Tag Archives: Review

Kreator, Obituary, Midnight and Horrendous at Irving Plaza

Kreator was one of the first non-Big Four thrash bands I got into and had yet to see them. With a bill featuring Obituary, Midnight and Horrendous, I felt the time had finally come for me to see the teutonic thrash titans.

This show was a no-brainer as Obituary has always been a favorite of mine, Midnight is one of my favorite newer bands and Horrendous is pretty cool too. The day came and my friends Jay, Branden, Scott and I rode the bus to NYC. Jay and Scott went to the Blue Ruin for some drinks while Branden and I got some pizza before catching a cab to Irving. When we got there, Horrendous had started their set.

Horrendous

I was excited to finally see the old school death metal throwback Horrendous as I missed them at last year’s Maryland Deathfest. The band had great energy and made their long songs feel quick.

Midnight

Second band on was the almighty Midnight. Before they played I ran into my friends Jason and Nicole (the latter who wanted to see Midnight badly). After buying a Cause of Death shirt, Scott and Jay showed up. The band started with “Vomit Queens” so I knew I was in for a fun ride. The band had amazing energy and played many great tracks such as “Black Rock and Roll.”  No doubt about it, Midnight was the second best act of the night for sure.

Obituary

Next on were death metal classics Obituary. This was my third time seeing them, the first being at MDF 2015 and second being with Cannibal Corpse and Cryptopsy at this same venue. Although the band was really good both times, this set blew the others away because it was loaded with classics. “Internal Bleeding,” “Chopped in Half,” “Turned inside out,” “Slowly We Rot” and more hits from their catalog were featured. As always, the energy combined with a great setlist made them the best band of the night.

Kreator

In the ninth grade, the only thrash bands I knew were the Big Four, Sepultura and Suicidal Tendencies, my teacher(who also happened to be the singer for All Out War) recommended me a list of bands which included Kreator. After hearing “Betrayer” for the first time, I was hooked.

While I was glad to finally see Kreator, their set sort of bored me. They mostly played songs from the last two albums while throwing in some greats such as “Tormentor,” “Extreme Agression,” “Flag of Hate,” “Enemy of God” and “Pleasure to Kill.” I enjoyed them during these tracks while Jay only enjoyed them during “Pleasure to Kill,” “Tormentor” and “Flag of Hate” as he is only a fan of the first three albums. On the other hand, Branden loved every minute of the set as he loves their 2000 and onward stuff the most.

After Kreator finished, we left the building, got more pizza and hopped on the bus back to Middletown.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blood Feast Kills Again With “Future State of Wicked”

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After nearly 30 years, east coast thrash titans Blood Feast have returned to drink the blood of every corpse yet again with their new album The Future State of Wicked.

Kicking things off with a Sam Kinison-esque scream from vocalist Chris Natalini, the Jersey devils rip into “INRI,” delivering aural force trauma from the get-go.

The heavy riffing of CJ Scioscia and Adam Tranquilli continue to wreak havoc on the senses with “Off With Their Heads,” “Bretheren,” and “By the Slice.” “Bretheren” is especially diabolical, from its bouncy main riff to shifting time signatures on a dime akin to Canadian thrash legends Voivod in the Killing Technology era. “By the Slice” not only keeps tradition to the band’s roots sonically, but also lyrically as they revolve around the cannibalism themes of the Herschell Gordon Lewis classic from which their name is lifted.

As the visceral revival continues, we are treated to the album’s second course. This boasts longer and sludgier tracks with a sincere amount of heaviness from all fronts. “The Underling” is a six-and-a-half-minute opus about toxic relationships and what they can do to a person. This is one of Blood Feast’s more human tracks and makes for one of the more impressive numbers in their catalog as the emotion seamlessly transfers from recording to reality.

“Last Rites” and “Who Prays for the Devil” are mosh-fiendly tunes that zig and zag with creative riffs, zany vocal patterns, and wildly over the top rhythm and percussion work by Tom Lorenzo and Joe Moore. While the latter comes off as a standard pit-starter until the coda, “Last Rites” is a flurry of death/thrash excellence that brings you back to the gory glory days of metal. That said, “Who Prays”makes haste as it doesn’t feel like a six-minute song for a second.

For the main course before the chopping block, Blood Feast deliver healthy portions of old-school thrash with “Nein” and “The Burn” with some bleeding room in the form of “Remnants II.” “Nein” is a drum driven frenzy with Natalini’s striking shrieks powering the ruthless rhythms of Tranquilli and company.

