Saturday, February 28, 2009

About Me and Absu

By Peter

Hello readers of Illogical Contraption,

This is my first post here so I thought Id tell you a little about myself. Im a 22 year old man who can't grow a legitimate beard. I enjoy music. I work as a stage hand and don't own a television. I was born in Virginia and lived in Richardson, Texas for four years.

One of the only good things to come out of Texas, besides Cici's Pizza, is the band Absu. Absu is from the same county I lived in (Plano). They started out playing Blackened Death Metal. Their latest release is an awesome mix of Thrash and Black Metal. The first track almost reminds me of 3 Inches of Blood without the falsetto vocals.

Their newest CD is self titled...

Check it out here.


By E. Del Tigre

I’m gonna tell it to you straight: this movie rules and it deserves to be recognized as a classic. Thanks to the slasher elements, Brainscan really transcends the typical 90s virtual reality nonsense and becomes its own awesome animal. It is the spiritual successor to the Nightmare on Elm Street movies--and much better than a few of them. Starring Eddie Furlong and Frank Langella (probably best known for his Oscar-nominated performance as Skeletor), the plot revolves around a kid who gets the first copy of a new video game that hypnotizes its players to “customize” the experience. Of course, as soon as he plays it, BAD THINGS start to happen. I could write a summary of plot and explain why I like this movie so much, but I think the trailer does an excellent job of making my point for me. “You’re in the game, man! You’re in control!”

Are you sold yet? Hell yeah you are! I’ll bet you want to watch the whole movie right now. Well, guess what buddy? YOU TOTALLY CAN!

Oh, so you’re too good to watch movies on YouTube, huh? Well, you’re in luck, you pretentious fucker, because here's a link where you can download it to watch in the comfort and privacy of your SOMA loft. Okay? Good. Now go bitch about food on Yelp.

Brainscan also has a kickass soundtrack, featuring alternate versions of songs from the Butthole Surfers, White Zombie, Mudhoney, and Primus. Seriously, check out this line-up:

I looked, and I am pretty sure The Manchester Morgue is the only site on the entire internet where you can download the soundtrack, so all props to them.

Watch this video and witness the high water mark in 90s virtual reality cheesiness. It needs to be watched, analyzed, and learned from, because as we all know, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


Two albums that take inspiration from the Star Wars trilogy:


Foul troll "It", of the noise-metal hatefest Abruptum, along with his buddy "All", put out this album under the name Vondur back in 1995. It's basically an over-the-top caricature of lo-fi black metal, all buzzy guitar, drum machine, and orc-in-a-cave vocals. Obviously the major selling point here is the awesome album cover, featuring Darth Vader and a bunch of Stormtroopers. Are the lyrics about Star Wars? Who knows? They're in Icelandic.
Aesop over at Cosmic Hearse posted this sucker awhile back, and while I try not to "cross streams" too often, this little oddity is really just too good/bad not to share.

Download HERE


Strangely-named Amboog-A-Lard was a Floridian thrash band active from 1987-1996. A New Hope was their only release, somewhat of a concept album celebrating the genius of George Lucas. Song titles like "Do Or Do Not" and "Medicine Man (L.O.G.R.A.Y)" reveal the Star Wars influence here (Logray was the Ewok medicine man, duh), and although the concept is cheezy, it's actually a pretty solid thrash album. Amboog-A-Lard is some weird shit, occasionally flaunting a semi-industrial sort of early Ministry sound, but they know how to ROCK, and the fact that they wore pink Quicksilver shirts (above, right) didn't hurt either. I heard one of the guys went on to play with Marilyn Manson after these guys split up. WEAK.

Download HERE

Friday, February 27, 2009


Exodus has been a fixture in the Bay Area Thrash Metal (and later, Jock Metal) scene since their formation in 1980. They are legends in the genre, and although I haven't been much of a fan of their work since they kicked out original singer Paul Baloff, I do have to admit that there's one thing that sets them apart from any other Metal band: the consistent awfulness of their cover art. I really can't think of any other band, Metal or otherwise, who has managed to offend the visual sensibilities of the public so often and so blatantly. So here's a quick rundown (in chronological order) of all of Exodus' cover art (that I know of), from their 1985 debut to their most recent release in 2008. That's 23 YEARS of shitty artwork without a mis-step, an achievement I believe is not only noteworthy but also commendable. Great job!

