Vim Fuego

Patrick Stott
Forum Admin Group · Death, T/S/G, Grind, VA Teams
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 minute ago

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910 reviews/ratings
MORBID ANGEL - Altars of Madness Death Metal | review permalink
PUNGENT STENCH - Been Caught Buttering Death Metal | review permalink
CATHEDRAL - Forest of Equilibrium Doom Metal | review permalink
BRUTAL TRUTH - Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses Deathgrind | review permalink
ANNIHILATOR - Alice in Hell Thrash Metal | review permalink
DARK ANGEL - Darkness Descends Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Retaliation Crossover Thrash | review permalink
EXODUS - Fabulous Disaster Thrash Metal | review permalink
HOLY TERROR - Mind Wars Thrash Metal | review permalink
CARCASS - Symphonies of Sickness Goregrind | review permalink
CARNIVORE - Carnivore Crossover Thrash | review permalink
DEICIDE - Deicide Death Metal | review permalink
DESTRUCTION - Sentence of Death Thrash Metal | review permalink
BAD NEWS - Bad News Heavy Metal | review permalink
EXHORDER - Slaughter in the Vatican Thrash Metal | review permalink
8 FOOT SATIVA - Season for Assault Thrash Metal | review permalink
TERRORIZER - World Downfall Deathgrind | review permalink
METALLICA - ...And Justice for All Thrash Metal | review permalink
METALLICA - Live Shit: Binge & Purge Thrash Metal | review permalink
BODY COUNT - Body Count Crossover Thrash | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Thrash Metal 203 4.00
2 Heavy Metal 106 3.65
3 Death Metal 96 4.02
4 Grindcore 65 3.90
5 Hard Rock 39 3.04
6 Groove Metal 34 3.41
7 Crossover Thrash 31 4.08
8 Black Metal 28 3.52
9 Alternative Metal 26 2.44
10 Hardcore Punk 23 4.52
11 Glam Metal 20 3.38
12 Non-Metal 19 2.37
13 Industrial Metal 17 3.76
14 Goregrind 14 4.18
15 Melodic Death Metal 12 3.17
16 Technical Death Metal 12 3.63
17 Power Metal 11 3.86
18 Progressive Metal 10 2.60
19 NWoBHM 9 3.44
20 Sludge Metal 9 3.44
21 Deathgrind 9 4.17
22 Folk Metal 9 4.06
23 Gothic Metal 7 3.57
24 Nu Metal 6 1.17
25 Brutal Death Metal 6 3.33
26 US Power Metal 6 3.92
27 Symphonic Metal 6 2.17
28 Speed Metal 5 3.70
29 Cybergrind 5 4.50
30 Death 'n' Roll 5 2.40
31 Funk Metal 4 2.63
32 Metal Related 4 4.63
33 Metalcore 4 3.25
34 Stoner Metal 4 2.75
35 Pornogrind 4 3.75
36 Rap Metal 4 3.00
37 Avant-garde Metal 3 4.33
38 Proto-Metal 3 4.33
39 Melodic Black Metal 3 1.50
40 Heavy Alternative Rock 3 4.67
41 Doom Metal 3 4.67
42 Death-Doom Metal 3 2.83
43 Deathcore 3 2.50
44 Crust Punk 3 4.83
45 Atmospheric Black Metal 2 2.50
46 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2 4.75
47 Symphonic Black Metal 2 4.50
48 Traditional Doom Metal 2 4.25
49 Viking Metal 1 3.00
50 Technical Thrash Metal 1 3.50
51 Depressive Black Metal 1 4.50
52 Drone Metal 1 4.00
53 Heavy Psych 1 0.50
54 Melodic Metalcore 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) Last Action Hero

Album · 1993 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Beef and Grizz were drunk again.

And when these two got drunk, everyone else knew all about it.

They weren’t nasty or violent drunks, no, quite the opposite. Grizz’s naturally friendly personality was amplified by the booze, so he became everyone’s best mate. Beef was a quiet guy, until he got a few drinks in him. Then, he was LOUD.

