Wednesday, December 31, 2008


So... Here's to the New Year, and here's to one WHOLE MONTH of Illogical Contraption. To celebrate these past 31 days of glorious wonder, here's 31 tracks of delicious, crusty goodness, 15 from Seattle's Shitlist and 16 from Minneapolis' Calloused. Both bands are gone now, spawning from, and being absorbed by a million other crusty punk bands, as is the custom in their culture. But they both ripped it up good in their day, as evidenced by this little slice of screechy, pummeling goodness. If I had to choose, I'd say I prefer Calloused, as their distinctive female vocalist really sets them apart from the hordes of crusty hardcore bands. CRUST CRUST CRUST!!!

Download HERE

Below: a crappy picture of Shitlist. I couldn't find a picture of Calloused ANYWHERE.


Here's a quick breakdown on some of my favorite Heavy Metal-themed flicks from the last 25 years. Somewhat of a companion piece to the "Metal Literature" post I wrote awhile back. Enjoy!


Here's a good one to start with. Penelope Spheeris followed up her 1981 documentary on the L.A. punk scene, 'The Decline of Western Civilization', with this look at the sleazy world of late-80's glam-metal. Pretty much everyone in the movie comes off as a total moron (besides the always-cool Lemmy), to the point that the interview with Dave Mustaine toward the end of the flick actually makes him seem kind of intelligent. I can't help but think that this movie was training, in a way, for Spheeris to make 'Wayne's World' 4 years later. Anyway, great unintentional comedy, but don't look too closely. The stupidity can actually get depressing.

Highlights: Drunken tirades from W.A.S.P.'s Chris Holmes (see 2nd video below), my roommate Chuffy stagediving during the Megadeth song at the end of the movie (he's the guy with long red hair, flannel shirt and ripped jeans).

Lowlights: All metalheads being portrayed as idiotic Sunset Strip douchenozzles.


Makes the list just for the awesome scenes of Hessian youths Crispin Glover and Keanu Reeves cruising around in a souped up Beetle listening to 'Show No Mercy'-era Slayer. The rest of the movie is a heavy trip too, as a group of high school metal kids maintain their silence after one of their own murders his girlfriend. Plenty of psychological intensity ensues as the group is torn asunder by shifting loyalties to both each other and their dead friend. Overall, a REALLY great movie.
Bonus: 'River's Edge' drinking game = watch the movie and take a shot every time you hear a sample that Dystopia has used.

Highlights: Dennis Hopper as freaked-out weed dealer Feck, aforementioned Slayer jams being bumped in said Volkswagen.

Lowlights: Drama, introspection, "feelings".


Another total gem from 1986, this one stars Marc Price ("Skippy" from 'Family Ties') as a troubled metalhead who receives assistance from a deceased rocker to get revenge on the school bullies. The rocker in question, one "Sammi Curr" contacts Skippy via possessed record passed down from a local DJ named Nuke. Chaos, violence, and gore are the outcome as he wages war on his former tormentors, using his newfound powers to maim, kill, and score chicks. Of course, this movie has to end with a cozy "message" about always using your powers for good, when it would have been way cooler as a straight-up Hessian revenge fantasy. Oh well.
Soundtrack by Fast Eddie Clark's post-Motorhead band, Fastway.

Highlights: Establishing shots of sweet '86 metal merch in dude's bedroom at beginning of film, Walkman demon ravaging chick in back seat of car, Ozzy Osbourne cameo as televangelist.

Lowlights: Toolbag Gene Simmons' cameo as radio DJ.


Finally, a REAL metalhead (filmmaker Sam Dunn) gets the budget, know-how and studio backing to make a REAL documentary about REAL heavy metal. Dude knows his stuff, and travels extensively around the U.S. and Europe (Wacken Open Air is featured prominently) proving it. Lots of interesting interviews with many a heavy metal icon (Bruce Dickinson, George Corpsegrinder, and Gaahl to name a few), plus live band footage and a well-done section on Norweigan black metal. Solid filmmaking from start to finish. Shelby likes.

Highlights: A rare glimpse into awesome rocker Ronnie James Dio's ceramic frog collection, very drunk and mean members of Mayhem at Wacken Open Air.

