Trailer Impressions: Sprial: From the Book of Saw

Oh, boy, we got another Saw movie coming. Admittedly, I love the first four, maybe five entries, and you cannot shame me for that. Then things left the initial story and became a convoluted mess, more so than it already turned into. Now we get something a little different from the rumored spinoff featuring Samuel L. Jackson, but despite trying something new, this looks laughably terrible.

I have to see it.

Starting off with weird 90s buddy cop vibes with Det. Zeke Banks (Chris Rock, who happens to write and produce the film because this world is cruel and unusual) and Det. Marv Boswick (Dan Petronijevic). A new series of crimes come along targetting police officers, so now they are on the case to solve it. Who could it possibly be?

That right there is almost the entire trailer until we get the introduction of Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson), who I have no idea who he is supposed to be but it is Jackson, so I am happy enough to see him hopefully save as much of this shit show as he can.

Chris Rock goofily rolls his chair in the police station to see a commotion over a package. A little tease to show either a message or trap being prepared for him because Saw loves its surprises, even if it doesn’t land with the audience.

We do get a weird glimpse into what looks like a heist with men wearing ski masks and boiler suits. Why not, we got this far?

It isn’t until towards the end we get a reminder that this is Saw with Jackson asking, “You want to play games, mother fucker,” and yes, we get him saying his famous two words. Then we get to see two traps, some contraption that has someone’s arms getting pulled by a machine and Officer Chris Rock handcuffed with a saw in one hand. Ooo, fanfare, so exciting!

I have no hope for this to succeed, but Jigsaw made a good profit, so Lionsgate will continue to chuck these out at us for some extra cash. I hope for enough of Nick Fury Jackson to elevate this experience to make it at least enjoyably bad rather than a miserable mess.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw releases May 15.

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Song Impressions: The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous

I would fight anyone who hates on The Black Dahlia Murder, they are my favorite death metal band on this wretched planet. After nearly two decades worth of experience, they continue to plant seeds of terror across the world. The first song off of the upcoming album, the title track Verminous lends itself as the perfect introduction to another sick creation from these veteran musicians.

Echoes of squeaks and drippings of water and other possible fluids, the first few seconds immerses me into the album art, which as always, is beautifully haunting with a simple color scheme.

Next thing I know, I get thrust into blast beat city with methodically melodic guitar riffs and ominous bass sounds lurking behind. Complexity is The Black Dahlia’s forte, especially in guitar work. Slides, pull-offs, and string bends come in left and right for a slick sound from Brandon Ellis and Brian Eschbach, who are on top of their game before any vocals enter the mix.

Right before vocalist Trevor Strnad comes in, the rest of the band smacks in punches in unison for an explosive entrance for their wicked screamer. The speed of the instrumentation is a constant high but does not overwhelm the story-driven lyrics that Strnad is known to write. Even he does not overdo it as in between lines, a brief pause lets everything breathe.

The structure in this genre can follow the basic formula of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, with sometimes a pre-chorus and bridge to mix things up. With some repetition coming in, much of Verminous keeps moving forward without looking back. A disturbing narrative with rats and other creatures that will make you squirm crawl all over this classic TBDM song.

A must in anything that these metalheads create is a solo that bangs and thrashes while having a sophisticated manner despite all of the chaos surrounding it. Ellis nailed it on the last record, Nightbringers, and continues to do so in a short session.

Sure, they have a formula, and the first single released since 2017 follows their established sound. Some bands do this, and it gets boring, but The Black Dahlia Murder are masters at what they do, and Verminous is a prime example of how to continue one thing, and do it right. Supposedly some experimentation will get thrown in, so I am ready to hear what they have cooking in that vile cauldron on theirs.

What do you think of the new song? Let me know in the comments.

Verminous releases on April 17.

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11 Songs That Will Emotionally Destroy You

The thing I search for in the music that I listen to comes from having an emotional attachment to the songs. I will follow a band if they can rip my heart out with the lyrics and the delivery with everything else that follows. So, I want to ruin your day with these rollercoaster tunes that will either give you an overwhelming amount of anxiety, an immense amount of sadness, or you are like me who feels a sense of euphoria from negative themes.

#11: Disturbed – Already Gone

Disturbed have written around 100 songs that almost all will make you feel things. Singer David Draiman has gone over topics like broken relationships, mental illness, and the holocaust. Off the latest album, 2018’s Evolution, one song takes the cake, Already Gone.

Half the album holds the classic Disturbed style that they are known for, then the other half are ballads. This acoustic track brings out Draiman’s most emotional performance to date as he somberly sings about the overwhelming amount of death around him, heavily inspired by fellow musicians who have passed too soon in recent years.

