game review: DARK SOULS II – The Crown of the Sunken King

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DARK SOULS 2 - The Crown of the Sunken King

DARK SOULS 2 – The Crown of the Sunken King

DARK SOULS II – Crown of the Sunken King
Developer: From Software
Released: 17th July 2014
Website: Official

Score: 8/9 Hammers

Does anybody remember expansion packs? Oblivion’s “Shivering isles” comes to mind. A whole new slice of game was standard fare for $15, back in the day, complete with new places to explore, lore to discover and enemies to best.

Does anyone remember DLC from the same era? Motherfucking horse armour, a $2.50 packs which included (in its entirety) fucking armour for your fucking horse. It didn’t do a single god-damn thing, including armour your horse. It looked like it did, but as any LARPer will tell you, “Put down the fucking mace, dude! Jesus Christ. This is only packaging foam and crazy glue!”

Or should that be “any LARPer would tell me”?

Either way, I bet you can guess which model most developers stuck with? Continue reading

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album review: SOVENGAR – Vindicta et Gloria

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SOVENGAR - Vindicta et Gloria (2014)

SOVENGAR – Vindicta et Gloria (2014)

SOVENGAR
Album: Vindicta et Gloria
Released: June 6th 2014
Label: Art Gates Records
Website: Official

Score: 6/9 Hammers

There’s something quite special about new folk metal albums, especially those coming from new folk metal bands. Perhaps it’s just me but I’ve often felt that there was something melancholic about the state of folk metal itself. As a genre, it’s always been one for unashamedly celebrating the past, but it seems often like a genre in danger of slipping into it. A combination of irregular release schedules and the rarity of big name folk-metal bands add up to the impression that this is a genre that could be wiped from the earth by one really nasty plane crash. (Though a longship wreck might be more likely, I hope.)

So how can I justify looking the other way when a brand new folk metal bands’ debut album gets released? Continue reading

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game review: VLAD THE IMPALER

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Vlad the Impaler (2014)

Vlad the Impaler (2014)

VLAD THE IMPALER
Developer: Section Games
Released: 17th July 2014
Website: (see below)

Score: 2/9 Hammers

What is a game? A miserable little pile of activities. But enough referencing… let’s review. Oh wait, are you looking for the game’s website? Does not exist. Also, everything about this game is impossible to google.

So let’s review “Vlad the Impaler”, a new game that arrived as suddenly and mysteriously on Steam as you might expect a vampire to and heralding just as much confusion.

Except it’s not really a game. Like the legendary aspect of its Transylvanian namesake, it’s not that which it appears. Sure, it looks like a game. It’s sold on Steam like a game, and if you’re like me, it’ll fool you into thinking it’s a game without any great amount of effort. I mean, it describes itself as an RPG. The final word in that illustrious trio is “game”. Continue reading

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album review: EMPYRIUM – The Turn of the Tides

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Empyrium - The Turn of the Tides (2014)

Empyrium – The Turn Of The Tides (2014)

EMPYRIUM
Album: The Turn of the Tides
Released: July 18th 2014
Label: Prophecy Productions
Website: Official

Score: 8/9 Hammers

It’s been difficult, when dealing with Empyrium, to know which tense to use. After their 2002 album Weiland, they announced themselves done with recording. Then, four years later, they released a retrospective (which took a form not dissimilar to a greatest hits album) featuring a bunch of re-recorded songs. At this point I realised that they weren’t a band to be trusted, and filed them deeply away in the cluttered vault of my mind, labelled “monitor quietly”.

Then, four years after that, in 2010, they announced a comeback, and a new album “Soon”. Continue reading

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film review: THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)

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The Old Dark House (1932)

The Old Dark House (1932)

THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)
Directed By: James Whale
Starring: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
Website: IMDB

Score: 7/9 Hammers

This is a continuing series reviewing classics and gems of the universal horror group. The universal horror group was a series of American horror films that were popular in the early to mid part of the 20th century. The classic cast of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, the Mummy, and the Wolfman have become iconic in the annals of cinema. While the aforementioned characters and their respected movies have become iconic of the Universal horror group, there were other films made at the same period and by the same studio. The Old Dark House was one of them and never made it to a cereal box like the other films. Despite this fact, the horror films of the early 30′s and 40’s sometimes hold great unappreciated gems. The Old Dark House is one of them. Continue reading

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album review: Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King

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Demonic Resurrection - Demon King (2014)

Demonic Resurrection – Demon King (2014)

DEMONIC RESURRECTION
Album: The Demon King
Released: July 13th 2014
Label: Demonstealer Records/ Candlelight Records
Website: Official

Score: 7/9 Hammers

Bless wicked Amaymon, but that’s a hell of an album cover. I mean, look at it, it’s got everything; fire, swords, a whirling vortex leading to a furious, bow wielding Vishnu. Honestly, the only thing keeping me from tattooing the whole thing onto my chest tomorrow is the fact that I’ve spent too long playing DnD for me to consider a warrior dual wielding scimitars as anything more than target practice for a guy with a bow.

(I was originally going to make an “archery smurf” joke, until I realized that mistaking Vishnu for a smurf is about as offensive as mistaking Odin for Jesus). Continue reading

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