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Azz McMahon (NSW, Australia)

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Out of My Mind / Holy Water
Out of My Mind / Holy Water
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars WhoCares Rocks for Armenia, 9 Sep 2011
From the opening notes on Out of My Mind, you get a sensation that this could be something special - and Iommi, Gillan, Lord, McBrain, Newsted and Lindestrom deliver a solid hard rock anthem - of Gillan no doubt relating his own personal experience of seeing the aftermath of an earthquake in Armenia - which of course, led to the Rock Aid Armenia charity event.

The song sadly does overstay it's welcome, as the refrain of "Out of My Mind" becomes repetetive, but the band is tight - and watching the film clip (it appears that the video footage is cd-rom only - I could play the disc on a computer, but not on the xbox/dvd player), it was a delight to see some masters of rock/metal at work (in particular Jon Lord, who shows, that even though he's retired from the hard rock scene he set alight in the 70's with Deep Purple, that he's lost nothing in how to deliver his magic on the Hammond organ).

Holy Water, conversely, is nothing short of a masterpiece - and one which makes your heart glow and cheeks ruddy as the favourite tipple does on a winter's day. Gillan again is sublime vocally here, and this song is just classic Ian Gillan rock. The Armenian musicians on dudek and keyboards are sometimes swamped by Iommi's all pervading guitar, but they add another dimension to the song - and it is for their benefit, as well as other very talented musicians that this single was recorded.

The documentary is short and to the point - showing the past history of what came before, and what is now, and Ian is witty and humble - a rare breed of rock star it seems these days, and it seems he genuinely is concerned about the Armenian people. Tony Iommi too, visits, but isn't interviewed as much, which is a shame, (as a Sabbath fan, I'd have been interested in hearing more about his involvement in the project). The Armenian musicians have got talent that needs to be refined, and I do hope they get the school up and running.

If WhoCares themselves did a full album, I'd certainly have a listen - it certainly boosts hopes that Gillan and Iommi may work together again on a song or two in the future - but in any case, this is certainly a worthwhile cause. If only there was one more song...

To Hell With God
To Hell With God
Offered by dodax-online-uk
Price: 13.73

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fanning the flames of apathy - To Hell With God, 1 Mar 2011
This review is from: To Hell With God (Audio CD)
Once more Glen Benton and his hellish horde release another treatise on why God should be abhorred - yep, it's another Deicide album.

How does it stack up to such classics as Deicide, Legion, et al?

Well - it's certainly a very aggressive album - Steve Asheim may have reached some personal speed records of his own on his hyperblasting - and it is very much Asheim that channels the energy of this album and makes it his own.

Glen sounds a lot more aggressive vocally than he's been for some time, but even with this added venom absent from previous albums, it still feels like he's going through the motions. Lyrically, it's the usual vitriol, and all Deicide fans will know what to expect here.

I'm still coming to terms with the Owen/Santolla guitar combo - both men are obviously talented players and have been crafting thrash and death metal riffs for years - but despite their technical prowess, they still don't sound 100% right for the fury and bludgeon that classic Deicide possesses and I didn't really get into the riffing as much as I hoped I would have.

There are some good tracks on here all the same (such as Hang In Agony Until You're Dead, Save Your, Conviction) - my personal favourite being the closer How Can You Call Yourself A God, but overall, I was left wanting more of a return to the sound of the first three albums where the riffing was simplistic in parts, yet savage in it's intensity.

One thing is for certain - Deicide will still be roaring out their fury long after religion has any relevance.

In short - this is a good Deicide album (I definitely think it's better than their last couple), but compared to the first couple of albums, it falls short of Satanic glory.

Neon Nights - Live At Wacken [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
Neon Nights - Live At Wacken [DVD] [2010] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Heaven & Hell
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wacken and Hell - the farewell of a legend, 29 Jan 2011
As many have noted, this dvd is the swansong of the band Heaven and Hell, and with it, one of the last performances of a much beloved metal god - the one and only Ronnie James Dio.

Recorded at the prestigious Wacken open air festival, Heaven and Hell (Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice and guest keyboardist Scott Warren), play to a very vocal crowd, playing songs from their time together.

Ronnie himself is in fine form vocally - and he just seems to miraculously improve with age. Iommi's guitars bristle with power, and Appice and Butler are ever the impressive rhythm section.

There are the classics - Mob Rules, Children of the Sea, Die Young, Heaven and Hell, the relatively unknown - I, Time Machine, and the new - Bible Black, Fear, Follow the Tears.

