Category

miscellaneous

Book Review: Corpsepaint

By | metal reviews, miscellaneous

The question I had while reading this book is “can I truly hate every single character in this book and still enjoy it?” That’s what David Peak’s Corpsepaint brings me to. Let’s back up a bit.

This book was sold to me basically by a friends review that described it, so so many ways, as a nihilistic, black metal, horror book that is insanely bleak. Fucking aye, that’s my jams. So diving into it that’s what I was expecting, and essentially, that’s what I got.

Now with how bleak and dismal the book is, does it behoove the story to be told by such terrible characters? Terrible as humans, not terribly written. The book is not terribly written, it’s rather engaging for a horror yarn full of assholes that I just want to kick.

Personal baggage out front: I’ve been extremely disillusioned with the rising tide of edge lord stances and white nationalists and defenders of such shitty ideals currently being thrown around the black metal scene that I just have to fucking tolerance, or patience for anybody who wants to engage or support that bullshit. David Peak’s main characters are essentially those bullshit posturing, self-proclaimed “trve” black metal dudes with zero sense of self humor or irony. There’s even mention of them dabbling with racism or nazism just to be edgy. Fuck that. I immediately hated these characters. Minus their edge, they’re still shitty humans in general. So the idea is these two musicians, one who is a “legendary” black metal musician down on his luck, and his new band partner are heading to eastern Europe to record what he thinks will be his second coming. The place they’re going is some sort of reclusive, black metal, compound life sort of deal that harbors another legendary black metal band that’s going to aid him with recording the new album. Surprise, surprise, these people are a bunch of white nationalist assholes too, throwing black metal shows with skinheads and other right wing types of extremist. In the context of the book though, the main cult group has access to some ancient, natural force of evil power they hope to let loose. It’s amusing to me that the way Peak writes these characters, as being some kind of vessel for ancient, true, arcane knowledge of the natural word is what all these real life, stick-up-the-ass black metal fans fancy themselves to be. The big difference being Peak writes fiction and these dumbwits live in reality where they aren’t anything more than greasy fanboys.

So that’s how I’m coming out of this book. I hate every single person in it but Peak writes a good, slow burn, horror yarn that pulls a lot from the dismal, hopelessness of Lovecraft but with the added black metal, heavy metal, cold, bleak, surroundings and attitudes. Is it Peak’s intention to have you dislike the characters? Maybe that’s what I brought in to it but if you ask me, I think that’s part of the books challenge. Yes, these dudes are trash, and they’ll get theirs, but are you enjoying how that happens? I did.

Thor Brought the Thunderhawk to Denver

By | metal reviews, miscellaneous

If somebody asked me to describe the perfect concert going experience my description would go as follows:

1. An Alice Cooper cover band that turns out to be just one sloppy dude with poorly applied Alice Cooper make-up just screaming Alice Cooper songs into a microphone backed only by the audio tracks from his laptop and in-between songs he would play audio clips of Alice Cooper promoting shitty products.

2. A muted TV in the bar that played nothing but ALF episodes with the closed captions on so nobody misses a goddamn thing that abominable puppet is saying.

3. An audience that is only about thirty people strong but consists of a dude rocking a full on American flag leather jacket and dragon head rings as big as his fingers as well as a man in his fifties rocking a tucked-in-to his jeans Judge Dread shirt dancing the entire night away.

4. The Thunderhawk himself, Jon Mikl Thor, bringing his unyielding earnest, decades long devotion to his performance, complete in cape and viking helmet with rubber Mjolnir, wandering around the crowd during guitar solos and at one point making everybody sit on a grimy bar floor, mid song, so he can take quick break thusly exposing his codpiece to all.

5. All of this culminating in one glorious moment on stage and in the audience where you realize just how amazingly awesome all the ridiculousness building all night has become.

And then last night all of those things came true.

Epix’s Punk Documentary

By | miscellaneous

“Punk is dead.” – everybody ever in regards to punk music

Last night I finished watching Epix (Epix’s?) four-part documentary on punk. The break down, essentially, is a broad overview of punk as a musical form from the early days, via Iggy Pop, MC5, The Ramones, Blondie, the England invasion by the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Slits, The Damned, 80’s American Hardcore from Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, DOA, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, The Germs, and the final episode having to do with the punk explosion of the 90’s by bands like Green Day, The Offspring, L7, Bad Religion, and so forth.

As a long time punk fan I mostly enjoyed the third episode based around the American Hardcore scene and it’s full-steam ahead DIY ethics that really paved the way for punk and indie music in America, an attitude that continues to inspire me to this fucking day. The episode I was looking forward to the most was the fourth episode, about the 90’s punk explosion. I came of age in the 90’s and 90’s punk rock played a huge part in that so that’s the era I identify with the most. However, If you’re a fan of punk, there’s really nothing new here, which is the crux of why this series kind of bummed me out. Sure, I enjoy watching these people talk about punk and it’s always fun to see Keith Morris’s directness or Henry Rollins pontificating, or Jello Biafra’s wild gesticulations, but they’re not saying anything they haven’t said one billion times before. The history of punk has been picked clean over, left out in the sun to bleach its bones, so if you’re going to make a a punk documentary in 2019 why not throw in something different? Even the general overview of punk in this four hour series was shockingly sparse, especially when it came to women and minorities, groups of people which have been crucial to punk’s history. Barely a mention of Patti Smith, who my wife points out “if Iggy was the Godfather of Punk, then surely Patti Smith is the Aunt.” Nothing about Suicidal Tendencies. Just two examples from the top of my head.

