Song Impression: The Dev – Broken Lies

The typical rock formula has been around for decades, and if done correctly, then you can get a pass on following that path. The Dev certainly follow the basic rock recipe on making a song, but do it well mostly with their sense of driving rhythms and the singing from frontwoman Elizabeth Nikollaj.

A rhythmic and powerful introduction immediately caught my attention. The guitar work from Ryan Danley has its own sound, unlike most rock groups who blend together.

The first verse really shows the band’s true colors. The drumming and bass work is nothing extraordinary. While the guitar and vocals have plenty to offer. Lleshi has raw emotion to her voice and can show off some of her range in both soft and more aggressive tones.

The highly melodic chorus can undoubtedly get stuck in my brain if I listen to it enough times. The instrumentation took a step back as she took the lead. Nothing from the rest of the band stood out as much.

The bridge takes a twist on the same riff that was done throughout while Lleshi has a great moment to project a lot of emotion about this broken relationship.

Leading into a furious solo. The most hard-driving moment in the track with the drums and bass picking up the pace as we get a classic shredding solo that gave me 80s metal vibes.

Broken Lies may not be the most special song in the world, but it is great radio rock material. Throw it on a drive or a workout, and it will surely be suitable. The Dev prove they have substance to offer the rock and metal world, just need to experiment more to find their own voice in a sea of voices.

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Interview: Jack Taylor of Bangover

1. Competition is rough in the music industry, what is your band doing to grow and continue to reach for success?

Bangover has always been about a group of friends doing something that they love. The band is our hobby and whilst we take it seriously we all have careers and lives separate to our music. I have always said that the minute you start competing against your fellow musicians is the moment that music loses its magic. Sure, we’ve done battle of the bands before, but in terms of striving for success and beating out the competition, we are pretty chilled. We play our shows, make the music we love, and we have a good time doing it. If something comes from it, then brilliant. If not, then brilliant anyway.

2. If someone goes to one of your concerts, what do you think they should know going in?

Our idea of a dark half-empty room of people gently bobbing their heads in the corner waiting to get the last train home is our idea of hell. High energy and crowd interaction may sound a little cliché in this day and age, but we want people to smile and to laugh during our set, even if it is metal and people like to hail Satan, etc. Having said that, musically we aren’t a joke band and technically there is also something to admire, we hope!

3. What is your dream tour or festival?

Our dream was to play Bloodstock festival, and we achieved this with the Metal to the Masses competition in 2017. We would love to go back as it’s our spiritual home. Any of the other major festivals (Download, Wacken, Metaldays) would be amazing, and we are desperate to tour somewhere in the world. Being big in Japan would be very cool.

4. If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose?

It’s a tough one, I’m sure we all have different answers, but collectively as a band, it would be Slayer. Another cliché (thrash band loves Slayer, how original), but they’re the ones who started it all for us.

5. Out of every concert you have been to, who are the best live bands?

If you’re looking for a mosh, then Hatebreed are my personal favorite. I’m not even really into hardcore or whatever genre they are but live they are unbelievable. Anthrax always put on a great live show also. Departing from metal, I saw Aerosmith at Download a year or two ago – that was unforgettable.

6. Who are some of your biggest influences?

Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, Testament, Iron Maiden, Priest, Evile, Gama Bomb, All the German thrash bands, Suicidal Angels…anything thrash/death/power really.

7. When did you first start playing music, and how did that come together to lead you to where you are today?

I started playing guitar when I was 14. As an awkward, chubby nerd at school, I had to find my own entertainment at times, and the guitar provided this. As my ability increased, I moved on from blues and classic rock to metal, and it was at that point, I started searching for a band. In 2011 we all met on the now deceased http://www.ukthrash.co.uk. We spoke for some time and quickly realized we had a shared vision musically. At the time it was a little awkward as I didn’t ask the other guys ages. I was 21, and they were 14 and 15, which was a surprise when we met in person. It all turned out fine though and although we’ve gone through a number of lineup changes since then we are still going strong.

8. What are your plans for the rest of the year for the band?

Promote the album, get new gigs and write new material! If anyone reading this has anything to offer then, please do get in touch at jack_taylor1@hotmail.com. You can also find all of our music and links at www.bangoverthrash.com. It’s really easy to share with others.

