formerly advantaged chauvinist to step back and determine how relevant feminism is today, with our negative first world population growth and third world population boom. What exactly is negative growth anyway? It either grows, or it shrinks? Make that first world population shrinkage. But first, he has to try and comprehend what this feminism is.

A definition of …

The Terminator (1984)

James Cameron

Michael Biehn
Linda Hamilton
Bill Paxton
Shawn Schepps
Arnold Schwarzenegger

The film takes place in 1984. A robot is sent back from the future to assassinate a woman. Her unborn son is destined to lead a rebellion against the future robot leaders of the world. This son also sends back someone to protect his mom and himself. The robot and the soldier end up ruining half the economically active population in their battle for the woman's life, but all is fair in love and war. Even time travelling and big poodle hair.

This is a superb twist on the 1984 Big Brother theme. Imagine being stalked by an indestructible cyborg from the future with an Austrian accent to boot. Of course, the pitiful machine is up against Linda Hamilton. Even “the Governator” Arnie doesn't stand a chance against that much testosterone.

Brad Fiedel deserves a special mention for his creepy synthesiser soundtrack. While the film has aged badly, it remains a classic. The dialogue …

Evil Dead (1983)

Sam Raimi

Betsy Baker
Bruce Campbell
Richard DeManincor
Ellen Sandweiss
Theresa Tilly

Five college students decide to make vacation in a cabin in the woods. The desolate forest leads them to do what college students are inclined to do, namely indulge in a little occult ritual in addition to making hanky panky sexy time.

They stumble upon an audio cassette player (it's like the iPod of the eighties that works with a steam engine) that summons evil spirits. If you remember audio cassettes, you can summon spirits with them by playing the tape backwards, or if you let the tape lie on your dashboard in the sun and then play it. Of course the only persons with enough mojo to play a tape backwards were Satanic musicians and evangelist preachers. Interesting connection they share.

This cassette contains passages from the Necronomicon, a mythical book invented by H.P. Lovecraft as part of his ploy to mock religion. The Necronomicon of Evil Dead is not so innocuous, and evil spirits…

Ministry - Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs

M Balch – Keyboards, Programming
Paul Barker – Bass, Programming, Vocals
H Beno – Programming
Gibby Haynes – Vocals on "Jesus Built My Hotrod"
Al Jourgensen – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Hypo Luxa – Producer
P Manno – Engineer
J C Newell – Engineer
Hermes Pan – Producer
Bill Rieflin – Drums
Mike Scaccia– Guitars
Louis Svitek – Guitar

Track listing

Just One Fix
Jesus Built My Hotrod
Scare Crow
Psalm 69

When Ministry recorded this album, they were rising superstars of the er bludgeoning industrial scene. Although they do not make industrial in the strict sense of the word, they do employ studio wizardry to infinity and beyond. Aggressive and more like 10 000 punches in your face than Nine Inch Nails would ever muster, this appeals to me although I mostly like my metal.

You might wonder who Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan are. Hypo Luxa is a pseudonym for Al Jourgensen, and Hermes Pan is the alias of Paul Barker. Maybe this was their way of screwing the record …

The Golden Compass points in the right direction

The Golden Compass (actually Northern Lights) is part of a trilogy by novelist Philip Pullman. The trilogy, His Dark Materials, is designed as an Atheist alternative to the Christian children story Chronicles of Narnia.

The Catholic Church removed the book from its school libraries because it did not contribute to Catholic philosophy. Their statement was carefully worded to prevent their action from appearing like another witch hunt, and there is nothing wrong with the Catholic Church censoring the content of its libraries. After all, one goes to Catholic school to learn Catholic thinking, not to learn freedom of thought, freedom of expression or other dangerous intellectual pursuits. One goes there to become one of them, to think as they do and to do as they say.

More recently, Nicole Kidman starred in a film adaptation of the award winning novel. This film caused an uproar in the Christian community. The Vatican condemns the film, claiming it "promotes a cold and hopeless world …

Cryptopsy - Once Was Not

Lord Worm - Vocals
Alex Auburn - Guitars and backing vocals
Eric Langlois - Bass
Flo Mounier - Drums, percussion and backing vocals

Track listing
1. Luminum
2. In the Kingdom where Everything Dies, the Sky is Mortal
3. Carrionshine
4. Adeste Infidelis
5. The Curse of the Great
6. The Frantic Pace of Dying
7. Keeping the Cadaver Dogs Busy
8. Angelskingarden
9. The Pestilence that Walketh in Darkness (Psalm 91:5-8)
10. The End
11. Endless Cemetery

Canada has long deserved extermination due to the crimes against humanity Celine Dion commits each time she has a concert. Fortunately, Cryptopsy redeems Canada. Capable of skinning a ferret alive by sheer sonic force, Cryptopsy is perhaps the most intense band on this planet, and possibly a few others. As a teaser, there is a very tranquil guitar intro before the marsupial stripping brutality commences. Lord Worm returns with his trademark incoherent splutter. Older, wiser, and meaner, his voice does show some wear and tear. Then again, the ma…

Iced Earth - Dark Saga

Jon Schaffer - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Matt Barlow - Lead Vocals
Randall Shawver - Lead Guitar
Dave Abell - Bass Guitar
Mark Prator - Drums

Track listing
1. Dark Saga
2. I Died For You
3. Violate
4. The Hunter
5. The Last Laugh
6. Depths Of Hell
7. Vengeance Is Mine
8. Scarred
9, Slave to the Dark
10. A Question of Heaven