Does this make up a perfect set?

The short answer is - no, it doesn't.

The songs by and large are powerful and sound great - but the newer songs off The Devil You Know can't match the power of the old - Bible Black is a brilliant cut in the studio - but all those guitar parts in the song on studio bring down the quality of the song live - though the song is powerful, a case of less is more isn't true here - and Warren's keyboards pop up in parts where they're not required and spoil the power of the song.

Fear is the best of the new songs played live, but it was a song I wasn't really a fan of on the album to start with, and would have probably preferred Atom and Evil or Breaking into Heaven in it's stead.

Follow the Tears is abominably powerful live - excellent choice of song for the set - but why the effect on Ronnie's vocals in the chorus? I want to hear Ronnie James Dio singing, not Ronnie and a bloody chipmunk!

And although Country Girl is represented, it is not the full song - just a few bars and then into Neon Knights - and given Country Girl is one of my favourite Mob Rules songs, I find that criminal, as it is a rarely played live cut, whereas Neon Knights has been a staple for years.

I am also disappointed that there is less of Dehumanizer (where's Letters from Earth and Computer God?)and that Shadows of the Wind wasn't played as well, but overall, it is a solid retrospective of the Ronnie James Dio years with Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, and his loss will only make his vital contribution to the world of music all the more thanked for.

Extras include a short farewell from Ronnie's bandmates (sadly minus Scott Warren who although not an official member of Heaven and Hell, was an official member of Dio), and interviews of the four main members of H&H, about the 30 year history of the band and the highs and lows.

(Ronnie and Tony's interviews in particular are a delight to listen to - don't miss them).

This is a great DVD to get, but even though it has new live songs on it, the previous Heaven and Hell dvd - Live at Radio City Music Hall is better, in my opinion.

Who Made Who
Who Made Who
Price: 6.17

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Made Who? Stephen King..., 15 Dec 2010
This review is from: Who Made Who (Audio CD)
As many have commented here, this was indeed the soundtrack for now cult Stephen King trailer trash movie Maximum Overdrive.

This album is a soundtrack and features all the songs that were featured in the film itself that were performed by AC/DC (the film has excerpts from Wagner and an ice cream truck plays King of the Road as it's jingle) - bar a few short instrumentals from the movie (one of which is a sweet blues jam with some great solo work from Angus).

Who Made Who is the official theme song, with lyrics (particularly the chorus) taken indirectly from the movie script, and D.T. and Chase the Ace were both featured in the film during chase scenes or when the machines go beserk in some instances.

The rest of the tracks appear at different intervals depending on what the characters are doing - Ride On for instance, occurs during a quieter moment where things look bleak for the heroes in the film - it adds to the atmosphere (well what there is to be had in the film itself).

Who Made Who is a fine rocking album in it's own right (indeed, the title song is one of my all time favourite AC/DC tracks from the Johnson era), but it works better as a soundtrack album if you've actually seen the film, to work out why there are such curios as remixed versions of Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations - and no songs such as T.N.T., Highway to Hell (I guess even King thought that wasn't ironic enough a song for a bunch of folks being slaughtered by trucks at a truck stop, or maybe the band just wanted to be relevant with the current line up), or even Flick of the Switch, Rising Power - or some similar song that could contain dark humour to go with the film itself.

They maybe should have just released Who Made Who as an EP instead of an album, but Stephen King fans into hard rock should get it to complete part of his works - and if you're an Acca Dacca fan, you should do the same.

As an AC/DC album, it is certainly a stopgap, but if you don't have If You Want Blood (a true example of a greatest hits album - and live, when the band are at their best), Who Made Who isn't a bad time capsule of the early to mid 80's - though like Maximum Overdrive itself, it IS an acquired taste.

Cycle of the Werewolf
Cycle of the Werewolf
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.49

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cycle of the Werewolf has begun..., 10 Dec 2010
This review is from: Cycle of the Werewolf (Paperback)
A curio by King standards - originally a concept for a calendar - with each month featuring a chilling attack in the town of Tarker's Mills, Maine, by a monster whose bloodlust cannot be sated...

The calendar ultimately wasn't made (and I think the story was a bit too long for the calendar if memory serves), but this is an entertaining short story, which probably could be remade as a graphic novel (which to a certain degree it is already, with Berni Wrightson's superb illustrations accentuating King's prose).