Thank you to Rogue PR and Jack Taylor for the interview.

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Image provided by Bangover/’Rogue PR

 

Video Game Review: My Friend Pedro

Devolver Digital has a distinctive personality to their games, unlike most companies in the industry. Their latest side-scrolling shooter, My Friend Pedro, highlights the brains behind the studio. This action-packed title is a little treat that went above and beyond my expectations, which will rival everything else coming out for the rest of the year.

The unnamed protagonist wakes up in a basement of a building owned by Mitch the Butcher, a high ranking man in a dangerous crime organization. A magical banana named Pedro guides the masked killing machine to help him through his journey to eliminate this organization from the city. A psychedelic, delightful narrative that flies by without staying around longer than it needs.

This 2D side scroller seems straightforward enough until I got deeper into the depths of its campaign. Initially starting with parkour and shooting, more mechanics get introduced after a chunk of progression. Once it began to feel repetitive with its massive waves of enemies, a new trick was thrown in for more complex gameplay with vehicles, traps, and plenty of new enemies.

To enhance the gameplay. Focus puts the game into slow motion for any situation. Along with dodging, a lot of tactics get piled on for a challenging experience. I only played on average, the easiest difficulty, and I had my fair share of moments where I had to rethink how I played to get past an obstacle.

The movement is fluid and feels right with every jump, roll, and swing. Wall jumping and some other moves took time to feel settled, but I enjoyed the journey of learning how to maneuver within the world.

Boss battles are far and few between the many levels, yet when they arrive, it is a blast to tackle. Each principal opponent to fight has something new to the table that feels different from the rest.

Finishing any level grants you a score based on time completion, enemies killed, and other bonuses. Depending on the number of points earned, a rank appears. Nothing really happens, but for players who are hungry to improve upon their score, then this is for you, but I was not a fan of this arcade-esque system.

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Level design is tight to flow with each step without any confusion. I am dumb, so I got lost on what to do for brief moments, but that rarely happened. The linear direction enhanced the intense gunfights while feeling lacking in any optional activities. Collectibles or other optional activities would give a lot more substance to the experience.

The best aspect of the levels is the length. Pacing here hits perfectly to never have a lull in the gameplay. I could easily hop in and out for short bursts of fun or can go on a binge with large chunks of my day flying by as I shot criminals for my magical banana friend.

A particular style makes this a standout title from anything else in years. The aesthetic and colors pop to make every moment enjoyable. A lot of the characters and environments repeat too much, but the graphics and shortly lived story makes these issues less annoying.

The music never stops in the best way possible. The beats are straight out of a nightclub that goes strangely well with the brutal violence. The flow is already flawless, but the neverending tunes make it all that much more fun as I went around gunning down every baddie in sight.

This $20 adventure is full of surprises to keep itself from getting stale. While it lacks in content in the game and no endgame at all, the price and amount of joy, I had made up its flaws. A well-written story with plenty of twists, yet I felt voice acting would have made the humor land harder, but the tongue-in-cheek writing still put a smile on my face.

Score: 9/10

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Buy: My Friend Pedro – Nintendo Switch

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10 Absurd Metal Band Names

To no surprise to both fans and outsiders of heavy metal, this genre of music gets weird fast. From gratuitous lyrics, offensive merch, and ridiculous band names that will undoubtedly get a variety of satisfying reactions. While there are a countless amount of bands out in the world with the most absurd band names, these ones have to be some of the most out there with their shock value or brutality.

#10: Cattle Decapitation

Starting off with a band that I actually listen to. This deathgrind uses their vegetarian lifestyle to empower their violent lyrics. The name says it all for what you should expect from these guys.

If you are curious, their album The Anthropocene Extinction is a masterpiece.

Buy and support the blog: The Anthropocene Extinction

#9: Cannibal Corpse

Out of the insanely violent names out there, nobody beats these death metal veterans. Cannibal Corpse lives up to their name with their album covers, merch, and horrifying lyrics. They made such an iconic scary name that people who don’t listen to any metal still know who they are because they left a mark on the world.

Buy and support the band: Butchered At Birth

#8: Cannabis Corpse

A stoner death metal band who played off of Cannibal’s name. While some of these names that are just jokes tend to lean on the dull side, Cannibal Corpse takes the cake for their fun twist on one of death metal’s biggest bands.

