You know what? FUCK Mastodon's Leviathan. As far as Moby Dick-themed concept albums go, it's all about fuckin' AHAB! These self-proclaimed purveyors of "Nautik Funeral Doom" produce a sound so much BIGGER than Mastodon, so much DEEPER, it's almost as if the band itself is composed of a bunch of whales. But maybe it's unfair to compare these two groups. Ahab is definitely tuned into their own weird, oceanic trip, miles (or knots?) from anything anyone else is doing. It's actually really refreshing to hear something so slow and plodding be simultaneously so dynamic. It's difficult to wrap one's mind around, for sure, but oddly rewarding as well. The whole "funeral doom" thing is a double-edged sword for me. Most bands in the genre are just slow for the sake of slow, but these German freaks have an almost-indescribable something else going on. Ahab is just fuckin' HEAVY, for lack of a better term. Their sound is the sound of distant thunder cracking over dark, swirling seas, the sound of ancient evil stirring at the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench. Ahab is DOOM incarnate.
I heard they put out a new album in '09. Anyone heard it?
It's no secret that Thrash Metal bands like to party. But who parties the hardest? Below, you will find a very partial list featuring 5 Thrash bands, past and present, that really know how to party. Each is presented in conjunction with one song off of one of their most partyin' albums. Who would you rather party with? Cast your votes in the 'Comments' section, along with ideas on any other MAJORLY PARTYIN' Metal bands I may have forgotten.
1) TANKARD circa 1986
(Photo is from 2007, but it just goes to show that these guys never gave up the dream.)
German beer-o-crats Tankard have built their legacy upon the fact that they are quite fond of tasty suds. Are THEY the dudes you want to rage with? Check out "(Empty) Tankard" off of 1986's Zombie Attack before you decide:
"(Empty) Tankard" - Lyrical highlights:
"Drinking and fucking through the whole night long Partying with friends 'til fucking dawn Let's go thrashin' and stagedivin' Feel the power and sound again
We want to drink some fucking beer, we want to drink some whiskey
Frankfurt's thrashers will rule tonight They're well known for their bloody fight Wodka and Cognac are our leaders We're the best, we fuck the fuckin' rest
We have come to slamdance tonight Bangin' and bleedin' till the fuckin' end Playing fast and running free Stand up maniacs, you have to fight
Liver is broken down so bloody hard I keep on drinking until I drop Bang your head against the fuckin' wall Show the damned wimps who we are!"
Did I mention that Tankard are also fond of chilling out and watching zombie movies? It's true.
-Some additional lyrics from the song "Zombie Attack":
"I'm just hanging around tonight, just watching films I am on the Zombie Trip and brutal things I like
The film I saw is over now and I leave my home Brutal Zombies are shouting so hard, is it real or not?
I wake up, this was a dream, I drink my beer But then I see a Zombie killin', I know I must die!"
2) MUNICIPAL WASTE, modern day
Thrash revivalists Municipal Waste are another group of Bros infamous for their hard-partyin' ways. In fact, they claim to have heightened partying to an art form, as evidenced by their 2007 album The Art of Partying and its eponymously-named title track. But are these new-school drunks capable of usurping the frothy throne of their predecessors? You decide:
"The Art of Partying" Lyrical highlights:
"There's thrashing all around You know the Waste provides the sounds (self-reference = Essential to good Party Metal) To push the party level all the way to ten
The terror starts tonight A drunken outrage in our sight And we won't waste our time to rip this place to shreds We've broken all the laws and moshed on people's heads
As the thrash pounds through your head Pound your drinks Tonight we shred!
We don't need their laws together we destroy And I won't let them ruin the one thing I enjoy Tonight's the night we finally get to rip this place apart And this is how we turn your boring party into art!
And edger's can still party too with X's on their hands As long as you can rage hard with the drinkers of the land No patrols going to stop us doing our own thing tonight No shitty crew's with attitudes to ruin our good time"
(The Waste is even down with the Straight Edge kids!)
"But if you love to thrash you know we will supply And we will keep the party going onward through the night It doesn't matter how you look or how much you can yell As long as you stay genuine and do things for yourself"
3) ASSASSIN circa 1988
Assassin, another awesome German Thrash band, love the suds too, but showed their open-mindedness to "different" styles of partying on their 1988 album The Interstellar Experience. Apparently, Assassin believe that candy and hot chicks are essential to a good party, too. Check out the killer jam "Junk Food" for an explanation:
"Junk Food" Lyrical highlights:
"Hey man I gotta tell you a story listen man to what I go to say It took place here in a sunny afternoon and there was nothing to do We were all very hungry and had nothing to eat so we started to search for food some time later we found a deli-store but this wasn't what we wanted
Junk Food - is the only exception Junk Food - is the rule over everything Junk Food - and some chocolate ice-cream Junk Food - that is what we want!
