• Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

     

    On an objective level, both critics and fans don't seem to know what a good movie is anymore. "Mad Max: Fury Road" may be filled with nearly two hours of breathtaking non-stop action sequences and a couple of great special effects, settings or locations and some solid camera and light techniques in the few calmer moments.

    The problem is that there is literally nothing more than this in this reboot of another legendary series. There are no real intrigues going on and creativity is literally non- existent. There are almost no dialogues and the few that are there are quite weak. There are no surprising elements or twists and therefor no tension whatsoever in the whole flick. The plot is so shallow that even the increasingly bad "Fast and Furious" feel like intellectual masterpieces if compared to this laughable excuse of a story.

    One gets introduced to an epic number of characters but none of them has any real depth. The biggest problem is the uncharismatic main actor Tom Hardy and his shallow character that doesn't create any antipathy or sympathy among viewers. I rarely cared less about a leading character in any movie than here. Another problem are the numerous villains that aren't fleshed out either. It feels as if the characters of the bad guys were randomly borrowed from some of the trashiest action flicks of the seventies and eighties. Sometimes, they appear pretty much out of nowhere and die as randomly a few minutes later. The only actress who did a decent job and managed to add some depth to its character is Academy Award winner Charlize Theron. I feel sad for her to be acting in such a disastrous movie.

     

    Even two hours of non-stop action end up feeling boring and stretched if there are no truly stunning scenes or any degree of virtuosity in the high amount of exaggerated explosions and endless gunfights. Even as a homage to the original series or a worthless movie to switch your brains off and have some fun, this movie has nearly no merits. Apart of the few objective positive elements which are basically due to the impertinent budget and some obvious inspirations from the original cult movies and which barely justify my extremely generous rating, this film is extremely overrated and not recommendable for anyone.

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  • Ladies and gentlemen!

    This debut record of German heavy metal quintet Architects of Chaoz is probably the most surprising comeback release of the year 2015. How come? The album features four young and dynamical musicians plus legendary singer Paul Di'Anno of Iron Maiden fame. After many years in obscurity, the gifted artists rises from its ashes and delivers a statement of an album that even his most faithful fans wouldn't have expected. This is not the album of the year by any means but far better than anything I would have expected from the aging legend at this point in his career. Please take a closer look at my review, enjoy some new music and support the underground band by purchasing its record.

    Sincerely yours,

    Sebastian Kluth

    Architects of Chaoz - The League of Shadows (2015)

    Fifteen years after his last record with new original music, Paul Di'Anno is finally back with eleven new tracks plus an amazingly performed Deep Purpler cover clocking in slightly above fifty-five minutes under the Architects of Chaoz banner. The new band consists of Paul Di'Anno's German backing band that supported him and played the same old Iron Maiden classics in front of the same nostalgic fans in the same shabby locations. The legendary singer presents us an above average release which even his most faithful fans didn't expect. This is a clear step up from the mediocre ''Nomad'' record one and a half decades ago and this might even be one of his very best records since Iron Maiden's ''Killers'' cult album thirty-four years ago. After many short-living, irrelevant and failed projects from Gogmagog over Battlezone and Killers to The Almighty Inbredz, Paul Di'Anno only made it on the news due to his cancelled retirement plans, serious drug addictions, envious comments about his former band members, ongoing severe health issues and questionable tax frauds in recent years. It's great to have him back in form.

    ''The League of Shadows'' might not be the most original record ever and can be considered as average old school heavy metal that would have been really influential thirty-five years earlier but which sounds somewhat exchangeable if compared to the elevated number of solid retro acts nowadays. The guitar riffs are gripping and heavy, the rhythm section is solid and the release comes around with two or three surprising songs that actually try out something creative and break out of the usual mid-tempo stompers but otherwise, this record remains mostly exchangeable yet enjoyably entertaining on a musical level. It's really Paul Di'Anno's unique voice that puts this output above average.

    The legendary singer convinces in the few faster and meaner tracks with a few high-pitched parts such as the angry ''How Many Times'' that recalls his career in the classical New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene. He also delivers catchy mid-tempo stompers with rebellious lyrics such as the convincing opener ''Rejected'' where Paul Di'Anno's punk roots become more obvious. My favourite category is the selection of calm half-ballads and epic tracks with a sophisticated twist such as the emotional ''Switched Off (Released)'' that recalls the progressive rock influences from the early Iron Maiden releases. His recent contemporary hardcore and metalcore influences that could be heard in some reinterpretations of Iron Maiden classics, are a lot less present on this release which might be a good thing because the versions were far from convincing.

