Saturday, May 12, 2018
Monday, May 6, 2013
GONZO CATATONIC DOOMHEAD
A heretic capture of Copenhagen's HEAVY DAYS IN DOOMTOWN
Flow, my tears, Sylvia said. Sylvia had just come out of CONAN's performance and she was shaking and shedding tears of joy. That's how intense the performance had been. That sound engineer sure as hell knew what he was doing, too. I'd never seen somebody cry because of a heavy metal show. This event changed quite a few of my perceptions and misconceptions on what a heavy metal is, the potential it has, and the effects it can have on your mind.
Doom metal is a very special branch off the great heavy metal tree. The music is slow, solitary, and repressed. When other metal subgenres just blast away at thousands of beats per minute, doom metal sits there in its cage choking under its own unmanageable gravity. "It's too much man, too much too much" as that rotten attorney of Hunter S. Thomspon's would have put it.
Only the void is not staring back.
So what is left, then, of the self, if you strip it off all these culture supplements? What do people fall in love with, if not the collection of all that, even if the sum is - potentially - bigger than its parts? I do not know the answer to that but I would be very curious to find out.
They say timing is everything, and I usually agree with this statement. I generally dislike sweeping generalizations, and the presence of the word "everything" is a clear indication that this is one very good example. So let's just say that timing is extremely important and sometimes it can be almost "everything". At the doomfest, timing was neither on GRAVES AT SEA's, nor SHADOW OF THE TORTURER's side. Both band had balls the size of the twin towers before Osama's buddies decided to refurbish them. But played after MOURNFUL CONGREGATION. It was too much to take in. My friends and I, we had no space left; our soul was used up thoroughly, spent over the course of the last two days, feasting in an endless frenzy of beer, weed, talks with randoms, photos with the brown hat, marveling - as DEPHOSPHORUS would have put it - at the great starless canvas above us. So when GRAVES and SOTT took the stage all we could do is admit that we couldn't handle it and hope that the bands would understand. We were certain that they would.
Now, I am not the most politically sensitive person on the planet but I do get sensitive when it comes to immigration. It's not just that I have lived many years as an immigrant myself; it is a deeper desire to link and protect with the most unfortunate of my fellow citizens. Those who are last in the queue and have nothing to cling on. Immigration is one of the great equalizing forces in this god forsaken planet, so that the massive accumulations of power can eventually be lessened out.
I live in the nice part of town in an old house with a garden. But, one god forsaken day, I decided that I want to move flats. I have always had a bizarre desire to pick a derelict area to live in. I always felt a bit of a hypocrite with my rhetoric on solidarity to the immigrants and the unfortunate, while living in a nice neighborhood myself and thought that if I ever want to take myself seriously I should take personal responsibility and align myself with the most neglected of my fellow citizens. I went online, spotted a flat in the worst neighborhood of the inner city, went to inspect it and booked it already the next day. It's kind of hard to describe just how bad this neighborhood is. It's really ran-down, with plenty of extreme right wing nutjobs plus huge numbers of illegal immigrants, junkies (but note here that we are talking junkies at the point of no return, with open wounds, pardon me for being graphic), Christian fanatics, bitter old farts, homeless vagabonds, and various other assorted (low)-lifeforms.
I did all this alone without asking anybody else's opinion on the project, and was quite excited about the move. However, when I started mentioning this decision to friends and family, everybody more than raised an eyebrow and started worrying. About safety, and how they hell they could ever come visit. I started receiving large quantities of negative energy regarding this from everybody, more than I could possible manage. And I had to give up on this project. There will always, be a part of me that is disappointed at me for not being enough of an idealist (martyr?).
While we are at the immigration topic, FUCK YOU band member performing Saturday - you know who you are, I won't say any names - for blaming your misfortunes on the Polish and Romanian immigrants, who are happy to do 16-hour shifts when you only want to do 8.
