The Saturday Metal Review

Demon Hunter

Extremist

Solid State

March 18, 2014 

Streaming bright light into darkened corners, Extremist by Demon Hunter spreads truth and hope through the soothing sounds of Death Metal.  Bearing the old school, classic sound with brutal fury, they will melt your soul while firing up a mosh fest.  The title says in a nutshell what the record sounds like.  Extreme lyrics, music, and intensity, the Extremist will lift your spirits, encourage your soul, and pound you like a jack tamper!

Still gargling with sharp rocks and spilling poetry, Ryan Clark is lead vocals; Patrick Judge and Jeremiah Scott show no mercy with guitars; holding down the bottom end, Jonathan Dunn destroys on bass; and everyone’s favorite bear, Yogi Watts, utterly abuses the drums.

The first track begins with a tribal beat and Latin chant.  It rises in volume and then, under the heaviest of rhythms and powerful description, heads straight into two and a half minutes illustrating “Death”.  “Artificial Light” fluxes between Ryan’s guttural punch and his melodious clean vocals, all while the Demon Hunter crew exercises brutality with a mild breakdown.

“What I Am Not” is a classic heavy metal song that tells about the spiritual struggle we all face, and “Last One Alive” carries that classic sound through heartfelt poetry.  In these songs, Ryan uses his clean range to bury the lyrics deep into your mind.  When I think of Demon Hunter, I think of the lyrics and their delivery whether it’s extreme metal or mellow and full of melody.  “I Will Fail You” is one of those songs that burns into my soul, without the music being insane.

“One Last Song” is tucked in the middle of this musical gem with intense rhythms, heavy hand on the snare, and speed to spare.  While on the subject of speed, “Cross to Bear” is venom towards fake martyrs taking on their own punishments and the fact that they have no idea what it means to bear a cross.  It goes beyond simply dragging one down Sunset Strip.  Crucifixion was no joke and was meant to cause the worst of pains and an agonizing death.

“Hell Don’t Need Me” is a mid tempo ditty about finishing the race of this life into a better one, crossing the finish line, even if you’re the last one across.

Okay, enough with the merry melodies, because here comes the pain. “In Time” is an execution in brutality. The chorus breaks down a bit as well as the ending, but everything else is pure power. “Beyond Me” is a beckon to not let your heart grow hard and wander a road beyond the love of God.

Back to the grind in a slow-fast-slow fashion with another set of lyrics that light up the fire in your soul and smothers out the flames with “Gasoline”!

Extremist ends with “The Heart of a Graveyard”, a mid-tempo classic 80’s hard rock sound, (de-tuned of course) that poses the question of, “where do you find your hope?” He begs, “Tell me that your final home is not a shot in the dark/ tell me that your hopes and dreams don’t end in the heart”.

As a long time follower of Demon Hunter, I would say it’s like Part 2 of The Triptych.  The heavy, powerful, and melodic tunes are equal, the lyrics cut to the heart, all from a band that makes no apologies.

Vocals are what matter, here and on every Demon Hunter record, the music is gravy.  Demon Hunter delivers with Extremist, an album that will make you feel every emotion from sadness to happiness, loss to freedom, and finally hope.  They constantly challenge the listener to look deep in their soul and seek truth.  Demon Hunter embodies boldness, humbleness, and honesty, and they do it loudly.  This record gets a 10 for its extreme stand for righteousness and extremely powerful band of musicians that make each song memorable.

Written by Tim Duran

 

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Ash Vs. The Evil Dead Season 2 Overview

Ash vs Evil Dead has consistently proven itself to be one of the most entertaining and skillful shows on television.  I’ve previously covered the first the first two episodes of season two.  It is in these episodes, entitled Home and The Morgue respectively, that we were introduced to the new set of circumstances at hand.  Ruby (played wonderfully as always by Lucy Lawless) is having a problem with her children, who have turned on her and now they are at odds.  This new situation finds her on the same time as our protagonists.  The Ghost Beaters are back at it, taking down Deadites.  Kelly and Pablo are badass and awesome as ever and match El Jefe’s wit at every turn. Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago are such talented actors and more and more show themselves to be an example of perfect casting.  It is also in these early episodes that we were introduced to new characters such as Chet, Ash’s best friend from way back as well as Ash’s distant father Brock.  We also meet Ash’s old flame Linda (Michelle Hurd) as well as her antagonistic husband and local Sheriff Thomas Emery (Stephen Lovatt) and their daughter Lacey (Pepi Sonuga).

