Weng’s Chop #4.5 (magazine review)

One would say, that when you have numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, normally you would expect number 5 to follow, right? Well, good-hearted folks producing your favourite cinema megazine Weng’s Chop think differently and back in the day have brought us issue #4.5, which in time had evolved into an annual Spooktacular issue. Nice, isn’t it?

Well, yeah, but… just in case you think I will only heap praise here – with this annual issue guys have introduced yet another layout format. And my obsession with collecting stuff neatly on the shelf just got another blow. How the hell am I supposed to get three different formats nicely aligned? Apparently, I am not supposed to. OK, I can live with that (barely), but it’s only fair to mention that. So, guys, no more layout size changes…please!

So, what do we have here? First, as it’s expected (and appreciated), we have editorials, and I really like to read good ones. No point saying that when it comes to Weng’s Chop, I start with these straight away.

José Ramón Larraz

As old generation of filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts slowly fades away, we have to expect more and more deaths of our beloved icons. One of these was José Ramón Larraz, who left us in 2013 and to whom is dedicated a lengthy piece by Brian Harris and others (pages 3 – 15). Although I am not sure if I have seen any of his movies, I love to read about them and finding stuff of interest. Obviously, if you don’t know about them, you can’t want to see them! Elementary, dear Rudolf!

Time to brag – it was because of this issue of WCH I’ve got myself a nice paperback copy of Xerox Ferox! And it was just because there is this nice little interview with John Walter Szpunar, the autor of said tome (and a tome it indeed is!). By the way, in case you wonder, Xerox Ferox is a book about movie fanzines. No wonder I’ve been sold the second I’d read about it. And the book itself is fantastic (and I am making a mental note to re-read it soon).

Xerox Ferox book cover

Page 24 and Brian in his infinite hustlin’ wisdom opens for us the possibilities of getting more sweets on Halloween. An apparent page filler, but I have to admit I did laugh about thinking about how it works…and apparently, this stuff works. All hail Halloween candy diabetes!

And because Brian is quite a prolific writer, pages 26-28 contains his take on Christian propaganda in the form of documentaries Pagan Invasion: Halloween, Trick or Treat – Part One, and Hell House. Now, let’s stop for a second. I have to admit I am Christian and that’s it. But I have to agree with Brian here (and many others) that some allegedly pro-Christian propaganda is really one sided brainwashing. Have no problem with Halloween being originally a pagan holiday (morphed into Catholic All Saint’s Day) and what have you, but the moment people start talking – in usual good ole “Satanic Panic” mode – about hidden messages in music (yeah, right, I need to get a special turntable, a specific records and then I can hear satanic message? Well, any Satanic black metal album would suffice, I guess, and I don’t need to play it backwards!), the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons (I mean, really!) and the like, I am really furious. But OK, some people like it, leave it to them.

As with other Christploitation movies reviewed in WCH, I have to say I’ve tried to watch some of them – and I failed. Although I’m not gonna complain, because pages 30-32 bring us to what ammounts basically to a list of 200 (!!!!) movies contained in the Drive-In Cult Classic Collection boxset. Man, I still don’t have that one!!!! I need it badly!!!

And if you don’t have enough, pages 33-35 bring another list of another big fucking list of movies in another big fucking boxset! Tales of Terror from those nice folks in Mill Creek Entertainment is another stuff you need. Imagine, 200 movies – that’s almost a year (and in my case, more than year) of viewing!

Page 38 starts a nice lengthy article titled “My First Time” and because this is not a magazine for teenager battling with puberty and hormones, we’re not dealing with first sex here, but, as you should guess without any hesitation, the first horror movies contributing authors have seen. And from page 38 to page 52 you’ll find some nice suggestions of movies, just in case you haven’t seen them yet.

Pages 54-56, this is the place for Mose Allison’s article “Getting the Fear: Sowing the seeds of Darkness”, in which the author contemplates over the childhood, fear and Halloween. Nice reading.

Pages 58-60 are dedicated to the review of two nice documentaries about two iconic horror movies (or movie franchises, if you will) – The Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, namely “Never Sleep Again” and “Crystal Lake Memories”. I remember watching the former one and I really liked it. And as the article mentions, it’s a really long one.

I haven’t seen “Crystal Lake Memories”, but then – shock and horror! – I was and am not that much of Jason fan (I am Freddy’s fan through and through). But again, in case you haven’t seen those docus, have a read to see if they are worth of getting. Because, as you know, every dollar counts, so make sure you’re getting its worth.