    Apart of the aforementioned tracks, I would like to point out the melodic anthem ''Dead Eyes'' that has a build-up and chorus that would also fit to some European power metal bands. Paul Di'Anno's vocals bring the track back to an expressive, grounded and tough tone. Title track ''Architects of Chaoz'' has a great epic atmosphere with a slight progressive metal touch and even a few well-hidden Middle Eastern folk melodies. This grower somewhat reminds me of a mixture of Iced Earth and Symphony X which are two solid references. The most outstanding tune on the great album is probably the stunning ''Apache Falls'' that comes around with Indian folk chants and tribal drum passages. The song evolves into a solid mid-tempo heavy metal epic. The closing moments of this tune are as great as the opening parts since the last seconds come around with haunting piano melodies leaving the listener on a hypnotizing note.

    In the end, Architects of Chaoz has delivered a great traditional heavy metal record that marks a convincing return to form for an old legend. Anybody who likes energizing, handmade and honest heavy metal should give this release a fair chance. Let's hope that there is more to come from this band and that Paul Di'Anno finally manages to improve his luck after long years of heartbreaking decay.

    Final rating: 8/10

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/architectsofchaoz

    Homepage: http://www.architectsofchaoz.net/

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcqvTPzLoiWoCZ3NJnvFBQA

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  • Ladies and gentlemen!

    A few years ago I discovered the outstanding lyrical, musical and visual project Spacemak3r and reviewed its first output with enthusiasm. You can read my review under the following link and I can tell you that it's still valid since the band has never stopped to fascinate me since I discovered it: http://kluseba.eklablog.com/spacemak3r-spacemak3r-2010-10-10-a58676793

    Last year, the project finally released its follow-up and I can tell you that the second record is just as great as the debut album. Please take a look at my detailed review, check out the band's fascinating clips and support this overlooked project by purchasing its unique music on iTunes or on their personal webstore for a truly fair price.

    Please enjoy the music and take care!

    Sincerely yours,

    Sebastian Kluth

     

    Spacemak3r - Spacemak3r II

    Spacemak3r is an interesting project from Quebec City that convinces artistically, lyrically and musically. The band's splendid artworks on the album covers and booklets, their visually stunning video clips and even the different actors and settings on stage recall Tim Burton movies in a colourful yet somber way. The different songs talk about a schizophrenic boy called Alexander who is making up imaginary characters who are haunting him day by day. The band's music is a vivid mixture of bass-dominated nu metal in the key of KoRn, straight industrial metal à la Marilyn Manson, contemporary metalcore acts like Trivium, symphonic gothic metal recalling the underrated Le Grand Guignol and dystopian dubstep elements that remind me of Skrillex among others.

    As if this incredible mixture of genres wasn't enough, the band also invited creative photographer Paul Di Giacomo who is also a member of the hardcore band Never More Than Less and violonist Sébastien Savard to perform on two of the eleven new tracks. Paul Di Giacomo appears on the vivid "Rock Bottom" that sounds like a mixture of early Rammstein and early Linkin Park with a mean twist. Sébastien Savard appears on the epic album closer "Violince" that also offers a short hidden passage. The track sounds like a majestic Apocalyptica song with dubstep elements that add a more dystopian and maddening feeling to it.

    While all songs are great in their own way, I need to point out a few personal highlights. "Through the Mirror" is one of the calmer tracks and slowly builds up a nightmarish atmosphere with distorted guitar sounds, dominantly slapping bass licks, epic symphonic sound samples, electronic sound samples and hypnotizing vocal effects. Each stylistic element works perfectly in this tune and the different sounds don't collide in a chaotic way but fusion to build something truly atmospheric and unique. This track presents everything Spacemak3r stands for. It's highly recommended to listen to this song at night to increase its scary atmosphere. "Trick 'r Treat" is a crazy up-tempo track with heavy dubstep influences and a lot of uneasy scratching parts that make you want to jump around and go insane. This is probably the weirdest song on an amazingly disturbing album.

    In the end, this record is probably the scariest album since the gothic metal masterpiece "Carpathia: A Dramatic Poem" by The Vision Bleak which came out ten years earlier and happens to be one of my favourite records of all times. This record is just as great as the first Spacemak3r release and I hope this project will finally get the credit it deserves since this is easily the best contemporary rock or metal band from the beautiful province of Quebec. I hope these guys play some more concerts in the future and don't hesitate to book shows in Ottawa or all over Canada in general.

    Final rating: 10/10

    Here are some additional video clips:

    1. The story behind the project (in French):

     

    2. The project live in concert at l'Agitée in Quebec City in 2014:

     

    3. Non-album track "Jingle Bell Rock" (2012):

     

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Facebook: http://fr-ca.facebook.com/spacemak3r

    Homepage: http://www.spacemak3r.com/

    iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/spacemak3r/id398437399?l=fr

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  • Dear readers of my blog!

    Here comes a review of the debut record of a band that I discovered earlier this year when the quintet performed with Napalm Death, Voivod, Exhumed and Iron Reagan at Maverick in Ottawa. The band's fascinating mixture of sophisticated progressive metal sounds and unchained death metal brutality had impressed me so much that I decided to purchase the band's first full length output. Several months and countless spins later, I've decided to support this promising newcomer by writing a review of their latest output. Fans of bands such as Augury, Gojira, Opeth and the bands mentioned in my article should give this group a fair chance.

