January 30, 2013

Buried Inside - Spoils of Failure (2009)

The fourth and final installment offered to the world by the now defunct Canadian band in question (heh) is nothing short of a gritty sludgefest masterpiece, here and there punctuated by melodic touches in addition to the downtuned riffs and (apparently) over the top vocal delivery.

I haven't had the chance to listen any of the previous records by them, but I doubt it can get better than this. With eight nameless tracks that swerve and circle around, following the same musical direction yet still keeping  a distinctive feel, Spoils of Failure is the kind of album that begs to be listened to in one take, hints of ideas bleeding from track to track with a level of cohesion rarely heard in any musical release.

Although it doesn't tread any new ground when it comes to genre definition, I highly recommend this album, even to those who feel turned off by harsh vocals. If you will, listen to this following song and bear with it till near the end; then tell me that's not one of the best ways to close a track like this one. 

And if you survived this far, hit play on the following song in the list, VI. I trust you won't be disappointed.  

January 26, 2013

Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (2012)

I’ll probably have to resort to hurting myself physically, due process of just finding out about this record. Apparently, it was released in May last year, yet it seems to have slipped by me. I could argue that 1) the lack of time and 2) the shift of focus to discovering new bands have both taken me away from following up to news about Opeth and PT related stuff, but I’ll probably fail miserably, since the link to Storm Corrosion’s release has been up there on the front page of PT’s website for quite some time, I presume. Me, I just found out about it by following a result way off from the first pages of an obscure google search.

But that’s just life and Murphy’s laws, I think.

With regards to Opeth, you could call me an ‘opethian’ of sorts. As the years went by, Mikael Åkerfeldt & Co. have slowly climbed up my ladder of favorite bands and at this current stand-point in time, I rank them as #1. I even have this

to prove it. Porcupine Tree is also very high up in the charts, the first half of their discography have accumulated, along-side Opeth’s releases, probably hundreds of hours of airtime. Yet, the latest musical offerings of the two bands have fallen short of my expectations, not so much in style but as in a conceptually flawed execution. Steven Wilson’s ‘Grace for Drowning’ did however turn the tide back on, yet there is still something missing. 

With all that said and done, I am left with actually saying something about this colab work of sorts of the two ‘prog’ frontmen of now and all procrastinating set aside, the truth is that I don’t have anything relevant to say about it. The minimalistic approach to this album seems to be what lies at fault here (at least for me). Sure, Steven has dabbled in this sort of territory before, but Mikael is treading on thin water, his guitar work (while brilliant as always) doesn’t have any ‘oomph’ to it, therefore doesn’t put out any kind of emotion. It just feels flat and under-used.  Gavin Harrison’s drum solo at the end of Hag helps move things up a notch, but I feel it’s too less (and I would have said too late if it were the closing track of the album).  The only song that caught my interest for the full runtime was the title track (I’m gonna set aside the whole ‘identical  song, album, band name’ rant), but one out of six is pretty slim percentage overall if you ask me.

With that being said, I’m not going to rate this album, it would do it injustice I think. You’ll have to listen to it for yourself and decide whether it’s your coup of tea or not. I would have been more hyped if this would have came out in the 90’s period of the two bands, but taking in consideration their stylistic appearance of now, that measure of fandom falls a bit short from what it could be. 

As for me, I’ll be awaiting the new solo release from Steven Wilson (set for February), so expect a review of it, from either myself or Marco I presume,  as soon as it’s humanly possible.

January 21, 2013

Hammerdrone - A Demon Rising (2012)

I'm such a piece of shit. Hammerdrone's vocalist Graham sent us his band's debut EP more than a month ago and even though I've enjoyed it immensely, I've put off writing about it for no reason at all. Today I will right this wrong.

Hammerdrone hail from the frozen wasteland of Canada and, if you've been following our site for any amount of time, you already know that I consider Canada to be sort of a breeding ground of insanely good metal bands. The four lads of Hammerdrone make no exception to the rule and have birthed upon the world four tracks of high quality melodic death metal. Now, I don't know much about melodic death metal, so the closest band I can compare them to is Amon Amarth. I realize that is probably a shitty comparison, so let me apologize for that. Sorry, guys. I'm caught in the act. I know nothing of melodic death metal.

