// Category Archive for: Reviews

Music Review: Ghost, Meliora

Published on February 24th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Metal, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

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Forgive me, Papa Emeritus III, for I have sinned. Upon first hearing Ghost’s latest album Meliora, I dismissed it as pedestrian and perhaps even representing a stumble backwards for you and your Nameless Ghouls. O how wrong I was! Additional time spent worshipping at its sooty, cloven hooves has revealed my mistake. It is indeed Glory Incarnate.

While Ghost’s first album, the cleverly titled Opus Eponymous, introduced the world to the band’s unique blend of Satanic lyrics, syrupy vocals, and sharp guitar solos, their “sophomore psalm,” 2013’s Infestissumam, showed that the band’s brand of evil was evolving to include psychedelic-tinged organ music. Meliora reveals the full flower of what fans of Ghost have always suspected: they are as much of a hidden threat as any conjured by fundamentalist Christians. Their music might seem less obviously scary than heavyhitters from their death and black metal peers, but it’s no less diabolical. The songs on Meliora are as catchy as Satanic Panic.

Opening tune “Spirit,” devoted to the “Green Fairy” absinthe, includes a quote from an Edgar Allen Poe poem and Gothic, ghostly harmonies. Tracks like “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” (dig that monstrous bass riff!) and the sinister “Mummy Dust” have the power to induce the creeps, but there’s a melancholy in the madness on Meliora. “Cirice” feels like a throwback to early 1980s metal at first, but alternates that quality with a romantic melody complete with tinkling piano and timpani. It’s followed by the heartbreakingly beautiful harp solo of “Spöksonat,” which leads into “He Is,” a rapturous paean to The Infernal One that is both uplifting and downright poignant.

“Majesty” starts like a Deep Purple jam, but soon turns into straight-up prog rock, as if Rush had gone full Beelzebub back in the early 1980s, but with Roger Joseph Manning Jr. on vocals. “Devil Church” is the kind of organ music you’d hear in the place referenced in its title, while “Absolution” boasts a choir of dark angels, malevolent metal guitar crunch, and gleefully grim lyrics as Papa Emeritus III alternates between a hellish hiss and sublime, soaring vocals. “Deus In Absentia” provides a gorgeous end to Meliora‘s grandeur, complete with Gregorian chant-like vocals.

There may still be unbelievers out there, those who criticize Ghost for being all shtick and no substance, a band who relies on the visual trickery of corpsepaint, costumes, and masks to conceal the fact that these emperors of the underworld wear no clothes. Oh, that way madness lies! Baudelaire once said, “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” When you find the songs on Meliora trapped in your skull and catch yourself singing lyrics like “The world is on fire / and you are here to stay and burn with me” out loud, you will realize it’s too late: you’ve already been seduced by their Satanic spell.

This review was originally published on Dirge Magazine.

Music Review: Ty Segall, Ty Segall

Published on February 17th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

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Now I see clear and have no fear / I know what I must do
—Ty Segall, “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)”

There’s no such thing as a typical Ty Segall release. The singer/songwriter/musician extraordinaire has often explained that every time he tackles a new album, he does so from a totally different starting point than the previous one. This would explain why 2014’s Manipulator sounds very different from last year’s Emotional Mugger, or how Sleeper was probably not the follow up to Twins that everyone expected.
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TV Review: The Walking Dead, “Hearts Still Beating”

Published on February 17th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Horror, Reviews, TV, TV Reviews |

By Laury Scarbro

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I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. Season 7 thus far has been rather lackluster compared to other seasons. With the exception of a few episodes here and there, and how this episode began, I was really beginning to question whether the writers had just lost heart. But thankfully, I was proven wrong.
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Blu-Ray Review: Psychomania

Published on February 16th, 2017 in: Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Tim Murr

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Psychomania has been on my list to watch for a long time, though I never knew anything about it outside of the trailer. It features troublemakers that return from the grave to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting English town; there are motorcycles, action, cool costumes, witchy undertakings, shades of A Clockwork Orange and The Wild One, a badass 1970s soundtrack. That’s what the trailer for promises. The film itself breaks most of these promises and is instead a dry, absurdly comic B-movie, that’s too slow and doesn’t play up any of its strengths.
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Book Review: Zero Saints

Published on February 16th, 2017 in: Book Reviews, Books, Culture Shock, Current Faves, Horror, Reviews |

By Tim Murr

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Fernando is a drug dealer from Mexico living in Austin, Texas. He works for a man named Guillermo and is doing all right for himself since crossing “la frontera.” Then one night he’s attacked, shoved into a trunk, and presented to a man named Indio. Indio isn’t the kind of man you usually find in Austin; a large, powerfully built monster, covered in so many tattoos that his skin is almost black. He wants to take over much of Guillermo’s territory and wants Fernando to deliver a message. Part of that message involves having to watch the torture and murder of his colleague Nestor. So begins Zero Saints, a fearful, fast-paced descent into what may be the final few days of un hombre invisible.
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Podcast: TV or GTFO Episode 12, “Out Of This World”

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Comedy, Podcasts, Reviews, TV, TV Or GTFO, TV Reviews |

By Sachin Hingoo

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A show about teenager with near-infinite power, who can bend the very fabric of space and time. A show about the shocking revelation that our main character is half-alien, and her father is millions of miles away from Earth, communicating only through a mysterious glowing cube. A surefire hit? No, it’s Out Of This World, a late 1980s sitcom that more than one outlet has called the worst sitcom ever!
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Music Review: Executive Slacks, Complete Recordings 1982-1986

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

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Fans of industrial music have likely heard all the heavy-hitters already: Throbbing Gristle, Test Dept., Einstürzende Neubauten, Cabaret Voltaire, Skinny Puppy, and beyond. Last year, Dark Entries re-released the eponymous debut EP from Philadelphia’s Executive Slacks, who are rarely mentioned in the same breath as those other seminal bands, if they are mentioned at all. Originally released in 1983 on Red Records, the release was an appetizer that contained just four songs.
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Music Review: Otis Taylor, Fantasizing About Being Black

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Culture Shock, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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“After 15 albums, i’ve taken all of my thoughts about the history of racial injustice and created a musical interpretation for modern times,” says trance blues artist Otis Taylor. His latest, Fantasizing About Being Black is shattering and thought-provoking. By looking backwards, Otis Taylor has made an album that is unfortunately still prescient.
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Music Review: Son Volt, Notes Of Blue

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Americana, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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The latest Son Volt album, Notes Of Blue, may just be precisely the album that will put your anxious brain at ease. It’s inspired by Nick Drake, but it’s also inspired by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Skip James. While the influences of the latter are more easily evident, Son Volt’s leader Jay Farrar says he was “aiming for where blues and folk and country converge.” He’s certainly hit his mark.
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Game Review: “Yakuza Zero” (Playstation 4)

Published on February 3rd, 2017 in: Game Reviews, Gaming, Reviews |

By Sachin Hingoo

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Comparisons to Rockstar Games’ unbelievably popular crime opus, Grand Theft Auto, are always apt with the Yakuza series. Like those games, Yakuza Zero, a prequel to the prior five main entries and several spin-offs in the series, attempts to provide a snapshot of the culture embodied in its distinct setting (fictionalized cities in America in Grand Theft Auto, Japan in Yakuza) by telling stories about their criminal underbellies. Though fundamentally similar in this way, it’s the cultural distinctions that make both games into well-crafted, interactive time capsules, albeit with some confounding elements.
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