Lowlights: Uhhhh... Was Slipknot in this movie?


More of a "Hard Rock" comedy than "Heavy Metal" (Garth sports Van Halen and Aerosmith T-shirts for nearly the entire film), I had to include this one just because it's one of my all-time favorites. I was 13 when it came out, and saw it 5 times in the theater. I have seen it many, many times since. "Crucial Taunt, The Jolly Green Giants, and The Shitty Beatles".

Highlights: Too many to list.

Lowlights: Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein".

GUMMO (1997)

A weird, artsy movie from Harmony Korine ("Kids", "Julian Donkey Boy") about the residents of a small town recently wiped out by a tornado. Creepy and disturbing, the extensive cast are portrayed as the epitome of white trash, spending their days killing cats for meat to sell to a local Chinese restaurant, eating candy bars in bathtubs, or getting drunk and rasslin' each other in the basement. Reminds me a Hell of a lot of what it was like to grow up in Humboldt County, actually. Yuck.
Extra credit points given for the amazing soundtrack, which features, among others, Sleep, Brujeria, Spazz, Bathory, and Absu.

Highlights: Brutal soundtrack, mentally challenged girl wearing Krokus shirt.

Lowlights: Overall "dirty" feeling at end of film.


An amazing documentary from the guys at Vice Magazine about the only metal band in Iraq, Acrassicauda. These guys' dedication to The Metal is truly inspiring, keeping their band together despite living in a warzone (halfway through the film, their practice space gets bombed). The obstacles and barriers they face are daunting, but Acrassicauda soldiers through, never questioning their ultimate calling: to play awesome heavy metal fast and loud. This movie actually tugged at my rusty ol' heart-strings quite a bit, and it's also the only place I've ever seen real, ground-level footage of what daily life is like in the streets of Baghdad. Brutal.

Highlights: Check out the uplifting 45-minute epilogue in the bonus features on the DVD.

Lowlights: "America Guilt".


I have a shameful, shameful confession to make: I've never seen this movie. My Pose has been Exposed. I'M SOOO FUCKING LAME. Booo, Shelby. Boooooo.

Highlights: N/A

Lowlights: N/A

Is it just me or does Thor kinda have a "Bowie in Labyrinth" sorta thing going on here?


Cautionary tale about a group of dangerous, demonic mutants who invade a small town under the guise of a metal band. They poison the bodies and minds of the town's youth, turning them against their God-fearing parents and causing them to commit atrocious acts of sex and murder. Good, gory horror, and a solid attempt by the filmmakers to truly uncover the hidden dangers of Heavy Metal music. Soundtrack features Bang Tango, King Kobra, Hallow's Eve, and Lizzy Borden.

Highlights: Awful late 80's B-movie acting.

Lowlights: Awful late 80's B-movie acting.


Another solid metal doc, this one released just over a year ago. Like "A Headbanger's Journey", great attention is given to detail as the full story of Thrash Metal is revealed. Many more metal luminaries receive screen time, but next time, let's skip the segments on Slipknot's Corey Taylor and born-again Dave Mustaine. A solid B+, though.

Highlights: Obscure footage of a shitload of awesome 80's thrash bands, Katon W. DePena.

Lowlights: Read the cover - Pantera, Slipknot, Hatebreed, Megadeth, etc.


You just can't fuck with the classics, man.

Highlights: Cucumber wrapped in tinfoil, "Stonehenge"

Lowlights: None


Through the course of their career, Deeds Of Flesh have trodden a well-worn path of blasting, brootal death metal, never deviating far from the time-tested formula: play fast, play crunchy, play mean.
But much like a beautiful butterfly emerging from its cocoon, "Of What's To Come", Deeds' new full-length, is an entirely different creature altogether. Riffage is off-the-wall, ultra-shreddy and experimental, much unlike the chunky, repetitive chords displayed on past efforts. I've heard that longtime mainman Jacoby jumped ship last year, leading me to believe the remaining dudes were like "fuck it, let's take a bunch of acid and make something REALLY fucked up". Or something. Either way, the cover is AWESOME.
This one reminds me alot of the Gorguts classic, 'Obscura'. Both records are fine examples of a well-established band in a well-defined genre completely tossing the rule book out the window 10 or 12 years into their career and making something completely unique and insane. Kudos on this one, Guys From Deeds of Flesh.

