S.S.H. Metal Squad rides hard 4 life

•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A lot of classic video game console music (classic VGM) seemed to have been influenced by ’80s heavy metal. Especially the music featured in the 2-D ‘shmup genre. Particularly the music in the Thunder Force series — it’s metal as fuck. Furthermore, it is one of the series often covered by the Japanese studio musician, S.S.H. (graciously linked to on the sidebar there).

And what is this particular song called? Metal Squad! Of course it is. Well damn, this is about as metal as you can get. This is the real deal. I don’t even think a real guitar is in the song. I wonder what it’s like to live in a country where technical skill is still admired. Must be a different kinda place…

Emo-kid loves his Cynic

•January 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The highest art equally evokes both the stark, grim reality of life as well as its fleeting compassion and melancholy. It is the stuff made by those who possess a character that looks into the abyss but still has the spirit or energy not to be sucked in and consumed. Naturally these are the most interesting people: those who see the horrors but have the depth of character to detach from it.

Lacking energy or vigor or enthusiasm in life will make you a callous person, consumed with shallowness, bitterness, fleeting drives and emotions, greed, envy, fear. So much of the art and culture that surrounds us seems to reflect this stuff, people wallowing in these emotions and dishing it out for us to consume in likeness. Ghouls at the trough.

Despite the rampant advertisements and peer pressure, corrupt financiers, untalented people in positions of influence, and the general unfairness of it all, it’s important not to become a negative or hateful person. And from that position, seeing it for what it is but not becoming as such, that’s where good stuff comes from.

It’s like that Henry James quote from before:

Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it. –Henry James

Nobody can live your life for you, nobody can take care of your troubles, and nobody will care about you more than themselves. It seems so cruel, but there are glimpses of something nicer if you know where to look.

Angry Video Game Polemikology (the real Jaded Gamer)

•December 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Angry Video Game Nerd has been around for a long time, and I’ve been visiting some of his stuff again. It just slays me! I’m glad to see he’s gotten the attention he deserves. The dude put(s) a lot of effort and thought into making these videos, even the early ones. And beyond that, his reviews and expertise with regards to video-game culture is some of the more insightful and engaging you will come across.

So his stuff is certainly poignant — but not just because he’s funny and exaggerating the excited, critical “nerd” angle, but because he’s saying what I think is some important cultural shit I’ve touched on before, here at CRM Industrial Corp. Some of the games he reviews, film adaptations like Ghostbusters and or Back to the Future or Karate Kid — were pretty much scams. I think if you do not give a flying fuck about a game to the degree that it is unplayable, and then push it out the production window super fast to make an easy dishonest buck off of uncynical kids by it, you are a scumbag. Goes without saying, right?

An adult consumer would (presumably) know better and be honest about where their own dollar goes, but a kid? I remember buying Batman Returns for Sega Genesis as a kid without knowing anything much about it beyond that it had Batman. It was… tolerable. Not a very good game, but it had some fun aspects. The thing is, I almost bought Revenge of the Joker (which the AVN covered here), and that game is all sorts of fucked up. And I almost bought games that were even worse, where even my dad had to step in sometimes (despite knowing not a fucking thing about games whatsoever, nor thinking they had any cultural worth) and refuse to buy a game because he knew it was pure 100% scheme and kultur-crime.

I think making intentionally shitty games you don’t care about, with a franchise kids love, is one of the more depraved things you can do in modern capitalist society. It’s basically soft child-abuse, but also soft-crime against culture. You are actually ripping people off who are not developed enough mentally to even know any better. I understand — it might sell, you might make some money, and I just “don’t realize the business side of things”.

Nah, that’s horseshit. Let me put it this way: that kind of rationalizing and cheap opportunism is what all the financiers were doing in the housing bubble 2+ years ago — pushing mortgages on people who didn’t understand or deserve them, and then intentionally making money off of that ignorance. And then those same sellers were investing in risky mortgages in the last housing bubble because, even though it was economic sewage, it stood to make them some easy money. So fuck all that – quick easy money is for sewer scum; always has been, always will be, and it always ruins the economy and culture in the long run.

Yet I should point out, lest this incredibly important sound bitter or unreasonable, that a lot of the shitty games out there were often more naive or oblivious or miscalculated, rather than nefarious in design. Some of it is just uncalibrated experimentation, like Legend of Kage, Buck Rodgers, Solar Jetman, or say… the original Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy. The latter two shaped up to be important games that were actually good, but at the beginning they weren’t scamming kids to buy into what they were doing (which were actually pretty original ideas in the first place, despite being implemented poorly, and much better already than some junk like Legend of Kage). And a lot of sequels were also just attempts at innovation or changes which fell short or didn’t take the time to be thoroughly tested (Castlevania II, Ninja Gaiden III, Double Dragon III).

But! Even if this shit is only being revealed in hindsight, kudos to the Angry Video Game Nerd. I remember games like Shaq-Fu getting decent reviews in magazines that I read as a kid (even gems like Game Players!), who were basically paid or endorsed to not shit all over a high-financed game. In this area, GamePro was often the worst, with arbitrary ratings systems, impersonal articles written by fake personas that the staff writers could hide behind (you could tell it didn’t fucking matter who wrote any of those, Sushi X might as well have been Scary Larry), and more ads than any of their competition. I think the kind of honest criticism the AVGN puts up is entertaining cultural polemicism, like what real film criticism should/could be.