#7: Heaven Shall Burn

Metal and religion don’t always go together, and this is a factor in that relationship. Heaven Shall Burn have a shocking name, but they are much more intelligent and philosophical than most groups with titles that go for offending people or making some anti-religious statement. The real meaning is about people not seeing reality, and instead of seeing something false to make themselves feel better, so they want that to burn for the truth to hit those people hard. The message may not have the same weight as the name, it is still effective on both ends of the spectrum.

Buy and support the blog: Wanderer

#6: Dying Fetus

Another group of death metal legends. It sounds funny to write about Dying Fetus while the discussion about abortion rises in the United States, which makes the band’s shock factor pack a harder punch.

Buy and support the blog: Wrong One to Fuck With

#5: Infant Annihilator

Let’s continue to butcher babies with Infant Annihilator. This deathcore band got quite the following on social media due to their first release, The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution. A lot of death metal goes down the offensive and disturbing road, but these guys take the cake since that is their entire goal while putting a more comedic spin on the songs.

Buy and support the blog: The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution

#4: Anal Cunt

The comedic grindcore group Anal Cunt does not need a paragraph about their absurd name, they chose Anal Cunt, and we just have to go with it.

Buy and support the blog: Defenders of the Hate

#3: Cunt Cuntly

Named after an inside joke between friends, Cunt Cuntly was born into the deathcore scene. Initially they started off as an instrumental band, but later on, hired a vocalist. Having some vocals and lyrics add to their over the top attitude and musical content.

Buy and support the blog: Planetary Termination

#2: We Butter the Bread with Butter

To take a break from the disgusting and gruesome names, these German metalheads cannot be beaten when it comes to a stupid name like this.

Buy and support the blog: Wieder geil!

#1: Acidic Vaginal Liquid Explosion Generated By Mass Amounts Of Filthy Fecal Fisting And Sadistic Septic Syphilic Sodomy Inside The Infected Maggot Infested Womb Of A Molested Nun Dying Under The Roof Of A Burning Church While A Priest Watches And Ejaculates In Immense Perverse Pleasure Over His First Fresh Fetus

Abbreviated as Xavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffx, this band goes towards a similar thought process as Anal Cunt, Cunt Cuntly, and Infant Annihilator by going for the most insanely dumb, yet comedic music while bringing the heaviest material possible. The meme inspired group has songs like Dicks Out for Harambe, so you know what you are in for when you listen to them.

The group has arguably the most illegible name when you see their logo. Show it to anyone and award them if they can read it.

Buy and support the blog: Gore 2.0

Plenty of insane band names are out in the world. Comment below on some names you have heard about that did not appear on this list.

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Image via Acidic Vaginal Liquid Explosion Generated By Mass Amounts Of Filthy Fecal Fisting And Sadistic Septic Syphilic Sodomy Inside The Infected Maggot Infested Womb Of A Molested Nun Dying Under The Roof Of A Burning Church While A Priest Watches And Ejaculates In Immense Perverse Pleasure Over His First Fresh Fetus

Interview: Tony Pettry from Shattered

1. How did the band come together?

Hello, I’m Tony Pettry the founder and guitar player for Shattered. I was in a great groove metal band and decided that I wanted to play something heavier which comes natural to me. So, I started Shattered and its been quite a ride.

2. What are some of your most memorable moments with the band?

I would say when Shattered went on tour with Fractured Fairytales and got to enjoy so
many great cities and spending time with my brothers.

3. When going to one of your concerts, what should people expect?

When coming to a Shattered concert you better be ready for not only us giving it all we
got on stage but a laser show and many stage props to get the crowd involved.

4. Out of every band you have seen live, who are some of your favorites?

Wow, what a great question! King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Gwar, and Kiss for sure!

5. What are some of your biggest influences that have shaped your music?

My biggest influences are King Diamond, Kiss, Iron Maiden, and I love jamming some
Danzig.

6. Have you met any of your favorite musicians and what were those experiences like? If
you have not met anyone, then who do you want to meet the most?

My biggest influence is Andy La Rocque from King Diamond and John Christ formerly
of Danzig which I’ve never met.