Ash and his friends find themselves back in Ash’s hometown, where there is still quite a bit of hostility and tension.  He is still blamed by a lot of locals for the deaths of his friends and sister.  They don’t know the supernatural side of things and believe that that he just snapped and carved up a bunch of innocent loved ones.  He has even been given the nickname of “Ashy Slashy.”  In the season 3 episode Last Call we are given the treat that is Ted Raimi in a wonderful role as Chet.  Raimi and Campbell have a long history together and it’s great to see them share the screen once again.  I couldn’t think of a better character for Ted Raimi to pop up in the show as and their interactions are priceless.  When Ash’s beloved Delta is stolen with the book in the back seat, it is at Chet’s bar that a trap is staged for the young people who took off with it.  This is where Lacey gets more involved.  And for a time, the Delta, Ash’s oldest and most consistent companion, temporarily becomes a villain itself.

Things don’t go quite according to plan and Kelly’s displeasure with how Ash is handling things leads her to join forces with Ruby.  They aren’t at odds with Ash and Pablo but for this time they are separated.  Ruby is not really an antagonist in this season and the dynamic shift is so much fun to watch.  She doesn’t always get along with Ash on a personal level, but in this season they found themselves on the same side, doing battle against evil.

I was happy to see Raimi stick around as Chet as I wasn’t sure if it was a one-time thing.  But his continued presence helped prove that this is a show that truly gets better and better with every step.  Also, the abrupt demise of Brock by way of the Delta running him down showcases Ash vs Evil Dead’s commitment to dark humor and an “anything goes” mentality.  Especially considering Brock was just about to tell Ash something important.  Lee Majors does a great job in the role of the Brock and another example of fantastic casting.  This also allowed the show to go a little more deep into Ash’s past and the abandonment he felt from his father after the initial massacre at the cabin.  This is matched by Brock feeling abandoned by Ash for leaving town.  It’s these little moments that add a nice little touch of humanity to the overall series.

The primary antagonist of this season winds up being the “Father” of Ruby’s children, a sinister being called Baal.  Played by Joel Tobeck, Baal is a fascinating character juxtaposing horrifying powers and a strangely down-to-earth vibe.  Trying to defeat Baal proves difficult for the gang.  In the episode Confinement, the characters get stuck in the police station together and see first-hand the manipulative nature of Baal.  This is where we are treated to his ability to wear human skin and take on whatever form he finds nearby.

Eventually Pablo becomes more and more at risk, finding himself becoming one and the same with the book.  Even their ultimate goal may mean Pablo’s destruction leaving Pablo has the most tortured character of the season.  This subplot really shows the group’s commitment to one another.  Even when they are temporarily divided, they care for one another.  Ash puts on a show of his “nothing touches me” personality but it comes through clear that he is unwilling to accept Pablo’s death as a possible outcome of what they are doing.  Ash needs his friends and this truly comes through in this season.

Filling in as a minor antagonist is Thomas, the cop who hates Ash with a passion.  The two knew each other growing up and he and Ash was not exactly buddy buddy.  Throw in Linda, a former girlfriend of Ash’s who is now married to said cop and the whole situation adds some nice little drama along with the slicing and dicing.  The chemistry of all the characters is as sharp as ever and I’m finding myself only more drawn into the story.

Eventually the season finds Ash in an asylum, putting reality to the test.  It is here that Ash is told that he has been there for decades, ever since killing all his friends and sister at the cabin those years ago.  We see Pablo as an orderly, Kelly as another patient.  Ash isn’t fooled, however, and when we see the real Ghost Beaters show up outside the asylum walls, ready to break Ash out it’s a wonderful moment that brings us back to what’s really going on.  I was also delighted to see Evil Puppet Ash, as throwing puppets into the mix only adds to the fun and fluidity of the overall season.  The gang gets the best of Baal and Pablo uses his new powers to cast Baal away.  However, it leaves him in two pieces on the floor.

