Samael Gets Your Attention But Amorphis Owns Your Soul

Tomi Joutsen loving it

Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis

Show date: September 29, 2008
Venue: B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill
Bands: Amorphis, Samael,

Lately my music cravings have been sated exclusively by men from cold harsh climes, generally famed for their inapproachability and cruel mythology. I was understandably excited about Samael and Amorphis joining up to play B.B. King’s on the 29th of September. D42 concurred and accompanied as per usual.

I have a bit of a history with Samael. They played Wacken Open Air 2007 and from the shivering depths of my tent I heard the strains of distortion and glottal fry of Vorph. I couldn’t force myself out that night and when my sudden tentmate woke me up at 3am to tell me how good a show I missed a seed of discontent was planted. Surely, seeing Samael open for Amorphis in a small venue in NY isn’t as awe inspiring an experience as seeing them on a German battleground at 2am with thousands of rabid metalheads, but I still felt a little better. There is a large portion of my music worshipping being dedicated to the industrial sound, which is why I’m still babbling about this Swiss ensemble of black, doom, and above all industrial metal.

Amorphis, hailing from icy Finland, was new to me. I knew in my heart of hearts that I blasphemed by not getting their music earlier, but somehow I just let them slip through my fingers until now. With Tomi Joutsen on vocals they offer not only the death metal screech or growl, but also clean vocals, which admittedly is manna to my ears in the usual discordant mess of music that I subject them to. Continue reading

Trolling It Up Again

Show date: August 24th, 2008
Venue: B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill
Band: Finntroll

Mathias "Vreth" Lillmåns vocaling it up

So the trouble with not waiting a good year or so before returning for a show is that fewer people will make it a prerogative to purchase tickets. The crowd was pretty non-existent for the opener, Lethal Strike and grew only a smidgen for Warbringer. In fact, I had a lingering suspicion that Lethal Strike brought all their friends down. This was only confirmed when three guys started freaking out all over the floor trying to start a mosh pit, and even a circle pit—though that mostly meant that they just chased each other until they got tired.

John Kevill - Warbringer Vocals. I did say ecstatic.

Both Lethal Strike and Warbringer looked ecstatic to be onstage. Although the former is only now recording a demo while the latter put out an album in 2007, both bands were mugging for the crowd and drinking in the energy while being amazing clichés. Things like “We will tear you all down with a… LETHAL STRIKE” were uttered onstage. It was also explained to us that humanity sucks and we will all eventually feed upon ourselves. I assume Warbringer expects a Zombie Holocaust, although none of their lyrics confirmed this. The bands didn’t sound particularly novel, but weren’t bad either.

At 9 both openers were finished and we prepared ourselves for a two-hour set of Finntroll, since that’s what they delivered last time. They finally came out at about 9:45, not really strutting, just sort of wandering out on stage and launched into Kitteldags off of the Jacktens Tid album. The crowd was already kind of worked up due to the three guys mentioned previously who felt that people weren’t giving their all to the pit. My thoughts on this are, you can’t tell me to move, I will move when the music makes me. This time though no amount of music was going to make me do a thing because I recently sprained my ankle and gored my hand and so stayed away from belligerence. Continue reading

Whatever Happened to Wacken 2008?

mud people

Mud People of Wacken

Well, it’s coming. It’s a mighty account of a mighty undertaking in drinking beer and depriving our bodies of bare necessities. There was music too. Much photographic evidence will come into play as well. Worry not, only give us time to put everything together into something coherent.

dirtyfeets

Dirty Feets of Wacken

Superman in Bryant Park: An Exercise in Suffering

Movie Madness

Blankets and sheets separate the lawn into camps full of barefoot people, picnic baskets, and small children. Tonight is the last night of HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival,an outdoor event held behind the New York Public Library June through August. The focus is on classics from the 30’s all the way to the 70’s—but no later—and tonight’s feature is the 1978 rendition of “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, and Gene Hackman.

The lawn is opened to picnickers at 5pm and the movie begins at dusk, sometime between 8 and 9pm. A large screen and powerful speakers are set up at the front of the lawn and people position themselves all around it. Blankets on the lawn itself, and all around the lawn are chairs borrowed from the front of the library and the Bryant Park Grill and Cafe. Although it looks pretty packed at 6pm, when d42 and I get there, turns out hundreds more people will pack themselves in during the next two and a half hours, and then some. Continue reading

Snuff: The Story of the Most Boring Gang Bang Ever

Chuck Palahniuk has been one of my favorite authors for a few years now. His stories about the darker side of life have often left me unable to put the book down.  The plot often equates to things getting worse for the main character in often entertainingly macabre ways.