Then the documentary stops in the 90s with barely any mention of punk past that point except for the standard “there’s always going to be some angry kid” observation.

Fucking boring.

If this is the current state of punk then yeah, it’s surely dead and I’ll be happy to fucking bury it, but fortunately it’s not. This documentary is the visual equivalent of people growing old and not wanting to find new music. They could at least mention some of the other genres and scenes going on. How about crust? To me that’s the most vital form punk has taken over the new millennium, or the LA backyard punk bands scene? Maybe the collapse of Warped Tour? This is why I’ve enjoyed these highly specific documentaries like the Descendents documentary Filmage, the East Bay punk documentary Turn it Around, or Los Punks, about the LA backyard scene I mentioned before. Hell, even the Fat Wreck Chords documentary was interesting, despite Fat Mike’s bullshit.

Maybe it’s time to change the history of punk, add more in, reexamine it. The spirit is still there and nobody can take that away from it but another run of the mill documentary discussing the same points ad nauseam is boring as hell.

Well, shit, how about some newer punk band recommendations?

90’s pop punk attitude that’s catchy as fuck infused with a crucial and bitingly on-point feminist and political in your face approach. Exactly what punk deserves.

 

Crazy frenetic and melodic punk like you’ve never heard. Beautifully angry vocals and political messaging. 2000-teens punk for sure.

 

This band burned so quickly but over their two bare-minimum releases punched punk and music right in the fucking teeth. So vital.

 

Like I mentioned before I think Crust has become the most crucial form of punk over the past decade or so. The DIY, fuck everybody, we’re doing shit our way attitude fucking radiates from this genre and it’s influence in other genres, particularly metal has been on of the highlights of music as a whole for me over the past few years. Iskra might be the queens of melding metal and crust.

 

The Armed are a fucking explosion of punk fury and electronic insanity. Nothing can prepare you for this one.

 

Hot off the presses this is some excellent, excellent, post, hardcore, punk with some crust and atmospheric tendencies. Fucking brutally emotional and a vocalist that impresses with every god damn note. This is killer. Killer!

 

And even some of the old stalwarts are still vital and making some of the best music of their careers. Take Propagandhi, a band I’d discounted in the 90’s but revitalized my interest in punk all over again with their fucking massive 2012 album Failed States.

The Lady From the Black Lagoon

By | miscellaneous

In Mallory O’Meara’s new book there is a picture of her subject, Milicent Patrick. Probably the most famous picture of her. It’s her, dressed to the nines, working away at her art board.

Milicent Patrick just crushing being awesome

Is this not the best looking office/art space ever?

I never considered who designed any of the movie monsters I love. Not until way later when DVDs came out and all the behind-the-scenes info became readily available. Around that time (mid 2000s?) I remember seeing this exact picture of Milicent in the context of “this is who designed the Creature From the Black Lagoon.” I thought, “that’s really fucking cool.” I love The Creature, both the movie and the design (I have a massive leg tattoo of him) and that’s really all the thought I gave it. It never occurred to me that there would be any controversy over the design of it, or Milicent herself, but I suppose that was naive of me and it’s exactly why O’Meara wrote this book.

The Lady From the Black Lagoon is more of an autobiography of author Mallory O’Meara that exposes the much needed-to-be told story of Milicent Patrick through the lens of sexism in Hollywood, horror movies, and society in general. Mallory is a horror movie producer and found strength in Milicent Patrick’s story and inspiration looking up to a woman who made monsters, something that O’Meara didn’t think was possible. Patrick herself is massively inspiring, as told through the book, being one of the first women animators at Disney, and working on the (incredible) design of the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth as well as designing the best designed movie monster ever (that’s scientifically true, fight me), the Creature From the Black Lagoon, among other accomplishments. O’Meara shares the experiences Patrick had with sexism and what it meant to be a woman in a creative field over 60 years ago, interwoven with her own stories of sexism and skeevy encounters and it’s devastating how very little has changed. O’Meara peppers the book with statistics about women in the industry which is good data to see so bluntly presented.

The core of the book, and what I found truly inspiring, is O’Meara’s reverence for Patrick and how whether she knew it or not was a trailblazer for women, especially on the creative side. O’Meara writes extremely causally and personably about her adventures uncovering everything she could about Patrick as well as her personal history and stories of movie-making and it lends a friendly voice that makes the book feel like your best friend is telling you these stories. They’re entirely beautiful as they are heart-breaking, eye-opening, depressing, and important.

You should probably read this fucking book.

My previously mentioned leg tattoo. It looks much better in person.

Creative Pits

By | miscellaneous

“Why won’t you be art?” – Homer Simpson

At the beginning of the new year I was feeling creatively and artistically wiped the fuck out. I knew I needed to do something else whether it be with my comics or some new yet to be discovered project. I figured I should probably start from the beginning and read some books because finding books about whatever subject is vexing me is the way I like to roll. So that’s what I did. I just googled books on creativity and bought a bunch people seemed to agree on where good. I don’t want to say they were “transformative” but they were extremely helpful and did in fact, reinvigorate my desire and want to create new shit. Some I like more than others. Some I’ll go back to again and again. Some I thought were fluffy nonsense. I won’t say which are which incase you’d like to read any so I’ll just post some links to help:

Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

The Steal Like an Artist Journal – Austin Kleon

Manage Your Day-To-Day – 99U

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Damn Good Advice – George Lois

Ignore Everybody – Hugh Macleod

The Creative Habit – Twyla Tharp

Regardless of what I thought about any of the books I’m fucking glad I read each one. Even the books I didn’t like helped me overcome my creative slump in some way or another.