NWOBHM JANUARY: Tokyo Blade

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YEAR OF METAL title

tokyo blade logoI have no idea what the seeming obsession that some of the NWOBHM bands had with Japanese culture. It’s not like it is today, mind you–it’s just when it comes to an exotic sounding names for metal groups in the 70s/80s era, a bit of Oriental spice seemed in order. I have no idea where to go with this pompous sounding opener of mine, so let’s just move on to Tokyo Blade, shall we?

Starting life first as White Diamond,then Killer, and then Genghis Khan before settling on Tokyo Blade in 1981, they released their first album as a self-titled in 1983 (titled Midnight Rendezvous here in the States because…reasons), while sharing stages with the likes of Metallica and Venom. Frequent lineup changes and a couple of hiatus periods, along with some sound changes over the years, and the band is still chugging along.

Powergame

Night Of The Blade

Dirty Faced Angels

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Movie Review: GOD’S NOT DEAD

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Gods-Not-Dead-406x620Pure Flix Entertainment
2014
PG

“How can you hate someone that doesn’t exist?

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton, finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson. Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him?

I can just imagine the volume of emails and possible Facebook messages rebuking me for this review already. Because, if we Christians are anything, we’re fiercely loyal to any kind of attempt at pop culture evangelism put forth, no matter how lousy the execution. And when someone like myself comes along with the audacity to say they don’t like it…well, I still have that scar from the ill-fated conversation with that casting Crowns fan from a while back.

For this reason, I never intended to watch the movie God’s Not Dead. I always got the feeling when it was circulating in theaters that I wouldn’t like it, and since I have a strong “watch it and review it” policy, I didn’t feel like justifying my existence to my fellow brethren and sister-en. I do that enough the way it is. However, just recently my youth group decided to watch the DVD, and being the dutiful youth leader that I am, I stayed and watched. And thus, here is my review. Deep breath, here we go (it’s like ripping off a Band-Aide)…

God’s Not Dead is not a good movie. It’s not a terrible movie, as some of you reading this may have translated that as. No, what this is, is a movie that has the look, feel and execution of an Aaron Spelling prime time soap opera. Meaning, it’s homogenized, non-offensive, and designed to rely more on emotional responses in lieu of actual substance.

In the case of God’s Not Dead, I’ve been describing it as Evangelical Christian Clichés: The Movie! And by that, I mean instead of characters with a fleshed-out story, we have more of a cast of archetypes thrown together like a game of The Sims, written into situations that play out more like overly idealized concepts than slices of life. Mind you, as a fan of horror and sci-fi movie genres (and just fun cheese in general), that’s not what bothers me. What really made God’s Not Dead rather a chore to sit through while mentally forcing myself not to constantly be making my usual MST3K riffs every five seconds (which I could have, I should point out), was the fact that the story itself came off as maybe a point or two better than your standard Chick Tract in the execution. Only, we all know that the actual Chick tracts would never condone the usage of a Christian rock band like the “Newsboys” in such a positive light.

But, just to show that I’m not just some jaded curmudgeon looking for reasons to not like something, I will say that God’s Not Dead was shot pretty well, and the cast does does do well with not making things come off as amateurish as some of those Church Group Shooting A Film productions I’ve suffered through in the past. The story itself flows pretty evenly, and there were really only a couple of lag parts that were brief. And Kevin Sorbo looks pretty darned sexy in that gotee he was sportin’.

Overall, while it was produced much, much better than a lot of independent Christian films that are out there, I don’t agree that God’s Not Dead had enough clout to really contend with the other theatrical blockbusters that came out at the same time. Not because I think that Christians can’t produce movies of high quality–they exist, believe it or not–but because even at the best moments, God’s Not Dead is more of a glorified Hallmark Channel movie that works best in church group settings. So, in that sense, the manner in which I watched this was perfect. But, because I strive to give my honest thoughts on something, regardless of if it’s universally loved by the very body of believers I am a part of, I personally have to say that God’s Not Dead is not good enough for a second viewing. At least worth a cursory look, not much else.