“The Boy from Out of this World: Documentary Filmmaker wows the secret behind Teenagers From Outer Space” is the article by Greg Goodsell and it’s an interesting stuff about the director of this sci-fi schlock from 1950s. Certainly not something you would read about often, so a thumb up for that.

Larry Conti brings his take on Television Tao: TVB’s Classic Supernatural Swordplay Series of the 80’s, reviewing in length movies The Dragon Sword and The Fearless Duo. That’s pages 66-71 for those counting the pages.

Phillip Escott talks about movies Livid and Tall Man in the article “Sophomore Blues: Following a Classic”. Funny thing, I am in total reverse, I haven’t liked Livid that much, but I liked Tall Man. And both Phillip’s and mine opinions are OK. That’s the beauty in the eye of the beholder.

Steve’s Video Store articles by Steven Ronquillo are always a treat to read, and there is no change in this statement here. On pages 76-78 you’ll find quite a lot of movie recommendations for your Halloween viewing (I’ve seen a few of those, but boy, do I have to step up my watching game!).

Steve Fenton contributes a nice and – at least for me – interesting article about TV horror host Count Zappula, and I lament the state of things, as this is something I haven’t experienced – never. What fun would it be to have something like this in our TV back then when I was a kid. Well, as Rolling Stones put it: “You can’t always get what you want”. Along with the main article there are a bunch of long reviews for movies From Hell It Came, She Demons, Blood of Dracula, Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow, The Haunted House of Horror, Asylum of Satan, Pharaoh’s Curse and Hand of Death.

And as the theme is Halloween, another article on pages 100-101 brings us, the readers, to Danae Dunning’s triple reviews of Trick or Treat, House of Psychotic Women and La Residencia.

And as for reviews, we’re not done yet here, pages 102-106 contains various smaller reviews by your usual contributors.

108-123…these pages are firmly reserved for another installments of Tim Paxton’s Indian cinema series. Oh, my…this is absolutely fascinating read and if you are only a remote movie fan, you will find Tim’s narrative here totally captivating. Yes, I want to see those movies too!!! I am really in a loss of words to express my great joy of reading such stuff. To call it excellent doesn’t really do it justice, it’s beyond excellent!

The last segment of this great WCH Spooktacular 2013 is dedicated to printed publications (books and some graphic novels) and that’s spot on! Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Films? Re/Search’s Incredibly Strange Films? Joe Bob goes to Drive-In? Can’t go wrong here! Tell you what, I’ve bought Joe Bob Briggs’ book just because I’ve read about it here! What a recommendation, huh?

Summed up, sealed, signed and delivered – if you are still not buying those issues as a hot cross buns the moment the new one is released, there is no hope of movie-geek redemption for you. But if you – up to now – hesitated whethere to buy this one or not, now you know. Get that moolah rollin’!

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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Drowning: Lost City Riders (a 2008 TV movie review)

Lost City Riders, well, its title, has caught my attention almost immediately. I admit, I am a sucker for “lost city” stuff.

I’ve watched the movie once before, but I don’t remember anything of it, which is usually a bad sign, however, with the plethora of movies (and other spare-time-killing activities) available, that’s not really something to go along with – and you probably agree, you remember movies from your childhood, but hardly something you’ve watched a month ago on Netflix.

That might have to do something with the overall quality of the modern cinema, but I guess I am digressing here a bit..so let’s get back to our flick.

The movie was directed by Jean de Segonzac, mostly known for directing episodes of various TV series, and starring James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder, Bettina Zimmermann, Jamie Thomas King, Elodie Frenck, Michael Mendl, Jeremy Crutchley and Benn Cross,

Well, Lost City Riders is not a movie you’re gonna remember. A co-production between German TV channel ProSieben and Sci-fi Channel (before its rebranding to SyFy Channel), you’ve seen the plot rehashed a million times before (and couple hundreds after 🙂 ).

The global warming caused the flooding of the Earth, only 10 % of the surface is habitable, and we’re encountering our – you’ve guessed it – Lost City Riders, a family unit (a guy with two adopted sons), raiding the submerged buildings for profit.

Our family unit planning the entering and escaping.

Unbeknownst to his two adopted sons Jack (Ian Somerhalder) and Thomas (Jamie Thomas King), their stepfather John Kubiak (James Brolin) is on the mission of finding the legendary scepter of Sobek, Egyptian god of Nile, who – according to legend – controlled by it the rising and falling down the waters of the great river.

