Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Special: Heavy Metal Gift Guide!

It's "Black Friday!" and you know what that means...SHOPPING!!! This infamous anti-holiday proves how shopping has become so insane (and its getting worse!), that people are willing to lose sleep, wait in line for long hours, even over-night for stores like Walmart and Best Buy to open their doors early just so they can trample their way in, scrambling for the latest bargains on those holiday gift must-haves! This is rampant commercialism at its worst and I for one, will have NO part of it! But...if you must search for those hard to beat bargains, either in a crowded store or online, might I suggest a few ideas for that hardcore metal fan in your family and pick up some of the "Blackest of the Black" Friday Heavy Metal Gifts! CHERNOBOG'S BLOG Presents...The "Black Friday" Special: Heavy Metal Gift Guide! HAPPY UN-HOLIDAYS! \m/
  • Check out these "Blasphe-Xmas, Sleigh-tanic" holiday items from Century Media!
  • Dark and Somber's Black Metal/Heavy Metal Greeting Cards - What began as an Internet gag, evolved into an actual greeting card company with the collaboration of photographer/entrepreneur Courtney Frystak and illustrator/designer/musician Farron Loathing. Make that metal fan in your life feel special with a metal greeting card this holiday season!
  • SLAYER Chirstmas Sweater (Jumper) from Backstreet Merch - Show your anti-Christmas spirit with your very own SLAYER Christmas sweater! No joke, this is for real! SLAYER RULES! \m/
  • Too Much Horror Business by Kirk Hammett - Metallica's lead guitarist gives us a look at his huge collection of horror/sci-fi movie memorabilia with his new book from Abrams books!
  • The Gospel of Filth: A Bible of Decadence & Darkness, by Gavin Baddeley with Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) - it's been called "the boldest, most comprehensive guide to the realms of darkness and devilry ever published"! This book has every thing dark from music, movies and literature, to comics and computer games. A must have for anyone not afraid to explore the dark side!
  • Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal - VH1 Classic's That Metal Show's host and radio DJ Eddie Trunk, presents his first book, a guide for all things hard rock and heavy metal! 
  • Heavy Metal Box Set - This ultimate heavy metal collection Includes 4-discs and collectible book in a limited edition box set shaped like a Marshall amp. Filled with songs from over 40 years of heavy metal history, this is a must have for any heavy metal fan!
  • Metal Evolution - Limited Collector's Steel Tin DVD - from documentary filmmaker Sam Dunn, director of Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Iron Maiden: Flight 666 comes a new 11-episode series on 3-DVDs from Banger Films chronicling the history and evolution of heavy metal music!
  • Mastodon Horn Stein - Enjoy your favorite beverage while listening to Mastodon's new album The Hunter! The Hunter Horn Stein is made of porcelain and holds 16 ounces.
  •  Metallica Monopoly - What holiday would be complete without everyone's favorite board game: Monopoly...Metallica style! "The fast-dealing property trading game" just got faster! "Ooooh yeah!"
  • KISS Casket - Show your devotion to KISS: "The Hottest Band in the World" in this life...and the next with a KISS Casket! Made of 20-gauge steel, these caskets feature KISS images with a black interior fabric.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