“Remnants II” serves as a warning to the album’s final one-two punch, “The Burn,” which sees Natalini channel his inner Kinison one last time for five minutes of absolute chaos.

With its 10 tracks of destruction, Future State of Wicked is proof that after more than 30 years, Blood Feast continue to kill for pleasure with their brash and intense style of thrash born and bred for the underground. Putting passion first, the New Jersey quintet have crafted a solid album that hearkens back to the good old days of thrash while maintaining their place in the genre’s history.

Diamond Head at The Chance

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Thanks to an interview Birdman of Roargh had with the band’s guitarist, we found out about Diamond Head coming to The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY months before it was announced. Having influenced so many of our favorites, we both felt we needed to go see this classic NWOBHM band. Without stopping, the venue  is 45 minutes from my house and we hoped to skip the openers as they weren’t anything special. We sadly only skipped one of the three. Normally I review the openers no matter how bad they are but these were so generic that they bleed into each other, which ironically saved them from any trashing . At around 10:30 Diamond head were set to play. We met up with my friend Ryan as well as Rock Fantasy owner Stephen Keeler and our buddy Brian.

Diamond Head

As Diamond Head was setting up I was curious to hear how they would sound live since they have a newer, younger singer named Rasmus Bom Andersen. At the time I had not heard anything from the new stelf-titled album and only really heard their debut and the song “Am I Evil” (yes, I’ve heard the originals and not just the Metallica covers).  Birdman had seen them once before at Heavy MTL 2011, a lineup that included Cryptopsy, Opeth, Anthrax and Morbid Angel.

Diamond Head had a killer sound and Andersen sounded great. The energy was unbelievable. The set list was pretty great too. They played three songs off the new album which all sounded good while the rest of the set was dedicated to their first two albums. Classics such as “Helpless,” “Am I Evil,” “Sucking My Love,” “Shoot out the Lights,” “The Prince” and several more. After the show we met guitarist Brian Tatler and then headed home, although we would return in two days for Carcass!

 

F*ck Mondays! Episode 27: Doctor Strange Review (and Wonder Woman Too)

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Chris and Jon review Marvel’s Doctor Strange, talk shop about Ronda Rousey’s retirement announcement, and review the latest Wonder Woman trailer.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 21: Bada Boom! Realest Suicide Squad Review in the Room!

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Fresh out of the movies, Chris and Jon review Suicide Squad in the most unbiased way possible. Jon cuts a WWE-style promo on bogus critics.

F*ck Mondays! Episode 16: The Great Civil War Debate

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We’re back from seeing the sight that was Captain America: Civil War and we’ve got a lot to say. Find out what we liked, disliked and more on another episode of F*ck Mondays!

WARNING: This episode contains spoilers!

Ratchet & Clank Makes Qwarktastic Debut

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In 2002, Insomniac Games and the Sony Playstation 2 brought us the story of a Lombax and a robot that would save the universe.

Fourteen years later, Ratchet and Clank not only have an army of hit games under their belt, but are making their feature film debut both on the big screen and at home on the Playstation Network.

The movie follows a plot similar to the first game with a few storylines from subsequent games tied in to add more elements.

Ratchet dreams of being a Space Ranger but is stuck in a monotonous life as a spaceship mechanic until a defective robot he names Clank crash lands on Ratchet’s home planet Veldin.

Although he’s already been turned down to join the Space Rangers by his hero Captain Quark, Ratchet is convinced by Clank’s inside information to warn the team of an imminent attack by the evil Chairman Drek and mad scientist Dr. Nefarious.

After discovering more details of Drek and company’s evil plan, our two heroes join the Space Rangers on a galaxy saving quest filled with weapons, gadgets and hijinx that remind us why we fell in love with the franchise in the first place.

In addition to the big names cast (Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, John Goodman and Sylvester Stallone), one of the finer points of Ratchet & Clank is the inclusion of nearly every main voice actor from the original games. James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward and Armin Shimerman do a wonderful job reprising their roles, bringing smiles to nostalgic faces and life to their characters ways only they can.

We also see many weapons featured throughout the series’ tremendous catalog of games. One of the highlights is the appearance of the Sheepinator while one of the lowlights is the R.Y.N.O.’s (Rip You a New One) cameo as it’s destructive power never materializes to the big screen.