The Spawn cover created by Todd McFarlane suggests that this is a highly cultured band. With their minds steeped in such fine literature as the popular comic book, the fire and brimstone permeate every track. Perdition is after all a fine topic for a metal album. Matthew Barlow handles vocal duties. His voice can be described as a masculine Geoff Tate, which would render Iced Earth into Kingsrÿche, if you will. Sparse yet effective lead guitar parts are pasted over some emotive vocals while the guitar rhythms can give you razor burn. This is a fine album by the band poised to fill the throne abdicated by Metallica. Singing along to someone's perdition never f…

Dragonforce - Inhuman Rampage

ZP Theart - Lead and backing vocals
Herman Li - Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Sam Totman - Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Vadim Pruzhanov - Keyboards, piano, backing vocals
Dave Mackintosh - Drums, backing vocals

Track listing
1. Through the Fire and Flames
2. Revolution Deathsquad
3. Storming the Burning Fields
4. Operation Ground and Pound
5. Body Breakdown
6. Cry for Eternity
7. The Flame of Youth
8. Trail of Broken Hearts

Cheese warning! Straight from the Camelot of Camembert, this is nothing but the leanest, meanest, fastest, purest, geographically shaped axe-wielding power metal twenty pieces of silver could buy. With a vocalist whose practice regime consists of shattering glass goblets with his voice and a guitarist who has more blisters on his fingers than Celine Dion had death threats, how wrong could you go?

From the first track, you want to play air guitar and pull your nose like you stepped in the manure of your favourite noble steed.

Take up t…

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Wes Anderson

Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Angelica Huston, Bill Murray.

Steve Zissou (Murray) is an oceanographer and documentary film maker. To say he is eccentric is to describe fascists as angry people. When his partner, Estaban (Seymour Cassell), dies due to a shark attack, Zissou sets off to avenge his partner's death. Known only as the "jaguar shark", Zissou and his gang face illegitimate children, not so legitimate illegitimate children, former wives, pirates and each other's eccentricities in their quest to kill the creature.

This larger than life comedy proves how little mankind knows about aquatic life. In particular, it proves how little a man named Steve Zissou knows about aquatic life. Follow mister Zissou on a journey of debauchery, piracy, pregnancy and even bankruptcy.

This film is critically misunderstood, commercially unsuccessful and highly underrated. Anderson studied philosophy at the University of Texas. His pl…

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980) review

If you follow the "no Ozzy, no Sabbath" philosophy, you will miss out on this essential heavy metal landmark. With Ozzy booted or quit, depending on whose version you believe, the Brumbies team up with Ronnie James Dio. One of the world's greatest singers teams up with one of the world's greatest bands. With his miniature Gandalf stance, Dio helped to forge Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer at different periods in their career.

Ozzy sustained himself on a diet of spandex and pigeons. Dio sustained Black Sabbath with a diet of Elvish magic. His Dioisms are encoded in Quenya and then translated into English for our pleasure. One of Dio's magical abilities is transcending the boundaries that space and time infringe on us mere mortals, as with the phrase "throw away the key, and lock the door". By employing the logic of the imagination first described by Elliot, Dio manages to defy even logic. Indeed, Dio laughs in the face of logic, as with "l…

Strapping Young Lad - Alien

Lead singer and guitarist Devin Townsend is hyperactive on a quiet day. In addition to several side projects, he fronts an amalgamation of pure genius that is Strapping Young Lad. This album kicks off with all cylinders firing at maximum overdrive, and doesn't show mercy for even a second. Well, maybe for the pastures green interlude in Two Weeks.

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Townsend suffers from bi-polar disorder. Disillusioned by the chemical lobotomy he has to live with due to the medication for that illness, he decided to quit his medication in an experiment to see what it does to his creative output. Alien was conceived and recorded during this period of chemically (well, at least medical chemicals) stoic habits.

Lauded for his production abilities, Townsend offers an amazing choir consisting of overdubbed vocals with the aid of Sharon Clark. As if this is not enough, the rest of the lad consists of some road-worn heavyweights such as drummer Gene Hoglan a…

The Ninth Gate (1999)

Roman Polanski

Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, James Russo, Emmanuelle Seigner.

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Meet Dean Corso (Johnny Depp): book seller; raconteur; conman extraordinaire. He capitalises on his extensive knowledge of rare books, the ignorance of those in possession of these and his skills to manipulate people. Never too busy to pass by an opportunity to increase his fortunes, he decides to look for prints of a book called The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows on behalf of Boris Balkan (Frank Langella). There are three known prints of this book. Balkan already owns one, and Corso has to find the others to verify their authenticity. If he believes them to be real, he must acquire them at all costs. All expenses paid!

Corso manages to track down the remaining two, and finds discrepancies in the illustrations. At first, Corso is lead to believe that the discrepancies mean the books are counterfeit. A series of unfortunate events and a fe…

Faust: Love of the Damned (2001)

Brian Yuzna

Jeffrey Combs,
Andrew Divoff,
Mark Frost,
Jennifer Rope,
Monica Von Campen.

John Jaspers (Mark Frost) is a struggling artist (aren't they all?) spending some quality time with his girlfriend when they suddenly become victims of an armed robbery, which leaves his girlfriend dead. The motive for the robbery is unclear, but it gives Jaspers motivation enough to sell his soul to a mysterious character named M (Andrew Divoff). M - short for you guessed it, Mephistopheles - grants Jaspers the power to turn into a horned demon who has a penchant for being a very bad person. Armed with supernatural powers, Jaspers sets off to avenge the death of his girlfriend, only to discover a much more sinister plot. M plans to release a far more fierce demon by opening the gates of hell on a hot midsummer night. Not content with avenging his girlfriend's death, Jaspers spends the rest of the film gathering new floozies and preventing the impending apocalypse.

This f…