We skated downhill on the sidewalks of Main Street And finally we found the right store As we came very close to the great holy place We begun to see our faves:
Oreo - the chocolate sandwich! Chocomel - number one drink of Holland! Kit Kat - the British waffelsnack! Bazooka - the best chewing gum!
If you're hungry and have no idea what to eat The only answer is: Junk Food that is what we want!
In the store were five cute looking girlies And we asked them for the best teeth-killer They were not interested in answering our questions 'cause sex was on their minds We were thinking now if we should take off with them We said no to this great offer The girls were surprised and asked for an explanation I said Junk Food is what we want!
M&M's - the chocolate candies Raider - the double snack 31 - the USA ice - cream!
At five o'clock after the great delicious meal We met at the rehearsal room Suddenly the door went open And the five girls came with more stuff!
Oreos - for Mr.Cash M&M's - for Psycho II ant Mr.T Chocomel - for Mr.Hoo P Milky Way - for Mr.Space Man!"
EPIC FUCKING PARTYING!
4) FORCED ENTRY circa 1991
Over the course of two full-length albums and one EP, Seattle thrashers Forced Entry established their burning desire to party as well. Songs like "We're Dicks" and "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation" off of 1991's As Above, So Below were full of un-PC references to booze, drugs, and babes, showing that F.E. was just looking for a good time, and FUCK the consequences. Let's listen in on the aforementioned "How We Spent Our Summer Vacation" for more specific evidence:
"Summer Vacation" Lyrical highlights:
The rest of the lyrics don't really matter. It's that often-recurring chorus, comprised solely of the simple command "GET FUCKED UP!", that does the talking here.
5) SUICIDAL TENDENCIES circa 1987
Okay, so maybe Suicidal Tendencies wasn't specifically a Thrash band, as their crossover sound was a pioneering element in the "skate punk" genre. But these fuckers, early on, obviously knew how to BRO DOWN. Check out this video for "Possessed To Skate", off of 1987's Join The Army, for proof (don't mind the shitty intro by modern-day Mike Muir - it sucks).
"And remember, no skateboarding 'til you've DONE YOUR HOMEWORK":
"Possessed To Skate" Lyrical highlights:
"Seemed like such an innocent toy Got a skate at eight years old He was the All-American boy Now the story can be told
Beware he's possessed to skate!
When he skates - he skates Cause he never hesitates Cause he rips -h e rips Like a modern gladiator ain't got no fears He's the wizard on the wheels So skate!
He shoots the pool like a launching pad Skating is all that's on his mind If it ain't insane then you can't get rad (particularly awesome line there) He's skating radical all the time
Beware he's possessed to skate!
Doesn't understand why you'd wanna walk Ain't got time to sit and talk Used to be just like you and me
Now he's an outcast of society Beware he's possessed to skate!
What's your most candid memory from the film Total Recall? Was it the guy with the weird baby-thing growing out of his stomach (right)? Was it the eye-bulging, swelling-head scene at the end? The part where the Guvanator has to pull that bug out of his brain, THROUGH HIS NOSE, using that probe thing? Or was it the three-boob chick? It was the three-boob chick, right? WRONG!!! It was the awesome, tripped-out soundtrack by The Master, Jerry Goldsmith.
Thanks to Ethanomicon for the hook-up on this one! Nice work!
Donald Gibb is best known for two major roles: Ray "Tiny" Jackson in 1988's Bloodsport and "Ogre" in 1984's Revenge of the Nerds. And while these two high-profile films cemented the image of Gibbs' lovable mug in the collective subconscious, he has actually appeared in scores of other films and television shows. Like Don Swayze, he did his stints on Hunter and Renegade, but the rest of his television credits read like a virtual who's-who of awesome shows in the 80's and 90's. Among others: The A-Team (1983), Magnum, P.I. ('82-'83), Knight Rider (1984), The Facts of Life (1987), 227 (1989), Night Court (1990), MacGyver (1991), Quantum Leap (1992), and a semi-regular role (as "Slasher") on Step By Step from 1993-1998. GODDAMN!
But it was his portrayal of the cheap-beer-swilling, head-crushing biker Tiny Jackson that truly made me a fan. He has played many similar roles since (he is often typecast as the "bad-ass biker guy" due to his size, tattoos, and long hair), but "Tiny" was the highlight of Bloodsport for me - a good-natured, ass-kicking rocker who simply oozed "Bro". How did Don get his start in the movies, you ask? Funny story. He was an uncredited extra in a triumverate of ruling movies: Any Which Way You Can in 1980, Stripes in 1981, and CONAN THE FUCKING BARBARIAN in 1982. It seems that awesome movies were simply "in the cards" for Mr. Gibb.
