in-flames-2017After a lot of thinking and observing, we decided that we were no longer going to do our War Of The Covers segment on the blog. There was just too much evidence to support the decision and we made it in favor of bringing back the Cover Of The Week post. So, I was trying to figure out who to bring back for our first Cover Of The Week post in over a year and it just so happens that In Flames is releasing an all covers EP titled Down, Wicked, and No Good which is available for streaming right now through Spotify. The track that I am spotlighting today is a track from a legendary synth pop band from the 80’s in Depeche Mode who have seen the likes of Marilyn Manson, Dope, Lacuna Coil, and so many more cover their tracks. Well, now you can add In Flames to the list as the band covers It’s No Good which is off Depeche Mode’s 1997 album Ultra.

InFlames_DWNGCoversEP_ArtworkIn Flames does an amazing job taking the synth pop heavy track and turning it into their own with the heavy guitars, but more importantly it’s Anders Friden who is a true highlight on the track. The band commented on the choosing of the track saying, “We’ve been fans of Depeche Mode since we were as young as 10. Getting to do our rendition of ‘It’s No Good’ showed us a different side of the song – it brought new meanings to us. We relate to the lyrics and power of the song so heavily that it almost feels as if we could have written it ourselves. They’re a band that we’ve always looked up to. Growing up, you either listened to Pop, Synths or Rock and even though we are a metal band, Depeche Mode inspired a lot of the electronic elements we use in our music today.” The band also covers Alice In Chains (Down In A Hole), Chris Issac (Wicked Game), and the Nine Inch Nails (a live cover of Hurt). Do yourself a favor and check out the track for yourselves, it showcases how In Flames has grown over the years. Check out the cool lyric video below:

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Death SpaSo, the other day I realized that I still had one more film left to watch from the VHSPS  (VHS Preservation Society) collection that I had for Cheeseball Cinema. So, I decided what better time than now to cover the film Death Spa for Cheeseball Cinema. The film stars William Bumiller (Boat Trip) as Starbody Health Spa owner Michael Evans who seems to have it all from the hot girlfriend and the most happening spa in Hollywood. Unfortunately for him, things start to go wrong at his spa when his girlfriend Laura (Brenda Bakke) has an accident in the club that almost cost her life. The accident causes a downward spiral as it seems that something sinister won’t stop until everyone dies inside the club as accident after accident begins to happen. The film also stars Merritt Butrick (Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan) as David, Robert Lipton (As The World Turns) as Tom, Alexa Hamilton (Three For The Road) as Priscilla Wayne, Ken Foree (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) as Marvin, Chelsea Field (Masters Of The Universe) as Darla, Shari Shattuck (On Deadly Ground) as Catherine, Tane McClure (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas) as Vicky, Rosalind Cash (The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8TH Universe) as SGT. Stone, and the film was directed by Michael Fischa (My Mom’s A Werewolf). 

Brenda BakkeOne thing is for sire when it comes to this film is that there is plenty of T&A and some ridiculous 80’s outfits like some awful shoulder pads that Ken Foree has on to make him look tougher. The confusing thing about the film at times is that there is two different scenarios playing out in the same film and it’s a little annoying. You have the scenario that quite possibly that his dead wife is coming back to haunt him so she is causing some accidents to happen. The other scenario is that his lawyer is trying to sabotage the place so that he can buy it for cheap. Here’s the thing with that, if you wanted that to be a subplot then you should have the film be about that instead of the other major plot twist that we get as well. The one thing I will say is that the film had some decent star power to it and that story wasn’t that bad. The film was actually pretty decent considering it was made by the same people behind the Faces Of Death franchise. One of the appealing things to me was the kills as some of them were pretty unique like the girl who is melted by acid that comes out of the sprinkler system or the exploding heads. There is some corny kills like the cartoonish fish that kills a man and plenty more. The film has a little bit of an identity crisis, but it’s at least entertaining for the most part. Check it out for yourself through VHSPS or by finding it online. On a scale of one being close to an A-List Hollywood film and five being the cheesiest film of all time, I would have to give this one an 2.8 for a final grade.

deathspa2

How Do I Look?