Castlevania for some… miniature American flags for others!

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Holy god-damn smokes, how did I not hear about this game until it came out? Look at those gorgeous fine artistic visuals, the brilliantly scored music, the Berserk-esque cinematic and mystically-themed storytelling. What the double-fuck? I don’t even have a system for it and yet I am buying this game. The gameplay can be mediocre — I’ll play it for just the music and graphics and story. I am literally ordering this right now in another tab.

What a fucking massive undertaking this production must have been. It kind of redeems the new videogame systems of the gross stuff they are known for, with their blatant first-person-shooters and endless trite Final Fantasy games. This looks better than all the movies that came out this year combined. You know how most people falling in love just sort of get emotionally obsessed, anxious and drained of all their other interests? Yeah, this feels like that but worse. And playing it probably won’t even quell the obsession. I believe it was Basho who said, “Even in Kyoto, I long for Kyoto.” (unless it was some other famous Japanese historical figure, and unless it was about Edo instead of Kyoto, but you get the general drift).

When the Japanese make such intricate beautiful productions like this, you start to think life actually has a purpose. Humanity is still up to something good!

As a truly righteous bonus, peep this Minibosses video featuring their cover of Castlevania III.

XMAS 2010 HOLMIES!

•December 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The internet continues here at the (Heavy Metal) Law Offices of Rex and Machinae. But for how long? Really, the internet seems to be humanity’s final conversation with itself, its chance to share and catalog everything for one last moment before it collapses into oblivion (whilst simultaneously speeding up the process).

So… get the good stuff while you still can. What will you do when all the Youtube middle-men like urs truly have disappeared faster than communication skills in the 21st century? Haha, that question is null and void since we’ll ALL be null and void. Or too busy scavenging for scraps to give a damn about how cool we are.

It’s like when you’re in Sim City 2000 and your city is going all sparkling clean and super bustling but something’s missing and giving you existential malaise and you realize it’s time for Godzilla or a tornado to sweep clean the earth.

Anyway, enough staring into the abyss. That’s not conducive to a fulfilling modern lifestyle! That’s not productive! Nope, you need to buy stuff, especially since ChristmasTM is coming up. So ignore the above and purchase the following:

  • Profound Lore labelmates SAROS have a really awesome second album available at said site. People compare this shit to DEATH, which is apt I guess, but they have more of a US-black metal thing going on in terms of attitude. Cool stuff, really! Hit me up if you want to play DC, guys. (song:  Acrid Plains)
  • The long-running US prog-sludge outfit, U.S. CHRISTMAS has a really cool new full-length available. Apparently they toured for a decade on CD-R releases, but the new stuff is finally up to their standard and worth the money. (song: Suzerain – these cats like them some Cormac McCarthy!)

There are some other bands I would like to plug, but hey there is only so much space on this blog for advertising, right? I mean, CRM posts are rare these days — we’re in a recession! These are frugal times and my blog posts don’t get me laid nearly as often as they used to. But those bands are good, I promise!

The Cosmic Scam

•November 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

ScamsaraIf you wanna succeed in any social/cultural scene, simply do the following: (a) have lots of enthusiasm/energy for the up-and-coming average youth-driven output, and (b) maintain very mild social opinions on almost everything. But always remember that (c) whatever the group political party line is, towards that you must be zealous and emotional.

The agenda zeal is essential — the agenda is what drives the scene! Yes, you’ll notice as you float cluelessly through life that everyone wants to be ideologically right; in conversation, everyone wishes to be beyond corrections and peer review. Even if we get to the point where we can be polite and non-judgmental in conversations, people still want the RIGHT philosophy in the end. They want to take sides in a religious/political/social/cultural agenda that is an infallible ideological home-run. Because that makes life easy to gauge things by; takes off the stress, ya know? Gets the blood off your hands.

The contrasting social position to take is one of not caring about any issue at all — total disinterest. Because that’s easy too — but it only works when you’re not emotionally involved (by proxy, or when your physical body is not in the equation). Just willing failure in order to escape any sort of responsibility.

Oh well, don’t mind me. It’s just scenery on the path of life, I guess. Happy Thanksgiving by the way, ahahaha!

***

Steely Dan is a love-it or hate-it type of band, but they are considered essential rad-sauce flavor here at CRM HQ. The Royal Scam is a cash album all the way through. I think “Caves of Altamira” captures the cerebral vibe of the day pretty well:

From the mailbag: Dissection’s Pure Land

•November 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Greetings, loyal subjects! Allow me to share with you this pleasant letter from the CRM reader mailbag:

Eternally winning their crusade

I was perusing assorted videos of Dissection and I came across this one from the 1997 Wacken festival in which they perform The Somberlain. I can’t really find a vid of them not coming completely correct (so to speak) at a live show. And there is a particularly intense level of focus in all the live performances of The Somberlain I viewed (recalls “Inno a Satana”), but this one is fvcking magnificent. I’m telling you, these guys are the pure light that is Satan’s gaze upon the world.

After singing the praises of the later Dissection drummer, I have to say the one playing this show (Tobias Kjellgren, I think) does a killer job. All around they pretty much own. I don’t know how familiar you are with the song, but I find the vocals more spot on and chilling than they were in the album version.

Lord of infernal, gather my strength.
Carry me through the gates.

Man, if the Ghostbusters hadn’t broken up…they would be fighting to keep Jon Nodtviedt in a painting right now.

Zazas, Zazas