Friday, August 30, 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel (2013)

I think it's good that Carcass took an extended sabbatical, particularly Bill Steer. It would seem that absence makes the heart grow fonder, indeed.

With 'Swansong', it became glaringly obvious that Billy Boy was beginning to (ahem) "steer" away from his grindcore roots, though one could probably argue for the win that he began to do that shortly after the release of 'Symphonies of Sickness'. It would be a while before the sinister urge came upon Mr. Steer, causing him to once again lift up and hold high the great 'metal of death' and inflict both woe and wonder upon the denizens of Planet Earth.

Enter the aptly titled 'Surgical Steel'. 20 years after the release of 'Heartwork' and it would seem that only two of those have passed, leaving 1996's 'Swansong' reduced to a memory of supremely vague proportions.

One thing that I was worried about before entering into the aural confines of this album was just how much leftover pseudo-rock riffs from 'Swansong' would make their way into the equation. Thankfully, the number is surprisingly and considerably low. In their stead there is no shortage of the type of rhythmic endeavors that decked the halls of both 'Necroticism...' and 'Heartwork', though there are moments on this album that give those albums a run for their tamales in regards to limp-wristed, over-melodious guitar heroism. Despite this, I would have to deduce that 'Surgical Steel' is far less catchy as its two closest predecessors, 'Swansong' and 'Heartwork'. As odd as it may seem, 'Heartwork' had far more "snap" to it in terms of what I could imagine actually obtaining a fair amount of airplay (of course in reality, that was barely the case).

A few months back I read an article somewhere with Jeff Walker stating that Bill Steer would be returning to a more prominent role, vocally. Well, if this is indeed the case, then he must've got the Jason Newsted treatment during the '...and Justice for All' sessions as I cannot make him out anywhere on here. Oh well.

Overall, 'Surgical Steel' is a pretty decent album and if anything, it goes to show you that not all comebacks are worthy of the trip to the sewer via toilet bowl.

Welcome back, lads.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Frontieres (2007)

Why everyone rides the "new wave of French horror" dick so hard is beyond me. Between the praise for movies like High Tension, Martyrs and Inside, you'd think the Frenchies were doing something innovative or creative. And these movies have been a whole lot of neither of those things. Except for their over-the-top violence and penchant for having excessively blood-soaked women come out as the heroines/sole survivors, these movies don't offer anything remarkable.

Frontieres is yet another French movie that follows the same formula and leaves the same unmemorable, indifferent feeling. Some twenty-somethings are involved in some looting and rioting during a time of political turmoil in France and run from the cops after one of their friends gets caught, beaten and near death in a hospital. They make it to some run-down hostel/farm on the edge of town run by a family with some rednecky looking folks (a la Texas Chainsaw) and a slutty blonde chick.

There's a Nazi patriarch who spouts really cliche German lines in between his really shitty French, a youngish looking, shy/autistic/retarded girl, and some mutant inbred children who live in a mineshift. The movie goes on for way too long, the main girl manages to avoid being shot by multiple people even though she spazzes around like she's having a 30 minute seizure (and yet manages to take out the jacked, beefy member of the family).There's lots of really dark brown blood (why does every movie insist on having buckets of overly dark colored blood) and some shit covered pigs.

Do yourself a favor and watch TCM instead.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home (2013)

What self-indulgent garbage. Let's be honest: home invasion movies are a one-trick pony. Dude with mask breaks in, tortures/beats people for kicks, kills one if not all members of the household... the end.

Home Sweet Home is pretty much the same deal, with two exceptions. The mask that the bad guy wears is actually pretty different and creepy. And two, this director thinks of himself way too highly. This movie is full of gratuitous slow-motion shots, close-ups, and unnecessarily fancy music. There's a slow close-up of the front door towards the beginning of the movie that is just trying way too hard.

Another thing that sets this movie apart is the seriously shitty dialogue. We're introduced to a married couple who act in the most awkward way to each other, a mom who leaves really over-the-top phone messages, and painful dialogue and decision making.

The bad guy turns out to be an authority figure with absolutely no rhyme or reason for his actions (which I presume is to add to "the terror" of people being bad for the sake of being bad, but it just ends up being stupid). Dude has a duffel bag with everything he would need for a fun night of break-in and murder .. like a hazard suit, guns, rifles, tie-wraps, and... a fucking short sword?? Not a knife, not a box-cutter, but a short katana.