Below: Don poses with Frank Dux, CIA special agent and martial arts master behind the "true story" known as Bloodsport. If you've got a couple hours to spare, look into Frank Dux's "life story" (hint: HOAX). Go ahead. Start here.
Donald Gibb was raised in California, but attended the University of New Mexico on a basketball scholarship. Being the badass that he is, he eventually decided football was cooler and transferred to the University of San Diego to play it there. He even joined a fraternity. Like fellow 'Semi-Obscure Action Star of the Week' alumnus Fred Dryer, Don went pro with the San Diego Chargers for a spell, but soon decided that acting was his thing.
Playing supporting roles in movies like Meatballs Part 2 (1984), Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), Jocks (1986), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), and 2 of the 3 Revenge of the Nerds sequels, Gibb was never awarded a starring spot, although he did co-star as Dan Storm in American Tigers (1996 - above left). A particularly curious film that he also co-starred in was 1993's Breakfast of Aliens, the story of "lovable loser" Walter Clydepepper, an aspiring comedian who accidentally eats an alien in his cereal one morning and becomes a hilarious (and deadly) insult comic. You can rent (or buy) this amazing film online here.
Did I mention that a microbrewery in Chicago makes "Ogre Beer" in honor of Gibb's long-pissing character in Revenge of the Nerds? Because they do.
And it's delicious.
Gibb as "Tiny" Jackson in Bloodsport, using brute force to dispatch an opponent:
Here's a clip of Don from the TV show Step By Step, dancing in a tutu with Alan Thicke:
That's right, another flyer from our old friends at The Jejune Institute (found in Peter's apartment building again), this one advertising a camera that can take pictures of THE PAST! Shitty scan, but in the flyer's own words: "TIME TRAVEL might seem a science fiction fantasy, but TIME CAMERAS have been a reality for several decades! The Radionic Camera developed in the 1960's by Octavio Coleman (link is mine) was capable of imaging the past and the future, and he published photographs demonstrating the effect. In the opinion of Coleman, "Time is a vector of the magnetic spectrum and that spectrum has a place in itself for events. There is a pre-physical world in which the camera might be expected to operate"".
OK, The Jejune Institute. We get it. Ha ha. You've had your fun.
Another one of those great early 90's Floridian Death Metal bands that should have made it, but didn't (see also: Resurrection). Maybe it was a case of too little, too late, but Solstice is some truly RIPPIN' shit, and deserves to be remembered with the "big names" of the Florida DM scene. Solstice got the shaft. Weak.
Added bonus: Cover by the infamous thrash metal artist Ed Repka, who jumps the subgenre shark and does a cover for a Death Metal band for once. Crazy.
There is definitely no shortage of cinematic imagery in the genre of Heavy Metal. Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy are all present to some degree, and although Metal has borrowed liberally from the world of film, Hollywood has never really returned the favor. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of Metal concept albums out there, almost all of which are fertile ground for film adaptation. Here are 5 of my suggestions for albums that would make AWESOME fucking movies. Each is paired with a director that would do the job right, along with some production tips and casting ideas. And to all you big Hollywood producers reading this, I'm not even asking for a cut of the profits. Lets just make it happen, OK?
5) DEVIN TOWNSEND - ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT (2007)
Devin Townsend (right, pictured with Ziltoid puppet), visionary producer, guitarist, and driving force behind Strapping Young Lad and the aptly-named Devin Townsend Band, unleashed this magical tale of interplanetary warfare, time travel, and, uh, coffee on the insuspecting public back in June 2007. Sprinkled with heavy doses of corny humor throughout, Ziltoid tells the tale of an eponymously-named space tyrant scouring the universe in search of "the ultimate cup of coffee". It seems that coffee is the main element used in navigation of space and time, and when the citizens of Earth fail to provide a decent cup Ziltoid flies into a rage and attacks. Luckily, the people of Earth have the heroic protagonist Captain Spectacular on their side, who leads them to safety in the vast reaches of space with Ziltoid hot on their heels.
This comedy/sci-fi crossover epic is tailor-made for veteran weirdo director Terry Gilliam (above). Gilliam has always had a fondness for puppets and unconventional special effects since the Monty Python days, and Ziltoid's story would definitely be safe in his hands. Casting Casper Van Dien as Captain Spectacular would up the film's star power, while allowing Townsend to voice the animated and/or puppet characters would retain its 'street cred'. This one has "Summer Blockbuster" written all over it.
4) VENOM - AT WAR WITH SATAN (1983)
On their third album, At War With Satan, Venom took a big chance. Rather than sticking to their tried-and-true method of pumping out highly-distorted, 3-minute songs about partying and Satan, Venom opened up the album with an epic, 20-minute long opus (titled "At War With Satan") detailing an assault on Heaven by the minions of Lucifer. The rest of the album more or less stays in line with the theme, with the remaining songs sticking to a basic "Venom rules and so does Satan" sort of concept. But the title track is the the one that deserves film treatment. Lucifer attacking the gates of Heaven, striking down Gabriel and the archangels in a literal orgy of blasphemous combat? Heck yeah, I'd watch that!