Another issue is that despite being a key factor of the series and gameplay, none of the weapons evolve and if they do, the audience is never informed of it.

Although Ratchet & Clank’s cinematic debut holds its own as a standalone film, there are tiny nods to the franchise that aren’t present in the final cut. Having said that, a solid story that stays true to the source material, delightful humor, playful visuals and an excellent cast is more than a fan of the beloved franchise could ever hope for.

WWE Breaking Ground: Episode 1

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by Frank Lucci

WWE Breaking Ground offers a glimpse (through the WWE’s filter) of what it’s like to be a professional wrestler in their developmental system.

One of the better original programs on the WWE Network, the show focuses on many different talents at various stages of their training, from NXT top dogs like Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze to newbies like Tino Sabbatelli and Nhooph.

Some quick general notes on the series as a whole: the music is decent (especially the opening theme) until Shinedown kicks in. William Shatner does a commendable job of narrating, as he is able to convey emotion well without getting bombastic. The biggest gripe with the show is some segments that are clearly there to put over WWE policies or really contrived segments to get people’s characters over (save that for NXT). Also the WWE plays fast and loose with the timeline of the show. For example, two wrestlers are let go on the same day in real life, but on the show they look like they happened weeks apart.

Episode one opens up with a Triple H monologue (shocker) about how difficult the journey to the WWE is and how special the NXT performance center is. It’s a good way to open the show for people unfamiliar with the WWE, especially with Breaking Ground being the good gateway to NXT and wrestling in general for new fans.

Next up is Bailey, who gets in her car and does nothing else for the whole episode (at least we see that she drives a modest looking vehicle). Then we get Tough Enough winner Josh Bredl showing up to sign his contract and begin his first day. After a montage of Wrestlemania footage, we see NXT trainees doing drills while coaches yell at them.

Do not anger Matt Bloom.

We then meet TIno Sabbatelli, a former NFL safety recovering from a concussion after his second match ever. Here we see the WWE put over their concussion protocal pretty hard. While concussions are no joke, it’s easy to see why the WWE included this due to their ongoing concussions lawsuits. Sabbatelli comes off as a bro but does not really strike people as someone to get invested in.

Baron Corbin is introduced next in a very in-character way. They put over his football and boxing backgrounds as well as his lone wolfness. He also rides a motorcycle, but without a helmet. Seriously, how counter productive is it to ride a motorcycle without any sort of protection when your job depends 100 percent on you staying healthy?

Switching over to the ladies we get a brief introduction to trainer Sara Amato and Nhooph, the youngest NXT Diva at age 19. Nhooph discusses stealthily getting wrestling training at age 16 and wanting to have her first televised NXT match. This is immediately followed by her struggling to take a hip toss. Devin Taylor also struggles to pick up wrestling after being a backstage interviewer for most of her two years at the performance center. During Taylor’s training we get a Nia Jax cameo. Taylor has had a history of injuries and there is plenty of foreshadowing here for what happens later.

Bloom reveals that Corbin gets huffy when other people get opportunities ahead of him (you’ve only been in the business three years, calm down). In a related note, Corbin burned his face trying to do a standing moonsault (???!!!). Apollo Crews (who can actually do that) is briefly seen in footage showing his background that was recycled from NXT. Sabbatelli shows up once again to put over the concussion protocol. Besides being a bro, the dude does not have much of a personality. He does have a nice vertical leap though, so there is that.

William Regal shows up and immediately steals the show. He’s seen coaching interviews and character stuff, showing exactly why he is the best man for the job. Even his talking head segments are amazing. Regal gives several memorable lines about teaching the fine points of being a character before we see pretty much every single embarrassing thing WWE had him do over his career. We then get a quick montage of people working on interviews, with Mojo Rawley giving the best performance. His “knock you out with a pair of flip flops” line is great.

Corbin and coach Norman Smiley are besties and travel to a live event together. This needs to be a spinoff show asap.

The roster sets up the ring for the live show and Bailey is bringing in chairs (good to see even the champs pitch in). Rawley bothers Corbin while he eats a salad, which is exactly as exciting as it sounds. Corbin is also annoyed that the rundown of the card takes awhile to show his lone wolfness again. Nhooph isn’t on the card, which makes her a sad panda. Izzy the Bailey superfan gets a cameo and the show puts over Bailey being a hard worker and still being blown away that she is champ.