#10: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

It may seem weird to put Cattle Decapitation on here, but the title track to the band’s latest release is a thought-provoking masterpiece that will spiral you into a deep depression as you realize how we are hopeless in saving our planet. These veterans in heavy music deliver their bleakest record yet, and this song is a prime example.

#9: Carnifex – Dark Days

Sometimes a subject can be a band’s brand, like climate change with Cattle Decapitation, or how mental illness is for Carnifex. The deathcore legends have some of the most depressing music out there, and I think Dark Days goes deeper than anything without having to be over the top like other tracks.

The lyric that gets me before the guitar solo comes from the line, “a lost soul, no god can save.” Every time I hear that I feel cold, then we get a slick moment from Jordan Lockrey. The lead guitarist’s solo will drag you down into depths of sorrow, so don’t think Scott Ian Lewis stepping back for a few seconds means you are safe.

#8: Skillet – The Last Night

While it has hope, The Last Night is one of Skillet’s most chilling songs. The realistic look on someone with depression with lyrics describing parents who don’t care and cutting creates a dreadful image. They may be named after kitchenware, but the level of darkness has hardly been achieved by the Christian group since the release of Comatose.

#7: You Me at Six – Fireworks

I don’t know about you, but Fireworks never fails to destroy me every time I listen to it. Not only does it have compelling lyrics, but the structure also builds up for an impactful punch. When I want a sad relationship song, this is my first choice.

#6: Breaking Benjamin – Dear Agony

Not only is Dear Agony the best album that Breaking Benjamin has put out, but the title track is also their biggest heartstring puller. While much of the record seeps deep into mental health, this one dives straight to the bottom where all of misery and pain currently lie.

#5: The Ghost Inside – White Light

Losing someone close is never easy. Jonathan Vigil lost his brother, which lead to White Light. He brings out the most pain he has ever let out in his career. Usually, the band goes against the tradition of making negative music by writing uplifting tunes that will still give any metalhead that much needed adrenaline rush. This is the first time where that spirit turns black and delivers a different tone than fans are used to for The Ghost Inside.

If you want to feel even more than this song will already make you then watch a live video, trust me.

#4: Whitechapel – Diggs Road

When a song starts off by saying, “suicide, it brings me life,” then you know you are in trouble of shedding some tears. Phil Bozeman has had a painful life, and he expresses that in a majority of Whitechapel’s albums. From Our Endless War, Diggs Road closes things out on a somber note that has never been done before that release. Prepare yourself before listening.

If you are ready for it, then if you have not already, check out The Valley. The band’s most recent release delves into the whole story behind Bozeman’s dark lyrical content.

#3: Slipknot – Snuff

Speaking of songs that will have you cry, here is Slipknot’s most emotional creation in their entire history. Snuff is one hell of a monster, not only lyrically but vocally. Corey Taylor’s pain can be felt through his words and voice. There is a reason we don’t normally see the band play this one life.

#2: Beartooth – Sick and Disgusting

You know something is uncomfortably emotional when the singer of a band does not like his own song. Caleb Shomo sings and cries through his performance through the conclusion of the first Beartooth album. It is at a raw level that the vocalist has not said positive things about this track.

#1: La Dispute – King Park

Nothing gave me more chills then when my buddy sent me this song. La Dispute loves to tackle real stories in the news, and this one turns into their best and most haunting creation. King Park goes over the story of one person trying to kill another but ends up accidentally murdering a child, then the rest you need to listen to if you want to find out how it ends.

The final two minutes to minute and a half is where things get moving. The instrumentation is disturbingly tight, while Jordan Dryer continues his distinct twist on spoken word poetry. Nothing can prepare you for this, so listen with caution.

What songs make you a complete mess after listening? Let me know in the comments.

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8 Bands That Fit Perfectly For Your Doom Eternal Playlist

Doom Eternal is inching forward with every passing day. While the 2016 reboot had plenty to offer, the one surprise was its incredibly brutal music. Nothing beats an ultra-violent video game where you kill demons than listening to heavy metal. If you are a metalhead gamer like myself and need something more than what the composer Mick Gordon comes up with, then you have come to the right place.

#8: Shadow of Intent

Outside of being one of the best newcomers in the extreme underworld of metal, Shadow of Intent already has plenty of sci-fi game inspirations as vocalist Ben Duerr has written songs about Halo. It would only be fitting it listen to this deathcore group in another space-fueled adventure.