This year, Daniel Craig returns for his third time as James Bond/Agent 007 in Skyfall! With the release of this, the 23rd James Bond movie, also marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. Back in 1962, the one and only Sean Connery starred as Ian Flemming's Agent 007: James Bond, in Dr. No! Spanning 23 films (not counting the original Casino Royale (1967) spoof) and 6 different Bonds, it has become the most popular and successful film franchise in the world! The newest installment to the Bond films will no doubt leave it's mark as one of the most anticipated and successful Bond movie to date.
Following a botched mission in Turkey, Bond, believed to be dead, returns to MI6 to track down a dangerous cyber-criminal known as Silva (Javier Bardem). While Bond questions his choice to return to the spy life, he also has some misgivings of 'M's (Judi Dench) orders, who despite her efforts to keep the world safe, is soon to be replaced by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). With the help of a new and particularly young 'Q' (Ben Whishaw), Bond must track down this sadistic hacker, who has a personal vendetta against 'M' and MI6!
The ever-popular credit sequence for this movie is particularly impressive with the theme song "Skyfall" performed by the artist Adele. Like any Bond film, there is of course a few new Bond girls (or women, per political correctness) including Eve (Naomie Harris), who also played Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) a popular French TV actress. Under director Sam Mendes (American Beauty (1999), Road to Perdition (2002), Jarhead (2005), Skyfall is an intense and action-packed film worthy of the Bond name. Filmed at some of the most exotic locations including Istanbul, Shanghai, Japan, the film film also features several scenes within downtown London and even along the moors of the Scottish countryside. The Shanghai location is visually stunning with a floating casino made up of Chinese lanterns and dragons which includes live Komodo dragons in a pen! While Daniel Craig's Bond has established himself as the newest 007 since Casino Royale (2006), he has presented himself as a more serious, even darker and grittier secret agent. Also, since the death of Vesper (Eva Green), his character has become a brooding, reluctant hero. Another variation of the Bond character comes with this newest film, since many of the previous Bonds have never had much of a backstory. Always somewhat one-dimensional, many Bonds let their suave demeanor and one-liners carry through the entire film while many of them (particularly in the 1970's) were overly formulaic and predictable. With this Bond there is a little more insight into his character and his origins along with elements of him dealing with his insecurities and coming to terms with his age, a theme that has become common in recent action films like The Expendables (2010). Skyfall is unlike any previous Bond movie, with a unique twist on the age-old revenge story. The only disappointment in this movie (despite the numerous rumors online) is that it does not reference much in the previous film: Quantom of Solace (2008) and has little, if nothing to do with the elusive and mysterious antagonist group known as 'Quantum'. Along with strong overtones of the modern concept of terrorism and world in-security, it strikes a heavy chord within our modern, post-"War on Terror" age (particularly with the comments made by Judi Dench's 'M' towards the climax). Without spoiling any plot points, this movie begins a new era in the Bond franchise, which will be apparent in the ending, leaving it open for at least two more confirmed Daniel Craig Bond films.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

National Metal Day - Top 11 Live Metal Bands!

Last year, 11/11/11 was National Metal Day! A day to celebrate hard rock and heavy metal by turning it up to 11! Why?...Because "it's one louder" (Spinal Tap)! While promoted "heavily" in the heavy metal scene as well as an impressive all-day-long celebration on VH1 Classic, sadly, it remained a one-time-only event. As a metal fan, I hope that National Metal Day will continue to be celebrated on November 11th every year and I celebrate this day by blogging about some of the best live metal bands in heavy metal music today. More than any other genre of music, heavy metal lends itself to the grandeur and over-the-top theatricality live on stage. With bands like Black Sabbath, KISS, Metallica and Iron Maiden, hard rock and heavy metal bands undoubtedly put on some of the best shows ever! If you've ever been to a heavy metal show you know what I'm talking about. In honor of National Metal Day, CHERNOBOG'S BLOG PRESENTS: The Top 11 LIVE Metal bands!

#11 GWAR - With elaborate, bizarre and often gruesome costumes and makeup, GWAR's graphic stage performances often feature humorous enactments of politically and morally taboo themes with everything from satirizing and mutilating effigies of current political figures and celebrities. Since 1984 the band has been inciting audiences with their extreme brand of shock rock and have appeared on a number of talk-shows during the 1990's. Despite the death of lead guitarist Cory Smoot a.k.a. Flattus Maximus, last year, the band continues to proudly shock and offend the heavy metal world.

Rammstein's "Fire-Suit"
#10 Rammstein - Innovators of German Neue Deutsche Härte/Industrial metal, Rammstein has a "flare" for the dramatic in utilizing a wide range of elaborate costumes, props and of course pyrotechnics! At times, Lead singer Till Lindemann wears a  metal "fire-suit" and sings while engulfed in flames. Rammstein gained world-wide fame and acclaim in the late 1990's with their 1997 album Sehnsucht which featured popular hits such as "Engel" and Du Hast".

#9 SLAYER- The most extreme heavy/thrash-metal band in the world, Slayer is known for their speed, intensity and aggressive style. Drawing from intense imagery and lyrics laced with violent and anti-religious imagery, Slayer has been known for their highly-controversial music. With screaming lyrics from frontman Tom Araya and Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman's wild dual guitar solos, Slayer has earned it's place among thrash metal's 'Big Four' which also includes Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica.

#8 Rob Zombie - Formerly the lead singer for White Zombie (1985-1998), Rob Zombie (a.k.a. Robert Cummings) has been a major part of the growing industrial metal scene. Heavily influenced by horror and sci-fi movies and the music of Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie has become a highly successful musician, film/TV/animation director, producer and screenwriter. Rob Zombie released his first solo album in 1998, Hellbilly Deluxe and has since then released 4 studio albums, several remix and compilation albums and four major films including House of 1,000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects (2005) and the remakes of the Halloween franchise: Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009). His latest film, The Lords of Salem is set to be released in 2013.