And as it’s usually the case, he’s not alone! Enters Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) as a nefarious businessman trying to claim the scepter for himself to – well, you’ve guessed it again – make money!

Our villain Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) confronting Giovanna Becker (Bettina Zimmermann)

To complete the picture, we have Bettina Zimmermann as Giovanna Becker, Jack’s old love, and because it would be bad to leave the other boy alone, here comes the rescue in the form of Elodie Frenck (Cara Cahill).

You know how it plays, right? Yes, it’s pretty straightforward, with a bad underwater CGI effects, the story doesn’t allow for any twists or surprises, but the scenes in the Chinese cave (yes, we are all over the world, from Vatican to Dresden to Chinese cave system) with the secret room built in it got me in stitches. The acting there was on the level I’ve expected it turning to a scene from a adult video movie any second! Anyway, don’t shoot at the pianist for the piano not being in tune, as they say.

Putting the rod into the hole…or something like that.

I am not sure if it’s me getting old and more tolerant of everything, but I myself was surprised to actually watch the whole movie without any interruptions. I think I can safely state it was due to the level of watchable silliness on the TV screen, quite certainly unintentional by the creators of the movie.

But it’s about entertainment, right? In that case, they’ve succeeded.

Not that I’m gonna re-watch it any time soon (if ever).

Official trailer:

Fragment Soul – Axiom of Choice (a review)

The link for these Greek doom melancholics arrived to my mailbox a long time ago, and I’ve almost forgotten about it. Yes, I know. Im am irresponsible sometimes.

However, I’ve started my spring cleaning also in my accounts and so I’ve come across Axiom of Choice – and what a beautiful album it is.

4 long compositions in 3 seconds over 42 minutes, that’s the progressive doom dessert from Greece. No feta cheese, though, that’s for sure.

You might know already that my musical tastes are all over the place, and although some might argue it won’t allow me to concentrate fully on a particular genre, I think it gives me an opportunity to enjoy music without too much of a comparison.

And therefore I can enjoy Fragment Soul and their work of art for what it is. And it’s a beautiful, melancholic, gloomy collection – however, not a depressive one, I’d say. It’s something you would play during the rainy day, laying alone in your bed and just floating in space of your thoughts and memories. For the fans of Draconian it might be pointed out, that Heike Langhans collaborated on this album, and there’s also a guest person – Egan O’Rourke from Daylight Dies.

I like it a lot. For a seasoned fans of the doom genre it might not be earth-shattering, and I’m not gonna argue it is. But if you want to spend 42:03 minutes of your life with an aural balsam for your ears and soul, this might be something you might like to check.

Album stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQupuFFlbOo

Malauriu – Malauriu (a 2022 album review)

Recently I’ve lent my ear to some nice black metal releases, so when I’ve got this promo from Italy for a review, it’s been only a matter of time when it will attack both my ears.

…and the day has come.

Malauriu are certainly no new-comers, haling from the Italian underground since 2013. I am not familiar with their previous output, but with the opening track, “Morto Era L’oro”, it is clear what they meant by “a new chapter of experimentation between dark ambient and Mediterranean sound”, which was the description they’ve used in the promo e-mail. Well, they haven’t lied.

The album contains 4 long compositions, the shortest one clocks in 10:52 (“Corpo Tempio), the longest will stay in your aural orifices for almost 12 minutes (11:50 long “Specula”).

A mix between ritualistic darkwave and a poetry reading, lyrics in Italian, along with the music itself, evoke the best moments of watching Italian horror/occult/supernatural movies – minus the video segment, of course.

Not much of a black metal per se, nevertheless, this is right in my comfort zone, as I’ll never say no to the atmosphere inducing soundscape.

The album will be released on April 1st, 2022, in a CD and digital format via the Italian label Nero Corvino, so if that’s your kind of music, you definitely won’t go wrong getting it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malauriuofficial

Costectomy/Nyctophagia – “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport” (a 2021 split review)

After some time spent checking not so usual music with my other webpage Indokult, dedicated to the Indonesian music , I’ve started craving some more unhinged underground music again. To be precise, good old goregrind and gorenoise. No, I won’t call it a “fix”, haha, but truth is – sometimes it’s just what the doctor has ordered. You know…going full circle and so forth…

Now, with the genre selected, the next important question was – with so much to choose from, what to play? For that, I’ve checked a Olga Lazarus’ new label Strangulation Furrow on Bandcamp. You might remember Olga from the interview I did with her for the Rubber Axe webzine here. Since then she’s relocated to the USA and started a new label, it’s only logical to show her some support! Yes, freaks, some support!!!

