Friday, August 22, 2014

The Sacrament (2013)

Ti West is a director that you're either gonna love or hate.  Some people complain about how he takes to long and that it starts to get boring.  Others enjoy the slow burn style because once the horror starts, it does leave an impact.  In "House of the Devil", when they showed the Grandma, it really scared the shit out of me because I didn't expect something so hideous.  Especially since the movie was very slow.  "The Innkeepers" was bit of a challenge.  But I did enjoyed Sara Paxton's character.  So fuck'n adorable.  Now with "The Sacrament", Ti West was able to keep me interested in the story til the big horrifying ending.  By now, everyone should know that this movie was inspired by the Jonestown Massacre.  And pretty much Ti West does do a re-telling of that event, but made it look like a VICE travel guide/investigative report.

The movie is about a fashion photographer from VICE named Patrick who receives a letter about his sister, Caroline.  Caroline is a recovering drug addict who went to live in a little community in Mississippi.  The letter tells Patrick that the community that Caroline was living at moved out of the country.  Patrick showed the letter to his co-worker, Sam, who is a reporter for VICE, and Sam decides to go look for Patrick's sister and do a investigative report.  They bring Jake, their cameraman, and off they go to find Caroline.
When the VICE team arrive, they are confronted by two men with rifles.  Patrick tells them that they were invited by his sister and the men then gives them a ride to the compound.  Finally they arrive at the compound called Eden Parish.  Caroline welcomes the VICE team when she sees that the guards wouldn't let Patrick in.  Once they go in there, they see a community of people just living their lives.  Caroline explains how a man they call "Father" pretty much started this community.  Sam ask Caroline if he can get a interview with "Father" and she tells him that she'll try.  Patrick goes off with his sister and Sam and Jake are left behind and start going around interviewing some of the people who live there and asking them how they got here.  They interview a lot of people who seemed very happy and give lots of praises to "Father".  Sam and Jake feel a bit off about Eden Parish.  But since the people there seemed happy, they had no problems with it.  But then they meet a little girl named Savannah and her mother who seem to be scared and not happy like the others living in Eden Parish.
Sam finally gets the interview with "Father", but it is conducted in front of the congregation.  Sam asked "Father" a few questions, but "Father" seemed to dodge the questions and begins asking about Sam's wife and his unborn child.  Sam was disappointed  that he couldn't ask "Father" all of his questions.  And of course was creeped out when "Father" mentioned Sam's wife.  Savannah then shows up and gives Sam a little note.  He opens the note and starts to get worried.  He shows Jake the note and it reads "Please Help Us".  Later they go back to their cabin and someone bangs at their door and takes off.  Sam and Jake go outside and find Savannah and her mother, with other members of the congregation, begging Sam and Jake to get them out of Eden Perish.  This really starts to concern Sam and Jake as it seems that Eden Parish isn't the happy place that "Father" claims it to be.
Finally, the next morning, Sam and Jake see that there are a bunch of people outside yelling.  They go out and see that some of the members are trying to leave and some of the guards and Caroline are trying to keep everything under control.  They find Patrick, who explains to them that some of the members want to go with the VICE team, but that there wasn't any room for all of them in the helicopter.  And if you're familiar with the incident in Jonestown, then you might know what happens next.  But still check it out.

So far, this is Ti West's best film.  And with Eli Roth producing the film, they really did their best to make the movie very interesting.  There are images that shocked and made me sad.  I was very informed about the Jonestown Massacre, so I know what to expect.  But I have to give a lot of credit to Gene Jones for portraying the cult leader, "Father".  If you're expecting gore, then you'll be disappointed.  But the movie can be very disturbing.  So if you want to check out a film about a cult, then I recommend "The Sacrament" by Ti West.

Akem Manah - "Demons of the Sabbat" (2014)

Even though Doom Metal is becoming very popular in the underground scene, the number of Doom Metal bands that are coming out is very steady. which is why I'm still a fan of the sub-genre.  Unlike most musical genres that become very poplular, a shit load of bands come out of the woodwork, trying to catch in on the trend.  It also helps that a lot of Doom Metal bands mix some Death, Black, and other experimental music.  Which can sometimes keep things interesting.

When I read online that Akem Manah is coming out with a new alubm, I know that I'm gonna hear a awesome Doom record.  On the last one, "Night of the Black Moon", main man, Dead Nedry added some layers to the Akem Manah sound.  On album #3, to me, the Akem Manah sound has been defined.  As soon as I hear the first chord, I know it's Akem Manah.  Also Nedry was able to get Chris Lollis (ex-Nile/Lecherous Nocturne) on bass and Ivan de Prume (ex-White Zombie) on the skins.  As much as I hear Lollis bass, I do have to say that de Prume did a great job on the drums.  Head guitarist, Scott von Heildt, makes a appearance on two tracks and keeps things interesting.  Also Ramesses' Adam Richardson does vocals on "Demon Rise", which was also fantastic.

I love the piano intro on "Dark Ritual".  "Reign of Terror" is probably the best song that Akem Manah has recorded.  Scott von Heildt's lead also makes that track awesome.  I wouldn't be surprise if the title "Possession Of Nun" was inspired Haxan.  And "The Twisted Rites of Satan's Bride" is also one of my favorite tracks.

If you're a fan of "The Devil is in All of You" and "Night of the Black Moon", Then you're really going to enjoy "Demons of the Sabbat".  It's a huge step forward but still the Akem Manah that we know and love.  Very heavy.  Very dark.  Very Akem Manah.  This album gets "Five Hitlers Punched in the Face".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Red Fang - "Whales and Leeches" (2013)

My my, Oregon.  The bands that you've been exporting lately.  You brought us Poison Idea, The Decemberist, Black Elk, Trees, Akem Manah, Agalloch.  And now Red Fang.  It looks like the entire West Coast has a music scene.

By now you're already familiar with them because their third album, "Whales and Leeches", made a huge buzz last year.  Of course you've seen their video for "Blood Like Cream" (with Portlandia's Fred Armisen.  And also saw them perform on David Letterman (in which band leader Paul Shaffer joined in on keyboards).

If you're familiar with Red Fang, then you'll hear how much they have grown with album number 3.  Aside from their production, Red Fang sound tighter than ever.  The musicianship is more perfect then the last album.  And a lot of the songs have become more catchier.  Of course Aaron and  Bryan still got the clean vocals and growls still going.  And John still kicks ass on the drums.

For those who aren't familiar with them, Red Fang is a band that has a real sound.  They don't sound like some watered-down radio-friendly band.  They're very high energy, not aggressive or "hardcore", so don't worry about soiling your slim jeans.

The opening track "Doen" has a awesome Mastodon vibe, but with a more stoner metal sound.  "Blood Like Cream has the most catchiest chorus.  "Voices of the Dead" is a song that I love turning the volume up when driving.  And "Dawn Rising" is a really sick Sludge track.

If you enjoy Mastodon or Queens of the Stone Age, then you'll really enjoy Red Fang.  They do a awesome of blending hard rock with a bit of Sludge.  They may not be a moshing band, but you can sure as hell bang your head to them.  And for you high school kids, while playing "Whales and leeches" in you're room, expect your parents to be banging on your door and telling you to put it louder.  That's why I give this album "5 Hitlers Punched in the Face.