Music Review: 911 – Time Will Tell

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911 - time will tell

911
Time Will Tell
Exile
1986

When I came across this album, there were quite a few questions that were pulsating through my noggin long before I ever got around to listening to it. How do you pronounce the name, as a for instance? Is it “Nine-One-One”? Or perhaps “Nine-Eleven”? I can’t seem to find any information anywhere, save for a small handful of obscure blogs that write a bit of a thing about how much they enjoy this one. No information as to band members, history or anything. The best I could find was a bit on Discogs.com and the Firestream Music Vault, and even those were rather sparse. All I had was the album release information, and the fact that this was one that was released in the mid-1980s, so since it was a relatively independent and obscure release, and never was released on CD (both the vinyl and cassette versions I’ve seen on eBay and Amazon go for stupid amounts of money for some reason).

Then I listened to the album. And I have to say that the lack of any kind of information, let alone CD releases or any re-releases of any kind, should come as no surprise, as Time Will Tell falls underneath the Really Really Lame Mid-1980s CCM AOR Rock That Should Be Forgotten Forever (Except When Doing A Best-Of-The-Worst List). I really need to shorten that title somehow. But anyway, while sometimes it takes me a bit to ponder what band or release to compare it to, this only took me a few seconds to formulate my comparison, and by the third song it was cemented: Starship. Specifically, Knee Deep In The Hoopla Starship. We’re talking keyboard-heavy pop rock that goes for the radio-friendly kind of edgy, which translates here into “safe”. Which, admittedly, was what a lot of Top 40 rock n’ roll was back in that time period. I know, I lived through that. So, in way, Time Will Tell was actually ensconced with the style of the time, instead of waiting until 1990 to release it. But, that still doesn’t excuse the fact that I just spent time I could have been listening to something good listening to this throwback to a time we’d rather forget about.

But, lest you think that I’m full of nothing but bile about this, I do admit that the production was decent, the musicians had some talent showing through (there’s some good guitar riffs shining through the lame), and the vocalists didn’t make my ears as sad as they could have. Although, there were a couple of times I had to keep myself from shouting “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!” at the female vocalist.

So, here we have an example of an album that is languishing in obscurity for a good reason. If you enjoy lame corporate “rock”, then go ahead. Me, it’s a one-and-done thing. Pass.

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Article: HOLY SPIRIT vs. HOLY GHOST

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only ghost that lives hereOne of my many curious quirks involves the near-OCD preference of “Holy Spirit” when referring to the one part of the Godhead. I tend to get a bit twitchy whenever I hear someone use the alternate title “Holy Ghost”. And in the instances where I’m at a liturgical church service, I always substitute Holy Spirit for Holy Ghost when reciting. Which does mess up the rhythm of the oft-used “Praise God For Whom All Blessings Flow” Doxology, but it’s a small price to pay.

“What’s the big deal?” you may be asking yourself. I get it, same difference and all. And I’m pretty sure this is one of the most messed up reasons for my little quirk, but here it is:

Throughout most of the 1990s, I was involved with a local Pentecostal church. I don’t know if it’s ubiquitous with all Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and groups, but with this one, Holy Ghost was used almost ad nausium. Especially when Holy Ghost was used as an adjective of sorts, like inserting it before things would make it something much more spiritual. Like when a popular faith healer wishes he had a “Holy Ghost machine gun” to take down those who disagreed with him. Or his wife saying we needed a “Holy Ghost enema” right up the rear end. And these are the whimsical examples.

I’m afraid, like Pavlov’s dog, I tend to associate “Holy Ghost” with a dark time in my spiritual life. And no, I’m not going to go into details. That’s in my past, and I’ve forgiven and moved on. With this, though, some echoes from the past seem to still colour my present. I hold no grudges for anyone who prefer “Holy Ghost” over “Holy Spirit”. But, in case you ever had a question as to why I prefer one over the other when addressing that part of the Holy Trinity, there you go. A little bit of self-disclosure for you all. Cheers.

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Movie Review: BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: Revelations

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Butterfly Effect 3Lionsgate
2009
R

“Brilliant. Yeah, okay. Thought you were gonna say sexy. But hey, that’s okay. No problem. Still gonna have a good day.”

Sam has an extraordinary talent: the ability to travel through time. He can use his gift to help the police solve cases. But he must never intervene with the past as it could alter the present in horrible ways. When a woman from Sam’s past begs him to help find her sister’s killer, Sam breaks his own rule…and all hell breaks loose.