So, here’s the scene: we’re at a movie multiplex lining up for tickets for a late showing of the brand new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Last Action Hero”. We’d been out for a few drinks at a nightclub. It wasn’t a particularly classy nightclub – after all, it let us in, a bunch of bogans and farm boys – which thankfully played as much rock music as it did dance. The idea was to have a few beers, catch the movie, and then do a few laps around town, get a feed of KFC, do a few more laps, and then head for home.

Unfortunately, Beef and Grizz overdid it. They were boozed up and excited, like kids the night before Christmas. They were almost bouncing off the walls. They were shaking hands with strangers, introducing themselves, and asking if they liked AC/DC too. Y’see, Beef and Grizz couldn’t give a fuck about big Arnie’s new action-packed blockbuster. Shit, they would have been there if it was a weepy tearjerker or a documentary about echidnas.

No, it wasn’t a movie star which had brought them here, but a song. Best friends since boyhood, Beef and Grizz were AC/DC superfans, and “Last Action Hero” featured “Big Gun”, the first new AC/DC song since 1990. That’s why they were excited. We managed to corral the boisterous denim-and-leather-clad toddlers into the theatre. The pair of them chanted “AC/DC, AC/DC, AC/DC!” through the previews. All the while, the relatively more sober members of the group were trying to shush them, made apologies to the Arnie fans sitting near us, and assured the grumpy usher that our slightly intoxicated friends wouldn’t disturb other patrons.

The lights dimmed. Beef and Grizz cheered, chanted “AC/DC!” one last time, and promptly fell asleep. Yep, the darkened theatre was too much for the boozed-filled bogan boys to resist. And luckily, they didn’t snore too loudly.

Last Action Hero is a noisy movie. There’s explosions, gunfire, and car chases. On top of that, it has a loud rocking soundtrack. When this movie was released in 1993, metal and rock was in somewhat of a flux. Grunge was the hot sound, and rock fans were discovering it was OK to widen their listening palettes. The last struggling remnants of the glam metal scene was hanging on by a fingernail, and only the Big Four were really surviving in the thrash world. AC/DC, of course, were immune to any vagaries of scene or taste. And that’s exactly what this soundtrack illustrates.

Let’s leave AC/DC for now. What else set the mood in this fabulously messy flop? Let’s look at the grunge first. Like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains was one of those bands with a foot squarely in both the metal and grunge camps. “What The Hell Have I?” has a killer metal riff, some Middle Eastern-ish flourishes, and downer grunge vocals. Not exactly happy music. AIC got two bites at the cherry here. Second track “A Little Bitter” has heavy effects on the vocals, which are still dreary, and the guitars are nowhere near as metal, but are still reasonably noisy, on and off. However, there’s an evil bassline snaking through the song.

Hailing from Seattle seemed to give Queensrÿche a special place in the musical consciousness at this time. While never really a hair metal band, they were seen to be related to that scene, but the double whammy of “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Empire” meant they were loved by both the 80s metal crowd not easily adjusting to the new trends and sounds and the slacker generation who usually seemed to like their music less sophisticated. “Real World” is an epic ballad, with heavy sounding orchestration from the late Michael Kamen.

Somehow, Tesla managed to score the title track here. And “Last Action Hero” shows why glam metal had to die. Lame gang vocal in the chorus? Check. Simplistic, unimaginative riffs? Check. Whiny vocalist? Check. Predictable, dull song structure? Check. Too much wanking from the lead guitarist? Bingo!

“Two Steps Behind” huh, Def Leppard? Two years behind, at least. This sort of sugary power ballad sold by the bucketload in the late 80s, but times changed. You guys started at the same time and in the same scene as Iron Maiden? Where did your fucking bollock go? Go and take a listen to Aerosmith. “Dream On” might have been 20 years old at this stage, but it rocks harder than you do. Steven Tyler still had a voice at that stage, and Joe Perry absolutely wails live.

