Pestilence – Spheres – 1993

Roadrunner 1993
Credits: Marco Foddis – Drums.  Jeroen Thesseling – Bass.
Patrick Mameli – Vocals, Guitar.  Patrick Ulerwijk – Guitar.

In the early 90s, a small flurry of death metal bands experimented with mixing death metal and jazz fusion.  Improbably, the results are almost invariably remarkable.  Pestilence was one such band, and Spheres was their death jazz contribution, a wonderfully crafted blend of jazz-themed riffs, odd time signatures, extremely synth-like guitar lines, and mature lyrics (they never bought into the gore schtick put forth by New Yorkers Cannibal Corpse and their ilk).  What else can I say: I love this style of music, and it thus follows that I love this album.  Too bad Roadrunner records hated it so much that it led to the demise of the band.  Pestilence plays advanced music that avoids the “wank-fest” trap that so many progressive metal bands fall into.  These songs never degenerate into over-indulgence, but reveal more and more individual character upon each repeated listen.  The riff to Multiple Beings, while not very complex, gets stuck in my head all day long.  There are many places throughout Spheres where the listener would swear a keyboard was being played – but it is all guitar synthesizers, something that was totally foreign to death metal at the time (and largely, still is).  To a fan of jazz fusion and death metal, Spheres, and its contemporary albums from Atheist and Cynic, is an absolute essential. Bottom line: Like fine wine, Spheres only gets better with age.

Review by, Mark

Frankenstein – movie – 2015

I randomly picked out Frankenstein to watch, my expectations were nil, as if nothing, maybe even burdened by the idea it being bad and having to stop watching it. I happy to say that I started to get into it rather quickly from the beginning. To me when I think of Frankenstein I think of the stereotypical one you see on the Munsters, and is very much identified with Halloween. But this movie managed to display something real, something tangible, many perspectives available to perceive this character.

We run through the experimentation, bringing life to the dead. They bring about life to a corpse, or whatever kind of aesthetic they use, it’s uncertain how about they got the body all together. Unless it was like Andy Warhol’s, Flesh for Frankenstein, where they harbor dead corpses to bring to life. Whatever they have brought to life a man, whose intelligence is that of an infant. He is apparently very strong and although susceptible to pain, he seems to endure a great bit of torture and still manages to carry on.

What I like so much about the movie is that, Adam, he rummages through the real world with a infantile perspective. It isn’t until he meets a homeless man, that he begins to learn and grow more intelligence, this is also where you start to hear him speak like a narrative throughout the movie. He makes a conscious effort to support his relationship with the homeless guy, and if not for an awkward proposal for sex, they might very well have been better off. Through the whole movie, Adam is trying to reacquaint himself with whom he calls mother. He wants love, he is a “monster”, but he does have a strong human desire for love.

Even with his best effort, he is ran off by the townspeople and police. Everyone thinks of him as a worthless disgrace. This is something that I found a great parallel to our own society. We find a majority, a herd, and people will blindly attack anyone they deem a monster. Isn’t this the truth with human beings. We harbor so much hate and disgust with our own species, even if our conception of truth is hearsay. We don’t want truth, we just want somebody to hate. Somebody to lynch and humiliate.

survival of the fittest

I am not good with predictions, prophecy or telling the future. Infact I keep my mouth shut when it comes to predictions, I would rather watch the cards fall, and then decide for myself accuracy. It isn’t so much recognition, but more so a hint at something invisible, maybe spiritual, something that hints at a power that exceeds our human ability. After all my body collects the oxygen to let blood flow, there must be something that hints at a power greater than ourselves.

It’s difficult to accept life, and secular human beings when you made up for yourself a certain moral law that is dictated by the spiritual. You criticize, antagonize human life. But at our core, we acknowledge a moral law, something to differentiate good and bad. Ravi Zacharias/CS Lewis, both believe that if a moral law exists, than there must be a more lawgiver. The moral law giver of course being god. I have a problem with this idea, only because I think that our environment our reality that is around us dictates wrong and right. I think they are not so much concerned with environmental and surroundings, but more with a singular aspect that reflects onto all human beings. The idea that there are certain things that exist in all of us, and we can all agree that they are in all human beings. We are all affected by certain stimuli, things that are spiritual and non existent in the physical.

It’s hard for me believe that a god imbedded in us certain laws and rules, that if permitted result in a barrier around us, that crushing guilt and conscious wrong. Why do human beings feel this, some human beings (strong ones) can outright resist the idea of wrong in themselves. They are the herd, they follow the physical and resist the spiritual. After all anything that negates a successful lifestyle  must be resisted and thrown away from our consciousness. We have wronged one, or a whole lot more, but we do not allow ourselves to fall into self pity. This reminds me of teachings by Nietzsche, he believes that christianity or spiritual beliefs are all human weakness. He believes in the herd instinct the powerful, the courageous and daring.