Due to his previous experience with Satanic/Hellish subject matter (see Rosemary's Baby or The Ninth Gate), I nominate Roman Polanski to direct At War With Satan. We'll cast Tim Curry as Lucifer (to save costs, he could even reuse his costume from Legend!) and use the cast of The Hills as the Heavenly denizens being slaughtered by his hand. Hell, it could even be a musical! Dress up a bunch of dancers in demon costumes and have them perform choreographed routines to Venom songs! GOLD!
Added bonus: Check out the lyrics to the album's closing track, "Aaaarrrgggh!",here. Then, let your mind's eye run wild on the cinematic possibilities.
3) HELLOWEEN - KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS TRILOGY (1987-2005)
Helloween established themselves as Germany's finest Power Metal unit with the release of The Keeper of the Seven Keys in 1987. Telling a vague story of good vs. evil and of some sort of mystical quest to hide a bunch of keys from Satan to save mankind, it was followed up by Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 a year later. Part 2 presented more of the "Good is right, Evil is wrong" storyline, and Helloween even had the balls to round out the trilogy with a completely unneccessary Part 3 (entitled The Legacy) in 2005. Though it is sometimes bagged on for its psuedo-Christian imagery and values, the Seven Keys trilogy IS pretty goddamn epic, and a great candidate for Hollywood adaptation.
We'll put Peter Jackson (left) behind the camera on this one. Pete is no stranger to the "Fantasy-film-with-thinly-veiled-Christian-undertones" genre, and Helloween's powerful tale would find a strong proponent in both his vision and technical skill. Imagine it: An underdog hero on a quest to destroy an evil, talismanic ring -- I mean, set of keys, by casting it into a volcano -- I mean ocean. Completely unprecedented. Helloween has crafted a truly unique storyline here, the likes of which Hollywood has NEVER seen. Epic.
2) MERCYFUL FATE/KING DIAMOND - THE "MELISSA" SONG CYCLE (1983-1993)
Although it wasn't technically a concept album, Mercyful Fate's 1983 album Melissa introduced us to the character of the same name, a witch who was burned at the stake by a Catholic priest. She pops up again on the 1984 album Don't Break The Oath on the song "Come To The Sabbath", in which a Satanic coven is performing a ritual to place a hex on said priest. Another character, named "Missy" but presumed to be the very same Melissa, plays a large part in King Diamond's solo album Them, while the actual Melissa returns on the 1993 Fate album In The Shadows, in a song titled "Is That You, Melissa?" (Melissa can be seen, above right, on the cover of the album). So what's the deal? King Diamond writes the "Melissa" story arc from a first-person point of view, implying that she is, indeed, his lost love, and that he is the one seeking to exact revenge on the priest who murdered her. He hints that he is still haunted by her spirit, and that her ghost is present whenever his Satanic coven convenes. Heavy shit.
Let's see... Witches? Catholic priests? Revenge fantasies and Satanic incantations? Yeah, this one has Dario Argento written all over it. As he has proved in the past with Suspiria, Tenebre, Deep Red, and, well, just about every film he's ever been involved with, Argento is a master of the religious/occult Horror film, and should have no problem directing a flick like Melissa. King Diamond can star as himself, of course, opposite Blade-era Parker Posey as the title character. Money in the bank.
1) NOCTURNUS - THE KEY (1990)
As you should all know by now, Nocturnus' 1990 classic The Key tells the tale of some (unnamed) astronaut dudes who use "the key" to travel back in time to kill baby Jesus. I guess I don't really need to explain much more than that.
BEST. MOVIE. IDEA. EVER.
We'll put Guillermo del Toro (right, of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy fame) at the helm on this one. An all-star cast of time-travelling astronauts, including Crispin Glover, Danny Trejo, and Bruce Campbell should do the trick, casting-wise, along with a cameo by Nocturnus' own Mike Browning as Jesus! Brilliant! The only problem is that Mr. del Toro is booked until at least 2017, co-directing The Hobbit with Peter Jackson, then working on a remake of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, then adapting Dan Simmons' upcoming novel The Drood (FUCK YEAH), followed by an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness (DOUBLE FUCK YEAH). But that's okay. We can wait.
-TOTAL GEEK INFORMATION BONUS!
During the course of my research for this post, I came accross a band called Manticora that recorded a whole concept album based on Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (the best book series ever). Even though their music is pretty lame, I was inspired to find yet another band raising the bar on geekdom so profoundly. Check out these Danish nerds on Myspace here.