So, I’ve reviewed the first Butterfly Effect, and now it seems I’m skipping over the second movie all together to the third in the so-called “trilogy”, making your brain throb trying to figure out the logic behind it. Or, worse, you’re desperately searching for the elusive “lost” review of Butterfly Effect 2, and finding it a fool’s errand. Don’t worry; I haven’t reviewed the second Butterfly Effect movie, and I have no plan on doing so in the immediate future. Or the far-off future, as a matter of fact. I never considered The Butterfly Effect to be a movie in need of a franchise; like The Matrix or Back To The Future, one-and-done would have suited me just find. So I never really bothered with the sequels…until it turned out the third in the series–Revelations–was included in the third instalment of the After Dark Horrorfest series in 2008. And since it’s been kind of a hobby of mine to watch all of the movies in the After Dark collection, I had to watch it. Not to say I haven’t tried to put it off for as long as I could, mind you.

So, this guy named Sam Reide seems to have the same ability that Ashton Kutcher had back in the first film, to whisk himself back in time during his own time line. Only, instead of using it to mess up his own time line, he goes back in time to merely observe crimes being committed, take notes, and bring these details back to the police to help them find perpetrators of the crime. He uses the extra cash to pay the rent on his reclusive sister’s apartment and buy her groceries. Everything’s fine…until he’s visited by the sister of his former girlfriend, who was murdered some time ago, to find the killer responsible for her slaying. He refuses at first, but because it would have been a very short movie, he decides to go ahead and find out. Only, things don’t go as planned, things changed, and next thing you know, his present time line starts to not resemble what it originally was. And of course, his attempts at fixing things makes things even worse. As it turns out, he’s not the only one who can jump, and it just may be that Sam had a hand in creating one of the more terrifying serial killers to stalk Detroit.

Again, I have to ask, why did they feel the need to shoehorn this movie with The Butterfly Effect? It’s not really taking the “jumping time travel” mechanics of the first one, just kind of laxing the rules to suit the story. I was, however, engaged with the storyline; despite being a bit derivative, it did try to give a different spin to it, adding in the aspect of having your good deeds creating the evil that you’re trying to fight against.

Overall, The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations didn’t suck as I expected, and it did try to be its own movie instead of rehashing the plot of the first movie. It’s worth a look, I would say. It could have been much, much worse.

Book Review: ANANSI BOYS (Neil Gaiman)

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anansi boysNeil Gaiman
William Morrow
2005

It begins, as most things begin, with a song.

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep – about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting…and a lot more dangerous.

The follow-up to his ambitious American Gods novel, Anansi Boys isn’t so much a sequel to that novel, as it is a companion piece of sorts. It takes place after the events of American Gods, but outside of the tie-in with Mr. Nancy, Anansi Boys is its own story. Meaning, you don’t have to read American Gods first to understand and enjoy Anansi Boys for itself.

If I were to choose between the two, though, I would have to concur that I found myself enjoying Anansi Boys a bit more than I did the previous novel. It’s a rather engaging comedy of errors; we find our main protagonist, Charlie Nancy, an unambitious Londoner who’s resigned himself to his rut of a life, engaged to marry an uptight lady and working for a talent agency whose boss is embezzling the clients. After flying to America to attend his father’s funeral, he learns that his father was actually the incarnation of the West African spider god, Anansi, and while Charlie didn’t inherit any of the powers that come with being a god, he learns–for the first time–that he has a brother that did receive these powers. And he could summon him by way of sending a spider-gram. Which he does, one night whilst drunk. And when his long-lost brother–Spider–shows up for an impromptu family reunion…well, do I even need to say “wackiness ensues”? Well, it does. In spades. You’ll have to read it for yourselves.

It took a while for me to read Anansi Boys after reading American Gods. It wasn’t because I wasn’t able to acquire it–it was included with American Gods in an omnibus edition that I bought from Barnes & Noble a few years ago–it’s just that I find Neil Gaiman to be one of those writers that I have to take in individual doses. This is due to his style of writing that effortlessly blurs together fantasy and reality, into kind of a whimsical fever dream of sorts. It makes my head swim at times, even if it’s one of his more accessible pieces. This is very much a good thing, but too much of it back-to-back, and…well, I’m afraid to think what it will do to my brain, either short-term or long-term.

