game review: ZIGGURAT

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Ziggurat (2014)

Ziggurat (2014)

ZIGGURAT
Developer: Milkstone Studios
Released: October 23th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

When confronted with a game like Ziggurat, there’s always the same few questions that go through your mind. “What does this wand do?” “Where am I?” and, my personal favourite, “Is that a fucking carrot with a face?”

It is. It’s that kind of Ziggurat.

Armed with just a wand and whatever magic paraphernalia you can find, Ziggurat functions in a way that’s surprisingly similar to Battlemage, while managing through clever design and fast paced combat to be much more fun. At its heart it’s a shooter, much like Battlemage was, but if that was COD, polished but over serious, then this is Serious Sam.

And the first one, none of that “second encounter” bullshit. Continue reading

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album review: Skálmöld – Með Vættum

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Skálmöld - Með Vættum (2014)

Skálmöld – Með Vættum (2014)

Skálmöld
Album: Með Vættum
Released: November 24th 2014
Label: Napalm Records
Website: Official
Score: 8/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Ah, yes. Skálmöld’s “Með Vættum”. It’s pretty self-explanatory, to the point where I hardly feel a full review is necessary.

Still, just in case you don’t make it a point to be aware of the happenings of small Icelandic folk metal bands (though why that might be boggles my beard), these guys are one you should certainly pay attention to. Continue reading

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film review: HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

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Horror of Dracula (1958)

Horror of Dracula (1958)

HORROR OF DRACULA
Directed By: Terence Fisher
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough
Website: IMDB
Score: 8/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Many things I mentioned in a previous review of The Curse of Frankenstein can be applied the (Horror of) Dracula. Both films were early installments in the Hammer era of horror films, directed by Terrence Fisher, starred Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and were vehicles which unearthed classic monsters in new vivid color. Additionally the Hammer film’s gothic style, modest budget, and limited set locations has lead to a distinguishable feel to these films. (Horror Of) Dracula was the second film to reanimate characters that had laid long buried. Though all of the Universal monsters have near equal legacy, Dracula has always been, or at least felt, like the largest flagship. Continue reading

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game review: LORDS OF THE FALLEN

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Lords of the Fallen (2014)

Lords of the Fallen (2014)

LORDS OF THE FALLEN
Developer: CI Games
Released: October 28th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 3/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

While Lords of the Fallen might look on the surface to be the most generically titled new IP to come out this year, but if you look a little deeper, you’ll find there’s actually a few questions to be answered.

Who are the lords? Why are they falling? Can the answer be anything other than demons? Have we honestly got no other fantasy bad guys other than orks or demons? Can a title so unimaginative have one solitary new idea?

Despite the risk of sounding like a buzzfeed wankfest, the answer might surprise you. Continue reading

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film review: THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957)

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Curse Of Frankenstein (1957)

Curse Of Frankenstein (1957)

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Directed By: Terence Fisher
Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hazel Court
Website: IMDB
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

When originally taking on the classic horror project, I thought I was going to review all classic horror in the months of September and October as a way to celebrate the Halloween season. It is now the beginning of November and I am not even half way through. Traveling from Dracula (1931) to House of Dracula (1948) saw a wonderful story of legendary creatures and villains who spiraled out of control into near self parody. The end of the 40’s ended with rally films mashing up popular characters into skeletal thin storylines. Though the horror industry would continue in the 50’s with new franchises, such as Creature From the Black Lagoon, the original lineup of villains would lay in retirement until the late 50’s with two events. Shock Theater was a television syndication program based in Ohio that unearthed the classic films of the 30’s and 40’s for a new audience. At around the same time, the British based production company Hammer Films released their first film in what would be the start of a new wave of classic horror. Continue reading

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album review: LORDI – Scare Force One

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LORDI - Scare Force One (2014)

LORDI – Scare Force One (2014)

LORDI
Album: Scare Force One
Released: October 31st 2014
Label: AMF Records
Website: Official
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Lordi’s victory over the usually toothless (and oddly Irish dominated) Eurovision song contest was unmistakeably a game changer for the band, if not metal itself. Before their surprising (though absolutely deserved) victory, the common image of a metaler was some dude in a battle jacket throwing the horns or, depending on the decade, Gene Simmons. I wasn’t too fond of the song (and still aren’t). It stuffers from the infamous lack of teeth than all Eurovision stuff tends to) but perhaps that’s what they needed to do to win. It certainly exposed them to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of them.
Continue reading

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film review: HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945)

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House of Dracula (1945)

House of Dracula (1945)

HOUSE OF DRACULA
Directed By: Erle C. Kenton
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine, Martha O’Driscoll
Website: IMDB
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

When traveling through classic horror, it is entertaining to categorize the movies by theme and decade. This helps in processing any trends and eras which might assist in framing multiple films. If the 1920’s for classic horror was the primordial inception and the 1930’s was the genesis of all of the soon to be renowned characters, then the 1940’s was the era of sequels, crossovers, and continuations of the characters into the ground. It is also enlightening to take into account what else was happening in the world at the same time. The monster rally films were being released with great vigor in the depths of World War II. Given the gravity of current events, these stupid films take on new dimension as stupid films which were probably therapeutic for the world at large. These ensemble films did little to preserve the continuity of original characters. Additionally, even the sequels of previous films did even less to preserve logic and cohesive storytelling. Though after taking into account what else was on audience’s minds, I do not think anyone truly gave a shit. Continue reading

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Game review: RYSE – SON OF ROME

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Ryse: Son of Rome (2014)

Ryse: Son of Rome (2014)

RYSE: SON OF ROME
Developer: CRYTEK
Released: October 10th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 3/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

First released on the xBone (a few months ago) as an system seller that didn’t sell, Ryse: Son of Rome was developed with the apparent motive to show off just how many sweaty pores and weird, almost-human faces the xBone could render.