#7: Slipknot

If you are listening to metal, you have to dabble with some of Iowa’s scariest masked crew. They strike the right amount of weird and heavy that is needed when going through space and various worlds to kill off hellish creatures. Get your heart pumping and your hands ready on that controller or keyboard and mouse when blasting People = Shit.

#6: Slayer

The most devilish of thrash bands, the retired Slayer should have been able to work on the game as much of their music reflects Doom. Satan and violence, what more could you want from these icons?

#5: Behemoth

Continuing on that evil side of things, Behemoth might be on the wrong side of the battle that Doom Slayer is on as he would probably mistake the polish musicians as servants of the entities plaguing the universe. If they happen to survive the BFG (big fucking gun), then it would be a gruesome collaboration as the protagonist slashes and blasts through his enemies while listening to the band’s masterpiece creation, The Satanist.

#4: The Black Dahlia Murder

The dark storytelling power of The Black Dahlia Murder’s vocalist Trevor Strnad along with their riff action and percussive beats of his bandmates, this death metal group would undoubtedly aid in the fight against the hellish monsters. Take any of their albums and go all out in a killing frenzy.

#3: Cannibal Corpse

If you are playing Doom, one of the most violent shooters in the genre, then might as well turn on your preferred way of listening to music to jam out to some Cannibal Corpse. You want brutality, well then Butchered at Birth or Tomb of the Mutilated should satisfy gaming metalheads.

#2: Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation might be talking about the environment, but I think killing demons to save the universe is an excellent way to tackle those issues. Listen to their two latest apocalyptic releases Death Atlas and The Anthropocene Extinction, then you will become invincible even on the hardest of difficulties.

#1: Deceased

Similarly to TBDM, Deceased has speedy, powerful songs that get matched with some of the best and darkest storytelling from King Fowley. This is a band I need to write a concept album on the ominous demon slayer.

What bands will you be listening to when Doom Eternal releases? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my playlist.

Doom Eternal releases March 20 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Movie Review in Retrospect: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

My childhood circulated around a few cartoons, one of which was Scooby-Doo. As an adult, it is not my cup of tea as my tastes have darkened, it has left the gang and their dog behind. Recently, I discovered the best thing the franchise ever did, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, was on Netflix, which brought me to rewatching an old favorite of mine. While some things don’t hold up for a grown man who can see some dicey flaws, it still gave me all of the nostalgic emotions I need to feel.

Fair warning, this is a straight to DVD movie from the 90s, so expect spoilers. Also, if you have never seen this classic, then shame on you.

The gang has split up after Daphne Blake (Mary Kay Bergman) has grown tired of not finding real monsters, so she and Fred Jones (Frank Welker) start-up a reality series that is like Ghosthunters, but real, which does not go according to plan. After getting a tip and gathering Scooby (Scott Innes), Norville “Shaggy” Rodgers (Billy West), and Velma Dinkley (B.J. Ward) head South to find ghouls and other horrors. A woman, Lena Dupree (Tara Strong), takes them to an island where spirits creep to the surface, and the dead begin to rise; finally, the crew meet a threat that not only makes the hottest member regret her decision, it makes fans like myself thankful for this darker turn.

The cast is small but quite strong in both its actors and characters. The chemistry between the members of Mystery Incorporated is what I remember with some of the best villains they have faced. Simone Lenoir (Adrienne Barbeau) and Lena are both intriguingly devilish. Meanwhile, you get a questionable Cajun accent from Jim Cummings as Jaques, the boat driver who helps Simone and Lena suck the life out of others with their cat rituals. I heard a mix of influences, mostly Danny Trejo, but I got used to it.

The biggest missed opportunity is to utilize Mark Hamill’s wild talents. Snakebite Scruggs is the only character who goes nowhere except for an antagonist for the sake of being an asshole who wants a catfish, yet sucks so bad he cannot catch it. Nonetheless, Luke Fisherman Skywalker is still a treat once I realized he starred in this iconic Scooby-Doo adventure.

Detective Beau Neville (Cam Clarke) is a generic suspect who turns out to be an undercover cop, but I have always liked him. He will easily fool the children, or me, a man who remembers everything in this movie except for the twist of him being one of the good guys. I just hope he bangs Velma, they had that type of chemistry.

Speaking of sex, Daphne certainly is bisexual with a weird comment when Velma is floating by tormented ghosts. She wants Fred yet has desires for her nerdy friend. Let’s get this relationship going if we ever can get anything good out of Scooby-Doo again.

Another miss that my dumb child brain paid attention to is that somehow even the confederate shamblers are good guys too. I buy the zombies not being the villains but not that. Come on, David Doi and Glenn Leopold, you two could have written it as dead Union soldiers instead of racists who betrayed our country.