Still, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate Hammerdrone's barage of rhythmic chugging riffs, rock'n'roll/blastbeat drumming and gruff growling vocals. They work seamlessly together to create a feeling of musical storytelling and the occasional guitar solos shape the music's atmosphere into something heroic and awe-inspiring. I can definitely see their songs as the soundtrack to an epic battle scene between weather-hardened Norse warriors and reptilian overlords taking place on a devastated battleground, with the sound of war-cries filling the sky. The struggle is brutal, blood is being shed left and right, but in the end, our heroes emerge victorious.

Which I hope will also happen to the guys in Hammerdrone. A Demon Rising is a strong starting point for a band with a lot of potential. My only gripe would be the unprofessional-looking artwork and band logo, but this is just nitpicking and is easy to be addressed. Just drop me a line, guys, I can take some photos of mountains and foggy woods for you to use as the cover for your next material. Cheers!


January 20, 2013

Causa Sui - Summer Sessions (Vol.1-3)


This is what describes best Causa Sui’s music. Considering this is a triplet of albums spawned from the same (summer?) jam sessions, the manner in which all instruments blend in with each other is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  Consisting mostly of lengthy compositions, this particular brand of stoner rock played by these danish geniuses is not music to be heard in the background, but rather something to be treated as a work of art, when you just stand and stare in admiration, compelled by the greatness that has overcome you.

Aptly titled, this trio of albums does indeed evoke the feelings of summer in some way or another, which are indeed the feelings that I crave for considering the shitty weather outside. Basically, playing a song like this one

reminiscing of past summer sessions (heh) and looking forward to the vacation days I have programmed for around the first of May, let me tell you, there could be nothing better right now.

Still, there’s more to it. I’ve come to enjoy best this trio because, above all the great instrumental work to be found here, the guest apparitions by Johan Riedenlow on saxophone are, with the risk of sounding like I’m eating from a bucket full of cheese, simply mind boggling. And that’s just the album version of things, because you see, there’s also the live recordings to incite drool at the corner of one’s mouth.

Now, aren’t you just wondering what in the world you just listened to and suddenly feel the urge to hear MOAR? I tell you, if these guys ever hit Romania, I’ll be happy to donate a kidney just to make sure I get to see them. Word.

The Bad Days Will End - Detournement (2011)

Here is some dark alternative rock from Romania to get you through your day. The Bad Days Will End's instrumental work recall the early days of Placebo, with dissonant strumming, restrained drumming and some nice bass lines to go along with the rainy feel of the music. The vocals are, uh... not my favorite part of this EP, but the angsty lyrics and frustrated tone go well with the dark/alt/punk vibe of Detournement, so I'll let it slide. This band eventually broke up into three other bands I have talked about here, namely Nomega, Livia Sura and Valerinne. Pretty different directions to be taken, that's for sure.

Anyway, you can listen and download this album for free from their bandcamp page. I'm going back to my stupid project for university.

January 19, 2013

Jon Brooks - Music for Thomas Carnacki

When I bought my iPod, Chester taught me what was to become its main use: listening to music at night. No longer distracted by things on your screen or people on the street, you perceive the music at its full potential. Compositions that usually wouldn’t grab your attention shine with a new aura when you close your eyes and pull the blanket tighter around you. Sometimes when you fall asleep, the music seeps into your dreams, bringing them another layer of unreality.

I remember going to sleep once with Arvo Pärt’s Symphony no.4 (“Los Angeles”). Very chill stuff, consisting of only slow movements. However, the album ended with a fragment from Kanon Pokajainen, whose choral lines were a little stronger than the previous droning of the string orchestra. I was asleep when the chanting began. A sense of alarm overcame me, tainting the peaceful dream I was floating in. What was that noise? Did someone break in? I blinked and realized I fell out of bed, while the choir was still roaring in my earphones.

But that’s not what I wanted to write this guest post about.

A few weeks ago I was browsing the beautiful Ruthless Forums. There’s a fellow named Dimitri who rarely posts there, but when he does, he shares all kind of weird and hard to label music. I usually don’t know what to pick from the selection he posts. They all feel alien to me, so I tend to choose the ones with the most interesting covers. “Music for Thomas Carnacki” is one of those.