Machine-Head-Catharsis-2018We gave you a single of the week from the rock side of life so we figured we’s give you one from the metal side of things as well. One of the most underrated bands in all of metal has always been California Groove Metal titans Machine Head. The band has released some stellar albums from Burn My Eyes, Through The Ashes Of Empires, The Blackening, Unto The Locust, and the last album we’ve heard from them in 2014’s Bloodstone & Diamonds. Now the band has unveiled their next effort in Catharsis which is due out on January 26, 2018 via Nuclear Blast. The band also unveiled a brand new track for everyone to hear in the epic twin guitar assault in Beyond The Pale. Robb Flynn talked about the new album saying, “I feel like metal could really infiltrate the mainstream with this album. And it needs to… now more than ever. A lot of consideration went into making these songs more identifiable to a wider audience. Simplifying ideas, simplifying hooks, really concentrating on story-telling as opposed to ‘brutal poetry’ or whatever. And while I’d love to say it was all some grand plan, there was no ‘plan.’” You never know where you’re going to end up whenever you start writing a record… you just write… but I tell ya what… we ended up with a landmark here. Whenever you finish an album, you always feel proud, but this time… we’ve got something really special. We can feel it. We know it. Catharsis could really elevate our genre.” You can pre-order the new album now via Nuclear Blast, but for now check out the track below:

stone-temple-pilots--aa97ccbd-c043-4800-a9f9-9a19d39894dcIt has been quite some time since we last did a single of the week, but that does not mean that we haven’t been paying attention to what is out there. As far as the title of the article is concerned, you do not have to adjust your eyes because it’s true that the Stone Temple Pilots are back with a new song and a new singer. The band did quite the extensive search for a brand new single as it took two years to get to this very moment as new singer Jeff Gutt was unveiled to a crowd in Los Angeles on November 14TH. Guitarist Dean DeLeo talked about the search saying, “We didn’t hire people. We didn’t have assistance. We didn’t have management to go through that. Rob or Eric and I personally went through tens of thousands of submissions. Not once, but twice. I probably have 100 hours in total logged behind my computer going through them,” said the guitarist. “We did go through those submissions and there was some very talented people, some extraordinary talented people that we got to see. But it was a lot of work, man.”

stpThe band unveiled the singer and unveiled a brand new track in Meadow which is their first single since 2013’s Black Heart which was with the late Chester Bennington. The track has that classic STP feel to it as it seems like one of those songs that you just want to get on the highway and drive to as Jeff Gutt lets out his best impression of the late Scott Weiland during the verses, but it’s on the chorus that he begins to shine. During the chorus, Jeff really lets it all out as he shows you what he can bring to the table. Gutt talked about the track saying, “That was one of the ones that came earlier on in the process. It was one of the first songs we did.” Eric Kretz added, “It sounds like STP. It has all the elements. It’s modern but still has that classic sound. So it kind of jumped out at us as a good representation.” The last two years have been an tragic one not only for rock fans everywhere, but also for STP as they lost two former singers in Scott Weiland (accidental drug overdose) and Chester Bennington (suicide). Kretz talked about how important it is to pay tribute to them saying, “I think it was important to us that we have a lot of new material going forward, in order to make it real again. Because if it was just about chasing the catalog, that would be the easy way to go. There wouldn’t be much substance to that. The fact that we recorded all these new songs, it ties into helping us heal from the losses of Scott and Chester. Because the catalog will always be there. But if the new music really excites us and excites the fans it has much more of a meaning as far as honoring what Scott and Chester brought to this as well.” Check out the new track below:

DopethroneOne of the greatest bands in the metal genre called it quits last year when Black Sabbath called it a day. The band’s sound influenced a whole generation of artists that would create the doom metal/stoner rock genre that has stayed relevant over the last 40 years. One of the biggest bands in the genre has been carrying the flag of doom metal since 1993 in England’s own Electric Wizard. The band came around when the genre was primarily dominated by American bands from the US who seemed to be running the show at the time until this English boys came around. In 2000, the band was made up of Jus Oborn (Vocals, Guitars, Effect), Tim Bagshaw (Bass, Effects), and Mark Greening (Drums). On November 28, 2000, the band released one of their most prolific albums in Dopethrone via Rise Records and Oborn remembers the album saying, “Most of us were stuck in some drug addiction or alcoholism at the time, and it was just pure hate. It was us against the world, and we just wanted to make the most disgusting, foul, putrid record that anyone has ever recorded. We camped out at the studio, so it was literally just wake up, consume as much fucking drugs as possible, and then just start jamming.

