Album Review Logan’s Room

Logan’s Room:  To be Continued

Review by Tim Duran

Last year I was invited into Logan’s Room for the first time. The room was small, but a lot fit inside. The walls were filled with original sounds and it was carpeted with angst. Today I was invited back. It is an honor and privilege to once again have this door opened to me.

This new E.P., To be Continued, is nothing short of brilliance once again.  I can’t remember what I wrote last year of their first E.P. so forgive me if I use the same verbiage like; awesome, cool, far out, and groovy”, because there just ain’t no denying the truth of Logan’s Room.

“Transgression” is a brutal little ditty bent on making you do some damage to the grey matter within your skull.  Right off, the music is ten times more aggressive than the first E.P.  The kicker is definitely the second track, “Radiation”.  It’s a grit your teeth, shake your fist; grapple your partner type tune that spews brimstone and lava.

“Hollow” is a beautiful mix of anger and solemn.  The breakdown is far out, man.  The drum work on the ride and hi-hat are jazzy; then it gets insane after the solo.  It’s six and-a-half minutes of shake, rattle, let mellow, and punch a bunch of holes in the wall greatness!

And where would any band be without a namesake tune?  Hey, Iron Maiden, Bad Company, and Anthrax did it, why not the mighty Logan’s Room?  This one brings back a little of that fast talkin’ jive stuff that we got a small taste of in “Karma” and “Locked Inside” from the first E.P.

For me, Logan’s Room is the bomb!  I’ve never used that phrase before, but in this case – I mean they are explosive!  To be Continued is heavy, aggressive, groovy, angry, insane, and simply over the top.  The vocals are stronger, the bassist is a lot busier, the tone is richer, and the drumming surpasses the first E.P.  The guitar work is outta sight man!  Clean and in your face burning solos.  No sloppy, greasy kid stuff laid down on these tracks.

So I hope I wasn’t too repetitive.  If these guys keep making music like this, they will make the big time. If they’re not signed, the labels are fools.  In short, I give them a 10.

Check them out now at’sRoomOfficial and www.Logan’ .


007Logan's room new


Killer Waves – Film Review

Killer Waves (2016)

Written and directed by James Balsamo

I’ve reviewed several of James Balsamo’s films in the past.  Everything I’ve seen from him has been a blast to watch and I’ve been consistently interested in what he has on the horizon. Because of this, I was excited to check out one of his newest films Killer Waves. Did it hold up to his others?  Absolutely it did, so allow me to explain why.

Killer Waves centers on a highly anticipated surf competition that is just around the corner. The film jumps right in with a classic slasher opening but with Balsamo’s unique flair. The movie then shows a series of interviews with fans, Judges and competitors alike who are getting pumped about the upcoming battle of skill, pitting surfer against surfer. These scenes display the feeling and vibe of the film overall as well as establishing the scenario. Everyone involved is clearly having fun with laying down the surfer slang and immersing themselves in the culture, but in a totally hilarious over-the-top way.

It’s not all fun and games for our characters; however, as a pun-spewing murderer in a diver’s outfit is going after locals in the area. Competitors and judges alike are getting taken out of the competition in all sorts of wacky and often beach-based ways and people are starting to become concerned that they may be next. One primary focus of the film centers around writer/director James Balsamo’s character Axel; a famous surfboard carver, and his friends. They’re not about to let a few murders spoil their partying and they live it up, all while getting cut down.

The movie as whole is largely about the colorful array of entertaining characters paired with the creative slicing and dicing. Our diving-helmet wearing villain is clearly having a grand ‘ol time, making quips about each murder and reveling in the excitement of it all. A distorted voice is used and it adds not only to the anonymity to the character, but aides the personality as well. All the while, cops in the area are hellbent on finding the troublesome slasher and are suspicious of everyone.

In classic Balsamo style, Killer Waves is packed with cameos from all sorts of talented people and there’s no shortage of familiar faces. These cameos include Pantera frontman/legend Phil Anselmo, cult perennials such as Edward X Young and Shawn C. Phillips, cult director Joel M. Reed, all-around fantastic actor Chris Mulkey and those are just a few examples. Along with these talented people is a wonderful soundtrack featuring the likes of Cropsy Maniac, Contemplating Murder and Immortal Suffering along with many others. The music keeps up with the lively pace of the film and the visual to song dynamic is effective.

One thing about Killer Waves that I especially took note of is how it manages to be two different things at once. On one hand, it’s a simple story with an even pacing. It’s not difficult to get on board with and the running time going by smoothly.  But on the other hand, it’s a ball of energy that never takes a moment to slow down too much. Two characters simply having a conversation is fun to watch as its all heightened emotion with every player just going for it with their performance.

The film knows just what its audience wants and delivers. It’s wall-to-wall with wacky quips, plentiful nudity and a multitude of inventive kills. From electric eels to chainsaws, the victims meet their end in often unexpected ways. None of the kills are repetitive and the film knows how to ride the line between playfully oddball and gory.

Little by little we get more insight into the killer’s motives and while I certainly won’t spoil the ending, I thought it was perfect for the film. It ends on the right note accompanied by twists and turns along the way.  The whole experience goes by quickly, but in a good way. Nothing in the film felt dull or unnecessarily slow to me. It’s vibrant and colorful and I had a great time with it.

All in all, I recommend the film to anyone that loves campy flicks that are all about the fun. It’s packed with people who give it their all and through the cheesy puns and tongue-and-cheek gore is a film that I was glad I saw. It knows exactly what it is and I dug it. So surf’s up and check it out!

Review by P.J. Griffin


Wormwood Prophets Society


Wormwood Prophets Society

From Rogue Planet Press

Paperback, 176 Pages


I love me a good short story collection. It’s similar to my love of anthology horror films. I thoroughly enjoy little slices of fiction, using the shorter length as a way of pumping up the fun and imagination.  Even collections with a common theme usually have a wide range of tones, subjects and delivery.  The latest book I’ve read in this proud tradition is The Wormwood Prophets Society and it’s quite the experience. There’s a lot going on and the concept runs deep so let’s jump right in.

The Wormwood Prophets Society isn’t just a catchy title. It refers by a cult-like organization of sorts that has genuine influence and involvement in dark forces. The stories are accompanied by little looks into the depth and culture of the society; portraying various ways that their work is played out and unleashed onto the world. We start off with an introduction featuring a curious man who is learning about the group and as part of this he is told a story.  This story by Mark Slade introduces the format, as the stories themselves in the book are stories that are usually being told by the group’s followers to give some insight.

The first official story entitled Got a Light deals with a down-on-his-luck man named Phillip who makes the mistake of stealing a mysterious lighter that is far more sinister than a small flame. Bad things start to happen, things that seem to be not only predicted, but caused by the lighter. The story is well paced and kept me invested all the way through.  It was a unique concept and a quite palatable story that served as a wonderful first taste into what is about to come.

Despite the society connection, all the stories have their own characters and situations going on. The next story Bloodroot, for example, also penned by Mark Slade, deals with a man back in the dusty post-civil war days of southwestern Virginia who drifts into a town to collect songs. The connection to the overlapping darkness that encompasses the entire book is present, but in its own way. I agree with the book’s decision to start off with these two stories as it displays the book’s intention while simultaneously showing the diversity of the tales themselves.

As the book presses on the reader is given all sorts of different material and means of delving into the culture that it has created.  There’s transcribed conversations, ominous redacted documents, chants paying tribute to the Society’s rulers, unique illustrations as well as a variety of tales. Agents, if you will, of the Wormwood Prophets Society often filter in and out of the stories, as well as around them as they show various examples of what their association can do, control and behold.

The stories span over different time periods and contain all different types of horror traits.  Redwood Dolly by Phil Thomas deals with a man who comes across a radio that has far more to it to than the latest AM/FM.  Baby Bub by T. Fox Dunham deals with a possibly delusional woman who becomes obsessed feeding the child she believes she has been blessed with from a higher power. There are stories of voodoo and monsters, masked killers and strange liquor. It all feels fresh and new and there’s never enough of the same thing for any story to ever seem tiresome. It also helps that the stories contain different narrative styles to get their point across.

A lot of different horror-favorite subjects are at play in the book. These include Halloween settings, tales of revenge, rituals, and the constant fear of being watched. Even someone going home happy-go-lucky after a day of success (or hanging out at a club) can find themselves in a downright menacing predicament.  Whether a story is more grounded or out-there, such as Dunham’s story: something for something, the fear is always palpable.

Every entry goes out of its way to engross the reader in the very heartbeat of those experiencing the diverse situations. You feel the emotions of a detective who has stepped foot into a house harboring a foe that isn’t at all your normal criminal. You take in the shocking repercussions of what can go on at a hospital when chaotic horror shows its face.  It all makes the book feel well-rounded and authentic, which I appreciate.

Any good horror anthology arranges the stories to serve as a palate cleanser of sorts for the previous entry.  The Wormwood Prophets Society certainly utilizes this trait. The varying nature of the stories is put to good use and no stories that have a topic tone or subject matter are stacked on top of one another.  Doing this allows each story to pop in their own way and make their desired mark on the reader.

All in all, I found myself impressed with The Wormwood Prophecies. A lot of thought and cooperation clearly went into it and while I never felt like a full-fledged member of the society who understood it all, I feel that this was the point. Like the terrified characters, getting thrown into a world of madness and confusion, terror and unpredictability, the reader is left feeling like they’ve glimpsed through the door just a crack and seen things they can’t comprehend, but know to fear. Some of the stories are more directly in the society itself than others, but the influence of the core is felt throughout every page. Plus, it all wraps up nicely in the end.  I definitely recommend The Wormwood Prophets Society to anyone who loves a good story collection, as well as anyone who enjoys all different types of horror material.  Even with the high-concept nature, there is something for just about everyone.

Review by P.J. Griffin

Worm Book



Concert review: Archer Nation

Archer Nation, at Vamp’d, Las Vegas Nevda

May 18, 2017 was the worst possible day imaginable.  I woke to the news that Chris Cornell had died, and I had to work all day trying not to break down.  My headspace was foggy, my eyes were watery, and my legs were numb.  All I could think about was getting to Vamp’d and fill that headspace with something other than the sadness that was overtaking me.

On my way home, a wind storm was sweeping through the valley of Las Vegas.  I hate driving in those conditions and I just prayed, “Lord, please stop this wind,“ and you know what?  He answered my prayer.  It was around 8:30pm when the storm had passed, so I got changed, hopped in the car and drove off.  On the way, Badmotorfinger was turned up to full volume as I headed down the near empty motorway.  Upon my arrival, I headed to the dark corner of the club so no one could see my pain.  There I posted on Facebook that I was at Vamp’d.  I continued by saying, “Archer Nation is gonna’ heal this broken heart.”

Archer’s set was filled with new songs that they have been writing for the coming record, due out not soon enough.  Let me tell you, the songs from the first record, Culling the Weak, are pretty heavy, but the new songs like “Not My Own” and “Shackled” are going to rattle heads!  Archer gets tighter as a band every time they roll through.  With new tunes on the rise, the sound has gotten more aggressive, more powerful, and more mosh worthy.  They make me wish I was 21 again, ‘cause in those days I could head bang till the cows came home.  These days, if I turn around to fast, I’m laid up for days!

What I really enjoy about Archer is that every song, groove, beat, and solo is different.   Dylan nails a few trademark pinched harmonics here and there, but it’s rad when he hits them.  I have seen guitar players that riff the same solo progression in the same neck position, hitting the same two top strings, using the same bends, and it gets old in a hurry like that last sentence.  Not in the Nation, my friend!  Musically, they sound like Motörhead, Megadeth, and Anthrax got in a fight and started playing hockey!  As musicians, they are learned, as songwriters they are genius, and as people, they are humble.  With that attitude, they will have longevity and a growing fan base with ne’er a complaint.

They closed the show with my favorite tune from Culling titled, “The Day that Never Came”.  I said more during that song, mainly because I was singing along, than I did the whole night, aside from small conversations with the band afterwards.

As I said, my heart was in need of healing, and that’s exactly what they did that night.  Music is a healer, and when Archer Nation is the doctor, you’re in good hands.

Archer Nation


The Saturday Metal Review


Disciples by Design

(Independent Release 2017)

Written by Tim Duran

10 out of 10

For about a year, I have had the fortune to hear and follow this power prog band from Canada.  Prismind (pronounced, “Prism-Mind”) has all the elements of progressive heavy metal that a band can put together, and  I would go as far as to say that they are a more insane version of Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.  They have a thicker tone, and the manic melodies that surround the listening device have gotten me admitted.  PRISMIND is fronted by power vox John Mamone; ultra rad bassist, Justin Faragher; cannon fire by Mike Harshaw; and one of the most technical guitar players, next to Vai and Satch, Kelly Kereliuk.  I have seen and heard many a fine axe grinder, but Kereliuk is one of the finest – another true king of the seven string for the 21st century.

As I mentioned above, Prismind has a deranged atmosphere to their music.  They suck you in with heavy metal intros and spin your head off with all kinds of musical nuances and mosh worthy rhythms.  As a bassist, I am all about rhythm and Justin kills unsoftly with his.  His arpeggios match Chris Squire and his scales are like a six fingered John Myung.  Case in point, “Our Broken Fate” has such a moving bass line; it’s like everything revolves around the bass riff.  He even gets a short (too short) solo in “Void 5:14”.

Speaking of riffs, the intros and all around mayhem of the first two tracks, “Pawns of the Dammed” and “Dagger”, will have you swinging from the chandelier while the tune, “Last Breath” drops some Anthrax vibes on you. True to speed metal, here comes “Time Unforgiving”.  It’s less prog as the others, but the breakdown is an exercise for the fingers and the thrash factor is turned way high on this track.  “Slaves to the Machine” has an interesting, clean guitar during the second part and an easy arpeggio adding grace to impending doom. “Palace of the Mighty and High” is rhythmically similar with the heavy down strokes, and Kelly even throws in some pinched harmonics for a tension builder. Lastly, “Diamond Eye” is like the anthem for the namesake of the group.  Kelly does some house cleaning with all the sweep action in this song!

Downside is moot.  Upside is that throughout the whole record, each musician takes the spotlight.  The vocals are strong and not overexerted, the drumming keeps the heartbeat of the band at break-neck speed, the bassist is percussive and takes the lead in places, and the guitars are phantasmagorical. This record and work of art was a pleasure to listen to and for me to give my thoughts on.  I cannot give Disciples by Design anything less than a ten simply because it never slows down.  It’s a bullet straight into your mind with no exit wound.

Check out PRISMIND at and

Disciples by Design available now on Spotify, cdbaby, and iTunes

Prismind at the Rivoli

Prismind/Driftglass/Slyde at the Rivoli, Toronto ON.

Thursday, June 8 2017


One of the hottest shows to take place last week in Toronto was tearing it up big time when Prismind, Driftglass and Slyde got together for a night of unbridled rock goodness. The show started promptly at 9pm and it was Prismind that took to the stage first, unleashing songs from the debut CD Disciples By Design.

Prismind performed about 8 songs in the set, giving the crowd a taste of what this band can offer in a live setting. I’ve long admired the progress Prismind has made with these songs over the course of three years, and to finally hear the album played so expertly by 4 guys devoted to their craft – well it all comes up smelling like roses.

They began the set with “Slaves to the Machine” and let the festivities roar into action. The song is a pure foot stomper and arguably the catchiest chorus you will find on any album of this magnitude. From there they played “Dagger” which I have a close affinity to, since the band was gracious enough to allow us usage of this track for a video package promoting an upcoming project being helmed at HMS. Dagger exhibits superb lyrics, allowing singer John Mamone a chance to really shine on stage.

The next few numbers show how diverse this progressive Canadian Metal act swiftly enthralls an audience with the power of their sound. The beefy bass tones of “Our Broken Fate” perk up my ears and I have to give it up to bassist Justin Faragher on this one. Then, “Palace of the Mighty” drives the show with Mamone’s impassioned vocals and the razor sharp riffing provided from guitarist Kelly Kereliuk illustrates how good this band is live. Of course we can’t forget the splendid “Diamond Eye” performed here to thrashy perfection and getting the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up!

The band closed the set with a pair of my favorite tracks from the album. First up we got a total thrasher in “Last Breath” – galloping to life with burning speed and bombastic riffs guaranteed to blow your head off. This track showcases the strength of both Kereliuk and Faragher; a surefire tandem if I ever heard one; not to mention Mike Harshaw’s rousing back support on the drums. The last number closing the set “Pawns of the Damned” soars into a musical flourish of synergy and energy proving that Prismind are a force to be reckoned with on any stage they play.

As a musical entity, Prismind deliver on every level, bringing together a sound from four devoted musicians with lofty goals and ideals. Having seen them play live on a number of occasions I will go on record and say the bar has been raised high and Prismind is here to take that brass ring to great heights.

Just don’t take my word for it, go and see them live!

Wormwood Prophet Society

HMS staff writer Mark Slade is back with another interesting project called Wormwood Prophet Society. It’s a thrilling book of anthology stories centering around a secret society published  by Rogue Planet Press.

We have an audio Ad posted right here! Click on the link and give this a listen to!

Reserve your copy now!!


The Saturday Metal Review



(Polydor Records)

March 8, 1994

For decades Soundgarden has been a mainstay in my CD player. I haven’t heard a record from them I didn’t like. My favorite album is Louder Than Love, but I am here to tell you about the album that put them over the top commercially. (Badmotorfinger was a huge success, but) Superunknown had more “radio” hits and had a darker reality to it. In light of the untimely death of Chris Cornell I wish to open up to you my thoughts about the place where there is no time or space – a place where every pain is brought to life and every dark corner has no light; a universe known as the Superunknown.

The record opens up powerfully and with almost every nuance that Soundgarden is known for. “Let Me Drown” is a heavy duty number on the ears musically, and weighs heavy on the heart. If you thrash about too much, you’ll miss the deeper meaning of this song.

“My Wave” is another punk-ish ditty about people trying to push their ideology on you. The lyrics are simply explained, “Do what you want if it makes you who you are, but don’t tell me I need to be you. Surf on, just keep it off my wave.”

To mellow things out, “Fell On Black Days” is a trip through Cornell’s deepest fears and a search for a way out. This adagio does get heavy towards the end, adding emphasis and passion to what’s being sung. The next song makes no mention of the title in the song. “Mailman” is a slow groove that gives you the feeling of driving down a highway with your hand out the window, making waves to the wind.

“Superunknown” always reminds me of “Magic Bus” (The Who) and The Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles). It has an ultra 60’s feel in the rhythms and the chorus is like a mock pop vibe.  It’s like being stuck on a runaway ferris wheel.  The content is like the battle of depression. He wants out, but can’t find the exit.

The mid tempo, modern psychedelia tune, “Head Down” features a rare, soft falsetto in the vocals. Kim Thayil lays on the East Indian chord progressions, but this one always saddens me when I hear it. The lyrics are all about saving face. Smile when you’re down; keep your head up when you’re sad: a game that is perfected in depression.

“Black Hole Sun” is a tune that needs no introduction. I would just copy and paste the lyrics right here; another mellow song with a heavy hand on the drums. Matt Cameron really drives this song home with his jazzy/hard rock style. Another radio favorite,”Spoonman”, is a heavy alternative song written about a dude who was (or still is) a street performer out somewhere in Seattle. The tribal atmosphere of the song is like a war dance, but only in a circular format. Aside from an outrageous guitar solo, they bring in the “Spoon man” (if you will) to shred on a spoons solo. Steal the rhythm while you can!

“Limo Wreck” is one of those songs, where you say, “You know, I’m just gonna’ sit here and watch you destroy yourself.” Too many times society is told to go right, but they want to go left. No one heeds warnings anymore, so you know what, when your world comes crashing down, don’t come crying to me!” Some days you just wish you never got out of bed. “The Day I Tried To Live” is a song about just that. Waking up to find you’re just like those snobs stealing from the poor to feed the pockets of the rich. The lyrics make it out to be a bad dream, but it’s so easy to make it a reality.

Kicking things into overdrive, “Kickstand” is 90 seconds of pure punk with metal overtones. This was always a favorite of mine. Back in the day I had an old school P.A. that sat in the middle of my bandmate’s studio. Whenever we’d relax after recording or writing, we’d prop our feet atop the P.A. One night while having many beers, listening to this record, playing dominos, “Kickstand” played. We both looked at each other and surnamed that P.A., “Kickstand”.

“Fresh Tendrils” is a somber tune that’s easy to get lost in. The beat is smooth, the guitars jangle, the bass locks in with the kick drum, and the vocals go from low to high, to higher, until glass breaks around you. The next song, “4th Of July” defines what “Grunge” is all about. From start to finish, intro to outro, beat and tone, style and feel, emotionless and numb. “Half” is a tune filled with that East Indian style riff, like a sitar on acid. Going back to a more “normal” sound is, “Like Suicide” – this one is heavy. The record ends with “She Likes Surprises”. It opens with a rich Beatles sound in the intro and verses, then slams down the grunge factor with vigor in the chorus.

As far as the releases before Superunknown, they had a much more raw edge to them. This one slows things down for the most part. The few rocking tunes really get the blood flowing, but the melancholy melodies and helpless lyrics of some of the others leave you thinking, “What the hell is he talking about?!”

Some know all too well what Chris Cornell is talking about, and hopefully as they relate to his lyrics, they can find peace and escape. I am not rating this record, I encourage you to play this on your own and come to your own conclusion.



The Saturday Metal Review

Demon Hunter


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


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