NWOBHM JANUARY: Girlschool

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YEAR OF METAL titlegirlschool logoWhen one thinks of all-girl bands from the 1970s, chances are the first name to spring to mind is The Runaways. And I wouldn’t blame you, seeing as they’ve been receiving a bit of nostalgia revival the past few years (having a song on the Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtrack didn’t hurt, I’m sure). But, when it comes to all-lady helmed METAL bands that could hold their own with the likes of Motorhead, you would be hard pressed to find anybody that would top Girlschool.

Brash, brazen, and definitely the opposite of pink and frilly, I wasn’t kidding about the whole “hold their own with the likes of Motorhead” thing, as they released not just one, but three split vinyls with them back in the early 1980s. That’s what puts them on the list, here.

“Demolition Boys”

“C’mon Let’s Go”

“Screaming Blue Murder”

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Movie Review: LAKE DEAD

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Lake DeadAfter Dark Films / Lionsgate
2007
R

Three beautiful sisters learn of a long lost grandfather, but only make this discovery upon the news of his grisly death. Enticed to visit grandpa’s old home after hearing of an inheritance, the sisters head to the back country with some friends. We quickly follow the group of friends through the gates of a redneck infested hell. The psychotic family occupying the inherited property goes on a long awaited, and much enjoyed killing spree. As the family’s twisted motives unravel, the sisters discover a terror worse than death.

Sometimes, I wonder if the people who are hired to hammer out the synopsis blurbs on the back of the DVDs of movies are made to watch the movies first, or if they’re given a general idea of what the movie is about and spared the actual horror that is watching the movie in the first place. Because, I know if I was in that position, I wouldn’t have been able to type anything close to coherent for quite some time, like I just glimpsed an Eldritch horror staring at me from the Void and I was left a babbling madman, muttering indistinguishable words and laughing uncontrollably.

Yeah. Lake Dead is that kind of a bad movie. As one of the contestants of the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest, so far it has ranked at the very bottom of the list of the 8 films that were featured in the series, and something tells me it’s going to remain at the bottom indefinitely.

Lake Dead is yet another in a long line of inbred psychotic hillbilly torture pron that is as forgettable as it is painful to watch. And the pain is not solely from the torture pron aspect, either. This movie hits it on all levels: The acting is terrible, the effects are terrible, the story is derivatively terrible, the pacing is terrible. How terrible? Lake Dead skirts dangerously close to Birdemic bad. The only thing saving it from that kind of bad was there was no 1990s style animated gif effects utilized. Nope, Lake Dead manages to insult my intelligence all by itself, without such tawdry gimmicks.

Lake Dead is an exercise in bad movie watchin’ that isn’t even the good kind of bad movie watchin’. Pass this one up with extreme prejudice.

NWOBHM JANUARY: Blitzkrieg

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YEAR OF METAL title

blitzkrieg_logo_72dpiBlitzkrig is another NWOBHM band that I first heard about by way of Metallica–their cover of the song “Blitzkrieg” was one of my favorites off of the Kill ‘Em All repressing.

Originally formed in 1980, with little breaks and lineup changes through the decades, Blitzkrieg is still going at it with vocalist Brian Ross as the sole remaining original member.

“Blitzkrieg”

“Inferno”

“Pull The Trigger”

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Sunday A’ La Carte: January 25, 2015

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all about that grace no devilGreetings and salutations, my wonderful freaks. It’s once again Sunday night, so I now dispense with a bit of the ol’ weekly brain droppings I cheekingly call A’La Carte. Of course, you may have noticed that I skipped doing this last week. Or, maybe you didn’t, I don’t know. Point is, I took a bit of a breather last week due to a couple of things: my Aunt Jan’s funeral, and my final move to the old haunted Victorian house in Omaha, referred to lovingly as “The Vic”. Although, I personally like using the full Victorian when referring to the house, as it sounds much more…I don’t know, British? “I’m headed back to The Victorian.” Cue ominous minor-key chord.

Concerning the funeral of my Aunt Jan: it was lovely. Very touching. Got a bit long at the end, when the Eastern Star group she was a member of gave us an interesting ceremony chock full of symbolism, plants, and bad dry readings. Sad she’s gone, but given the circumstances, at least her suffering is done. The family reunions on that side won’t be the same, though.