As Oscar Wilde put it "To appreciate good wine, one does not have to down the whole barrel". This is precisely what Shawn and I did when BELL WITCH took the stage . We sampled BELL WITCH for about 20'. The quality of the material was outstanding. We needed no more. Bought the t-shirt. The t-shirt kicked ass, too. This all happened at the small stage over at Copenhagen's legendary youthouse. To be precise, that particular building is not legendary as it was offered to the youths by the government. The previous one, the one at Jegtvej however, is indeed a legendary squat; it being claimed by a religious organization in 2007 triggered what reportedly were the worst riots Copenhagen has seen in decades.
Just how many metal t-shirts can one own and be eventually happy with their collection? I keep losing my fucking t-shirts. It's not that I give them away to friends or leave them deliberatly in pockets of airplane seats, like I did with PKD's outstanding "Flow, my tears, the policeman said" on my way to Copenhagen. My metal tees simply tend to disappear. I had a beautiful FUCK ON THE BEACH t-shirt - bought in Japan - in 2005 but I have no idea where it's gone. I had more. Had a white GALLHAMMER t-shirt, perhaps the only white metal tee I have ever owned. Well that is not counting my first custom made CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and WHITE ZOMBIE tees when I was 17. I had LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR, NACHTMYSTIUM and much more. Wish they are happy wherever they are.
Then there was the other thing. One hot summer day, I de-sleeved all my metal t-shirts. Took off the damn sleeves. Every single one of them. TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION, YACOPSAE, MAGRUDERGRIND, the lot. So when autumn came, I had no metal t-shirts left. It's a truly frustrating feeling, having no metal t-shirts to put on, when you feel you are at the crossroads of misanthropy: A plain black t-shirt will not suffice, but the right metal tee will work wonders.
As luck would have it, MOURNFUL CONGREGATION's performance coincided with the Orthodox Easter's culmination moment, which is celebrated precisely at midnight on Good Saturday. The Australians took the stage, sombre, faithful to their own handle, and delivered all of us punters from the evils of this world. The guitars wept for what felt like hours; it was captivating, and liberating at the same time. Theirs was one of the best gigs I have seen in my life. Some were breathtaking, like GRIEF's performance in Loppen, Copenhagen in 2010, if memory serves.
Thank you, from the heart, Copenhagen and HDDT crew, for having us; thank you for putting this feast together for us. It was our honor to be there. You inspired us, and reminded us of the good things in life. Hugs, laughs with friends, a few beers too many. A few moments in that corner of the world, on that mellow Saturday night, somewhere between people who had passed out, empty beer cans, and grim-looking vinyl records, were enough to give us immense chills.
We bit our lips and promised to throw ourselves, afresh, out there in the minefields of the world that we love to hate.
Monday, May 16, 2011
If you are a vinyl lover you should definitely consider subscribing to this 7"EP club! You can pay in one go or over three months. For more info: www.hellcomeshome.com
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Monday, May 2, 2011
OUTLAND is a new exciting video game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 available exclusively as a digital download for the moment.
I am a fan of old-school 2D action/platformers and this one got me really happy.
First of all it has top notch, high quality aesthetics and presentation, starting as a mystical trip into the jungle guided by a shaman.
Then the mechanics are precise and accurate. It is part of the new generation of action/platformers such as BRAID, LIMBO, SUPER MEATBOY, SHADOW COMPLEX, combining great story & characters with a meaty playground.
OUTLAND will please for sure fans of old METROID and CASTLEVANIA games. The areas to explore are huge and the learning curve is smooth.
The novelty here for this kind of game is a polarity system a la IKARUGA which combined with bullet hell-style obstacles add a totally interesting twist to the gameplay and the aesthetics.
For the moment I am still at the beginning so I cannot really go in depth, but what I can say for the moment is that this one is a jewel, as well as a slap in the face for the old men whining that "video games are not done anymore like they used to".
I bought it for Xbox 360 and 800 M$ points is a very reasonable amount.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
If you're into gaming you must have heard of CAVE STORY (DOUKUTSU MONOGATARI) by now. It's a great japanese platformer/RPG developped initially on the PC circa 2004 and distributed for free! It's in the veins of the early 2D installments of the Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania series. It is an important influence for other contemporary indie games, such as the wonderful Braid.