    Take good care and enjoy some new music!

    Sebastian Kluth 

    Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars (2014)

    Black Crown Initiate is a promising progressive death metal quintet from Reading, Pennsylvania that was founded back in 2013. After the release of the EP “Song of the Crippled Bull”, the band brought out its first full length effort “The Wreckage of Stars” in autumn 2014. Over nearly fifty-three minutes, the quintet meanders from calm and introspective passages with clean vocals, acoustic guitars and extended instrumental sections to brutal and expressive parts with powerful growls, furious blastbeats and punching stakkato riffs.

    Personally, I adore the band’s most progressive and varied tracks. The opener “The Great Mistake” is by far the best song on the entire record. It opens with hypnotizing sitar sounds that recall their Russian colleagues Kartikeya in a positive way. The track slowly builds up with a balanced mixtured of almost doom metal inspired riffs and furious drum parts before unchained growls contribute to the menacing tone. The climax of these multiple influences is the addicting chorus performed by longing clean vocals. The quintet slows down the intensity in the numbing middle part with haunting spoken word passages that almost recall post rock influences before the track goes back to its more vivid tone and ends with the exotic sitar patterns from the introduction. In the progressive metal genre, you can’t ask for a better song than this and I sincerely hope the band puts out more tracks of this quality in the future.

    Even though the other tracks can’t match the excellence of the intense opener, there are still several outstanding tracks on this album. “The Malignant” and “Withering Waves” are quite similar to the opener minus the sitar sounds. They feature melancholic clean vocals, harmonious acoustic guitar passages and calm instrumental sections with almost jazz-influenced parts that meet throaty growls, technical blastbeats and distorted guitar sounds that wouldn’t sound of of place on a Voivod record. That being said, the drum play isn’t just fast and brutal. While some parts are dominated by blastbeats, the drummer always plays a slower second rhythm at the same time and also brings in efficient mid-tempo beats in the more longing parts. From a technical point of view, his work on this record is probably the most outstanding contribution. From an emotional side, I’m really falling for the melancholic clean vocals and the use of acoustic guitars or the sitars in the opener.

    Title song “The Wreckage of Stars” is mostly instrumental and has a very technical tone where the ferociously fast drum play clashes with numbing atmospheric guitar sounds. Despite a length close to seven minutes, the track never gets boring and has a coherent atmospheric guiding line that reminds me of instrumental progressive metal band Unbeing. It's definitely an outstanding tune on an outstanding album.

    Those who prefer faster and more brutal death metal tracks will be satisfied with the pitiless stomper “The Fractured One” that really takes no prisoners in three and a half minutes. “The Human Lie Manifest” is one minute longer and heads in a similar direction but focuses more on the stunning guitar work by including a beautiful melodic solo section. Both more intellectual and more emotional extreme metal fans will find something they adore on this release.

    In the end, Black Crown Initiate delivers one of the best progressive extreme metal releases in recent years along with the latest outputs by Voivod, Shining, Serdce, M.H.X’s Chronicles and maybe Atrocity. The mixture of sophisticated creativity and unbound passion in the most epic tracks that convince in both the calmer and heavier tones is truly spectacular. Fans of all bands mentioned in this review should immediately check this band out.

    Final rating: 90%

     

    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Bandcamp: http://blackcrowninitiate.bandcamp.com

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackCrownInitiate/videos

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  • Mesdames et Messieurs!

    Cette semaine, j'aimerais vous présenter un projet de film allemand particulier qui s'intitule “Sky Sharks” et qui sortira probablement au courant de l'année 2017. Ce film qui ne se prend pas trop au sérieux semble être est un mélange farfelu de plusieurs nanars populaires tels que “Dead Snow”, “Iron Sky”, “Sharknado” et “Snakes on a Plane”. Le projet qui mêle des influences de films d'action, de comédie et d'horreur compte sur les caméos de plusieurs acteurs allemands connus et comporte également la musique d'un des groupes allemands les plus connus dans le monde qui est le groupe de métal Kreator. Ceux qui décident de soutenir financièrement le projet auront droit à des récompenses uniques et pourront entre autres participer dans le film. Est-ce que ce sera un futur film culte ou un projet honteux pour la poubelle? Voici plus d'informations sur ce projet controversé en commençant tout simplement avec l'affiche du film.

    Sky Sharks (2017)

    Voici la bande-annonce du film:

    Soutenez la campagne de financement sur Kickstarter et obtenez des récompenses exclusives: 

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/168690333/sky-sharks

    Suivez la page Facebook du projet:

    http://www.facebook.com/SkySharksMovie

    Regardez des photos exclusives du film sur Instagram:

    http://instagram.com/skysharksmovie/

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