dopethrone back1. Vinum Sabbathi– A bass heavy track that just rumbles as the band comes in this track that is all about drug addiction. 5/5

2. Funeralopolis– The track starts off like the calm before a storm with a very cool bass riff in this eight plus minute epic that seems to be about what the Earth has become after nuclear war. 5/5

3. Weird Tales (I. Electric Forest, II. Golgotha, III. Altar Of Melektaus)– This 15 plus minute track is divided up into three parts which you can see below that I think was influenced by HP Lovecraft. The changes are incredible when you hear what they churn out as the track goes from sounding like Cathedral esque music to Sabbath like chunky riffs and so much more. 5/5

4. Barbarian– The next track on the album that is pure sludge to a T is Jus’s tribute to the character Conan The Barbarian. 4/5

5. I, The Witchfinder (a.k.a. Las Torturas de la Inquisicion)– The 11 minute track starts off with a quote I believe from Mark Of The Devil as we are transported to a musical Odyssey filled with ominius bass heavy riffs and more in this track about a witchunter. 5/5

electric-wizard-dopethrone6. The Hills Have Eyes– This is an instrumental intro that leads us right into the next track. 4.5/5

7. We Hate You– The next track on the album that starts with some distorted bass before the band kicks right in for this track that is about spiteful, disturbed, and very hateful children. 4.5/5

8. Dopethrone– The title track may seem like it’s a 20 minute track, but I assure you that it’s only 11 minutes long with almost nine minutes of silence in this journey into the depths of your mind and drugs. 5/5

9. Mind Transferral– On some editions of the album, this is the bonus track that was first introduced to us in 2004 that runs about 15 minutes in length which features some killer bass playing besides Oborn showing his guitar skills as well in this instrumental. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– If you want to get into some really good doom metal/stoner rock then this is one of the bands that can lead you into that journey. This is a record that you put on, you sit back, and you escape into this musical journey. What an incredible record from beginning to end. If anything, check out the musicianship that is displayed on this album. I am giving the album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.

Spare Parts Cheeseball PicI am finally starting to catch up on the all the films that I wanted to cover for Cheeseball Cinema which is one of my favorite segments to do. At last years Rock and Shock Horror Convention, I purchased some DVD’s from VHSPS (VHS Preservation Society) and one of the films I purchased is today’s film in Spare Parts (a.k.a. Fleisch). The film stars Jutta Speidel (For Heavens Sake) and Herbert Herrmann (Hexenschuß) as newlywed couple Monica and Mike. All they want to do is enjoy their honeymoon for some reason in New Mexico, but a sinister plot is going on at the Honeymoon Inn. People are being kidnapped and sold as unwilling organ donors at a nearby hospital. After two EMT’s failed to capture Monica, she partners up with a truck driver by the name of Bill (Wolf Roth) to get to the bottom of the issue and to try and save her husband from being butchered meat. The film also stars Charlotte Kerr (Mit siebzig hat man noch Träume) as Dr. Jackson, Christoph Lindert (Der Schlaf der Vernunft) as The Intern, Bob Cunningham (It Started In Naples) as Sergeant,  Tedi Altice as the hotel owner, Ben Zeller (Dances With Wolves) as medic, and the film was written and directed by Rainer Erler (Operation Ganymed).

Jutta SpeidelOne of the true highlights of this German film was the acting done by Wolf Roth who was absolutely superb in this TV Movie that was otherwise plagued with issues. I am not sure if it was the transfer from VHS to DVD that VHSPS did or the film itself, but the overdub was a little annoying. You could hear the audio at times before the lips ever moved and it gave me quite the task to judge their performances. Back to Wolf, he was the cool, calm, and collected truck driver who you knew in the back of his mind wanted a piece of Monica, but he was too good of a person to do so. Some of the acting from certain cast members was a little bit questionable, but overall they did a pretty decent job. My biggest issue is with how the film and the story played out. Mike gets kidnapped, she runs away, and manages to get rescued by Bill. They devise a plan to get captured and it works, but they have the truck drivers to watch their backs before they become slabs of meat. They manage to find out about the operation after stripping a man to his tighty whities and sticking him in the meat freezer. They successfully get in and deliver the EMT’s only to get trapped themselves. They travel to New York where she manages to escape again only for her to get detained by the police who for some reason decide to help her out. The only problem is that she has to team with the doctor in charge of this to get her man out before it’s too late. That is all after she was told that it was known who she was all along before she went to New York. Why all of a sudden the change of heart for the doctor and why should Monica trust her? It just went all over the place and that bothered me a little because I know where I would have gone with the story. There is the obligitory sex scene that is required in every late 70’s/80’s horror film. So check it out if you can at your own risk. On a scale of one being close to an A-List Hollywood film and five being the cheesiest film of all time, I am going to give it an 2.8 for a final grade because it was better than the last film I did.