Bloody loads, it turns out. And now it’s PC’s turn to watch some of the slow-motion arm-severing action. Not much else though, I’m afraid. Continue reading

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review: WHILE HEAVEN WEPT – Suspended At Aphelion

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While Heaven Wept - Suspended At Aphelion. (2014)

While Heaven Wept – Suspended At Aphelion. (2014)

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT
Album: Suspended At Aphelion
Released: October 27th 2014
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Website: Official
Score: 7/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

“While heaven wept” must be one of the most enduring bands in the industry. Originating in the primordial year of 1989, they’ve broken up and been revived more times than Frankenstein’s monster, while managing to look a whole lot better. While in other bands this might imply some fairly serious trouble on the creative front, here I’m tempted to suspect it’s just Tom Phillips’ way of making sure the band doesn’t go stale. I mean, everyone here has at least one other band they’re involved in, so it’s not like they aren’t busy. It seems like they only gather together for WHW when somebody (to hear Tom Phillips tell it, Tom Phillips) has a particularly good idea. I encourage you to imagine he sends the signal by blowing into a great black war-horn, rent from the head of the last Minotaur, but he probably doesn’t. God damn conservationalists. Continue reading

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film review: HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944)

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House of Frankenstein (1944)

House of Frankenstein (1944)

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Directed By: Erle C. Kenton
Starring: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine
Website: IMDB
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

In my previous reviews of classic horror films, I had a difficult time containing my excitement for the eventual crossovers and rally films. Beginning with Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, the rally films saw various individual horror icons mashed together despite whether or not the idea made any sense. Way before crossovers would become a staple in comics, these rally and mash films gave audiences a chance to see their favorite villain fight against their other favorite villain. This was a time when studios kept throwing everything in the fire to keep the flames burning as bright as previous years. Because of this, the potency of these characters became exponentially degraded and soon the rally films became more akin to cartoons than vehicles of horror. Movies like House of Frankenstein and its sequel House of Dracula are fitting conclusions to a first arc, which began with such wonderful intentions. Continue reading

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album review: REVOCATION – Deathless

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REVOCATION - DEATHLESS (2014)

REVOCATION – DEATHLESS (2014)

REVOCATION
Album: Deathless
Released: October 14th 2014
Label: Candlelight
Website: Official
Score: 4/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Is it possible to make a death metal album with too much chaos, too much energy and too many guitars squealing like demonic lost souls? Does good thrash require restraint, the calms and the storms or can the same effect be achieved by a change to a different kind of storm? Can constant energy get boring?

Like everything from MasterChef to identifying my father’s charred remains, it always comes down to taste. Continue reading

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film review: THE MUMMY’S CURSE (1944)

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The Mummy's Curse (1944)

The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

THE MUMMY’S CURSE
Directed By: Leslie Goodwins
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Peter Coe, Virginia Christine
Website: IMDB
Score: 3/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

It is important to note that I reached into a metaphorical bag of Mummy themed movies and pulled out The Mummy’s Curse with seemingly random chance. This film is the last of a four part reboot of the original Mummy character, Imhotep, originally played by Boris Karloff. The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost, and the Mummy’s Curse were all released within 4 years of each other and, aside from the first film, all star Lon Chaney as Kharis the lumbering goon. The Mummy’s Curse ends a cycle of subpar horror films and is not only the worse of the series but perhaps one of the worst films produced by Universal in this time period. Continue reading

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album review: NORTHERN OAK – Of Roots and Flesh

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Northern Oak - Of Roots and Flesh

Northern Oak – Of Roots and Flesh

NORTHERN OAK
Album: Of Roots and Flesh
Released: October 4th 2014
Label? Nope.
Website: Official
Score: 6/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

Before we begin, I feel a weighty responsibility to point out that the cover of this album depicts a literal ent whose taken a moment out of what is presumably a busy life of photosynthesis and watching young adults awkwardly paw each other under his branches to ponder whether or not any of the myriad plants growing on him are hallucinogenic. Obviously this is a hero of our time. Continue reading

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Game Review: MIDDLE EARTH – SHADOW OF MORDOR

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Shadow of Mordor (2014)

Shadow of Mordor (2014)

SHADOW OF MORDOR
Developer: Monolith Productions
Released: September 30th 2014
Website: Official
Score: 8/9 Hammers


Agree / Disagree?

You have to wonder why this wasn’t called “Lord of the Rings: The Shadow of Mordor”. I mean, other than being a bit of a mouthful (though no more a mouthful than “Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, the game”) and the inevitable jokes unfunny nerds would make about it being a re-boot of a c64 text adventure (if you do want that, check out last week’s Gauntlet review), there’s only a one real reason I can see for them trying to distance themselves from the main franchise. Continue reading

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