“Angry Again” shows why Megadeth were still relevant while a lot of their thrash metal contemporaries were falling by the wayside. It takes the slowed-down, chugged-up style from the “Symphony For Destruction” album and applies it to a brand new killer of a riff, adds an ascending crescendo passage, throws in some tasty leads, and tops it off with Dave Mustaine’s snarling vocals. Yeah, Megadeth were still doing OK because they were still making fucking metal.

Anthrax weren’t doing quite so well. Their most recent album “Sound of White Noise” had confused people a bit. Some were upset at the change in vocalist, while others didn’t like the slight shift in musical direction. In the background, record labels were being fucking dicks. Despite all this, Anthrax spat out this fucking killer of a track. It’s tight, angry, and brutal. John Bush was really gelling with the band, and gives a confident performance here. This is easily the second best song on the soundtrack after “Big Gun”.

Fishbone was one of those funky metal conglomerates that was a bit hard to classify. Long time metal fans were a bit confused by them, but the new wave of rock and metal listeners weren’t too terribly bothered, just enjoying a good tune when they heard one. “Swim” is a big chunky freak out with psycho vocals flying in all sorts of directions, while the main riff just destroys all in it’s path.

It used to be quite common to hear metal fans say “I hate all rap except…” There were a number of bands which possibly came after that “except”. It could be Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy, NWA, or these guys, Cypress Hill. There’s not really much in “Cock The Hammer” for a metal fan to feed off, but if you like your hip-hop slightly THC-flavoured, love a squirming bassline and don’t mind the vocals, this is a rocking tune.

Buckethead has always been something of a musical chameleon. The instrumental “Jack And The Ripper”, credited here with classical composer and conductor Michael Kamen. It’s a movie soundtrack, but it’s orchestrated with guitars instead of the more traditional instruments. There’s all kinds of six string wizardry in here.

And finally, the big one, “Big Gun”. Anyone who has seen “Last Action Hero” knows that the song finally plays in full at the closing credits. It’s near on the perfect AC/DC song. It has a driving beat (apparently the final song recorded with larger-than-life drummer Chris Slade), a great main riff, Angus’ leads absolutely rip, and the lyrics are clever, full of double- and triple-entendres. If you have never seen the music video, do yourself a favour and check it out – see Arnie dressed as Angus! And of course, the opening riff woke up our sleeping beauties. There was a “yay, AC/DC!” some fists in the air, and a bit of gratuitous headbanging. Never mind that the boys had missed almost the entire movie. They got their AC/DC fix!

There’s a bittersweet end to the tale of Beef and Grizz. A couple of years later, AC/DC finally came to town. We all got tickets, which were all general admission. I watched the whole magnificent, ridiculous spectacle from the relative comfort of a grandstand, along with my family. Not Beef and Grizz. They lined up hours before gates opened at the stadium, and rushed the stage. They found themselves a spot at the barrier in front of the stage, and wrapped their arms through it. This was still three or four hours before even the support act Shihad was due to play. And they stayed there. Other friends helped them out with things like food and drink, and a convenient bottle to piss in. They took a hell of a beating too. Later arrivals tried physically to move them from the spot, but they held firm. Grizz wasn’t exactly the most physically imposing guy you’d ever meet. Beef however, was a bit bigger (why do you think we called him Beef?) and most people chose not to mess with him, but they were up against skinheads and gang members. Despite being punched and continually crushed against the barrier, the pair gutsed it our for what was as close as they ever came to a religious experience.

The concert was in November. Beef (real name Craig) was killed in a farm accident in February.

He was laid to rest in his tight black jeans, leather jacket, and AC/DC t-shirt. At his funeral, his car was parked outside the church. As his coffin was carried out, the massive sound system in his car (it doubled the value of his old Holden Torana) blasted out a final song as farewell.

“Big Gun” by AC/DC.

ALESTORM Curse of the Crystal Coconut

Album · 2020 · Folk Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
For a band initially written off as a short-term gimmick, Alestorm seem to be having a rather lengthy, and highly successful, career.