As to my new place of dwelling: let’s just say, it’s very fitting for a reclusive, curmudgeon-y old recluse like myself. It’s a good place, very atmospheric, very much fitting for my writing sensibilities, and it’s in an area that I find ideally isolated while being nearby places to go. Which, of course, I will probably never really utilize to its full potential, but then again I’m not planning on going anywhere else any time soon. Especially after lugging all of those boxes of books to the second floor room. Gads, that makes a strong case for getting a Kindle or something.

nq150117As a third point of issue: Apparently, today was the day of something you…er, I mean we humans (I’m not an alien) celebrate by pitting our nation’s finest warriors to a battle to the death over an leather egg-shaped item of questionable inflation and size. I believe it is called the Superb Owl, and its acolytes mark this day of jocularity (pun unintentional but nifty) by feasting on copious offerings of adult libations and what are referred to as na-choos. It’s not the same as the roasted tender flesh of the fearsome Kryack washed down with a goblet of the fermented urine of a Kraphlar beast (what you…er, we humans would call “Mountain Dew”), but it is sufficient. Also, the commercials are delightful. I didn’t watch it. I was busy…not watching it. I’m not an alien.

hEAD850A3Do you ever find yourself getting confused when it comes to deciphering the coded language we Christians sometimes use ad nausium called Christianese? While I personally have made conscious efforts to not use it in my daily conversations with anybody, after over twenty-five years, I am fluent in the Charismatic, Non-Denominational, Baptist (both Southern and Independent Fundamental strains), and General Youth Group and Bible Study dialects. Which leads into this blog post here that deciphers Christianese for the common English speaker.

nq150116STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: The Year Of Metal continues on with some posts on the NWOBHM bands Jaguar, Raven, and Saxon, then I post reviews for the movies Knights Of Badassdom and Annabelle and the Star Wars zombie novel Death Troopers, and last but not least I posted the praise and worship playlist I listen to at church every Sunday in lieu of the music played by the contemporary worship band.

So, that’s all for this week. Tomorrow is another day, but I still have a bit of writing to do before succumbing to the siren song of the bed, there. Until next time, leave your comments, suggestions and rebukes down below, and I shall see you all next week. I leave you now with your nightmare fuel, brought to you by one of my surrogate nieces. Cheers.

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Praise & Worship, Uncle NecRo Style

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praise him in the graveSo, I’m up this morning, getting a bit of writing and other stuff on the laptop done before I get ready to go to church (11am service, due to me not really waking up until Noon or so). It’s well known that I don’t have a taste for the kind of Contemporary Alternative type “modern worship” that that Sanctified Hipster Band (not their real name) plays every Sunday morning at both the 9:30 and 11am services. But, that’s all right, I’m not raising a stink about that. Worship, whether it encompasses just the music, the entire church service, or the entirety of my daily life, is not about me. In this case, my preference of music that the band is playing doesn’t matter, and I’m certainly not going to ruin it for everyone else by loudly complaining about something as trivial as the music style I like or don’t like.

Therefore, as a nice medium, I have been taking my own Praise & Worship playlist on my media device to listen to during the what I’ve been referring to as the “pep rally portion” of the church service, just so my ears don’t get sad for the 15-20 minutes or so before the teaching portion begins (my favorite part of the worship, really). And since no one whatsoever has asked, I thought I’d take the time right now to share with everyone what is currently in that playlist:

Barren Cross – Believe
Barren Cross – Dying Day
Barren Cross – Give Your Life
Barren Cross – King Of Kings
Barren Cross – Rock For The King
Bloodgood – Accept The Lamb
Bloodgood – Anguish And Pain
Bloodgood – Awake
Bloodgood – Battle Of The Flesh
Bloodgood – Black Snake (Extended Version)
Bloodgood – Crucify
Bloodgood – Demon On The Run
Bloodgood – Eat The Flesh
Bloodgood – Holy Fire
Bloodgood – Killing The Beast
Bloodgood – The Messiah
Crucified, The – Power Of God
Darrell Mansfield – Jesus Will Reign
Dead Artist Syndrome – Christmas
Dead Artist Syndrome – In Your Hands
Dead Artist Syndrome – Through The Speakers
Deliverance – Attack
Deliverance – Blood Of The Covenant
Deliverance – Greetings Of Death
Deliverance – If We Faint Not
Deliverance – If You Will
Deliverance – J.I.G.
Deliverance – Jehovah Jireh
Deliverance – No Love
Deliverance – Sanctuary
Deliverance – Slay The Wicked
Deliverance – Surrender
Deliverance – The Call
Deliverance – Victory
Deliverance – Weapons Of Our Warfare
Demon Hunter – Lead Us Home
Demon Hunter – Not I
Demon Hunter – Undying
Dig Hay Zoose – Slatherage
Discipe – 1, 2, Conductor
Disciple – 10 Minute Oil Chainge
Disciple – God Of Elijah
Disciple – Golden Calf
Disciple – I Just Know
Disciple – Worship Conspiracy
Eternal Decision – Alive
Eternal Decision – Hunger
Eternal Decision – Overflow
Eternal Decision – Power
Eternal Decision – Risen
Ethereal Scourge – Refuge
Ethereal Scourge – Tombthroat
Grave Robber – Altered States
Grave Robber – Detonation AD
Grave Robber – Fear No Evil
Grave Robber – Fill This Place With Blood
Grave Robber – Haunted House
Grave Robber – I, Zombie
Grave Robber – Invisible Man
Grave Robber – Last Man On Earth
Grave Robber – Nightbreed
Grave Robber – Reanimator
Grave Robber – Rigor Mortis
Grave Robber – Schizofiend
Grave Robber – Screams Of The Voiceless
Grave Robber – Skeletons
Grave Robber – Something Wicked This Way Comes
Grave Robber – You’re All Gonna Die
Klank – Burning
Light Force – Babylon
Living Sacrifice – Enthroned
LS Underground – Bye Bye Colour
LS Underground – Jordan River
LS Underground – Miracle
LS Underground – Not A Cussword
LS Underground – Shaded Pain
Mortal – Alive And Awake
Mortal – Enfleshed (The Word Is Alive)
Narnia – In His Majesty’s Service
No Innocent Victim – No Compromise
One Bad Pig – Blow And Go
One Bad Pig – Isaiah 6
One Bad Pig – Man In Black
One Bad Pig – Never Forget The Cross
One Bad Pig – People Cry Out
One Bad Pig – Red River
One Bad Pig – Thrash Against Sin
One Bad Pig – Wholly My Lord
Outer Circle – It Must Be Wonderful
Red Sea – Blood
Red Sea – Dust To Dust
Red Sea – Soulshaker
Red Sea – Wolves At The Door
Six Feet Deep – Angry Son
Six Feet Deep – Condemnation
Six Feet Deep – Purify
Six Feet Deep – Struggle
Soul Embraced – Truth Solution
Stryper – Calling On You
Stryper – Free
Stryper – Loud N’ Clear
Stryper – Loving You
Stryper – Makes Me Wanna Sing
Stryper – More Than A Man
Stryper – Soldiers Under Command
Stryper – Surrender
Stryper – The Rock That Makes Me Roll
Stryper – The Way
Stryper – To Hell With The Devil
Tourniquet – A Dog’s Breakfast
Tourniquet – Broken Chromosomes
Tourniquet – Psycho Surgery
Tourniquet – Ready Or Not
Tourniquet – Tears Of Korah
Tourniquet – Test For Leprosy
Tourniquet – The Threshing Floor
Tourniquet – You Get What You Pray For
Vengeance Rising – Among The Dead
Vengeance Rising – Arise
Vengeance Rising – Burn
Vengeance Rising – Fill This Place With Blood
Vengeance Rising – He Is God
Vengeance Rising – I Love Hating Evil
Vengeance Rising – Into The Abyss
Vengeance Rising – Warfare
Vengeance Rising – White Throne
Whitecross – Attention Please
Whitecross – Because Of Jesus
Whitecross – Enough Is Enough
Whitecross – He Is The Rock
Whitecross – No Way I’m Goin’ Down
Whitecross – Shakedown
Whitecross – Who Will You Follow
Zao – In Loving Kindness

Just pop on my noise-blocking headphones, set this list on shuffle, and let this be a nice alternative to what’s being offered by the band.

So, this is what I consider “praise & worship music”. Do you have a list like this? Have you ever thought of one to take the place of the music played at whatever church you go to, if you do attend church? Feel free to share. I’m in a rare interactive mood today, for some reason. Cheers.

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