We finally see some in-ring action from a live show. However, the next day Nhooph finds out her match at another live show got cut. This is pretty terrible, but considering she recently made her NXT TV debut it looks like she will be just fine.  Coach Bloom and Amato talk about Taylor and if they honestly think she can handle being a wrestler.

Cue the evil villain music it’s Canyon Ceman. The WWE executive is in the house to make some roster cuts. Breaking Ground makes it seem like Taylor, Nhooph, and Sabbatelli are on the chopping block and the episode ends on a cliffhanger over who is going to get the axe.

Overall, the first episode is decent, but suffers a bit due to having to introduce all the various personnel involved and the fact that Corbin is the only guy on TV (besides Bailey and Crews who have maybe two minutes of combined airtime on Breaking Ground) that is focused on during the episode. The cliffhanger at the end is obvious to anyone who follows NXT, as (spoiler) Devin Taylor was released less than two weeks before the episode premiered. Regardless, the episode one is a good watch that sets up Breaking Ground well.

Trailer Feedback: Captain America: Civil War (Trailer 1) & Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Trailer 2)

Within the past few weeks there has been quite the buzz among comic book nerds and movie buffs alike. Thanksgiving week saw the debut trailer for Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War while last week DC retaliated with the second trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

While comparing the two would be another anticlimactic round of apples and oranges, going over them in the same piece is sacrilegious enough for everyone.

Captain America: Civil War (Trailer 1)

This has potential to be one of the best comic book films of all time.

Civil War’s first trailer is packed with plenty of action, suspense and plot details without giving too much away. While most fans know the Civil War storyline, it’s nice to see that Hollywood has not begun squeezing the life out of Captain America and the changes have been reworked to fit the main story rather nicely so far.

One major example of this is the prominent display of Black Panther and Falcon filling the shoes of Spider Man and/or The Punisher (Spidey is now rumored, but will more likely be a post-credits Easter egg than in the actual cast and Punisher will debut on Daredevil). While they are supporting characters, their inclusions feel like they are more of a major role than what’s on paper. Black Widow however, takes a back seat (but that’s okay, we know how bad-ass she is).

The tension of Captain America and Iron Man can be cut with a knife. Watching the two bicker before duking it out is one of the highlights of the trailer and the teamwork of Caps and The Winter Soldier could be one of the most iconic scenes in the Marvel movie universe.

Although many questions remain, one stands out above the rest.

Will the Marvel cinematic universe stay true to the comic by killing Captain America?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Trailer 2)

There is too much going on.

Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent at a party we can assume is being held by Jessie Eisenberg’s goofball Lex Luthor. Neither get along with not only each other but their costumed counterparts as well. Rather than agree to disagree, their alternate personalities decide to fight. During this battle, Luthor seemingly experiments with and/or alters General Zod’s corpse to create Doomsday – a surefire way to rid the world of both of them. Facing this new terror, Batman and Superman agree to disagree when Wonder Woman appears. The three are set to face off against Doomsday where we can only assume either a) Superman dies to set up a real Superman sequel b) the three heroes emerge victorious, Luthor goes to jail (and hopefully bald) to set up a real Superman sequel or C) Doomsday and/or Luthor get away to set up either a real Superman sequel and/or the long overdue Justice League movie.

If at any point that summary felt like a “walk into a bar” joke it’s because the trailer is simply that. While the initial trailer’s hype was built on mystery, shock and awe – this one took all of that away.

Rather than give us tiny bits of information that leave us with questions Warner Brothers has chosen to present the entire plot of the movie in a three minute presentation.

Not only does it feel like a dead giveaway but we are also introduced to a non-threatening Luthor using Zod’s death as a plot device, Wonder Woman basically saying “hi” and Doomsday (who looks like a Ninja Turtle concept Michael Bay rejected).

The only saving grace is Wonder Woman’s inclusion and the exchange between Kent and Wayne (which are brief, as they should be).

Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Warhammer End Times: Vermintide

Warhammer End Times: Vermintide is a new FPS from developer Fatshark, who are perhaps best known for their Medieval combat game, War of the Roses.

The game takes place in the Warhammer fantasy universe (the lesser-well known sibling of the futuristic Warhammer 40k), both tabletop games from developer Games Workshop. While perhaps not everyone’s favorite Games Workshop IP, Warhammer fantasy still brings rich lore and fun gameplay mechanics to the table. Unlike Warhammer 40k, however, Warhammer fantasy has traditionally not translated as well to the electronic medium.

Vermintide heavily pays homage to Left 4 Dead, with four adventurers fighting through swarms of Skaven- evil humanoid rats with a hatred for mankind in place of zombies. Much like L4D, there are several “special” enemies that have different abilities than the average Skaven.

This is where Vermintide begins to fall short, with the unique Skaven being almost complete rip-offs of L4D enemies. For example, there is an enemy called the Packmaster which hooks players and drags them off (much like the Smoker from L4D), and a Hunter-esque enemy called the Gutter Runner, which leaps onto the player and pins them down while stabbing them. Vermintide even features a direct rip-off of L4D’s tank enemy called the Rat Ogre. Other than the unique Skaven that clearly rip-off L4D, Vermintide’s standard enemies are just plain boring. Hordes of rats run at you much the same way the standard infected in L4D do, with no regards to their own personal safety. That would be fine if every level didn’t include these same enemies either standing around doing nothing or blindly rushing at you like crazy Wal-Mart shoppers on Black Friday. After a while, players will find it almost becomes a chore simply cutting through the same enemies over and over again.

Vermintide’s other big problem is the optimization. Sudden frame rate drops, random bugs and crashes plague Vermintide at random intervals. Even the best machines it seems have sudden frame drops for no apparent reason.

Other than optimization issues, Vermintide’s bugs can make the game range from absolutely hilarious at times to down right frustrating. Many of these bugs happen when one of the game’s special enemies attacks and include players being launched into the sky where their allies can’t save them, or pulled through walls by the Packmaster’s hook. Enemies sometimes even seem to spawn out of nowhere and/or teleport with no explanation as to how. Certain levels also contain easily exploitable designs, making the threat of certain enemies (such as the Rat Ogre) completely moot.

Vermintide’s loot system (while innovative) also fall short. Players may customize their chosen hero with different equipment from weapons to trinkets which add special abilities. At the end of each level, a number of dice are rolled to determine which piece of loot the player receives for winning with higher dice rolls netting the player rarer and more powerful items. These dice rolls can be augmented with pick-ups throughout the level, which add more dice that have a better chance at higher rolls.

Unfortunately because it is completely random, even with the best dice there is no guarantee the player will receive a rare item. This can be very frustrating,  as pretty much the only way to beat higher difficulty levels and ultimately receive rarer loot is to outfit yourself with rare items.

Combat can also be very tedious. Each character is equipped with both a ranged and melee weapon and while some of the weapons are fairly unique, the fighting itself is very straightforward and standard.

For a game whose primary focus is close-quarters combat, Vermintide’s melee combat is just plain boring, usually turning into button mashing as you cut down hordes of enemies. There are no combos and only two different types of attacks – regular “light” hits and heavier “sweeping” hits for crowd control (performed by holding down the attack button briefly). There’s also a block button, but enemies can break your block after just a few hits (more or less depending on the enemy), rendering blocks mostly useless.

One aspect in which Vermintide does well is the playable characters. There are five heroes to choose from, each of which brings a unique gameplay style and a role that they fulfill within the group.

The Soldier for example, uses mostly large melee weapons and powerful muskets/blunderbusses, makes for a great heavy hitter and also can use his huge sweeping attacks for crowd control. The Witch Hunter is almost a hybrid class with a good balance of quick melee and ranged attacks. The Elf Archer is pretty standard, providing ranged support with the quick-firing bow while also able to provide quick melee strikes. The Dwarf Ranger makes a great tank, as his default weapon is an ax/shield combo allowing him to form a living wall in the small corridors and alleyways the players often traverse. Rounding out the list is the Battlemage, who is perhaps the most unique hero of all. While having a fairly week melee attack, the Battlemage can use powerful and fast ranged spells to utterly blow away hordes of Skaven. The Battlemage can also charge up her ranged spell and fire an explosive shard that deals massive damage.

Unfortunately, where Vermintide goes right is not enough to redeem the entire experience. This very well could have been a great game. It has all the right elements: unique characters, a great IP to work with, an innovative loot system, and tons of replayability. Unfortunately, it falls short in far too many of these areas to make it the next big thing. Vermintide becomes far too grindy and predictable after only a short period of play. Perhaps with some time, developer Fatshark will add content to the game such as new levels and enemies that will make the experience more interesting but until then, Vermintide remains just another mediocre FPS.