Part of the reason these pirate-loving Scots are still peddling their melodic metal silliness to a loyal audience is that the humourless killjoys misread metal fans completely. There are a number of other piss-take/gimmick bands which invoked the wrath of the self-appointed po-faced metal intelligentsia who have also made a success of it. Babymetal, Steel Panther, Slipknot, GWAR, Bad News, and the granddaddy of them all, Spinal Tap, all managed to gain devoted audiences. Why? Because despite the silliness, image, costumes, or non-metal elements they introduced, all proved they loved the music of their fans – metal.

If you familiar with Alestorm, you already know what’s going to be served up here on Alestorm’s sixth album. There’s going to be silly song titles, incredibly stupid rhymes (witness the third verse of “Chomp Chomp”: If you find a giant cayman/You're gonna have a really bad day man/There's nothing more to say than/I won't see you in a while/Not even Russell Crowe/With a giant crossbow/Ain't got a snowballs chance in hell/To save you from that crocodile), awful pirate accents, and infectious sing-along choruses.

There’s a bit of variety here though. “Tortuga” has a hip-hop/disco feel to it, but doesn’t stray far from the usual Alestorm formula. “Call of the Waves” has a power metal gallop to it. The hilarious “Fannybaws” is a drunken shout-along (Who's got a boaby two feet long? Fannybaws!)

There’s generally at least one historically accurate song per album. This time it’s “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship”… no, of course it’s not. It’s closing track “Henry Martin”. This is a traditional folk song, originally based on the life of 15th and 16th century privateer Andrew Barton. The acoustic intro gives way to a folk metal power ballad.

“Shit Boat (No Fans)” is a stand-out here. It’s the pirate equivalent of a playground taunt (Your pirate ship can eat a giant bag of dicks/Your poopdeck is a shithole and your rudder is crap). It’s short and stupid, and infectiously hummable. It’s not quite as offensive as “Fucked With An Anchor” but it’s nearly as embarrassing to hum to yourself in polite company.

And despite all this lyrical and thematic dopiness, Alestorm still have plenty to offer metal fans. While their lyrics aren’t very serious, their musicianship is seriously good. There might be flashier guitarists than Máté Bodor, but he’s got a great line in grooving piratical riffs. “Wooden Leg Part 2 (The Woodening)” allows drummer Peter Alcorn a little room to show off with a snare-shredding intro. The keyboards of Elliot Vernon and Christopher Bowes lead many of the melodies here, purposefully sounding like cheesy fake violins and hurdy-gurdies. That’s not to say there aren’t real instruments here. There are real violins and brass, and a genuine hurdy-gurdy, courtesy of Patty Gurdy, formerly of German pirate metal band Storm Seeker, and now a noted artist in her own right.

Over this musical monstrosity, Bowes rasps out lyrical lunacy in his distinctive Scots pirate accent. It’s not big or clever, but it’s tuneful and encourages singalongs. And that’s what makes Alestorm so attractive to metal fans. The band can fucking play when they want to, but being funny and having fun come first.

It’s not for everybody, but if you don’t like it, the band says it best in the line “…Kristof's gonna take a shit on your fucking lawn.”

NAPALM DEATH Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

Album · 2020 · Grindcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
OK, here’s the tl;dr on Napalm Death’s new album:

1. It’s still heavy, harsh shit.

2. It still sounds mostly the same as other Napalm Death records.

3. There’s some little bits that sound a bit different to other Napalm Death records.

4. This is really fucking good!

If you have a slightly longer attention span than the “too long; didn’t read” crowd, here’s a few more thoughts on “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism”.

If you’re a Napalm Death fan, when was the last time the band genuinely surprised you? For most, it’s probably the first time you ever heard the band. But also if you’re a Napalm Death fan, can you honestly say that any two albums sound the same? There will be a few listeners who will say yes, but observe: death metal influence creeping in to “Harmony Corruption”, massive grooves on “Inside The Torn Apart”, the rediscovery of the band’s hardcore roots with “Leaders, Not Followers”.