First off, we have the classic album Bonded By Blood (above). While I share the common belief that this is a true milestone in Metal history, I've got to question the reasoning behind this particular choice of imagery. I mean, what's up with the Devil-baby's haircut? And its abdomen, is that supposed to be a six-pack or a ribcage? The baby-blue blankets that were chosen as a backdrop? Do babies even belong on a Heavy Metal album cover? Baffling indeed, although Exodus' tendency to indulge in the "nose-drugs" might have played a part here.
The alternate version (above, right) would seem compatible with this theory. Perhaps Exodus sobered up for a minute, realized their mistake, a re-released the album with this drab, primary-colored piece of ambivalence as a kind of apology. We may never know for sure.

They followed up Bonded By Blood with 1987's Pleasures of the Flesh (left),which featured, of all things, a BAND PHOTO on the COVER. This is a cardinal sin in the world of Metal, akin to wearing your own band's shirt at a photo shoot. No one is allowed to put a fucking band photo on their album cover, with Manowar being the exception that proves the rule. In addition, they seem to be in some sort of tiki lounge (not Metal), and the human skulls, which would be cool on another cover, just seem to be sort of an afterthought here.

Right: I came accross this, an alternate version of the Pleasures cover, in the research phase for this post. While it is a bit more palatable than the original (cannibals are always a welcome sight), Exodus couldn't help but put themselves on the cover of this one too, this time as cartoons. And while cartoon renderings are less of an offense than actual band photos, they are still unwelcome on Heavy Metal album covers (with D.R.I. being the exception that proves the rule).

Carrying on under the mistaken assumption that band photos are totally the way to go for cover art, Exodus did it again on 1989's Fabulous Disaster (left). The catch? This time, they were depicted not in a tiki lounge, but in the living room, WATCHING TV! Classic Thrash Metal humor, to be sure, but it still makes for one Hell of a boring picture.

I'm assuming Exodus were using the nose-drugs again, heavily, when they conceived THIS, the cover of 1990's Impact Is Imminent (right). The band, of course, is again pictured on the cover, this time racing down a highway pursued by a large mirrored orb of some kind. This is the kind of idea that could only sound cool to someone REALLY high on blow, kind of like Howard The Duck or the comedy of Bobcat Goldthwait.

Below: 1991 live album Good Friendly Violent Fun. Dude looks like a rejected Garbage Pail Kid.

Below: Ironically, this is probably the worst one of all, 1992's Force of Habit, drawn by the usually-reliable Ralph Steadman (of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas fame). Even Ralph stooped to sub-Exodus levels on this piece of garbage, creating something that could've been coughed up by a dog. And the way he wrote the name of the album, again and again, all over the place? Wow.
I dunno, maybe he just had too much Cardinal Zin or something.

Left: Just when you thought Exodus was taking a break from the whole "band photo as album cover" thing, BAM! Along comes the 1992 greatest hits collection A Lesson In Violence. This time they used the classic purple-and-yellow color theme, obviously an ahead-of-its-time nod to 80's retro art. Or maybe their minds were just still stuck in the 80's. Either way, another dismal failure.

Right: After a much-needed 5-year absence, Exodus burst back onto the crappy covert art scene with yet another live album, titled Another Lesson In Violence. Evoking images of both moldy fruit and diarrhea, the muddy brownish-green imagery is both a haunting tribute to utter uselessness and a daunting exercise in superfluous tastelessness. Drawn in crayon.

Left: Another conceptual swing-and-a-miss, 2004's Tempo of the Damned. Terrible album, terrible album title, terrible cover art. Exactly WHO is this semi-ghoulish character and WHY should we care about him playing a piano in front of a bunch of douchebags? I'm sorry, FOUR pianos (look closely). This was another Exodus "comeback" album, released after a 7 year absence. It effectively showed that Exodus had completely lost their musical chops, although luckily their penchant for awful artwork had remained intact. At least they didn't put themselves on the cover again.