PS: I hope all you chumps out there in the Contrap-Nation make the best of the coming New Year. Don't go out and do anything too stupid tonight.
Hopefully, this album is a good omen "Of What's To Come" in 2009. See how I did that? Huh? Huh? Niiiiice.

Download HERE

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have to admit, I originally purchased this CD based solely on the merits of the cover art. Something about the oddly-shaped troll-man, mushrooms sprouting out of his back, stirring up a pot of what appeared to be nacho cheese for a fleet of evil forest gnomes struck a chord with me, and I quickly snapped it up. Upon first listen, I was blown away by how heavy and diverse Asmegin is. I was expecting generic Folk/Viking metal along the lines of Otyg or Storm, but these guys bring quite a bit more to the table. Sporting death-y vocals, string instruments, melodic female vocals, and a shitload of double bass pummeling, this disc weaves in and out of concepts and genres, creating a truly interesting, heavy ride. I heard they put out a new album in '08. Anyone heard it?

Download Download HERE


If you were a kid in America in the 1980's, chances are you had a piece of the Big Four: Star Wars, He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers. These franchise toy lines ruled over their competition with an iron fist, dominating the market and invading the homes of almost every family in the country. However, there were lesser-known lines which rivaled their superiors in both concept and functionality. Some of them lacked a good cartoon tie-in or others the financial backing to truly do battle with the Big Boys, but they still ruled on their own terms, and brought joy to millions of spoiled white kids around the world. Here's my list of the TOP 5 "SECOND TIER" TOY LINES OF THE 80'S, based only on my own experience and opinions. If you've got one to add, feel free to chime in.

(PS: I realize Captain Power and The Soldiers of the Future should be on this list, but I already wrote them up here.)


I'm already a sucker for anthropomorphic warriors in futuristic battle armor, but Battle Beasts took it one step further by having a heat sensitive plate on their chest that would reveal a hidden symbol when touched. These symbols were either Wood, Fire, or Water and worked like the traditional game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, allowing you and your buddies to wage psychological onslaughts on each other from the comfort of your own home. Battle Beasts brought it to a new level for cerebral children's warfare.

Originally a Japanese import, Battle Beasts enjoyed more success in the Far East, with cartoon and comic book tie-ins. There was also a "Sunburst" chestplate introduced later on in the Japanese line, a symbol that came on something like 1 in every 100 Battle Beasts. The Sunburst could defeat Wood, Fire, AND Water. DAMN!!! Unfortunately, this highly sought-after chestplate never made a documented appearance on U.S. soil, despite claims to the contrary from many 6-to-10 year-olds.

Added bonus: Battle Beasts had cool transforming playsets that would come in the shape of a shark or a beetle, but open up to reveal an awesome command center.

Above: Actual appearance of Battle Beasts Shocking Shark Playset. Below: How it looked in the mind of an 8-year-old.


"Man and Machine, Power Extreme!"

The Centurions were a team of mechanically-enhanced defenders with elaborately weaponed exo-frames they used for combat. From their outer space-based command post, Skyvault, they kept the world safe from evil cyborgs Doc Terror and Hacker, and their army of sadistic robots. There were three original Centurions, each assigned to a specific mode of travel: Jake Rockwell, Land Operations Specialist, Ace McCloud, Air Operations Expert, and Max Ray, Sea Operations Commander.

Mysterious loner Ace McCloud<<<

A Centurions cartoon was semi-successful, running for 65 episodes total, which introduced a full cast of characters both good and evil, including two "new" Centurions, John Thunder and Rex Charger. The series went into great detail describing the Centurions' origins, operations, exploits, and love interests, with comic relief provided by a pet orangutan, Lucy.