Who is this Thomas Carnacki and why does he need this bizarre music? Turns out he is a fictional character, a victorian Mulder who was solving supernatural mysteries involving ghosts and long forgotten rituals. The present album is actually the soundtrack to a radiophonic performance of one of the Carnacki stories.

I really don’t know how to analyse this record from a more technical point of view. I have no clue what musique concrête is and my experience with theremins and various “prepared” musical instruments is limited. What I can say is that the material on this album feels very heterogenous at a first listen. The tracks share a common eerie atmosphere, but tend to shift constantly in expression, making you check your player from time to time. I guess it’s normal for this kind of soundtrack.

Even if some parts may sound too weird to you, keep listening. You will be rewarded. The more experimental bits have grown on me after a few listens. I liked the protagonist’s three themes so much that one evening I decided to put the album to the bed test. I must have been tired, because I fell almost immediately into a pitch black slumber. It didn’t last long; when “The Samaa Ritual” began, it shook me to a state of half wakefulness. I squinted warily at my dark room and I froze. Upon the armchair’s back sat perched the hugest raven I have ever seen. It seemed to be staring right at me, playing a devious waiting game. I waited, too, but I didn’t last more than ten seconds. Out of my bed, I ran and turned the light on. My eyes fucking hurt, and there was no raven. Just the shirt I threw earlier on the armchair. Cool story bro.

January 15, 2013

Rival Sons - Head Down (2012)

January is the time of the year when I try (and fail miserably) to put my new year's resolutions in practice, and when I slap myself out of desperation because I missed a good album release from the previous year. One such band is Rival Sons, who could've totally slipped my attention if not for chester's desperate attempts to make me write on the blog by posting random links of bands on my Facebook page. Damn it, man, just leave me alone, will you?

Sad fact is, these guys ain't newcomers. They've released 3 albums already and have acquired a pretty decent fanbase, making my enthusiastic copy-pasting procedures applied to my friends useless. There's really not much to say about them, except that they're an indie/blues band hailing from California and they perform... well, blues rock, with some modern touches, of course. I can't believe I'm living in an era where ''indie blues'' became common, almost bland, but nevertheless, Rival Sons music sounds familiar and I can't shake off that feeling no matter how hard I try. They're not bad, but they ain't rock'n'roll geniuses, either. If you enjoy straightforward blues-bashing solos and southern vocals, then this album is your cup of tea. I can't recommend their previous releases because I hadn't got the chance to listen to them, but I doubt they're too different from Head Down.


HORRORDROME: Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)

(Guest poster RaptoR is back faster than usual with a review on a a movie that looks pretty damn cool. I'm definitely seeing this one first chance I get. Thanks, dude!)

I used to be very excited every time I heard the words horror and comedy in the same sentence. Sure, I learned that very few follow both genres by the book (getting scared and laughing at the same time) but still, I love this kind of movies. And, of course, I consider Shaun of Dead the best horror/comedy of all times. Or should I say, the best zombedy of all times.
Still, a friend of mine (that starts with "http" and has the word "tracker" in it) recommended the British horror-comedy Cockneys vs Zombies. A horror-comedy with zombies made by the British? BRING IT ON, BABY!

If you are a pansy and hate swearing, you will probably not enjoy this movie, as the word "fuck" appear as often as producers create bad low-budget horror movies. Personally, I love the British humor, and I love how they swear. But if you can stand a horde of flesh eating zombies and a lot of gore, I think you will be fine with some F-words.

Now, one thing I hate about zombie movies in general is that the characters seem to be retarded at first. "Oh look, a creature that eats brains and growls, and slowly walks towards us having the intention to eat us. What could they be?". Followed of course by a half hour in which everyone tries to figure what those "creatures" are. There are fucking zombies, you fucking moron. Do you really need half hour to get it that those are zombies? Haven't you seen a zombie movie before? If the zombie apocalypse would start tomorrow and a zombie knocks at my door, even my 86 year old grandma would be like "fuck yeah, that's a fucking zombie right there. Cut his fucking head to kill it". But no, we need to have another half hour where everyone tries to figure how to kill it. Pathetic. But not here. First zombie appears, everyone's like "There! A zombie! Shoot him in the head!", and I kind of liked that.