Right: Much like the re-release of Bonded By Blood, the fellas realized they fucked up on this one and printed a new cover, with absolutely no artwork at all. Which, I have to admit, was probably a good decision on their part.

In 2005, Exodus released what is probably their worst album (which ironically had their best cover art), 2005's Shovel-Headed Kill Machine. When I say best, though, I still only mean about a 2 out of 10, as opposed to their usual 0/10. Dismember's biomech warrior from Massive Killing Capacity could kick the shit out of The Kill Machine, as could the post-apocalyptic robot from Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten. Easily. I'm just saying.

In 2007, Exodus decided to go all Century Media/metalcore style with the cover of their new album (left), which was titled The Exhibits of the Atrocity Exhibition, Exhibiting Exhibit A or something like that. Honestly, I would have taken another band photo over this newfangled piece of dogshit anyday. Just consider it visual confirmation that Exodus has moved on, deciding to cater to the Hot Topic Jock Metallers rather than the loyal dirtbag fanbase that got them where they are. Nice.

Right: The usual, another "alternate" cover. There is something overtly phallic going on here that I don't appreciate.

And finally: Exodus brings it full circle in 2008 by re-recording and re-releasing their debut album, this time calling it Let There Be Blood (below). Same basic concept as the original, but with that unmistakable Nu-School metalcore feel to it. I guess it was meant to be a "re-imagining" of sorts, but the end result is just foulness on top of foulness, kind of like a urinal cake covered in a fine layer of whiskey vomit. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.


Couch was a BIG DEAL in Eureka in the early-to-mid 90's. They were the only band that managed to get signed to a semi-major label (Lookout), and one of the few bands that actually toured out of state. This might not sound like much to all you city-folk, but it was inspiring to all the young punkers in the area (myself included). Couch (who later had to change their name to Thee Couch of Eureka after a legal dispute with another band called Couch) were the leaders of a good sized Art-Punk movement in Humboldt County at the time, and their freaky live shows left an impression on lots of kids, many of whom started up their own bands as a result. Booze, violence, and vomit were all common themes at Couch shows, along with sloppy (albeit top-notch) rock and roll, which leaned heavily on everything from 70's glam (a la T.Rex or Bowie) to early Flaming Lips to angular Midwest bands like The Jesus Lizard or Big Black. Although they wore their influences on their sleeve, Couch always had a distinct sound all their own. They were aggressive and snotty, but could also do wonders with an acoustic guitar and a fuzzy vocal melody, as evidenced by the songs "Songs" and "OH", which were written by their bass player Sara. Sara has been a friend of mine since kindergarten, and actually joined Couch at the ripe old age of 13 (the same year I was saving up my allowance to go see Freejack - see below). I've lost touch with her in recent years, much the same as Humboldt County has lost touch with its acid-soaked punk rock roots, which is sad. But at least we still have "Year of the Zombie" to take us back to the good old days, the days when punk was scary, the kids were pumped, and a great song could still send a chill up your spine.

Download HERE


OK, so raise your hand if you remember the 1992 sci-fi/action/thriller Freejack. Now look around you. Does the guy in the next cubicle have his hand up, too? Sweet! Now you guys will have something to talk about (besides sports or the economy) on your lunch break. You're welcome.

In case you're NOT familiar with the film, here's a sweet trailer help you out:

Wikipedia sums up Freejack's plot thusly: "In the polluted, dystopian year 2009, the super-wealthy achieve immortality by hiring "bonejackers," mercenaries equipped with time travel devices, to snatch people from the past, just prior to the moment of their deaths, for use as substitute bodies. Those who flee, rather than allowing their minds to be replaced with those of the rich, are known as "freejacks," and considered less than human under the law.
Alex Furlong, played by Emilio Estevez, is a Formula One car racer who is just about to die in a spectacular 1991 crash when a time machine snatches him from the cockpit and into the 21st century Bronx, a wasteland populated by scavengers and killers. When Furlong's captors are ambushed by a hit squad, the time traveler is able to escape from Victor Vacendak (Mick Jagger), the hardened mercenary who has snatched him on behalf of the all-powerful McCandless Corporation. As it turns out, Alex's former fiance Julie Redlund, played by Rene Russo, is now an executive at McCandless, handling high-stakes mineral negotiations with a rival Japanese firm." Etc., etc...