But, otherwise, if you’re looking for something that’s a good blend of humor, fantasy, and explores some of the more obscure mythologies of various cultures, then you should check out Anansi Boys. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, myself.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.15

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NSR LOGO

It’s time once again for some more of the patent-pending Brutal Music Therapy you all crave (I know you do, don’t try and deny it)! This time featuring cuts from:


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Dale Huffman Tribute Special

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EpisodeDALE-620x326

Just a quick synopsis, Dale Huffman is a fellow \,,/METAL\,,/ slinger with Metal Pulse Radio, who recently is going through a tough fight with cancer. And thus, another one of the Brotherhood of Metal Podcasting–David Garrison of The Master’s Metal–got ahold of a bunch of us to contribute some bits for a special tribute to the man. It’s a special MM show, and by clicking the link you’ll get to listen to it, as well as be able to contribute to the fund set up to help him and his family with the medical bills. I’m passing this on here, because Uncle NecRo cares.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

CONTRIBUTE TO THE MEDICAL FUND HERE

Movie Review: The BUTTERFLY EFFECT

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butterfly_effect_ver2New Line Cinema
2004
R

“If anyone finds this, it means my plan didn’t work and I’m already dead. But if I can somehow go back to the beginning of all this, I might be able to save her.”

Evan Treborn has lost track of time. From an early age, crucial moments of his life have disappeared into a black hole of forgetting. His boyhood marred by a series of terrifying events he can’t remember. What remains is the ghost of memory and the broken lives of his childhood friends, Kayleigh, Lenny and Tommy. Throughout his childhood, Evan was under the care of a psychologist who encouraged him to keep a journal, detailing the events of his day-to-day life. Now in college, Evan reads from one of those journals and finds himself thrust inexplicably back in time. Even comes to realize the notebooks he keeps under his bed are a vehicle, a way to return to the past to reclaim his memories. But these recollections only leave Evan feeling responsible for the damaged lives of his friends, especially Kayleigh, the childhood sweetheart he still loves. Determined to do something now that he was incapable of doing then, Evan purposely travels back in time, his present day mind occupying his childhood body, in an attempt to re-write history and spare his friends and loved ones these traumatic experiences. By altering the events of the past, Evan hopes to transform the present. But every time Evan changes something in the past, he returns to the present to find his actions have unexpected and disastrous consequences. Try as he might, he can’t seem to create a reality that allows he and Kayleigh to live “happily ever after”.

I first watched The Butterfly Effect when it was out in theaters, on a larf with my then partner in movie watchin’ crime Nex. I then wrote a rather favorable review of it on the message board I was frequenting back then, the late-and-lamented XianGoth.Net. Since then, that original review got lost in the cyber-shuffle (does anyone use the prefix “cyber” anymore?), and so now I’m writting up a replacement review of this movie. Hate when that happens.

Viewing it back then, I found The Butterfly Effect to be a rather enjoyable and engaging psychological sci-fi drama that made me not only chew on the movie long after we left the theater, but also forced me to reconsider dismissing Ashton Kutcher as just another chowder-headed comedy actor. Re-watching it now, the movie still holds up quite a bit.

In case you skipped over the novel that was written on the back of the DVD case that I included up there, The Butterfly Effect’s story involves one Evan Treborn, who had a condition growing up where part of his memory blanks out, and he can’t remember anything from the few minutes between the parts he could remember. If that makes any sense. Usually this precedes something bad happening, and he comes to with the aftermath of whatever traumatizing event made his brain decide to tuck that memory away. So, he keeps journals for years, and after a bit discovers them again as a college student, when he discovers he has the ability to jump back to his younger self in the era he’s reading about to experience those blackout times, and why they were banished into the void to begin with. And there’s good reason, let me tell you. I’m not going to go into detail, here; let’s just say “very bad things”, and leave it to you to watch for yourself to fill in the blanks. Pun unintentional. The problem is, every time he tries to fix the past, his present becomes something different, and it’s never good. Oh, and he can still remember what the present was previously. After several botched attempts to make things right for everyone he loves, it finally does irreparable damage to his brain, and he comes across the final solution to make sure everyone turns out safe and happy, even if it means never getting to be with the one he loves. And, depending on if you’re watching the theatrical cut or the director’s cut, this movie ends on a hopeful note or a massively depressing note. The end.

As I mentioned previously, as a movie, The Butterfly Effect works well and still holds up after all this time. It’s a good sci-fi flick that still manages to make you chew over the story after the end-credits have rolled. It’s not perfect, and there are some noticeable plot holes that you can find easily if you want to nit-pick, but overall it’s an engaging movie that I enjoyed then and still enjoy every now and again to this day. I’m just flabbergasted that I have to re-write the review for this. But, here it is. If you haven’t checked it out, you should do so at least once.

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