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Saturday, June 8, 2013

VHS Nostalgia: Part One

     I don't have to tell anyone in my generation how important the VHS format was for Horror/Exploitation fans! Without it, there are Hundreds or Thousands of titles that we would have NEVER saw! I can still remember the smell of my local Mom N' Pop video store, and can remember that feeling of being a kid, and wandering the darkened confines of the "Horror Room" for hours, until I had picked my Holy Grails for the weekend. My favorite store had a special of 5 movies for 10 bucks, and i would eagerly plop down my allowance to be able to watch some Horror films that I had never seen(and some I had seen). I would usually have friends over, and we would watch all 5 in one night, then I would rewatch them again and again, until my Mom had to return them Sunday night.
One of my all time favorite companies was Vestron Video!! They introduced me to SO many Horror/Exploitation/Teen Comedies over the years, I felt like I should have owned stock in that company. They were the ones that put out most of the European films as well, and without them I would have never witnessed the likes of Burial Ground, The House By The Cemetary, and Invasion Of The Flesh Hunters. They also like I said, had plenty of teen sex comedies, which of course were great. Theirs were usually cheaper and lewder copies of the big budget ones, but me and my buddies loved stuff like Hot Moves, Weekend Pass, & H.O.T.S.!! There will never be another distributor that runs the gamut of Sleaze N' Gore so gleefully....NO, not even Troma!!
So when you were looking for something EVEN sleazier than the usual Vestron titles, where did ya go??
Lightning Video!!! Lightning was a subsidiary of Vestron, and it put out the really cheap and scuzzy stuff like Naked Vengeance, Deadly Sunday, and Women's Prison Massacre!! I always knew what I was getting with Lightning & Vestron, so I never came away disappointed. But I am sure, there were many that hated the low budget stuff they were doling out a rapid pace. The sad thing about it all, is that Lionsgate bought out all of the companies titles, and unfortunately only a select few have seen DVD releases. I am sure that Lionsgate has to know that there is a crowd for these titles? Maybe they should do something like Warner Archives is doing? List all of the titles on the WWW, and fans can order the titles they want, and LG can produce them by demand!! That would be incredible, it makes me excited thinking about it!! Of course, they would have to offer a way lower price than Warner does. Nobody would pay $20+ for these titles(excluding stuff like The Mutilator), they could offer like 3 for 20 and they would fly out of the shelves!!! Lionsgate??? Anybody listening??? Well, next time I think we will talk about Media Home Entertainment, my other favorite!!

Dawnfall-Drei Raume(2002)

     As the years go by, and I have been listening to Black Metal for for about 28 years now, it seems that my tastes in the genre get weirder and weirder. Of course, part of me is still a purist, and I love primitive Black Metal, and bands that still champion that sound today. But when I want something new, it is usually something strange and retarded(and I mean that in the best possible way). Another appropriate title is "Outsider Black Metal", I think that term sums it up perfectly. "Outsider" music has always been stuff like Jandek, The Shaggs, The Fuggs, BJ Snowden, Daniel Johnston, Jad Fair, and tons of others. So why would "Outsider Black Metal" not be bands that apply that same kind of aestethic and/or recording techniques, or just plain old Fucked-Upness(for lack of a better term) to Black Metal? Almost since the second generation of Black Metal started, there have been these fringe artists, putting out this strange and otherworldly twist on Satan's favorite brand of Metal. Necrofrost/Furze/Rehtaf Ruo/Havohej/Urfaust/Pyha/Botanist/and many more bands/artists are doing something completely different, albeit weird and fucked up to the genre, and I am one of it's biggest fans.
         Sadly, like most "Outsider" Black Metal bands, Dawnfall didn't last long. There just isn't enough commercial viability/sucess in this music to warrant it lasting very long. Dawnfall, from Munich, Germany formed in 1991, and didn't put out any music until 1993. I have not heard said demo(Mysterial Darkness), nor their first album, released in 1994, called Dominance of Darkness. Truth be told, I just downloaded both of them after rediscovering this release last month. The demo and debut are totally impossible to find outside of downloading. But Drei Raume is available on Ebay at a relatively small price. There is scant info about the band available, but from what I can tell, the band recorded both full lengths in 1993/1994, but for some reason Drei was not released until 2002? No one knows when the band broke up, the motive for their very original sound, or anything other than their names, and the releases, as their are no interviews that I could find anywhere on the net. Too bad, because these guys were really onto something, I think. Like I said, I haven't heard the first two releases yet, but as they were all recorded in the same time period, they are probably just as fucked-up? The one thing I have often wondered about bands like this? Is their sound a product of trying to reproduce standard. primitive, Black Metal, and due to certain reasons(lack of talent/equipment/studios), did it just turn out that way? Or, was that the vision that the band(s) had from the beginning? I would definitely like to know?
      Drei Raume is one head scratcher of an album, regardless of genre. There are no song titles, and the songs are only numbered 1-7.  The first three tracks are the only ones that remotely resemble Black Metal, as we know and love it today. There is an oddly tuned, high pitched guitar, strangely played drums, an organ(?) played through a highly distorted amp, and some creepy, shrieked BM vocals. These are the components of these songs, but they are definitely not played, nor structered like typical BM songs. They amble along like the musicians were making up the songs as they went along(this is probably very true, although their is no proof to support this). Certain instruments fall out of the mix, and reappear in no structured order. All of this may sound chaotic(and it is), but it gives the music a very creepy and otherworldly vibe. If ANY BM band were to score a David Lynch film, Dawnfall would get my vote, anyday of the week! The remainder of the tracks(4-7) are all instrumentals(aside from some sampled speaking), and their is very little, if ANY, guitar appear in these tracks. They are all keyboard/organ based, and sound like some sort of ritualistic/satanic carnival music, and it rules! If I had one complaint, it would be the sequencing of the record. By putting all if the "Metal(loosely defined) tracks at the beginning, and the instrumentals at the end, it sounds like 2 seperate records put together. That is easily solved with thechnology though. In the day of MP3 players, you can easily reaarange tracks to fit them in any playing order you like. I recommend putting track 1, then 4, then 2, then 5, well you get the picture. That way you have a Metal track, followed by and instrumental, and so on and so on.
      Well, if you are a fan of Outsider BM, or just looking for something different, I cannot recommernd this record high enough! I will report on how the 1st two are later, and I plan to start doing reviews again, now that I have a computer that has browser compatibility with this site. That has been my problem with VB all along, and why I go so long without printing anything. Hopefully, these issues are rectified, and progress can be made. Also, I know that people read the site, but NO ONE leaves comments!! Please do so, it really does help, and lets me know SOMEONE reads this shit!! I was thinking about starting another Blogspot just for BM reviews, and keep VB for film reviews, and other music, let me know what you think, I would appreciate it!!