Awesome, right? WRONG!!!
Somehow, this seemingly can't-miss film, set in the amazing year 2009 (I've actually been waiting 17 years to write this review), was a complete disappointment, even to the pathetic standards of a 13-year-old. You see, I went to see this one at the old Eureka Theater, way back in 1992. I had saved up my hard-earned allowance (and it was "hard-earned", mind you, where I come from kids had to do shit like chopping and stacking firewood as household chores - seriously), totally stoked on the explosions, crazy vehicles, and machine guns in the preview. Dude, what a letdown! Freejack, to the best of my recollection, was a major snooze-fest, and served the sole purpose of strengthening my anti-Mick Jagger sentiments tenfold.
But you know what? I'm willing to give it a second chance. Against my better judgement, I'm Netflixing this shit. I must have been missing something back in 1992. This movie has to be awesome. IT HAS TO.

Oh, and speaking of Mick Jagger and "bonejackers", you should probably go to this show if you're in SF March 21st:


The second-to-last post in the hugely popular "Best of The Garbage Pail Kids" series. Please try to contain your enthusiasm.

Below: A dramatic bar-fight scene from the 1987 GPK movie, climaxing in, um... A fart.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Above: The most "1991" album cover in the history of 1991 album covers.

Forced Entry were one of the more successful Seattle thrash bands of the late 80's and early 90's, rising from the same fetid pool as fellow Washingtonians Metal Church and The Accused. Displaying not only proggy, tripped-out riffs but also a caustic sense of humor, their goofy, self-referential songs, such as "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation" and "We're Dicks", manage to be simultaneously brutal and hilarious.
Although they toyed with a semi-commercial sound now and then, occasionally dropping the dreaded "metal ballad", Forced Entry kept it Metal at a time when they could have easily cashed in and "gone grunge", proving their Bro-ness beyond a shadow of a doubt. This album will rip you a new butthole. But in a shy and romantic way.

Download HERE

Video for the F.E. jam "Bludgeon", depicting the Northwestern Thrash Metal Dirtbag in his native habitat:


The release of the 1982 John Milius film Conan The Barbarian was a milestone in the fantasy/adventure genre, ushering in a new era of films about barbarians, wizards, swordplay, and scantily-clad women in distress. Although the term "sword and sandal" is usually used to describe B-movies of Italian manufacture in the 50's through the 70's (kind of like "spaghetti western"), I like to think that the "sword and sandal" genre experienced a brief renaissance in the U.S. in the 1980's, made cooler by the addition of sci-fi and fantasy elements. Here's a quick Top 5 list of films that encompass this second sword and sandal movement, movies so cheezy, so 80's, and so damn AWESOME that everyone should be forced to watch ALL of them. ALL the time.

PS: I realize Highlander should be on this list, but that movie deserves a post all to itself. I'm just sayin'.


Above: He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) is punished with a lazer-whip. AWESOME.

Okay, so maybe Masters of the Universe the movie wasn't completely faithful to the comic book and cartoon that preceded it. Maybe the script and plot are corny and contrived. Maybe it's only got a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But sometimes you've just gotta go with your gut.
I love this movie, despite its flaws. Even though they replaced the lovable Orko with the creepy Gwildor (below, pictured with Man-At-Arms and Teela), I still dig it.
There, I said it.

Masters of the Universe took the whole "sword and sandal" thing, brought it into our modern world (1987) via a portal in space, decked it out in sweet sci-fi costumes, and fed it back to us, a spaced-out spin on a classic theme. Sets and costumes were designed by the French conceptual artist Moebius (betcha didn't know that), giving the whole film an avant garde-meets-comic book feel. Another piece of trivia: A sequel was planned so the costumes were kept, but when it fell through the costumes were sold off wholesale and reused in the post-apocalyptic Van Damme classic Cyborg.

So yeah, technically Masters is a "bad" movie, but do the math: Dolph Lundgren + lazers + Frank Langella as a weirdly effeminate Skeletor + awesome costumes and set design = 1987's BEST film based on a children's cartoon. It even featured Anthony DeLongis (above, left), one of Brad Wesley's henchmen from Road House, as the character "Blade" (below). So what's up NOW!?