7. What are some long-term goals you have for the band?

We would love to tour and possibly make a living doing what we love.

8. What is the biggest accomplishment you have had so far?

We got an encore opening for Nile and Overkill. It was amazing.

9. What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Shattered is finishing up our album and planning a tour. Can’t wait!s really easy to share with others.

You can follow up on Shattered through their Facebook, Instagram, and website.

Thank you to Rogue PR and Tony Pettry for the interview.

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Image provided by Shattered and Rogue PR.

Movie Review: Men in Black: International

Hollywood gets a lot of criticism over its obsession to milk a series for every penny. Men in Black: International feels like that ploy with its overly generic structure. An all-star cast cannot save this doozy of a spinoff.

Molly (Tessa Thompson) spent her whole life tracking the Men in Black after witnessing their actions as a child. After 20 years, she finds the agency and easily and quickly gets hired. She tries to get in with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) to partner up and learn the ropes, so the two team up with his brawns, despite getting put down by everyone, and her brains, even though she lies to people who easily eat up anything. A new threat emerges which breaches high levels of the organization.

The plot drunkenly stumbles with each step it takes. The beginning of the film makes no sense when two agents come to wipe the memory of Molly’s parents due to an alien in their home but never go in to investigate the pesty creature. The use of the neuralyzer is used too liberally and often loses its purpose in many aspects that break the fundamental rules of this agency’s secrecy.

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I will say, it was impressive that Mandeiya Flory, who played the child in Molly’s flashback, looked quite her adult costar, Thompson. The two actresses looking similar made for a smooth transition from the past to the present.

The A-class star power does not always save a movie, especially this one. Hemsworth, Thompson, their boss Agent High T (Liam Neeson), and their alien companion Pawny (Kumail Nanjani) cannot save this train wreck. Some of the dialogue is so poorly written that some of the line delivery feels flat. Most of the time, it feels like a generic, blockbuster comedy that usually falls on its face rather than making me laugh.

The characters have plenty of inconsistencies themselves. Agent H tells Thompson once they first meet that they work alone, but immediately changes his mind for the sake of moving the plot forward. Agent M is supposed to have all of the perfect traits from a fighter to a genius, yet she tends to play off the moment in hopes things work out annoyingly. The saving grace is their chemistry works, mostly due to their past work together in the MCU.

The alien designs have some throwbacks to the original trilogy while bringing in new faces. The designs look great, yet some of the CGI does not. I feel scaley or slimier creatures are harder to make more realistic. At times I was in pain to look at some of the poorly rendered characters, while others were tolerable, yet nothing incredible.

Another overly processed sequel that lacks any personality like most other films during the summer blockbuster frenzy. What should have happened was an adventure with two unlikely partners to form an expansion on the juicy universe while making it a fun sci-fi comedy; instead, International is dull and lacks any intelligence. This is not even streaming worthy on Netflix or Hulu once it is out of the theaters, save your own time by watching anything else.

Score: 2/10

Image via Sony Pictures

Interview: Tarah Who? (Part 3)