It is a by the numbers tale, but I love the simplicity of the story. Werewolf terrorizes small town, someone works out who the monster is - showdown between the two occurs, with blood, savagery and of course, the werewolf is cunning - and more than a mere beast stalking the moonlit night for the flesh it craves.

Cliched, yes, but when written in style, so why gripe, when it works so well?

The film, Silver Bullet took a few liberties here and there (and I love it too), but this is fine King - before he became bogged down during the late 80's.

Part mystery, part campfire horror tale, Cycle of the Werewolf is King's spin on the werewolf, as sure as 'Salem's Lot was his redressing of Dracula, and is well worth a read.

Big Tits Zombie [DVD]
Big Tits Zombie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sora Aoi
Price: 8.68

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BTZ - Ladies, Ladies, Ladies! Zombies, Zombies, Zombies!, 20 Oct 2010
This review is from: Big Tits Zombie [DVD] (DVD)
This by now infamous Japanese film is mindless fun from start to finish, as we see a group of down on their luck dancing girls fight off the living dead in this film which takes it's cues from Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, The Ring, and anything else inbetween in this mismash of genres based on a popular Japanese manga (interestingly, it's more popular with females in Japan, and some of the zombies in the film are actual fans who wanted to dress up - this was revealed in the making of doco).

It is mindless in places, definitely cheap, but there is a lovely tongue in cheek irony to the humour in the film, that is in addition to the cheapness of the gore, the beauty of the actresses, and the usual offbeat wackiness that Asian cinema is renowned for - that sets it apart from other Japanese zombie comedies.

This movie is not as bloody nor as erotic as it could be by any stretch of my imagination, but that's a minor gripe, as it is fun if you know how to switch your mind off and turn into a zombie yourself for a little over an hour.

It has moments which are unique so far as I know in zombie cinema - but die hard zombie film fans who don't like comic horror will not enjoy this, even for the appearances of the (if you'll excuse the pun) delicious Sola Aoi, fiesty Risa Kasumi or the gorgeously Gothic/Lolita doll Mari Sakurai as the leads in the film.

For people who like fun, wacky horror, zombies, and a soundtrack that sounds like it escaped from a Quentin Tarantino film done in Japanese, then BTZ is the film for you.

The DVD comes with both the 2D and 3D versions of the film on the disc (single sided), has 2 pairs of 3D glasses, and for those of you who can play PAL films outside of the UK (not sure about region 3 or so - but I'm a region 4 user as I'm in Australia, and it works fine on my player no worries).

Sorry to the Americans and other folks who use NTSC, but you'd probably have to find a region 1 copy, if there is one to view it.

Besides the making of, there's a photo gallery, trailers for both BTZ and some other films on the Terracotta label, a link to Terracotta Distribution and a plug for their film festival of Asian cinema which is held in London.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2011 3:26 PM GMT

Howling 6 - The Freaks [VHS] [1990]
Howling 6 - The Freaks [VHS] [1990]
Dvd ~ Brendan Hughes

4.0 out of 5 stars Howling VI - Fun with the Freaks, 12 Oct 2010
The 6th Howling movie is one of my favourite sequels in the series to date - it's different, and as in part 3, the lines are blurred as to who is good and who is evil.

The movie begins with a girl fleeing from something with a teddy bear in her hands, the camera swoops down as she screams, and calliope music and an animated title leads us to the sweltering drought stricken country town of Canton Bluff.

The villagers are leaving due to the drought, and the mayor is worried he might lose the local election. The bank is forgoing mortgages, and the life is being squeezed out of it.

Into all this comes a British drifter Ian Richards, just looking for honest work to pay for lodging whilst in town.

Not long after he arrives, a carnival comes to town, providing a respite from the worries of the drought for the townsfolk, and with it comes an old style freak show, run by the carnival's suave, yet mysterious master, R.B. Harker.

The townsfolk however, don't have an easy time of things still, as things start to happen in the night that they don't understand.

The town has secrets. So too, does the carnival, for it's own ends....

Whilst not entirely original, The Howling VI benefits from some good performances, in particular from Brendan Hughes as Ian, Bruce Payne as Harker and Michelle Matheson as Lizzie.

The special effects are cheap - and though the video promises state of the art - I'd say yes they are - for the late 70's early 80's, not the early 90's. The makeup though, is quite good for the freaks themselves.

The movie is fun though, and I noticed references to older horror classics such as Freaks, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Legend of the Werewolf.

Hope Perello's direction is thoughtful and considered, and I would have been interested to see where the characters would have gone after this installment. Unfortunately, the Howling VII came next, and killed the series off.