highly suspectWe are one week removed from October which means we pick up right where we left off and we cover some interesting albums for the album of the week post. I love discovering new bands and I love covering their albums and that is definitely the case with this week’s band which also has local ties for me. Have you ever heard a song, liked it, but had no idea who the recording artist was? This week’s artist Highly Suspect is one of those artists that when I was asked if I had heard of them, I had not (to be perfectly honest). When I was told to listen to a couple of tracks, I immediately knew that I had heard the track before so I did a little investigating. I realized that the band hailed from Cape Cod, Massachusetts before they relocated to Brooklyn, New York for obvious reasons (more exposure). The band who is made up of Johnny Stevens (Guitar, Vocals, Synths, and Piano), Rich Meyer (Bass), and Ryan Meyer (Drums). In 2016, the band hooked up with producer Joel Hamilton and together they recorded and released the band’s second studio album The Boy Who Died Wolf. The album received some critical acclaim as Loudwire named it the number one on their 20 Best Rock Albums of 2016 post. The album also peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while also peaking at number one on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums.

highly suspect back cover1. My Name Is Human– The song has a very full sound with the bass before the rest of the band kicks in on the album’s lead single. Johnny Stevens described the song saying, “A lot of people think the song is about being a human. I believe some of us aren’t human at all. Or at least not completely, but that is still our name. At some point in the last couple hundred years something changed. The androids, the aliens…They aren’t coming. We are here.” 5/5

2. Look Alive, Stay Alive– The track kicks off with a punk attitude before it calms down for the verse in a track that seems to be talking about how our narrator has come to the realization that he’s content with trying to stay alive then acting like he knows everything. 4.5/5

3. Little One– This track to me has a little bit of Soundgarden in it mixed with a little of today’s alternative especially in Steven’s amazing vocals. He seems to be talking about someone he has sacrificed so much for, but it’s going nowhere so he leaves. 5/5

4. For Billy– A rock tune that reminds me a little of Bush from the Sixteen Stone era, but they are reminiscing about someone they knew and loved. 4.5/5

5. Serotonia– An interesting track that starts out with a line of how he wishes he could be naked and masturbate all day. Nonetheless, he feels that he has done everything he could in New York and that it hasn’t made him the person he’s wanted to be so he thinks he should move to Hollywood. 4/5

6. Postres– Another interesting track on the album that has him talking about how he’s happy with where his life is and he’s going to enjoy it and especially his Postres (a Spanish desert). 4/5

Highly-Suspect-600x4007. Send Me An Angel– I love the original version of the Real Life track so I was interested to see how the band handled this one. They basically slowed it down and made it seem a little more ominous and creepy. 5/5

8. Viper Strike– This is a very angry track that has the band attack racists, homophobes, and anyone that just hates. They definitely voice their opinion on the track attacking all the hate in the world with some bold statements. 4/5

9. F.W.Y.T.– A very simple track with a little hip hop flare thrown in there that has the narrator giving up on the idea of a dystopia and F*** what you think! 4.5/5

10. Chicago– a cool piano track that shows Stevens flexing his musical abilities in a track that is about a girl he met in Chicago that became pretty special to him, but it didn’t end well. 5/5

11. Wolf– Another relationship related track, but this time it’s all about how he has to leave to live his rock and roll life because this one is a lie. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– I can see why Loudwire chose this as their rock album of 2016 because the band has so much range, but there is also a lot of honesty in their music. The band definitely was influenced by Chris Cornell or at least Stevens was because you can hear the pain in the way he sings. This is an incredible record that everyone should check out. I am giving the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.