It was met with such public and critical acclaim that it's been ported since to most popular platforms: Mac OS X, AMIGA OS 4, Linux, PSP, GP2, original Xbox & even adapted for the Texas Instruments TI-83/84 Plus scientific calculators! All those versions as freeware.
The Wii (Wiiware) and Nintendo DS (DSiware) ports are commercial versions but most will agree that the author, Daisuke Amaya (aka Studio Pixel), deserves some cash at the end of the day...
The inconvenience of playing the Windows version is that is configured by default to be playable on the keyboard. When I was younger I actually played action games on the keyboard, but not anymore, it is pure masochism! If you want to play with a gamepad, you'll have to configure it by running DoConfig.exe. You must click on "Use Gamepad". Underneath you have a matrix which represents the button maps. You must basically try to figure out which action corresponds to which button or trigger on your controller by trial & error: extremely user unfriendly! Alternatively you can use one of those utilities who map the keyboard keys to your gamepad but I did not want to bother.
Anyway, ideally I wanted to play Cave Story with my gamer's pride: the X-arcade dual tankstick. No fuckin'way! The beast being programmable, I will try one day to map the keys but maybe not: alternatively I can upload the game to one of my two original Xboxes and play it with the tankstick after hooking it up using the Xbox adapter (I have the old, standalone version but nowadays you can purchase the 2in1: PS3 + Xbox adapter).
Since I'm not playing much on the PC, the other solution was a wired Xbox 360 controller. Luckily there is a comprehensive mapping guide in configuring it, actually posted on an excellent Linux blog, Helpful Linux Tidbits! Eventhough it's been written for the Linux version, the same mapping applies for the Windoze version. You will find it here, complete with pictures and everything.
If you manage to do the mapping for other controllers/gamepads, please let us know! Until then, if you're caught by gadget consumerism you should know that a 3D version of Cave Story is being prepped for the Nintendo 3DS and will be available on the 9th of August!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Me and some other devotees have been expecting this album since 2006, the year when has been released the swan song of Thralldom, “A Shaman Steering The Vessel Of Vastness”. After their break up, guru Ryan Lipynsky (Unearthly Trance, Villains) has formed The Howling Wind with a similar line-up, ie. him on guitars/bass/vocals/noises plus a drummer. In this particular case, another cult figure of the
The Howling Wind are playing the exact kind of music and of black metal that I want to hear, and with “Into The Cryosphere” they are imposing themselves amongst the very best of ALL TIME. Lipynsky has conceived this album as a primeval voyage in
The result chills the soul as music has rarely achieved. I believe that quite a few of the older black metal fans have to be submerged in such a way since the era of the early Dark Throne albums. “Into The Cryosphere” has the frozen aura of the familiar/classic, a part of it being based upon the aforementionned norwegians, but also upon Bathory, some particular Swiss and Autopsy. Tracks like “Teeth Of Frost”, give us hints of early Unearthly Trance, which make us hope for their return back to the roots.
Familiar, yet alien. Scattered ambient/noise invocations constitute an important part of the arsenal. The atmosphere of the album is inhuman, introvert, minimal and majestic. Its listening cuts you down instantly. Your wounds will remind you of riffs such as the sublime grandeur of instrumental number “Impossible Eternity”, the awesome thrash-iness of “A Dead Galaxy Mirrored In An Ice Mirage”, and the guitar solos-curses of “Ice Cracking In The Abyss” and “Will Is The Only Fire Under An Avalanche”.
Like you must have understood by the songtitles alone, the album concept leads into deep waters – the lyrics will be studied thorougly by the more perseverant. The artwork is austere but fuctional, while the logo has been designed by the allies of the band, our very own visionaries Viral Graphics.
PFL, PO Box 12046, Mississauga, Ontario, L5C 4R7 Canada, www.profoundlorerecords.com
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