Howling IV : The Original Nightmare [DVD] (1988)
Howling IV : The Original Nightmare [DVD] (1988)
Dvd ~ Romy Windsor
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: 5.90

2.0 out of 5 stars Howling for Soup, 12 Oct 2010
This movie was called the Original Nightmare as it was supposed to be based more on the original story "The Howling" by Gary Brandner.

To a point - this is true - though the names of the characters have been changed, as have the events that lead the heroine Marie Adams (Romy Windsor) and her husband Richard (Michael T. Weiss, before the Pretender, with a horrendous semi-mullet 80's tough guy hair do and three day growth) to the small village of Drago (at least the village name is from the book!).

Some of the set pieces in the film are from the original book (those who have read the book will spot them a mile away), but it has been executed in a ham fisted way, and the budget has really been strained on this one - the real flaw of the Howling sequels was that nobody put any money into the effects compared to the groundbreaking work of Rob Bottin on the original.

This one uses a lot of gimmicks from old style horror movies - indeed old hat horror director John Hough (Twins of Evil) was the director, but because it was edited so haphazardly, you would wonder if it was directed at all - Hough himself has been quite vocal about the editing and interference from the producers and others working on the production, which was shot in South Africa.

The effects are very late 80s - animatronics, rubbery makeup - and one of the strangest werewolf transformations to be seen - certainly the goriest werewolf transformation ever to my eyes - where one of the characters literally melts into a puddle of bones and slimy primordial soup and reshapes into a wolf - crude, disgusting, and definitely gruesome - but certainly unique. In fact, I rather like it - though keeping with the occult theme of some of the Howling films (and indeed the books), the werewolves are seen as Satanic - even though there isn't your traditional cult in either books or this film!

The Devil just can't get a break it seems.

The ending is sloppy, and expected - but at least they tried.

Fortunately, Parts 5 and 6 would prove themselves to be excellent, despite their low budgets, because of good storylines - this one had potential if it had actually stuck to the first Howling book, and maybe it's sequel, but The Original Nightmare won't strike you with terror... it just might put you off eating soup for a day or two.

Howling 3: Echoes
Howling 3: Echoes
by Gary Brandner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 2.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Howling redux, 12 Oct 2010
This review is from: Howling 3: Echoes (Hardcover)
The Howling III rewrites the history of the previous books slightly, bringing the events forwards to the mid-80's, but the werewolves of Drago remain.

This time, the story moves to the areas surrounding the original village, and the finding of a strange boy who is savage and yet, vulnerable.

He is adopted by carnival folk and made into an attraction, until others who understand him come looking for him, bringing the cycle of blood, sex and death to it's climactic conclusion.

This is definitely a weak sequel to the original novel - and as yet, has not been adapted into one of the movies - though slight elements from it made it's way into the 6th Howling movie - The Freaks.

Brandner, by now, was probably working on the sequel to the Howling film - and probably wish he hadn't, and as such, the third book seems somewhat stilted, with a "We've seen this all before" element to it, which ultimately disappoints in a way the films didn't - probably because they moved away to different areas with each sequel - at least up until the abomination that was the Howling VII.

By now though, if you've seen any of the films or read the two previous books, you'll know what to expect, and whilst competently written, lacks any of the thrills and titillations of the original book, and less of the horror and rage of the second book.

I think though that the Howling in book form had run it's natural course, and though a weak end to the trilogy, Echoes, the third and final Howling novel at least provides some moments of horror.

The Howling
The Howling
by Brandner Gary
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget the films, this is The REAL Howling, 12 Oct 2010
Like many horror novels, this proved to be a success and although very much a pulp horror, The Howling by Gary Brandner was eventually made into a tongue in cheek film by Joe Dante - a good film the original Howling is yes, but it is different from the book apart from a basic premise.

Even the Howling IV, low budget shocker from '88, though based a lot more on the original book, and with more set pieces from it, falls as nothing more than a pale imitation of the original.

The true horror doesn't come from the werewolves in the story - oh no. They provide the gore and the supernatural element. It is the beginning of the book that causes the heroine to have a severe mental breakdown, and sets of the chain of events to accumulate in the tiny town of Drago, California. It is the beginning that causes the true horror.

The novel is gory, fast paced, and sexually explicit, like many of the pulp horrors of the '70's, but it has a power that none of the films or the books own sequels could match.

All in all, I rate the novel superior to any of the films (and I love the films, no matter how tacky), but as with many books - the original is best.

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