Olga is a busy bee and so far she has released some nice releases (mostly tapes, but also a CD and a 7” EP), plus she’s printing the t-shirts herself. Talk about some dedication here!

So, with that being said, I’ve chosen to review a split between Costectomy and Nyctophagia titled “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport”. 14 groovy tracks in total.

A tape version from Strangulation Furrow label

First to offer the putrid sonic fruits is Costectomy, which is Chud’s (Ulcerated Offal, Cystoblastosis, ex-Hit-Run Drivers etc.) project based in Eliot (Maine, USA). 6 tracks in total of great sounding goregrind (yes, the aforementioned groovy kind), enriched by the samples from the horror/gore movies, exactly the way I like it. You know, I love intros/outros! Damn, thinking about that, I am pretty much easily pleased, haha! Well, it’s true. However, when you are faced with stuff like this, that’s not so hard. Great stuff here. Oh, not to forget, the last song is a cover of Dysmenorrheic Hemmorage, “Affliction”.

The rest of the release belongs to Nyctophagia, currently an 1-man unstoppable grinding machine from Ohio and if you can count on your rotten fingers, you know that means 8 tracks left to enjoy!

Unlike Costectomy, Nyctophagia plays more of a little faster death/grind, more of a bulldozer than a groove, however I can’t complain here neither and so won’t you. Really, what’s here not to enjoy?

The split is over almost in no time – which is probably the only negative I can say about it. For those collectors of the physical release, this was released in 2021 on a pro CD-R by Costectomy Records (but according the info it’s already sold out) and Olga’s label has released it on in a tape version. Go check and grab it while you can!

Bandcamp: https://strangulationfurrowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/costectomy-nyctophagia-split

VA – Gorenoise megasplit vol. 1

It’s been quite a while since I’d reviewed anything gorenoise related. Gorenoise Megasplit volume 1, the compilation I’m going to write a few words about, was sent to me by our friends in the Italian label Nosevomit Records quite a long time ago, and I am ashamed to have waited for so long before reviewing it. Well, time to wait is over, let’s have a look how ugly this boy turned out to be!

Opening the compilation is Italian gorenoise project Bronchospasm with the track “Pneumoconiosis”, the cool 4:05 track and it’s quite interesting, not the typical blasting sh*t I’d expect, it’s more like an experimental noise track, with drums beats here and there, but straight away, I am impressed and I need to check this project little more closer. And, by the way, they are associated with this little record label: https://www.facebook.com/unauthorizedsurgeonsclub/

The second to dissect is another Italian pathology combo – Conforming To Survive – with the three tracks, “Severed Mutation of the Upper Limbs”, “Gnawing the Intestines” and “Cursed Flesh Grimoire”. Rehearsal recording, with a rather goregrind/noise chaos, and again, I am revelling in this! Building from the shortest track to the longest one (which clocks in 3:39), there’s plenty of filth to like here!

But then…it’s a gorenoise proper! American project Hydroencephalocystocele steals the show with its “13 Traxx Untitled” and for all those looking for a really cool gorenoise, now it’s the time. Bubbles and noise, what can go wrong, right? I’d welcome more variability here, but otherwise, can’t complain.

Mucopurulence’s section opens with a cool intro, which intro-duces (lol) us to to f*ckin awesome goregrind track “Copro Corpse Copulation”. This stuff raises the dead! Mucupurulence hails from Finland and because they kick ass, they offer 5 tracks here – Copro Corpse Mutilation, Putrid Bile of Shit, A Collection of Colons and Entrails, Ceaseless Violent Defecating, Choking on Swollen Tongue and Vomit – all the future classicks, I am sure! Not too long, not too short, they are perfect! I really enjoy these, and the song titles remind me of the times we used to come up with the most insane titles too!!!

This nice compilation closes with 5 gorenoise tracks (Adiction, Another Disease; Ear Atrocities, Head Hole, Inhuman Glass and Taenia Solium) from Saccopharynx. This Mexican project offers an interesting mix of blasting drums, bubbling, gurgling vokills…and probably even a kitchen sink thrown in for a good measure, and it works.

The whole compilation can be heard on the Nosevomit’s Bandcamp, and what’s even better, you can get a CD-R of it too!!! What are you waiting for then?

https://nosevomitrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gorenoise-megasplit-vol-i

Where fire burns eternally: Eternal Kingdom of Fire, volume 5 (digital promo review)

Those of you who read the Rubber Axe regularly, will might recall the review I’ve written for a previous release of this compilation series, namely volume 2.