I haven’t a clue about where I stand in all of this. But I feel the crushing blows of reality, I have a hard time ignoring the consequence. I fall into the weaker category, but somehow I feel as if I am aligned with something spiritual, something that exists outside of myself. I do not subscribe to certain institutions and churches. The older I get the less I see the exposure of life, but more the love of money and ignore the weaker human beings. Let the herd throw them out, they waste the oxygen somebody with a spine could have. I believe in suicide, only because when a human has no purpose, nothing to permit itself to success. The greatest pain I could endure is the absence of family. That would be a pain I could not endure through.

finally beat Panzer Dragoon Saga

At long last I finally beat Panzer Dragoon Saga, a long time coming but I finally did it. I do have some minor criticisms and a few resolved issues. The game is definitely not nice and polished like Final Fantasy 7, I do not see any comparison between the two as far as content and storyline, but I use FF7 only because I consider that the best rpg on the playstation, Saga being the best on Saturn. With that being said, the FMV’s are a lot nicer to look at on the PS1, and background imagery on FF7 is a lot better, it really brings to surface that although the Saturn can run 3D games, its strongest quality is in 2D games. With all that being said, to me Saga doesn’t really shine and show its ability until the end of the game. Though its 3D abilities not being the best, you will be impressed with what the game can do later on.

Something cool is that at the end of the game it tally’s up your score. And one thing I found interesting is it has a “spirituality” piece, and I think that is attributed with how many people you speak with. The game has a lot of detail and ability if you’re willing to look past its muddied up graphics. I am sure some will defend it, in regards to graphics, and although impressive you can obviously see it cannot accomplish with what the PS1 can do.

Graphics aside the game was definitely a great experience. Sure I found myself yelling at the screen when you have to enter different floors and find keys to unlock. You will find yourself setting off alarms fighting routine enemies and just repeatedly entering same areas and running in circles. That aside it did add a nice element towards the end. Speaking of the end, I was really surprised at the amount of enemies you face. I was thinking that there would be a lot more to the end boss battles. Instead you fight several different dragons all with different attributes and qualities. And then you’re proceeded to face the end boss, which is a mess of a creature. I was thinking that he was the prelude to the end boss. But nope, that was it. A sigh of accomplishment that I finally beat the game, but also a bit of disappointment there was no more boss battles ahead.

Overall I cannot recommend this game enough. It to me is one of the, if not the most unique RPG to come out. The boss battles, the moving of towns. Everything about this game is fine tuned. I know I made a gripe about the graphics, but trust me, make it to disc 4, and later on you will see that the saturn can pump out some amazing graphics and features.That’s about all I got for ya. Get this game and enjoy the best rpg on the saturn. 

 One thing I forgot to mention is some of the architecture and designs in this game, are absolutely amazing. Some of which remind of HR Giger. Very unique.

HYPOCRISY – The Arrival 2004

HYPOCRISY – The Arrival
Nuclear Blast 2004
Credits: Peter Tatgren – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards.  
Mikael Hedlund – Bass.  Lars Szoke – Drums.  
Dan Swano – Lyrics.  Silenoz: Lyrics.

– After a relatively quiet January 2004, the year’s first heavyweight release dropped rather quietly onto store shelves.  Hypocrisy, always what I consider a criminally overlooked and underappreciated band, have been soldiering through the death metal underground practically since it began, and should be at near-legendary status – except they don’t seem to get the respect they badly deserve.  Their reputation was likely further damaged by the poorly-received Catch-22, an album largely influenced by American nu-metal band Slipknot.  In a controversial move, Tatgren decided to keep this new album firmly on safe territory, treading absolutely no new sonic ground whatsoever and releasing an album that for all the world could be Abducted Part Two.

The cover is eye-catchingly gorgeous, done in unified blue hues that represent the concept perfectly.  The three aliens, I presume, represent the trio of band members (drummer Lars has since dropped out of the band and has been replaced by former Immortal powerhouse Horgh) and their new – or, I should say, old – mindset: the alien theme that has made Hypocrisy so unique in the past is back in force.  Lyrically, Hypocrisy has always been about two things: alien cover-up conspiracies, and the (as they perceive) evils of Christianity.  The graphic inverted cross on the disc itself should erase any question as to their stance on organized religion.  The album opens up with an eerie chord progression and some experimental vocal effects reminiscent of Fractured Millennium, before kicking into a high-tempo thrash theme.  This is a rare occurrence, however, and most of The Arrival sticks to the tried-and-true Hypocrisy formula: slow or mid-tempo and crushingly heavy. While the album boasts nothing but solid songwriting, it is also largely repetitive of previous works, particularly songs like Eraser.  Criticism aside, I consider this album to be largely an artistic success, boasting the mid-period Hypocrisy that we know and love while seamlessly blending previous-awkward influences into a cohesive musical unit.  New World and Dead Sky Dawning are sure to be future classics.  Bottom line: heavy Hypocrisy returns with a vengeance.

Guest review, MarK

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