That’s the essence of Napalm Death’s longevity. It’s not so much change for change’s sake, but the incorporation of new influences to combine with the band’s existing sound to evolve slowly to something new. This time, it seems there is a touch of alternative thrown into the mix. No, not alternative rock which seemed edgy for about 10 minutes in the 1990s, but the alternative to alternative, Harsh, heavy, and properly original, like Swans and Neurosis. Check the evidence.

“Fuck The Factoid” blasts past almost before you’ve noticed. The familiar wall of noise smacks you in the face as you would hope. Most prominent in this song, Danny Herrera still smashes the hell out of the drum kit in ways which shouldn’t be humanly possible. Shane Embury’s blown-to-bits bass is more visible on this album than in previous releases. Check his gargantuan intro to “Backlash Just Because”. The old school hardcore influence is still floating near the top. “That Curse of Being in Thrall” has abundant hardcore riffs and blastbeats, and then slams into a thunderous doom/death riff.

“Contagion” has hints of Necroticism-era Carcass in the guitar sound, but it has Barney’s dry bark layered over it, and an almost Neurosis-ish discordant drone to the chorus. Embury pulls off another vicious bass intro to “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre”, an almost otherworldly demonic sounding song with a Godflesh/Swans industrial dissonance to it.

“Invigorating Clutch” is an unabating robotic rockcrusher of a song, reminiscent of Monotheist-era Celtic Frost. No one else creates riffs like Mitch Harris – simple in the “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” vein, yet nobody else has thought of it.

There are so many references to different bands and genres which could be thrown in here that it makes your mind spin, but it’s all still Napalm Death to the (grind)core. There are subtleties and little flourishes which won’t be picked up on a first listen, and it’s all bathed in glorious stentorian noise.

Unlike “Apex Predator”, which was a more demanding and difficult listen, “Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism” could be presented to someone not familiar with Napalm Death as an introduction to the band. And for those already familiar with then band, it’s quickly obvious that even for a band well into it’s fourth decade of existence, Napalm Death is still producing music as strong and vital as at any time in the band’s long and celebrated career.

METALLICA S&M 2

Live album · 2020 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
21 years ago when “S&M” came out, I eviscerated it.

I was being paid to write album reviews. Well, yeah, they were only a minor part of my job as an underpaid, overworked hack reporter for a small regional daily newspaper, but they got printed in the paper, so it counts! I called Metallica “…bloated rock dinosaurs of the type they once despised.” I said the double live album recorded with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra should have been cut back to a four-song EP, and the rest of the album should have been shelved as a failed experiment.

So much for the power of the poisonous pen. Metallica fans loved “S&M”.

It went at least gold in two countries, platinum in eight more, double platinum in four countries (including my home country of New Zealand), and triple platinum in Canada. And that’s just the audio version. The DVD concert film went gold in Austria, platinum in Brazil, six times platinum in the United States, and seven times platinum in Australia. In short, the whole “S&M” venture sold millions and millions of copies worldwide, and was an outstanding success.

With such a success the first time why not do it again on the 20th anniversary of the first collaboration? So once again, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra performed together on 6 and 8 September 2019, and this album is the record of that occasion.

It’s a bit different to last time though. Personnel-wise, orchestra conductor Michael Kamen had passed away in 2003, with Edwin Outwater now in place. Robert Trujillo had long since replaced Jason Newsted in Metallica. And producer Bob Rock was also long gone, with Greg Fidelman now the man in charge of the mix.

The collaboration between band and orchestra seems more thorough than the original version too. There were times on the original “S&M” where the band just completely drowned out the orchestra, who seemed only to be there for decoration. This time, it seems the orchestra is more integral to the performance.