The movie is not awesome, is just above average. But giving the shitload of zombedy these days, I can truly say it was a good movie.

Story wise, it was above average also. Not very original, but not very cliche either. A bunch of guys, plus a girl try to rob a bank so that they can save their grandfather's retirement home. From here, the story splits up, and on one side we have the bank robbers trying to get to the retirement home to save the grandpa, and on the other side we have a bunch of old people in the retirement home trying to fend off the zombie invasion. And I must say, those scenes are a delight to watch, in my humble opinion. I'm happy that I had the chance to see a "race" between a bunch of zombies and a 90 years old on a walking helper (or whatever that thing is called), who kept yelling "why are these zombies walking so fast?!"

So, if you have the chance, see it, because like I said, there aren't really any good horror-comedies lately. If you also like British humor, then this is a must-watch for you. Cheers! See you on the next review!

Screenplay: 7/10
Directing: 8/10
Sound Effects 8/10
Acting 8/10
Overall 7,75/10

The good:
British humor / one of the best horror-comedy of the last years / very straight forward

The bad:
not very original idea / seemed like it ended sooner than expected

How you should watch it:
-with loads of friends
-bonus points if high on something (like on a chair, hurr-durr) 

Dredd (the not 3D)

I saw this movie a couple of days ago and somehow I felt the urge to tell someone about it. And what better place to share my thoughts about it that here, on Tzeeeac, so that I can get on to being bashed about recommending modern takes on otherwise cult-classics, mhm? Let's get on with it, then.

I'm not a movie theater kind of guy so, as the title implies, I've watched this cinematographic offering from the comfort of my own home. I hate the cinema because the screen always seems to big for me, they charge over-the-top-from-what-I-would-pay for popcorn/soda and most importantly, there is no pause button for when nature happens to call upon us mortals. Even more, I find that "sitting on my ass, drinking beer and dabbling in copious amounts of junk food" is always a more rewarding way of spending an evening, rather than planning a night out to see something that I might not even enjoy.

Now that we've covered that, on with the movie itself.

It's been so many years since I watched the original Judge Dredd that I can't even fault myself with any high/low expectations I've had for this iteration. For once, I wasn't bothered with the lack of a complex backstory to support the actions of the protagonist. All we know is that we're in a post-apocalypse futuristic megalopolis where the shit has hit the proverbial fan more times than it was ever intended and now it's the judges who do all the on-location clean-ups. And Dredd is the most bad-ass of them all, evidently.

Honestly, I very much liked the rendition of the character as shown by Karl Urban. He comes about as a person who guides himself strictly by following the letter of the law (to which he embodies fully), but has enough charisma and is a good judge of character (pun intended) to make the viewer actually care about what happens to him. Sure, it's an action movie and all, Dredd and his rookie protégée, Anderson (excellent played by Olivia Thirlby) going all-out guns-blazing and neck-snapping, but it's actually fun to watch and rarely did I stop to wonder if I could improve something in the experience. 

One could argue that the kidnapping of Anderson if a bit of a deus-ex machina since she seems to be well-versed in her psychic abilities to make sense of the dangers around her, but I forgot all about it once I chose to believe that her lack of field training might very well put a stump on what she could or could not do. The overall pacing feel just right, with quiet moments thrown in-between all of the commotion happening in the Peach Trees complex.

Lena Headey also makes for a terrific vilain: smart, with clear goals in mind (as we are reminded several times during the movie), a broken woman that chose to shut down all that's left of her humanity and give way to simple, unadulterated greed. No complex plans to rule the world, just a greatly expressed desire to survive in a shit world and to make as much money as possible. Which, to an extent, is what we all secretly want, but only few of us actually admit. She is perfectly counter-balanced by the wits of Dredd and the innocence of Anderson, all three being equally smart individuals, the only difference coming from the opportunities they choose to answer to.

In regards with the 3D scenes, the inclusion of the Slo-Mo drug as a point of interest in the story is a smart choice, dare I say, not having to rely solely on the excuse of "Oh, it's for 3D only" to make certain scenes appropriate to the occasion. All in all, they fit in quite nicely and I didn't feel bothered about any of them (Ok, maybe it could have been done with a little less blood and gore; maybe we'll have that in another remake 20 years from now).