When I heard he had a new book out, Snuff, I immediately got my hands on it, filled with vague hopes that this would be better than his last book, Rant, which had left me disappointed and confused. Unfortunately, I found this to be his worst work yet.

The plot revolves around Cassie Wright, an aging porn star trying to end her career by breaking the world record for the largest gangbang by having sex with six hundred men in one day. Most of the story takes place backstage, as seen through the eyes of three men; Mr. 72, a young kid who claims to be Cassie’s long lost son, Mr. 137, a failing television actor, and Mr. 600, a co-star in many of Cassie’s films.

The narrative style is typical Palahniuk. As the action moves forward he throws in more info, fleshing out the story or the main character. Survivor, had tips about cleaning as the main character was a maid; Fight Club, told the reader how to make explosives, since the main character was a psychopath. These fit to their stories well, and added to the narrative. Snuff is filled with odd facts about celebrities and sex. While these facts are amusing in themselves, it feels like Palahniuk spent a few nights on Snopes.com, wrote down every odd thing he came across, and tried to work it into his story. Often, the facts come up as small talk between the characters and added nothing to the story itself, seemingly inserted to artificially lengthen an already short novel. Continue reading

Previously on LOST: The Live Experience

Show date: June 1st
Venue: The Knitting Factory
Band: Previously on LOST

Many different forms of entertainment have inspired songs, or even entire bands about them. The Harry Potter books started the band Harry and the Potters, The Gothic Archies have lyrics inspired by Lemony Snicket series, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (although that one may not count as much, as the author is in the band), and there are multiple bands who sing entirely in Klingon. Now there is Previously on Lost, a band that writes songs about the show LOST.

Each song they have written summarizes an episode from season four of the show, giving birth to a genre that has been coined as “Recap Rock.” Their songs have an upbeat tempo to them, which makes for catchy tunes that you may hear yourself humming after you listen to them. When I heard they were playing on at The Knitting Factory in the city, I figured there were worse ways to spend ten dollars (as I usually learn whenever I eat at White Castle).

Atmosphere was a big part of the night. Upon entering the main bar, everyone was given a leigh. The stage was decorated with inflatable palm trees and a cardboard cutout of a hula girl. The only way things could have been more island-themed is if there was sand on the floor. The show began with a cardboard plane being carried from the back of the room and crashing into the stage. The two singers of the band then came out and mercilessly pummeled aforementioned plane, and went right into the first song. It was small touches like that, and the songs themselves that made the show memorable.

TropicalContinue reading

Final Fantasy 8 Sucks: A Review That’s Too Damn Late

I’m going to break my usual tradition and write about something mainstream today. It’ll come as a shock to most of you, not reading about some obscure ROM about gay sex. We’ll be back to that soon, don’t worry.

Like most of you nerds out there, I play video games in my spare time. I read the reviews and see what’s good and what sucks, and throw away all reviews that say “OMG THE GRAPHICS SUCKZ.” I grew up with Atari. I can deal with bad graphics; I could really care less if the main character is a blue dot or a fully rendered 3-D model of Estelle Getty in the nude (which would of course be the hottest thing ever). Sometimes though, reviews are just so wrong that it makes you want to hunt down the person who wrote it and burn crosses on their front lawn. This has happened to me a few times, but there is one game I loathe so much that to this day I still hate those bastards the gave it a positive review.

But when Atari tries to render Estelle Getty, it just isn’t the same.

It’s a well-known fact that a lot of fanboys have hard-ons for the Final Fantasy series. They’ll buy anything closely associated with it, from T-shirts to sex toys. So whenever a new one comes out, magazines and on-line sites hail this as the second coming of zombie Jesus. Everyone eats it up and Square laughs, counting their money. As for myself, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy since back in the days of the NES, before there was even a plot. So I know the games can be good, even with the weaknesses they all share, so there’s no need to e-mail me talking about how the game consists of pressing one button until you win. I know. I hate it myself, but for some reason I can’t stop. Continue reading