I wish the climax went a little longer. It felt shortly cut with the action. An extra 15 or so minutes would leave me satisfied to see more of the zombies fight off the cats who are trying to sacrifice our heroes.

I know the music in both the shows and movies has always been cheesy, but some here hit or miss in what it is trying to achieve. Some songs hit the right mark, then others go too deep for me that takes me out of certain moments.

The art style sadly declines in future iterations, but Zombie Island still looks fantastic. It has creepy elements with its darker tones. The classic characters look fantastic, with some revisions to some of their outfits like Fred’s. The issue I ran into is the aspect ratio being so small on my TV as it is 2020, not 1998.

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is everything I remember as a kid. Sure, the darkness does not hold up entirely, but it is the perfect introduction into horror or to the monster hunting gang. If only we could get more of this and less of the overly family-friendly adventures that the world is subjected to today.

Score: 7/10

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Top 12 Heavy Metal Screamers

Metal has a reputation of not being accessible, mostly due to the heavier genres taking things a step further with the screaming. Most may not like it, but it is my drug, I am addicted to heavy music with this harsh style of vocalization. I had to do a lot of thinking on this one, and it may change later this year or in a few years when I discover new bands, but as of now, these are my top favorites of the masters of brutality.

#12: Caleb Shomo (Beartooth)

Caleb Shomo has a phenomenal voice, but I feel his regular singing is better than his screams, yet they work so well with Beartooth’s hardcore inspired style.

Along with the music, he loads up every lyric with so much emotion that it makes his passion standout to make for some of the most powerful metal music in the scene. He makes me feel as I bang my head every time.

#11: Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth)

Johan’s vocals match well with his Viking and Norse mythological inspired lyrics. His monstrous voice could easily come from a creature that the ancient pillagers believed in as he goes over his fascination with these themes.

#10: Corey Taylor (Slipknot)

Of course, I had to put Corey Mother Fucking Taylor on this list. His range brightens through his clean vocals then dulls out in his screams, like Shomo. What he lacks is made up based on his iconic voice that has inspired almost every metal band that has popped up since the release of Slipknot’s second album Iowa.

#9: Winston McCall (Parkway Drive)

Unlike most metalcore groups, McCall’s delivery gives some resemblance to heavier genres like death metal as he belts out booming screams and some spine chilling highs. When it comes to his neck of the woods in the metal underworld, it is hard to beat the Australian vocalist.

#8: Spencer Charnas (Ice Nine Kills)

The horror-loving frontman of Ice Nine Kills has a distinguishable approach to his style of vocalization. Death metal-inspired highs and lows certainly can be heard while he does classic medium registered screams and then hops into that weird middle ground of screaming and clean singing every other word. I feel like he is not fully appreciated, and anyone who has not heard INK then you better start with their last album, The Silver Scream.

#7: Spencer Sotelo (Periphery)

Arguably one of the best singers/screamers in modern metal, this other Spencer from Periphery can flip back and forth from smooth, beautiful singing to a shocking monster unlike anyone else in metalcore. He has a bold range but has his own sound that is hard to replicate.

#6: Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)

Not having Randy Blythe on here is like not having Corey Taylor. Of course, I had to put this legend here. The dreadlocked singer stands out not only with his impressive talent but from his signature sound that drops jaws every time he opens his mouth.

Interesting enough, unlike everyone else who has to learn the art of brutal vocals, Randy told Loudwire that he simply can make that sound. It started as a joke, and here he is, a punk guy who is a metal God.

#5: Scott Ian Lewis (Carnifex)

Carnifex, like some others, leads deathcore from its origins and continues to do so today. Fronted by Scott Ian Lewis, who has a classic voice for anyone who listens to the genre or the inspiration of this extreme movement, death metal. His voice makes his profoundly sorrowful lyrics more impactful. While some in this area of metal lean one way or another of doing higher or lower registered vocals better, Lewis can do every part equally as brutally with nothing getting left behind.

#4: Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder)

Metal haters may think all screamers sound the same, and while many sounds similar, that is because they want to imitate their influences like George “Corpsegrinder,” Phil Bozeman, or whoever else that person seeks out as their inspiration. Then you get Trevor Strnad, who proves those people wrong.

His distinctive lows are one thing, but it is his highs that I think makes him such a legend. Those wicked witch vocals sound unlike anyone else out there. Replicating him would be foolish as everyone should strive to be an individual, like this death metal veteran. There is a reason The Black Dahlia Murder are a mighty force in the dark depths of blood, guts, and nightmares.

