Hardcore + Crossover MARCH: BAD BRAINS

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bad brains

There’s been a lot of bands that are considered a pioneer of a certain genre that are really hard to keep pigeonholed inside that label. Bad Brains is one of those bands. Starting off as, of all things, a jazz fusion ensemble in the 1970s, they developed a rather fast and abrasive punk rock sound which fit in with the emerging hardcore scenes at the time. Of course, over time they’ve proven rather adept at utilizing a wide variety of styles, from funk to heavy metal, hip-hop and soul to reggae, and had more complex rhythms and harmonies than other general practitioners of the hardcore sound.

“Right Brigade”

“Coptic Times”

“I Against I”


Book Review: LIMBO

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jan lara - limboJan Lara
Popular Library

Maribeth has a secret. A secret she’d thought dead. And safely buried. A secret that twists and turns and writhes, never to find rest. Something quite contrary grows in her neighbor’s garden, something not quite good, yet not quite evil. Someone haunts and torments Maribeth’s young daughter, someone not quite living, yet not quite dead. Somehow a frightened young mother must find the strength to overcome a force of unearthly innocence and unholy cunning. A force compelled to destroy life in order to have it. A force not of this world nor of hell, but a place more damned than anyone could have ever imagined…

Another one of those mass market paperback novels that was on sale in some department store or Five-And-Dime where this was probably picked up at. I don’t remember where exactly; all I know is, I didn’t buy it personally—probably my mother, as she was big on those kind of cheep horror novels that were everywhere back then—and I kept seeing it lying around, so I finally just read it a few years ago in an afternoon. A few years later, I finally decide to scribble down a review of the thing. Yeah, it’s how I work.

Limbo tells the story of a young widow who had to move back to her home town after the tragic death of her husband, and start a new life with her young daughter. Only, soon after returning, she’s being sued by the town douche bag that I imagine looks like Bill Paxton’s character in True Lies. Oh, and also there’s the issue of the vengeful spirit of another young girl that has ties to the young woman’s past, wreaking all sorts of wackiness on the townsfolk.

Overall, Limbo was a pretty decent supernatural ghost story that was straight-forwardly written and managed to keep things interesting from start to finish. For another in a long line of paperback horror novels, Limbo was a pleasant surprise. It’s not going to unseat any of the masters any time soon, but it’s worth checking out if you run across it at a used book shop some time.


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Green Lantern Movie PosterWarner Bros.

You’re impertinent, Hal Jordan. You’re rash, volatile, opinionated; it seems Abin Sur found another just like himself.”

In a vast, mysterious universe, a powerful force has existed for centuries…the Green Lantern Corps- a brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy threatens the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of a new recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan. While Hal is a gifted and cocky pilot, the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. With the encouragement of childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris, if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to saving the Universe…but he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all!

For some reason, when it comes to comic book movies, DC Comics just can’t seem to get much of a hit beyond their two big characters—namely, Batman and Superman. Not that any of the other stable of classic DC heroes are slouches; it just seems that translating any other hero to the big screen hasn’t been as easy for DC than it has for Marvel.

By now, the fanboy backlash concerning the live action Green Lantern movie—the very one we’re reviewing right now—has been well documented. Personally, I have never been what you would call a fan of the comic book; though, as any proper comic book geek, I have a decent understanding of the various incarnations and story arcs of the Emerald Knight. Enough to know where the movie was drawing from, but not enough to be so emotionally invested that I feel the need to spend pages and pages deconstructions it. Still, I did manage to hold off watching until now, because…well, I had more interesting things to watch and complain about.

The story in this here live action Green Lantern movie, as to be expected, draws from the classic Silver Age origin of the character: Cocky test pilot Hal Jordan discovers after a rather bad day on the job, that he has been chosen by an alien-made ring to take the place of a dying alien as a Green Lantern, a kind of intergalactic peace-keeping military force, created by neigh-immortal fuchsia-colored munchkins called the Guardians of the Universe. And if that isn’t a power metal band name, it really should be. Anyway, all the other Green Lanterns in the Corps find it hard to believe that a gross, cootie-covered human would be picked by the ring…including Hal, who pretty much quits after a bit of training by the likes of Kilowog and Sinestro. But then, a yellow-colored alien entity made up of pure fear by the name of Parallax—the very entity that Hal’s predecessor tangled with and defeated ages ago—threatens to take out the Earth, and thus Hal has to pull himself out of his pity party and figure out a way to handle Parallax and his bulbous-headed minion by himself. Because the rest of the Corps isn’t helping out, because…reasons.