Metallica’s introduction music, Ennio Morricone’s stirring “The Ecstasy of Gold” is usually played via a tape. This time it gets a full orchestral rendition, and segues into the classically inspired “The Call of Ktulu”. Right from the first few notes, it’s immediately obvious the collaboration between band and orchestra is more thorough than the original “S&M” concerts. There were times on “S&M” where the band just completely drowned out the orchestra, who seemed only to be there for decoration. This time, it seems the orchestra is more integral to the performance.

The extra facets added to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Day That Never Comes” by the orchestra give both of these songs a fresh new sound. The rendition of “The Memory Remains” is beautiful in a heavy yet melancholic way. The audience filling in for Marianne Faithful is particularly moving.

Even the tracks from “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” (another Metallica album I’m not keen on, but the hordes love) work really well here. “Confusion” shines with the orchestration. Lars sounds a bit puffed during “Moth Into Flame” though, lagging slightly behind the beat in the first faster section, but hey, it’s a live performance, so such things are always a possibility. Mr Ulrich gets a free pass on this one.

“The Outlaw Torn” gets it’s full ten-minute airing here, which includes the wonderful jam at the end of the song, which was foolishly trimmed from the studio original. “No Leaf Clover”, the better of two tracks originally written for the first “S&M” gets a repeat performance, with a sparkling new finish. Thankfully, the dire “-Human” doesn’t reappear.

Metal crowds aren’t really used to conductors explaining songs mid-show, but this is a reasonably common occurrence in orchestral performances. The spoken introductions to Prokofiev’s “Scythian Suite” and Mosolov’s “The Iron Foundry” do just this, and gives these pieces some context. It starts with Lars welcoming Metallica fans from dozens of countries attending the performance, and then introducing musical director Michael Tilson Thomas, who shared the background behind “Scythian Suite”. It is performed by the symphony orchestra without Metallica, and fits the program perfectly, proving classical music can be as heavy as metal. Written in 1915, the piece was originally intended for the ballet “Ala i Lolli”, but was rejected.

The collaborative performance of Russian futurist piece “The Iron Foundry” is outstanding, and is possibly the break-out performance of the entire concert. The orchestral/metal/industrial track is unbelievably heavy and mechanical, but still quintessentially organic. It segues into a beautiful introduction and rendition of orchestra and voice arrangement of “Unforgiven III”.

Apparently the late Cliff Burton first floated the idea of Metallica performing with an orchestra. In memory of Cliff, his writhing bass solo “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” gets an airing here. Principal bassist Scott Pingel had played in metal cover bands in his teenage years and was drawn to “Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”, but never did anything more with it. His music interests strayed away from rock and metal, and via R&B, jazz, and fusion, ended up with a career as an orchestral musician. Pingel came up with the idea of playing the song on an upright electric bass with a bow. Initially, the song was to be a duet with Robert Trujillo, but on hearing Pingel play the song to the band, Trujillo insistent Pingel play it solo. It was the right decision. He nails Cliff’s sound and feel, but adds a modern warmth and nuance.

The final few tracks are the old classics you would always expect to hear at a Metallica concert. The orchestral representation of a battlefield at the introduction to “One” are particularly evocative. “Master of Puppets” is far more convincing a collaboration than the 1999 version. “Nothing Else Matters” was written and originally recorded with a string section, and a full orchestra only adds to the emotional depth of the song.

Overall, the orchestra adds a warmth and depth to the Metallica songs here. It seems to be a better mix than the first “S&M” album. The brass and horns add power, the strings emotion, the woodwinds beauty, and the percussion clarity. Another factor in making this the far superior orchestral collaboration is song selection. This time round it is mostly slower songs - there are no total mismatches like the dreadful messes that were “Fuel” and “Battery”. When the band does play fast, the arrangements are such that it doesn’t seem the orchestra are being left behind or just marking time until their next fill.

This could have been a pretentious mess, but it’s not. Metallica is not done as a creative force just yet. Don’t let any hack reviewers try to put you off. This album is incredible.