To summarize, I have to say I enjoyed this film. For me, it did everything that the latest Batman installation failed to accomplish, slapping a modern take on a cinema classic without any unnecessary advertising. I suggest you go on about an make time to watch this flick if you haven't seen it already. If you did, hats down to you and excuse the late post from my side.

Overall: 8/10 (I'd watch it again if miss Olivia was to show more skin)

January 14, 2013

Life Updates

I hereby call an emergency TZEEEAC meeting in order to brief everyone about what's going on with everything.

As you may have noticed, activity around here has dwindled down to pretty much dick. There are several reasons for this:

  • Just like last year, I don't feel like writing anything about music after completing my best of 2012 list
  • I don't feel like writing anything, period. 
  • Unfortunately, the dreaded exams period is just around the corner, so I'm forced to write tremendous amounts of bullshit about strategic human resource management, risk mitigation, marketing mixes and other stuff that just makes me want to curl up in the fetal position under my blanket and just stare at the wall. So pretty much all my writing energy is spent up on these projects and there's nothing left to gush about the new Devourment album.  
  • I suspect Marco is also busy with exams, voting for himself in the poll and playing every video game released during the last 5 years. 
  • George said he's working on some articles, but I know nothing more. 
  • As usual, I don't know anything about Zulu. He's probably doing drag races at midnight on an airfield strip. 
  • My back hurts. 
  • Things have gone to shit with two of my closest friends ever and we're no longer on speaking terms, so that feels amazing. 

Combine all of these and there you go - suddenly this stupid blog doesn't feel that important anymore. I will probably keep moping around by myself, so don't expect any new posts for a while. Hopefully I'll be back with a new positive attitude and things will return to normal pretty soon.

While waiting for that, be a sport and go vote in the poll for what kind of content you'd most want to see on here. You know, when things pick up again.

January 10, 2013

Marco's (late) Top Albums of 2012

2012 was a shit year in terms of music for me. I spent all year desperately searching for something worthy of my attention, but sadly, I ended up crying myself to sleep . I have had so many disappointments that not once did I have the impulse to quit listening to music altogether and start farming or something. Anyway, I’m not going to do a huge top like last year, but a brief list of a few albums that caught my attention. Bear in mind that I’m coming from a looooong fucking break and I’m a little rusty, so just make sure you won’t hit me in the face. I’m too pretty. 

El-P – Cancer 4 Cure

Obscure sci-fi trope references, sick beatz  and intricate, tong-twisting lyrics. Cancer 4 Cure delivers on all areas, both as a hip-hop album and as a mesmerizing  clusterfuck of geeky stuff.  You know that a successful hip-hop artist is a cool guy when he expresses his love for sci-fi, video games, cyberpunk and Philip K. Dick. When you can hear things like ‘’’dronez over Brooklyn, yo’’ with a sick futuristic beat on the background  you can’t help yourself but love this guy.  All in all, while being a hard album to digest, it’s both satisfying and rewarding once you get to understand all its ambiguities.

Graveyard -  Lights Out

Graveyard came this year with another delicious piece of oldschool rock’n’roll, but this time with a slight change. Growing old and bitter, these dudes decided it’s high time they expressed some negative feelings about the system.  I’ve always been especially attracted to bands that bash the system (in an intelligent way, of course) and Graveyard did exactly that. Touching subjects such as consumerism, the media and other evil brainwashing entities,  Lights Out is a good listen for anyone who enjoys the fine rhythms of the 70’s and vandalizing public institutions from time to time.

Ian Anderson – Thick As A Brick 2

Tzeeeac fans know that Marco loves his goddamn flute solos, and Ian Anderson does just that. He plays the SHIT out of that instrument. He plays it so well that you start a whole fucking flashmob made of barbaric metalheads to headbang until exhaustion. Oh, and he has a pretty nice voice too.

Death Grips – The Money Store

You know what happens when you combine the most disguisting and repulsive elements of the known Universe and put them on a beat? Death Grips happens. To say they’re aggressive would be inappropriate. You would need a team of highly trained sociologists and linguists to search or even invent an appropriate word to describe their music. The least I could say without repeating myself is this : never, ever play this LP at a nice family reunion. Not because of its inappropriate content or anything, but I can’t guarantee that your dad won’t turn into a murderous beast  a few seconds  after hearing the first track.