#3: Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent)

I am calling here, Shadow of Intent will be new leaders of deathcore and Ben Duerr is the guy everyone will look to as he is breaking ground in the genre. I have not heard gutturals so good since Phil Bozeman, and I have certainly not heard anyone who has this type of range in a while. Keep your eyes open because this band, and vocalist, are the next big thing for fans wanting the heaviest metal possible.

#2: Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel)

Speaking of Bozeman and groundbreaking vocals, the Whitechapel singer goes above and beyond with his vocal performance with every album. His highs are good, but nothing impressive. What makes the Tenessee native an idol to all screamers who have formed since the release of The Somatic Defilement comes from his lows and gutturals. He has his own voice with techniques to create demonic sounds that boggle minds since 2007.

On top of that, the man can actually sing shockingly well. I wonder what other secret talents he is hiding from his fans.

#1: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)

I could be wrong, but I think Ryan is the most innovative vocalist in death metal/deathgrind/deathcore. Nobody in this extreme level of heaviness has a range like him. Whether it is his Cookie Monster lows, his brutal gutturals, shrieking highs, or his weirdly melodic vocals, he can do it all to the point I think nobody else can reach.

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15 Games That Allow You to Pet Dogs

Dogs are one of the most redeemable things on the planet as humans have to deal with so many atrocities day in and day out. Video games are another way to let go of that darkness, so nothing beats when a developer allows its player base to pet dogs in that world. If you want to play and give furry friends a little pat on the head or a good belly rub, then here are 15 that you will need to put on your list if you have not already.

#15: Runescape

Yes, of all the games I am starting with, Runescape is the first on the list. It might be hard for most people to even look at its pixelated graphics as the game has been out of date for years, but you can pet dogs, so there is an excellent reason to play if you want some nostalgia.

#14: A Plague Tale: Innocence

After a brief introduction, the first thing you get to do in this stealth game is to pet a dog named Lion. Now that is a way to start an otherwise depressing game. Just watch out for everything that occurs shortly after.

#13: Blair Witch

The biggest selling point to this horror title is the dog, Bullet. Not only can you pet the good boy, but there are also other interactions with him to ease the pain of playing a spooky game.

#12: Darksiders: Genesis

In this top and down hack and slasher, you can take a brief break from the killing to pet a demonic doggy. The creatures may look scary, but they are friendly enough to let you give them some love.

#11: Divinity: Original Sin 2

This RPG was highly acclaimed back in 2017. Though I missed out, I do have an urge to play it despite knowing little to nothing at all. But I cannot possibly miss out on a dog waiting for me to pet his or her’s little head.

#10: Far Cry 5

I did not end up loving Far Cry 5 the more I played it as it fell flat after its incredible beginning. That said, having the various pets made it much more tolerable, especially Boomer, the doggo. He can grab new guns for his owner that he loves so much, then you reward him with a few pats on his body, which seems fair enough.

#9: The Sims 4

I know the other Sims games have pets, but I am just talking about the latest one that most people will likely still play. Either way, you can get a dog to pet and make sure he/she has the best life possible. You better build a giant house just for your furry companion.

Plus you have so many options to choose. Give me a dozen corgis, please.

#8: Stunt Corgi VR

Nothing more immersive in virtual reality that petting a corgi who does insane stunts. How am I hearing about this now when this game came out back in 2018? I am disappointed with myself.

#7: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I know almost nothing about the Dragon Quest games except for the things I hear about from its passionate fans. Well, whatever reasons they have for loving this franchise, I understand to a degree because you know, dogs.

#6: Luigi’s Mansion 3

Not all ghosts are bad, as this spiritual pooch will revive you and let you pet his/her. Though, I do question how Luigi is physically touching a ghost.

#5: Overcooked 2

In between intense cooking matches to save the world, why not take a break to give some love to man’s best friend?

Also, you can play a level where you cook for a dog. I need to buy this game now.

#4: Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar Games’ latest masterpiece is a sprawling world with so much to do, plus petting a wide range of animals. The dogs in this Western are not one breed, you can find multiple kinds of friends who would love to let you give them some pat, pat, pat on their side, and rub their faces.

#3: The Walking Dead: The Final Season

I never finished TellTale’s The Walking Dead series. Maybe I should go back and play the finale for, you know, reasons like zombies, perhaps the story, or perhaps something else that barks and likes receiving treats.

#2: Life is Strange 2

I know the gist of Life is Strange, but now that I know about the dog, I may have to give it a shot. Thanks for the motivation to try it out devs.

#1: League of Legends

How have I dismissed one of the most popular games in the world when there are dogs in it? Now I need to reevaluate League of Legends after this news.

What are some games I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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