KISS Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park

Movie · 1978 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
KISS have long had a reputation for doing anything for a buck, and getting their name out in public. There are KISS coffins, er… sorry I mean KISS Kaskets, KISS cologne, KISS checkers, KISS Visa cards, and of course, the KISS comic books. Is it over-the-top tacky marketing of image over substance, or is it capitalism and market forces in action, and simply giving people what they want? With KISS, it’s an unclear mixture of both.

The Marvel Comics Super Special 1977 comic book saw Space Ace, the Demon, the Starchild, and the Catman battling villains Dr. Doom and Mephisto with their superpowers. The comic even has the band members’ blood mixed in with the ink. And so what does every comic book superhero want? A live action movie of course.

So the world got “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park”, which first aired on the NBC network on 28 October 1978.

It’s like an overlong live action episode of Scooby Doo, but without the stoner humour. The plot is a bit convoluted. KISS are playing a series of shows at an amusement park. However the park is inhabited by a mad scientist who is supposedly developing animatronic robots for the park. But of course, he’s mad and therefore evil, so he’s creating robots of real people. He creates a Demon Gene robot which smashes up the park. While the band are busy performing, another robot is sent to steal their talismans, from which their superpowers come. And then it starts to get silly and confusing…

There’s more than half an hour of snoozefest before there’s any “acting” from the band themselves. None of the four had any acting experience, and the stilted delivery of their dialogue shows. Originally, all Space Ace was scripted to say was “Ack!” When the real Ace found out, he threatened to pull out unless he got some more lines. After demanding more lines, Frehley also didn’t show for filming some days, so his stunt double filled in. Peter Criss’ Catman lines were mostly feline puns, and his voice ended up being overdubbed anyway, as he didn’t turn up for looping (re-recording lines in post-production), and his broad accent. Gene’s Demon voice ended up either a demonic roar or a Satanic hiss.

Despite all the cheap and nasty sets, effects, and costuming, the fight scenes are actually pretty entertaining. There’s a kung fu fight after one of the concerts onstage and in the empty arena, and there’s a great slapstick/comic book-style brawl against various classic horror movie monster robots. And of course, there’s the climactic KISS robots vs KISS superheroes fight in front of a crowd going wild.

There’s concert footage interspersed through the movie. These parts offer sweet relief from the hammy acting. It was a real concert at a real theme park, set up especially to be filmed for the movie. After the real concert, the band also lip synched several tracks for filming. As you’d expect from KISS, the live performances are flamboyant and over-the-top. Perhaps a more traditional concert movie would have been a better idea?

So how did it all turn out? It was a fucking disaster of course! KISS hated it. For years, after, it was forbidden to mention the movie to anyone in the band. Gene Simmons compared it to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, often considered the worst movie of all time.

Fans hated it. It got a worldwide release in theatres to a pretty tepid response. It was oddly popular in Australia, but this was probably because free tickets could be obtained by cutting 20 diamond shaped coupons from an ice confectionery cup called an "Icee" and pasting them onto a printed sheet.

KISS fans being what they are, eventually warmed to the movie. It slowly gained cult status, and was released on DVD as part of the “Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991” box set. It’s one of those movies you see to say that you’ve seen it, but won’t remember well, and definitely won’t remember for the right reasons. The thought of a second viewing is a brand new horror show all of it’s own…

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 14 minutes ago in Recently Watched Films
    Excellent set and great acting, but a boring and oft-repeated story, and a few scientific fuck ups (Moon gravity? How does it compare to Earth gravity? Why does it only apply when you go outside? And how do you see the Earth from the far side of the tidally locked Moon?)
  • Posted 13 hours ago in MMA Best of Year 2020 Voting Thread
    Got me a list done finally! May change order yet with a few re-listens.
  • Posted 15 hours ago in Recently Watched Films
    [QUOTE=adg211288]Pretty good special effects for 1933. Also free on YouTube temporarily and well recommended in you want some vintage sci-fi horror. This film coincidentally puts me at just 100 more movies to go until my next major milestone of 2500 movies watched.  [/QUOTE] Saw this not long ago and I was very impressed with the special effects. It also made a great effort to stick to the original story.

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