JJ DOOM – Key To The Kuffs

As you can see, I’ve been listening to a whole lot of hip-hop this year and boy was it worth it. Bad ass comic book nerd MF DOOM, known for his mysterious public persona and infamous concert antics where he would send somebody else to sing in his place from time to time, released an interesting project with Jneiro Jarel. Though I was a little reserved at first, my pessimism was fortunately crushed and replaced with the satisfaction of listening to a fine hip-hop album. It might sound familiar in places, but all in all, MF Doom has grown as a musician and it really shows on this album.

The Cribs – In The Belly of The Brazen Bull

There’s no better example of a late bloomer than The Cribs. With a weak to mediocre career start, these dudes did their thing and matured step by step, from album to album. Eventually, they released this gem and shit was fucked. What initially was an LP that I tried out of boredom turned out to be one of the best albums of the year.  OK, fuck it, who am I kidding, IT IS the best album of this year and I can’t wait to see what lies next for these guys.

So this is my (badly written) list of my favorite albums released in 2012. Though it was a weak year, it wouldn't be fair to say that I didn't stumble into a a few gems from time to time.  Anyway, from what I heard, 2013 is going to be a killer-fucking-year, with Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age with scheduled releases, so stay tuned for more Tzeeeac bashing and nitpicking. 

January 5, 2013


(Guest writer RaptoR is back with another allegedly-alright horror movie review. As long as it affords me the opportunity to slack off some more, I'm fine with it.)

When it comes to horror movies that try to look like they're homemade I have an erection. Don't know, maybe Blair Witch Project got me in the mood for these kind of movies, but I just love them. From [Rec] to Paranormal Activity i never passed a chance to watch one of these beauties. After so many years i still consider Blair Witch to be the best in this category. I don't know if it's really that good or it shocked me that much into believing it, but it has something special, something unique and disturbing that you can't find in any other movie.

This being said I couldn't resist watching V/H/S, a horror movie that's both brilliant and stupid at the same time. First things first, go on a legal downloading site and start the download while you are reading this, because you'll surely want to watch it. Bonus points for everyone that manages to get to the end of it in the middle of the night, lights out and headphones one. Being alone in the room adds some more bonus points, because, as we all horror lovers know, we can't count on the directors for everything and we must create part of the atmosphere ourselves.

So close the blinds, turn off the lights and prepare to watch a story about a group of men that enter a house to find a rare VHS but in turn find a dead man in front of a TV and a lot more video tapes. They start to watch them and the movie presents us 5 of them, one more creepy than the other. Worth saying that each of the tapes is directed by a different person, and that adds on the diversity of the movie. Now, I said that this movie is both brilliant and stupid, that's mainly because some of the tapes are done excellent and others are poorly directed.

Subjectivity put aside, I can say without doubt that the last one is gold and I'm really sad it was that short. You could really expand that story and make a full movie out of it. Like I said in my earlier post, I'm really not that good at not giving spoilers so I'll try to stay away from explaining anything that happens, but you'll find aliens, ghosts and just fucked up people.

When it comes to pure scare scenes this movie takes the cake both in the VHS scenes and the main storyline. I found myself hugging the wall for a second after a brief apparition so be ready for some hearth pumping action. For the Blair Witch/[REC]/Paranormal Activity fans out there, this is a MUST. Also this is a MUST for the ones that like the shaky camera genre but thought that the movies listed above didn't include that much action. If you have the chance to watch this at a horror festival, don't pass on the chance. For the others, I really hope you guys have a big ass tv and a good sound system because this is one of those movies that try to make you feel that you're there, with the characters.

Starting from now, I'll try to give every movie a mark out of 10 based on some criteria, and give some recommendations. Hope you guys like it. See you on the next post!

Screenplay: 9/10
Directing: 8/10
Sound Effects 9/10
Scare Scenes 9/10
Acting 8/10
Overall 8,6/10

The good:
good scare scenes / very realistic shaky camera effects / variety of stories

The bad:
the main storyline and one tape are poorly done / inexperienced actors / some absurd scenes

How you should watch it:
-without any snacks because you will throw them down during the scare scenes
-pitch black room
-big ass tv