1. Has music always been a big part of your life or did it come later? When was that moment for you?
Joey Southern: I was young. Seeing live music with my parents became normal and I grew a desire to play from seeing bands. Music has always been a big part of my life.
Coralie Herve: My mom took some guitar classes at the music school of my town and I followed shortly after the drums, I was 10 and I never stop hahaha. I have to say that it was only when I was in high school that I wanted to do it professionally.
Tarah G. Carpenter: In a way yes. My mom would play music all the time while cleaning the house, from Pink Floyd, to the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi… then I started listening to my own music and we shared artists. When I was 14 I remember asking to play the drums but my dad did not want me to because it was not “lady-like”. As a good kid… I obviously went to take drum lessons without telling anyone. The only issue was that I did not have much cash so I took two lessons that I was able to pay for, 2 that I was able to take until they realized that I didn’t have the money! So I taught myself the drums, and the bass by playing in bands, and I taught myself the guitar when I started writing songs.
2. What are some of your favorite albums of all time?
JS: OK Computer – Radiohead
        Grassroots – 311
        Ænima – Tool
CH: Once and Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Nightwish and Amaranthe by Amaranthe.
TGC: I don’t really have anything favorites but I still enjoy listening to JLP – Alanis, Coral Fang The Distillers, Tool, RATM, etc…
3. What are the hardest and easiest parts of making music for you?
JS: The easiest part of making music is just that… playing it. The hard part is finding like-minded musicians who you can make music with. Luckily in Tarah Who? we have great chemistry!
CH: Like Joey said, the easiest part is to just play the songs, the hard part is to give the right feeling for each songs and luckily with Tarah and Joey, we find it quickly and it works!
TGC: I think the hardest part is to let go and be totally open to your emotions, and letting them take over. The hardest part is to find the right sounds that you have in your mind. Transcribing what you hear and then telling it to other people so that they can play it they way that you hear it without offending anyone if they don’t do it right.
4. When making music, what does the creative process look like for you and the band?
JS: Tarah sends the finished songs to Coralie and I, we learn the bones of the track and meet for rehearsal to explore our options for a live performance.
CH: We have the structure and the global idea for the song with the demo that Tarah made, we can add our own style to the music and it’s really great.
TGC: Yeah, pretty much… So because I have had issues in the past, It is easier for us now that I just make the demos of the songs. We actually save a lot of time by doing so. Then I send them the demos, they learn the structure and the intentions. When we meet for rehearsal, We first try to play the songs as they are, Joey or Coralie can suggest ideas, sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. They don’t if they change the intentions and emotions of the song. Also because they have their touch and technique, sometimes I have an idea I was not able to play so I sing it to them and we make it happen. The recordings are very different from the live performances, where I give a lot more freedom to Coralie and Joey to play solos, and really express themselves for the show.
5. What is the biggest dream you have for the band?
JS: Home recording studio!
CH: Be able to play everywhere in the world!
TGC: Yeah both! Just be able to play worldwide and live off of it. Have our own recording studio and rehearsal space, write, record, play non stop!
6. When did you first play music in front of an audience? What was that experience like?
JS: I was roughly 16 playing my first gigs in most likely my high school gym haha. The pressure was intense because I knew everyone in the audience and I was a rookie!!!
CH: I was 10 and it was a concert of my music school. I don’t really remember it but I’m sure that I was stressed, I still am but a lot less, hopefully. (laughs)
TGC: I was playing drums in a rock band and we played shows in bars. I was 14 (laughs). Then I was an exchange student in KY when I was 15 and I was in the PIT for the marching band. I don’t really remember how I felt… I am not really the stressed type of person, or I internalize it so much I don’t even know it myself! (laughs). I don’t know…! In a band you are not really alone.. I guess that is why…  when I started writing songs and singing… that was a different story.. It was just me and my guitar. Everyone could hear everything and every word. I would get very shy and nervous.. until one day, It just clicked and I just got used to it.
 
7. Out of every show, you have played, what are some experiences that stick out the most to you?
JS: I would say overall my best experiences are meeting new fans on the road. Living in the bubble of LA it can be very discouraging. But fans on the road are very responsive and excited to rock out!
TGC: I like going on tour, and to of the tours we have done with our friends were very memorable. One of the best experiences was playing in a strip club, that I had no idea I had booked. One of my best nights, and that one time in London when we played in front of hardcore punk people and I told my bandmates at the time to just play all the songs really fast. Totally worked! The one girl broke her arm and did not want to leave! She got escorted because she was really hurt.
8. What is the dream tour or festival that you would love to be a part of?
JS: Tool world tour 2020!!!
CH: The Hellfest in France,  it will be amazing !!!
TGC: Hmmm… I would love to tour with the Kills or the Distillers. Festivals… Any big festival would be fun to be a part of.
9. For the rest of the year, what plans does the band have?
JS: Practicing and conditioning for the upcoming tours!
CH: Practicing,  playing, recording … A lot of fun! (laughs)
TGC: I am working on some new songs for a new ep next year, and I am also preparing the release of the docu-series that I am working on with Aidan Grimm. Our music video for ‘Hurt’ will be released soon. Our Friend Maria Quintana was the DP and Javier Arcelus and Benny the Jet co-directed it.
Tarah Who? will be releasing a documentary series soon and you can check out the trailer below:

Thank you to the band and Rogue PR for the interview.

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Image provided by Tarah Who? and Rogue PR.