Well, time flies and a few days ago a new batch has arrived to my mailbox, this time it was the latest invocation, namely the volume 5.

10 bands, 10 songs. However…what songs these are!

Opening this compilation tape is Winter Eternal from Greece (lately of Scotland, according to available information) with the song “Crown of Stars” (also on this project’s 2021 full length “Land of Darkness”). F**king brilliant tune, I can hardly think of a better opening. Interesting, well thought of, well played. And a well received here, that’s no doubt about that. I like the use of instruments and the melodies.

Russian strikeforce Ophidian Malice, on the other hand, take no prisoners and relentlessly bash the listener with their furious black metal vibe. “Saviour” is the song from their debut 2021 full-length “Disgusting Ritual” and it definitely shows the band in the good (un)light.

So far, I am really enjoying the comp.

With Skorbvstr, the raw black metal ferocity from Kentucky (USA) we have first exclusivity here, as I think their song “Diskusjonen er avsluttet” is available here only. I might be wrong though. I am little surprised with the use of, what is it Norwegian language?…but the guy might be from Scandinavia, so there’s that. As for the music, I have to admit I am starting to develop a certain liking for the raw BM (which, as many might know, is not one of my favourite subgenres), and there are some elements I really enjoy here.

“Pain Enshrouded Dirge” from Desecration Rites is our very next song, and the second longest offering from this compilation. I’d say there’s a certain inspiration from old Burzum (which is not a bad thing, what do you think?), and even it delivers the goods (so to speak) even with the simplicity of melody, riffs and hypnotic drumbeat. Well, you know…the old school, the good way.

Alpgeist hails from Bavaria (Germany) and presents to you their hymn “Moor in der Todtenau”. Yes, I can definitely say I like this approach a lot more than the raw BM subgenre. Dark, melancholic and melodic, I really like the guitar riffs here…the whole song is one welcoming energy boost in my current depressive mood. Can a black metal song be viewed as a positive booster? I’d say so, so this applies. I am really loving this one.

Zmyrna can be classed as Alpgeist’s neighbour, as guys come from Czech Republic, and their “Pagus Maledictus” offers yet another fascinating look into the black metal subgenre – guys not only sing about mystical stuff and medieval life, their music also evokes the fires of the dark ages and the suffering through the ages. This song is certainly a weird one, very unexpected, but as I’ve said – fascinating (in a good sense). The song itself comes from their only material to date, the 2021 self-titled EP.

And now, ladies and gentlemen – the longest track of this compilation. Necrodes and “Swept Away”, from its 2021 full-length “Isolation”. Wow, what a vocal! Imagine maniacal, hysterical cries with some gurgling and you might start to have an idea. Although, I guess the best bet is to have a listen. However, I think more of DSBM than atmospheric BM here, but that’s just my opinion. Unfortunately, these days I am rarely fond of long compositions and I’ve got a little bored here, sorry.

Necrocarnation hails from Germany now, but from what I could find, they are from Argentina, and on this nice compilation they bring to your attention their black/death metal sacrifice with their song “Antarctic”, which is also the opener of their 2020 EP “Fragments of Dark Eternity”. And I have to say, I like this stuff! Especially vokills, which sound really killer! Kudos to the compiler, as I really welcome the diversity of the subgenres while still being true to the black metal genre as a whole.

Finnish duo Svartheim play strict black metal, which might sound a little generic nowadays, but I think they are aware of that, so they enrich their song “Vaiettu” (which comes from their 2021 full length debut “Black Metal Finland”) with the interesting dual vocals. And it works. Personally, I don’t really give a damn about similarity between songs or bands – if I like it, I like it, period. And Svartheim would be on my playlist. It’s simple, yet effective.

And the last band to enjoy from this compilation is Necro Forest from Croatia, with the song “Hate Divison”. Raw black metal, with little NSBM leaning, I’d guess. I am little disappointed with the sort of a ripping off Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon” in the beginning of the song , because when it starts properly, it’s not bad at all! But I think Norwegian legends have their impact on many bands…it’s not that big of an issue, but I thought it would be good to mention that. Also, likeable song.

So, that’s all, folks. Good, bad? Well, for me, undoubtedly a great compilation. I think I can safely say – I can play this without skipping a song. And that’s quite a feat.

Get it from Ancient Cult Records, while you can. Get in touch with the label via e-mail: aniquilacionsatanicapro@yahoo.com

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