Alice Cooper
#7 Alice Cooper - Since the late 1960's, Alice Cooper (the original band and the man, a.k.a. Vincent Furnier) has been terrorizing the world of rock music with their own unique brand of "shock rock". With elaborate stage shows, Alice Cooper utilizes a grand theatrical style featuring such elements as guillotines, electric chairs, blood, real-live boa constrictors, and dismembered baby dolls on stage! After Alice Cooper released his first solo album with 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare, began a whole new era of horror that would span the decades making Alice Cooper one of the most influential figures in hard rock and heavy metal today alongside Ozzy Osbourne.

#6 Black Sabbath - The originators of the Heavy Metal sound, four young men from Birmingham, England formed a band in 1969 and with the release of Black Sabbath (1970) and changed heavy metal music forever! Since their original lineup until 1979 which included Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler and of course Ozzy Osbourne, the band has gone through several lead singers in their 40-year history including highly-popular singer Ronnie James Dio, along with Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin. While the band has reunited and broken up on several occasions including a reunion with Ozzy in 1997 and then with Dio in 2006 also forming the side-band Heaven & Hell, most of the original members have reunited (unfortunately except for drummer Bill Ward) yet again for another tour. Black Sabbath relied heavily on the energy and reaction from the crowd brought on originally by singer Ozzy's natural showmanship and then later with Dio's performance-centered presence. The band has rarely used much over-the-top stage elements aside from heavily-used crucifixes symbols and fire effects, Sabbath has always been more focused on the music and crowd-pleasing tactics. Black Sabbath will ALWAYS be the #1 metal band!

#5 KISS - The originators of theatrical "shock rock", despite their appearance, KISS has always been more of hard rock than a heavy metal band, utilizing a more traditional rock & roll style music, KISS relies heavily on their unique make-up designs, costumes and stage shows. Formed in the early 1970's KISS has been dubbed "The Hottest Band in the World!" Although the original lineup including Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Chris has changed over the years (with only Paul and Gene as the remaining original members), KISS has retained a huge following despite their decline in the early 1980's and their years without make-up until their reunion in 1996. With their use of pyrotechnics, fireworks, wire-work and not to mention Gene's blood-spitting and tongue. KISS remains the most popular rock band in the world with the highest commercial success thanks to their huge line of merchandising properties.

#4 Metallica - One of the most popular and successful heavy metal bands in the world, Metallica has been known for their energetic and crowd pleasing shows since their beginning in 1983. With sold-out shows and their knack for notorious year-long touring, Metallica has developed a huge fan base despite their decline in the late 1990's due to their changing image and developing music style. Though the band has been through a number of lineup changes; the most significant being the death of bassist Cliff Burton in 1986 and the departure of bassist Jason Newstead in 2000 and recruitment of Robert Trujillo in 2003.

#3 Motörhead - The LOUDEST band in the world! Motörhead has been turning up the volume since their debut in 1975. Frontman and bassist Lemmy Kilmister is the ideal rock star and is idolized by many in the rock community and whose band is regarded as one of the most influential of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands to emerge out of the late 70's.

#2 Ozzy Osbourne - The Godfather of Heavy Metal! Ozzy Osbourne is heavy metal personified, The Prince of Darkness himself has had a hugely successful solo career since he was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979. With some of the most virtuoso guitar players at his side like the late Randy Rhoads and until recently Zakk Wylde, Ozzy has brought heavy metal mainstream. Despite his crazier years in the 80's which was filled with onstage antics such as biting the head off a bat or wearing spangled-jump suits. From teenage-criminal to rock star, deadbeat to metal superstar, reality TV dad and metal god Ozzy Osbourne is the quintessential live metal show.

#1 Iron Maiden - THE most popular heavy metal band in the world! Iron Maiden was one of the first bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to make it to worldwide acclaim. With current frontman Bruce Dickinson at the helm and their ever-present mascot Eddie making crowds of thousands cheer all over the world, Iron Maiden is truly the #1 Best Live Heavy Metal Band! With Dickinson's natural showmanship and ability to please the crowd, Iron Maiden always puts on a great show! Don't believe me...just watch this trailer from the documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666:
Happy National Metal Day! Rock on \m/
LINKS: National Metal Day on Facebook