The coolest part of the toy line, though, was the arsenal of interchangeable weapons and host of "exo-frames" you could purchase for your Centurions, to customize your dude to perfection. See below:


MASK was a fucking brilliant hybrid of G.I. Joe and Transformers. Not only did you get the awesome vehicles which (gasp!) transformed into other vehicles, but the action figures themselves were top-notch, and came with all sorts of masks, helmets, weapons, and tiny, functioning tools (I remember having one as a kid that had a spring-wound, recoilable grappling hook).
M.A.S.K. stood for Mobile Armored Strike K(?)ommand, and were led by the heroic Matt Trakker. Their enemies were called V.E.N.O.M., which stood for (get this) Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem. VENOM was one of the coolest bad-guy organizations ever, topped only by the mighty Cobra Command. Like the Centurions, MASK had a brief, 3-season, 75-episode run of cartoons, detailing their adventures and hawking their unbelievably awesome toys.

The MASK vehicles were pretty much the coolest vehicles you could get as a kid in the 80's. Some of them had giant, hidden weapons, and some of them hid other vehicles inside. The Boulder Hill Playset, MASK headquarters under the guise of an innocent gas station, was highly sought after back in the day, and if anyone wants to drop some big bucks on me for my birthday, I'm dropping a major hint NOW.


Above: "Airlandia" is actually Airlandian for "The Land of Air".

Air Raiders were a little-known toy line consisting of a couple playsets, two types of tiny, generic-looking action figures, and a bunch of mind-blowingly awesome spaceships and vehicles.
They had no cartoon tie-in and a comic book series which was limited to only five issues, which somehow added to their rogue mystique. The back story on the Air Raiders is a doozy. A giant comet strikes Airlandia, destroying most of their oxygen supply. Dickish ruler Aerozar corners the market on the remaining air, forming an evil organization, The Tyrants of Wind, to protect it. Aerozar uses his monopoly on oxygen to suppress the masses.
That is, until the defiant, rebel Air Raiders rise to return the air to the people! Sweet.

Below: Not a very good representation of the vast array of awesome spaceships and jets available in the Air Raiders line, but the only Air Raiders commercial I could find on YouTube.

Left: Bland, pathetic Air Raider foot soldiers await a fiery death doled out by the Tyrants of Wind.

Although the action figures were admittedly pretty weak, it was the evil-looking vehicles that made this toy line a winner, and they fact that they all shot missiles based off of an internal air pump increased their coolness tenfold. These toys were a flash in the pan, a bright, shining flash that burned too brilliant and hot to last long.

Below: The most metal Tyrants of Wind vehicle, The Man-O-War.


Shit, dude. You just can't beat the concept. The heroic space-warrior Valorians are sucked through a vortex into the distant past, followed by their alien nemeses, the Rulons. Both groups, taking advantage of their pre-historic surroundings, harness the powers of nearby dinosaurs to aid them in their battle, mounting all manner of missile, lazer gun, and exoskeletal armor to their newfound reptilian allies.

How could any 8-year-old kid resist the combination of dinosaurs, outer space, lazers, and alien villains?!
Dino-Riders had its comic book and its cartoon show (I've seen neither, but would love to), but the toys were the real deal. I had only one or two of them as a kid, but remember lusting after them with great zeal and envy. I mean, look at Hammerhead Shark Alien Dude and Serpent Head Alien Dude over there, kickin' it on their armored triceratops. How fuckin STOKED are they?! FUCK!

So, long story short, that's the breakdown on the second wave of 80's toy lines. I hope this thing has held maybe just a hint of savory nostalgia for you, Dear Reader, and I hope maybe my memories of this crap might spark a couple of your own.

Above: The Holy Grail of semi-obscure 1980's toy culture, Dino-Riders Rulon T-Rex.


Weird mixed bill featuring noise rock and death metal at a jazz bar in the Mission. On a Saturday. What could possibly suck about this show?! Go!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


A magical psychedelic masterpiece from one of Japan's greatest natural wonders. I hope everyone has this one already, but if you don't, do yourself a favor and download this sucker NOW!!! This is amazing, wonderful, heavy, menacing, groovy music, the record to put on when you're trying to convince your parents to lighten up and smoke a joint with you. If everyone would just listen to this album over and over, every day, war would stop, politicians would give us all our money back, and we would all float away into a magical land of gumdrops and unicorns, forever tuned into the peppermint rainbow vibration.