Deathstalker, a low-budget Argentinian Conan rip-off, has absolutely everything you need in an 80's sword and sandal/adventure film: Brutal battles between beefy barbarians, evil wizards (right), TONS of boobies, and a plot involving some sort of quest to retrieve a sword, an amulet, and a chalice. If you're not completely stoked on that last sentence, get the Hell off of this blog NOW. You're dead to me.

Deathstalker (the character) is a warrior of stunning physique and questionable morals, who usually spends his time killing, stealing, eating dogs (yep), and forcing himself on buxom maidens. He is the classic anti-hero, a bad dude in a bad world just trying to get his however he can. Although it's an exploitation movie at heart, Deathstalker is one of those so-bad-it's-a-fucking-masterpiece films that only comes along every couple of years, a film so vital to its genre that it's hard to imagine the genre itself without it. It's really no wonder that they ended up making, like, 17 sequels.

Below: Deathstalker prepares to either do battle or get laid, as usual.


3) WILLOW (1988)

Everyone's seen Willow a couple times, so rather than giving you all some inane plot summary or heaping unneccesary praise on top of this one, how 'bout I just share some useless Willow trivia? OK? OK.

-George Lucas worked on the story for Willow for 15 years before production began, beginning all the way back in 1972. It was originally titled Munchkins.
-Wicket W. Warwick, lovable Ewok from Return of the Jedi, was given his name as a tribute to Willow star Warwick Davis, who was also inside the Ewok suit.
-A deleted scene featured Willow battling a freakish shark-monster in a lake.
-Two notable villains from the film were named after film critics who had given Lucas' films bad reviews in the past: General Kael after Pauline Kael, and Ebersisk the two-headed dragon after Siskel and Ebert.

On the subject of General Kael (below), I've just gotta say that he had the Metal-est costume in film history, rivaled only by The Kurgan from Highlander.


2) KRULL (1983)

is fucking METAL.
Consider it: An evil entity known only as The Beast travels around a mystical kingdom in a flying black castle, dispatching his hordes (known as Slayers) to wreak havoc on the realm with swords and lazer guns. The film also features a giant spider (below), a cyclops (above, right) that can see the feature (including his own death!), and a scene in which the protagonists thunder accross the landscape astride mighty Fire Mares (basically Clydesdales that can run so fast they shoot fire out of their asses!)
Here's another tasty tidbit: Krull was originally intended to be a film adaptation of the Dungeons And Dragons roleplaying game (Dungeons And Dragons was actually the working title through production), although a licensing dispute put the kaibosh on the idea before the film's release.
Basically, Krull fucking OWNS just about any other fantasy movie, and although it was a box office failure (most great movies are), it is a must-see gem of the genre. So there.



Wow. Beastmaster. Pretty much one of the greatest films of all time, B.M. told the story of the hella-toned warrior Dar (Marc Singer) and his magical quest to infiltrate a castle (which seems to be a popular theme in this genre) and retrieve some sort of treasure or save a princess or something. Much like the quintessential party film Bachelor Party, this movie is so fucking good that I can never remember how it ends, no matter how many times I watch it. It's honestly the whole "talking to the animals" part that does it for me. Any barbarian that enlists lions, panthers, eagles, and (especially) ferrets to help him on his quest is a Bro in my book.
Just read the goddamn movie poster: "Born with the courage of an eagle, the strength of a black tiger, and the power of a god" (!!!). Dude, eagles have hella courage! Black tigers are hella strong. Fuck yeah, Dar!

Trailer for The Beastmaster:

Special mention must be given to the 1991 oddity known as Beastmaster 2. In this amazing sequel, Dar travels (via magical vortex, duh) to modern-day Los Angeles, to do battle with street thugs and drug dealers. Although the whole "medieval swordsman in modern society" angle was already played in Masters of the Universe 4 years earlier, it still works, and Dar's adventures in L.A. get their fair share of thrills (and laughs).
Don't bother with Beastmaster 3. Complete garbage.

Closing scene and end credits of Beastmaster 2: AWESOME.

And then there's this, just because I felt like it: