comic review: MOEBIUS VOLUME 1: UPON A STAR (1987)


Moebius Volume 1: Upon a Star (1987)


First Published: January 1, 1987
Published By:  Epic
Writers / Artists: Jean-Paul Appel-Guery

Score: 6/9 Hammers

Of all my reviews here at Hollywood metal, my favorite are when I get to review lesser known material. Be it albums, movies, or comics. Delving into a work either lightly tread or momentarily forgotten is a wonderful experience. I do not think Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius, is a particularly obscure comic artist, but rather he is lesser known than other fantasy comic artists. His work lies down a path that is accessible to anyone who travels a little bit farther into fantasy comics. Though it is easy to poke fun at cheesy fantasy comics with wooden story-lines, the work of Moebius is so vastly different than this, that it is hard to consider it part of the same genre. Continue reading

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film review: THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936)


The Invisible Ray (1936)

The Invisible Ray (1936)

Directed By: Lambert Hillyer
Starring: Boris Karloff, Béla Lugosi, Frances Drake
Website: IMDB

Score: 4/9 Hammers

Along with The Old Dark House, The Invisible Ray is not a movie that comes up much in discussions on classic horror. This is strange, seeing how the film was also produced by Universal and starred two horror heavyweights Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi at the height of their respective careers. Despite the casting and the production company, The Invisible Ray differs from the rest of the Universal monster group as an oddball for many reasons. Perhaps the producers could never find a way to get a death ray to the front of a cereal box.

Before we get into the plot, know that the narrative for The Invisible Ray is silly as it is centered around a telescope that can peer into the Andromeda Galaxy. Besides being super clear and precise, the telescope can also travel on beams of light and observe events that happened millions of years ago. Yep, you heard it right, a fucking time telescope. The Invisible Ray’s main protagonist is Dr. Janos Rukh, played by the very capable Boris Karloff. Rukh presents his findings from the telescope to a group of scientists and explorers who observe an ancient meteor landing in the continent of Africa. The scientists and adventurers then travel to Africa in search of the meteor for science purposes. This is the time where we get to see indigenous African savages leading white people around with science looking equipment. Continue reading

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album review: XOTH – Hostile Terraforming


Xoth - Hostile Terraforming (2014)

Xoth – Hostile Terraforming (2014)

Album: Hostile Terraforming
Released: August 11st 2014
Label: Creature of the Northwest
Website: Facebook

Score: 8/9 Hammers

Holy fuck, space is terrifying. It’s big, it’s dark and don’t look but it’s hovering above you right now.

It’s also, very more than likely, crammed full of terrifying unknown shit. And the shit we do know doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Apparently, it also smells of searing flesh and burning steel, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a source of some inspiration for metal. Viking longboats on the horizon might spell doom for a peaceful fishing village but, if you really want to earn the screams of millions, there’s nothing quite like the malicious attentions of a billion tonnes of high technology hanging in the sky in very much the same way a brick doesn’t. Continue reading

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album review: BELPHEGOR – Conjuring the Dead


Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead

Belphegor – Conjuring the Dead

Album: Conjuring the Dead
Released: August 5st 2014
Label: Nuclear Blast
Website: Official

Score: 7/9 Hammers

If you haven’t heard of Belphegor, here’s everything you need to know. Their name is taken from a demon who is said to be hell’s ambassador to France, of all things, and who tempted humanity with invention and wealth. Their vocalist guitarist (fucking Helmuth Lehner, so named because whenever he talks you can hear the voices of the damned) worried fans in 2011 when he contracted typhus (which, holy shit, is pretty metal in itself, not only because the only more metal illness possible is mercury poisoning, but because typhus is a disease so shitty this pestilent fucker got named after it) and this, “Conjuring the dead”, is their tenth, and blackest album to date.

Belphegor might well be one of the darkest blackened death metal bands ever forged. Musically, they exist in that strange weld-line between Black Metal and Death Metal near the metaphorical tip of the sword that is metal, and it’s not hard to see why; Black Metal is defined by a fascination with corpse paint and summoning demons, and death metal is fascinated with mutilating corpses and pleasing demons.

Seven hells, this sounds like an abusive relationship between a necromancer and his favourite meat puppet. Continue reading

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game review: DIVINITY – Original Sin


Divinity: Original Sin (2014)

Divinity: Original Sin (2014)

DIVINITY: Original Sin
Developer: Larian Studios
Released: 30th June 2014
Website: Official

Score: 8/9 Hammers

With a name like “Divinity: Original Sin”, certain associations come to mind. Terrible graphics, shoddy control mechanisms and messages not so much ham-fisted as gammon-knuckled tend to be hallmarks of the genre known loosely as “religiously informative games”. Also, they occasionally waddle ass-backwards into awesome, as in this example where you can suplex Moses.

Really, there’s little consistency beyond being consistently awful.

“Divinity – Original Sin” isn’t one of those. “Divinity – Original Sin” is a (potentially) multiplayer RPG, set in a world whose art style looks like a well-polished Azeroth. Continue reading

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Album Review: MANOWAR – Sign of the Hammer (1984)


Manowar - Sign of the Hammer (1984)

Manowar – Sign of the Hammer (1984)

Album: Sign of the Hammer
Released: October 15th, 1984
Label: Ten Records
Website: Official

Score: 5/9 Hammers

I enjoy reviewing older records that are approaching the realm of classics. I feel time is a way to measure a certain record’s maturation, and to evaluate if they become something more than when originally released. Time can age certain music, transforming it into something with heavier relevance or something forgotten. To narrow down classic records, it is easier to go on a schedule of anniversaries. To make it slimmer, one could go with milestone anniversaries. This would mean the years reviewed are 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, and so on. Even with this restriction, classic metal albums are everywhere, especially in the 1980s. 1984 saw the release of Don’t Break the Oath, Powerslave, and Ride the Lightning. The list is really long and, seeing how we can only talk about one this article, how about we go with Manowar? Continue reading

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