This mixing up of different fun and exciting concepts continues when the characters go back in time to the 1980’s.  This is when all the cabin stuff was first getting started and Ash must step back into the moments preceding the first film.  It never for a second feels hokey or audience-pandering; the cabin is genuinely worked in with great result.   It’s nice to see the familiar territory, although the continuing story is anything but expected.  Eventually the past version of Ruby who is still working with Baal comes into the mix and present Ruby who is on the same side of the Ghost Beaters ends up dead.  Eventually Ash does battle with Baal and although Baal backtracks on a previous promise to leave Ash and his friends alone, Ash gets the drop on him and slices him back to where he belong.  As the cabin explodes, Past Ruby and Baal enter the depths of hell.  And thanks to time travel and the will of Ash and Kelly, Pablo is once again part of the gang, alive and well.

It’s nice that at the end of the season, Ash finds himself a hero staring down the crowd of adoring fans that once wanted his head on a plate.  After giving what is now one of myfavorite hero speeches of all time it is clear that Ash is moving back to Elk Grove and will protect it at every turn.  However, a little glimpse of Past Ruby gives us reason to believe that there is plenty more in store for our hero and his companions.  Ex-Girlfriend Linda is back on good terms with Ash.  Now having loss a daughter and husband who didn’t survive the ordeal in the end, it makes sense she would stay around for whatever comes next.  Linda may have ended things on bad terms with Thomas, as he turned on all of them and was used as handyman for Baal, but her daughter Lacey’s death will most likely fuel her own Deadite hatred.

There are some great blood and guts moments strewn throughout.  Ash vs Evil Dead has a wonderful way of using gore and violence in such a creative and artistic way.  From having to venture into a human corpse to bathroom chainsaw splatter action, the red stuff flows in the form of pure entertainment.  Overall, this season is fantastic.  It doesn’t lose even an ounce of the charm and thrill of season one and only ventures further into what makes it all so great.  Plus, the chemistry between the characters is sharp as ever.

Ash vs Evil Dead is the kind of show where anything can happen but whatever happens, it’s always the right move.  The show’s cast, crew and creators have such a firm grasp on what they are doing that it provides a level of trust in the viewer.  The show shows a great respect and love for the franchise’s fans without cheaply just tossing out references to gain some quick acceptance.

Few shows stay this consistently wonderful and I have a strong feeling that not a single dip in quality will occur throughout the entirety of the series’ run. That may sound like a bold statement but there is such a find handle on everything, I’m nothing but excited for what is to come for Ash, Kelly, Pablo and the friends and foes they’ve collected along the way.

Written by PJ Griffin

Ash Season 2

 

Butcher the Bakers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The official trailer for Butcher the Bakers, a new slacker horror/comedy from Hometown Hero Production.

MEDIA CONTACT:

P.J. Starks (executive producer) – starks.pj@gmail.com

SYNOPSIS:

A grim reaper terrorizes a small town, killing and collecting souls for a purpose only he knows. Sam and Martin, slackers who work at the local bakery, are hired by a mysterious stranger to stop him from killing again. This leads them on a ridiculous journey full of blood, guts, monsters, and cookies!

ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Hometown Hero Productions is an independent film studio hell-bent on making delightfully weird films your mother will hate to love. Founded in 2015 by a naive group of small town fools, it has turned into a productive team of passionate and creative people. Butcher is third film from writer/director Tyler Amm (River City Panic, Grace’s Room) and executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood franchise.

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z7rfTuB1N0

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Become a fan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HometownHeroFilm/

You can also find more information here at our official site http://hometownherofilms.com/

Here’s what the director had to say:

“Butcher the Bakers is made up of all the elements I love about my favorite films: blood, guts, comedy, a sense of adventure and most importantly, bizarre characters. From The Evil Dead, to Bill & Ted, to The House of the Devil, I’m a fan of horror in whatever form I can consume it. I’m excited for the release of my newest film because I really feel like our team channeled elements from those films and created something weird and special. Bringing on P.J. Starks as an executive producer was really the next logical step to help us grow our audience. Being a small outfit from the Illinois Valley, it’s a hit when 500 people buy tickets to the local screening of your film. With P.J. on the team now, we have a wider reach and are looking forward to hitting the festival circuit, seeking out distribution, and leaving copies of the film in random mailboxes.”

Review/Spotlight on Logan’s Room

Logan’s Room EP

(Independent Recording)

Written by Tim Duran

9.5 out of 10

Call it the rebirth of 80’s hard rock, but it’s 100% Hollywood glam with heavier instrumentation and painfully powerful vocals.  Logan’s Room from Long Island, NY mixes the wonderful sounds of glam with grunge and heavy metal.  Blending the vibes of L.A. Guns, Alice In Chains, a touch of Rage, and Slipknot they play with vigor along side lyrics that spew venom and vinegar.  A combination I’m sure that will please the metal purist.