When all is said and done, I found this live action Green Lantern movie to be entertaining enough to warrant some enjoyment. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t think Ryan Reynolds was the right pick to play Hal Jordan. If you would ask my not-so-humble opinion, I think David Boreanaz would have been a better pick over Reynolds. But, I wouldn’t rule Reynolds out for playing Kyle Rayner. That’s besides the point, though. Maybe I’m not too overly familiar with the character of Hal Jordon, but Reynolds’ depiction of him came off as rather unlikable, even when he was getting his “save the world from the indestructible evil” thing going. The overall story felt rushed in several areas, especially with the training sequences (there needed more Kilowog, most definitely), and I don’t buy that the rest of the Lanterns are going to just let a wet-behind-the-ears rookie go off and save an entire planet by himself from an entity that, and then just show up right when he saves the day. Kinda seeing why Sinestro went rogue, there. Oh, and also, SPOILERS: Sinestro goes rogue in the very end. But you saw that coming, didn’t you? His name’s freakin’ Sinestro, for crying out loud. The Silver Age wasn’t known for subtlety when it came to bad guy names.

For all its flaws, though Green Lantern was just fun to watch. It was nice and shiny, the effects were fantastic, especially the cosmic scope of the thing. Overall, I don’t think Green Lantern was the great cinematic travesty everyone is saying it is. It’s not threatening to take down either of the Big Two in DC’s movie stable, but it could have been oh, so very much worse than it was.

The older I get…

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old metalheadCouple of years back, one of my co-workers mentioned that I happened to disprove his theory of “The older you get, the suckier your taste in music gets.” Tell the truth, I might just be the anomaly in an otherwise sound hypothesis. I mean, really, how many guys in their 40s actually can say that their taste in METAL gets harder and darker and more brutal as time goes on? I have a feeling, if I ever make it to that age bracket, I’m going to be in the nursing home, sitting in my wheelchair, cheesing everybody off by demanding METAL for the special music time:

OLD ME: “Metaaaaaaaaaaaaal! I want metaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!”
NURSE: “Now, come on Mister Case. You’re disturbing all the others who are watching the polka band play.”
OLD ME: “Screw them! METAL UP YOUR Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…* Huh? Waffles please.”

Spikes on the wheelchair. Metal band logo stickers plastered all over. Dave Mustaine’s face plastered to the bottom of my Depends. Awesome.


Movie Review: GODZILLA (2014)

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Godzilla 2014 Movie PosterWarner Bros.

“I think Godzilla was only listening. The MUTO was calling something else.”

From visionary new director Gareth Edwards comes a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless.

I don’t think I have to explain why Godzilla is such a cinematic icon. Since he climbed out of the Pacific ocean to lay waste to Tokyo in 1954, when anyone thinks of giant monsters, first and foremost to spring to mind is the radiated bipedal lizard, regardless of whether or not you’ve seen any of the movies. For me, I discovered this Japanese import by way of a book series on classic movie monsters that I checked out of the local library as a 7-year-old. And, of course, there was the Hanna Barbara cartoon featuring Godzilla, Godzookie and a bunch of kids for some odd reason. It really wasn’t until college when I watched my first Godzilla movie–the 195_ original, as a matter of fact. Of course, back then we still only had the “Americanized” cut that was shown here in the states: where they inter-cut extra shots featuring Raymond “Perry Mason” Burr reacting to the destruction, but not really part of the actual movie.

As far as a full-on American version of the Godzilla franchise, this 2014 movie is actually the second attempt to bring the big guy to the States. The first time in 1998 was…um, I’ll just hold on to my thoughts for that particular review. Let’s just say that this 2014 American Godzilla is not only heads and tails better (see what I did there?), but this time out we’ve finally done the franchise proud, I think.

In this Godzilla, we have the story of a man who tragically lost his wife to the destruction of the nuclear power plant they both worked at in Japan back in 1999 (in one of the more heart-breaking scenes I’ve ever had to sit through). Fifteen years later, and he’s still in Japan, convinced that there was more to the destruction of the plant than a simple core meltdown, and is constantly getting in trouble trying to prove his theory, while his son–who was only 10 years old when the tragedy happened–has moved on with his life, with a wife and a young son of his own, working as a bomb specialist in the Army. After his dad is once again arrested for trespassing in the forbidden radiation zone around the ruins of the plant, he travels to Japan to spring him, only to accompany him back into that zone, where they not only discover that there is no radiation whatsoever, but there seems to be a rather odd conflagration of scientists gathered at ground zero, where a strange giant irradiated cocoon is being monitored. Of course, said cocoon hatches, and a gigantic insectile winged creature (which is not Mothra, I’d like to point out) lays waste to the science expedition, and flies out over the ocean, heading east. Seems Tiny has a taste for radiation, and likes targeting things and places that uses said radiation for power. Like, say, nuclear subs. And power plants. You getting the idea? The military and the scientists who were studying the creature immediately give chase…as does a certain giant green lizard creatures with atomic breath. There’s a showdown in Hawaii, then it’s off to the mainland in San Francisco, where they’re joined up by the winged creature’s girlfriend, who’s looking to lay her eggs underneath the city that gave the world Rice-a-roni. Among other things, I’m sure. Big honkin’ monster battle ensues, it looks like we’re all doomed, but then [SPOILERS] Godzilla saves the day and then swims off to his trailer to await the sequel. The end.