Download HERE


Ah Hell, I'm feelin' generous today. Here's the first "proper" Flower Travellin' Band album, "Anywhere", released in 1970. Features awesome versions of Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" and King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man". It rules.

Download HERE

Above: Photo from FTB's last concert ever (until their 2008 reunion), 1973.


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Bottom line: if you like Born Against, you will like Hail Mary. Short, weird, angry blasts of East Coast punk rock, with venomous lyrics spat coarsely throughout. It was even released on B.A.'s home label, Vermiform, was produced by B.A. guitarist Neil, and cover art was drawn by B.A. singer Sam (check out his ruling blog HERE). But despite being a tad derivative, they're still a great band, and, considering this is the only thing they ever released, y'all should probably get it NOW.

Download HERE


Forget the half-assed 2000 film adaptation starring Christian "I talk like Nathan Explosion when I turn into Batman" Bale, the proof is in the PAPER this time. I remember the controversy when this book hit the streets in 1991. I was only 12, but I heard it on TV and read it in the magazines. It wasn't just the far Right, and it wasn't undeserved. 'American Psycho' was (as I found out when I finally read it 7 years later) dark, brutal, and sickeningly perverse, along with being one of the most brilliant pieces of American satire ever written. Bret Easton Ellis' twisted yuppie protagonist Patrick Bateman delivers the story in a stream-of-consciousness monologue, describing in equal detail his friend's Armani suit, the newest Huey Lewis album, or the brutal torture-killing he performed the night before. His vapid detachment reveals the most about his character, and his story plays out like a cross between an advertisement and an insane horror movie. If you have the stomach for it, I highly recommend checking this one out. hopefully you haven't ruined it by watching that damned movie already.

Here's my favorite passage from the book, one of Bateman's blackest, bleakest, and most revealing moments:

"... where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one's taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person's love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term "generosity of spirit" applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire - meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in... this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged..."


Above: Twisted sicko Bret Easton Ellis, God bless him.

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Okay, okay... So it's not technically a "double feature", but this release is so chock-full of insane riffication that I literally had to split it into 2 parts to upload it. It's THAT meaty.
Blotted Science, much like fellow instrumental mind-fuckers Sleep Terror, play ultra-insane crypto-metal, heavy as fuck but also jazzy at times. Composed of Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink) on guitar, Charlie Zeleny (Behold...The Arctopus) on drums, and the mighty Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal) on bass, this tech-metal supergroup somehow manages to be larger than the sum of its parts. No vocals here, and none are needed. This is the epitome of "music-nerd" metal, completely baffling and impossible to comprehend.
I don't know how this disc slipped past my radar last year, but thanks to Aesop at Cosmic Hearse for bringing it to my attention. This shit seriously spun my dome.

Download HERE and HERE

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


So here I am, Christmas morning, bedridden with a fever of approximately 692 degrees. Ugh. Fuck Christmas.
Anyhow, when I'm depressed or pissed off, there's usually only one thing that can make me feel better. The brutal, crusty grindcore of East Bay (via Orange County) shredders Dystopia.
The first time I ever heard Dystopia, I was 17 years old. My upstairs neighbor Gordon brought home a copy of their split 12" with Skaven. The whole album blew me away, but the Dystopia songs were especially awesome, and remain my favorite Dystopia tracks today. "Anger Brought By Disease" and "Taste Your Own Medicine" were magical hymns to my high school-aged ears, expressing a rage and frustration that I was nowhere near articulate enough to explain myself. A couple months later, me and the bros drove 5 hours to see them live at 924 Gilman in Berkeley. The rest, as they say, is history.
So here, as a Christmas gift, I present Dystopia's complete catalog of digital releases, "Human = Garbage", "The Aftermath" (a collection of tracks from split LPs, including the songs from the Skaven split), and their long-awaited new album, simply titled "Dystopia". Get 'em now, so that next time
YOU'RE feeling down, you'll have the bros in Dystopia to help you through. Dystopia feels your pain.


Download HERE


Download HERE


Download HERE