Logan’s Room is fronted by Jordan Klinger who also plays rhythm, Matt Capitano on lead axe, and David Kaufman on bass.  Mike Giordano plays drums on the EP, but Tommie McGuckin replaced him December 2016 on drums.  Together they rise up and drop the beat on your noggin until you’ve memorized each song.  I’m sure this five-song, self titled EP is only a taste, rather a tease, of their repertoire.

“Flip Me Off” kicks off the lyrical smack down.  It’s melodic, catchy, and Klinger gets all Corey Taylor in some spots.  “Locked Inside” has that mid-tempo, dark, early Alice in Chains feel.  I like the songwriting here.  It has that Alice in Chains tone; yet, it has tons of originality.

“Karma” is a fast train through a tunnel of distorted guitars and some sweet triplets.  This one and “In Vain” have deeper bass tones and intensity.  “In Vain” feels too short for a four minute long song.  It grabs you in a choke hold right away but then lets you go before you pass out.

The EP ends with “Our Boys”, a somber number about soldiers that have died in war.  It starts with a marching beat on the snare, like a funeral drum, then the other shoe drops as it becomes intense, heavy, heartfelt, and with no “F” bombs.  It’s interesting in the second verse where Jordan sings in English and Hebrew.

Downside, the download didn’t come with the “Parental Advisory” sticker for the lyrical content, so parents, be forewarned!  Upside, are tracks one thru five.   Although the songs are short, they leave you wanting more and that’s the selling point.  If they were boring, you’d hear two songs and think; okay I get the gist and go onto something else.  On this EP, every song is different from the other.  Each grabs your attention and keeps it.  I would have liked it if they did a little more at the end of “In Vain”.  It’s a great song, but I think a solo at the end or a chaotic, winding crescendo would add to the intensity instead of fading out.  The other songs either had a natural decay or a quick end.  All in all, I dig the sound, love the flashback, the songwriting is fantastic, and the musicianship is prodigious.  I give Logan’s Room a 9 ½.

You can check them out here:

https://www.facebook.com/LogansRoomOfficial/

Logan's Room 2

The Saturday Metal Review

8

Def Leppard

Pyromania

Vertigo/Mercury Records

Released January 20, 1983

In 1983, one of the colossal releases of the 80’s dropped heavily like a bomb on Hiroshima. Even the title, “Pyromania” suggested this was going to be one of the hottest releases ever. It surely proved that Def Leppard were more than a just a fledgling NWOBHM act; releasing two metal friendly albums in the late 70’s. With this being their third venture, the band transitioned into a more radio-friendly approach – offering a platter of glam, metal and rock and thus creating a formula of successful releases for the next few decades to come.

Pyromania was the first to feature guitarist Phil Collen, after founding member Pete Willis was let go for excessive drinking midway through the recording process. The album was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange, helping the group shift their sound and ensuring a successful entry at #2 in the Billboard 200; following that with positions on the Canadian Charts at # 4 and # 5 on the UK Charts. The album received mostly positive reviews, despite a few notable journalists calling the album a step-back from what was previously recorded. Luckily, fans didn’t agree as the album sold over ten million copies in the US alone!

As for the songs on this release; all the tracks are fire-laden-emotionally charged numbers that are still played to this very day on the radio. The heavier numbers like “Rock, Rock (Till You Drop), “Stagefright” and “Die Hard the Hunter” will grab you by the balls – but the Top-40 hits like “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin’” have all been firmly cemented into the rock stream consciousness; forever becoming synonymous in the band’s live set-list. The melodic/heavy hooks are infused throughout the songs; helping to obtain major exposure on MTV; proving to be a massive success for the 80’s hard rock movement.

There’s not a bad song to be had here and the balance of heavy riffs with the synthesized sounds, was the perfect calling card for the newly improve Def Leppard. My favorite tracks are: “Action not Words”, “Comin, Under Fire”, Rock Rock (Till you Drop), “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin’”. Albums like this are hard to rate just given the mythical status they ascended to over the years, but if I’m ever going to give a perfect 10 then this is going to be it.