I’m going to say this as a tried-and-true fanboy of the Godzilla franchise, the good the bad and the ugly: Godzilla 2014 was awesome. I’ve heard all the complaints and the nit-pickery, and while I concede that this movie has its flaws and shortcomings, comparatively, this is classic Godzilla kicking it old school in a modern telling. Maybe I’m not Trve Geek by admitting this, but for the most part seeing this play out on the big screen (watched it at the local Second Run theater, mind you, but still worth it) was very satisfying. The character stories were compelling, and the build-up to the final battles were deliciously tense and action packed. Yeah, I enjoyed every minute of this thing. It’s a fun Godzilla movie, period. Give it a shot.


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Mushroom-cloudIf anyone remembers, back in 2012 there was an Apocalypse that was a no-show, due to the Mayans dropping the ball or some sort. Back then, on the Book of Faces, one of my FaceBook Souls–Klank–posed the question of, what would your Soundtrack to the End of the World be? And I made up my own list and posted it on my previous blog. Now, as I’m slowly getting all of the articles up and going here, I present to you my go-to playlist for the End of the World!

(In No Particular Order)

– KLANK – “Downside”
…funny how this is the first song that popped in my head as I was putting this thing together, as it was the Klankster himself that asked the question that got me to think of this list…seems fitting…

– METALLICA – “Blackened”
…one of the first songs I heard to deal with apocalyptic themes and the end of the earth, off of the first Metallica album I ever owned…a classic, really…

– R. E. M. – “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
…this song is obligatory, if by name only if not subject matters contained within said song…Leonard Bernstein…

– MEGADETH – “Into The Lungs Of Hell / Set The World Afire”
…what can I say, Armageddon and Megadeth just goes together like peanut butter and jelly…

– FOGHAT – “Slow Ride”
…for no other reason than this just seems to fit, watching the world go up in smoke while sitting in your lawn chairs on the roof of some building, this cranking out…yeah, that’s how I envision things going…

…a bit of something different; of course, I first heard this version of the Tears For Fears song on the movie Donnie Darko, and became smitten with it immediately; I can imagine this playing in the background as I watch the buildings crash down around me, as I take the hand of whoever is standing with me at the time…

– TESTAMENT – “Greenhouse Effect”
…who says metalheads don’t care about the environment? We’re just not as wishy-washy about things…

– DEF LEPPARD – “Armageddon It”
…I’m pretty sure this song has nothing really to do with Armageddon, but the title screams “Please please include me!” It was the 80s, and all…

– MOTLEY CRUE – “Shout At The Devil”
..the original album version, not that stupid “97 Remix” version…double-fisted metal horns for the end of the world, baby…

– WEIRD AL YANKOVIC – “Christmas At Ground Zero”
…’tis the season…and this close to the apex of the Holidays, this seemed a perfect end to…well, The End…cheers…


Untitled Prayer

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untitled prayerHow long, oh Lord, will You allow me to tarry? To continue my existence here? What do You see in me that I don’t? You know me better than I even do. I love You and praise You, Lord Jesus, but more often than not I just don’t see what importance I have. I am the worst servant to You. Forever stumbling every other step, it seems. Not a good steward, unfaithful. Unclean, deserving of Your wrath. One might say, the chief of all sinners if it hasn’t already been co-opted by St. Paul. I have no one to blame but myself for what I am.

And yet, Your grace and mercy continually flow on me, overflowing and spilling over. You alone are holy, You alone are worthy, You alone are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your love for me knows no bounds.

Remember Your servant. I desperately long for Your touch. I want to hear Your voice. You are faithful, and I am an ungrateful worm. Fill me with Your Spirit, so I don’t try to fill this hole with something temporary and ultimately unfulfilled.

You have blessed me beyond measure. My family, my friends…I cannot even count the value and wealth they give. I forever praise You for all of them.


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