Film Review: “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”
HBO Films
Director: Colin Hanks
Runtime: 83 min

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” follows the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal as they recount their experience before, during and after the tragic terrorist attack at their concert in Paris on November 13th 2015. Directed by Colin Hanks the film spotlights the deep bond of friendship between co-founders Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme as well as the connection the band has with their fans. This relationship along with the groups feeling of responsibility to help Bataclan survivors deal with the physical and emotional wounds is the premise for “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” and what brings the band back to Paris just 3 weeks after those attacks.

Sadness, anger, hope and happiness are just some of the emotions you will be exposed to by watching HBO Films latest documentary “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”. The entire world was impacted by the terrorist attacks on November 13th 2015 none more so than those who survived it, the families of those who did not and the band who was playing on stage at the time of the attacks. Director Colin Hanks is direct in his approach as he does a great job capturing the emotions of the band and fans through candid interviews as they prepare to return to Paris just 3 short weeks after the attacks with hopes of unity and to provide some level of comfort to those still struggling with the lingering effects of the attacks.

More than just your typical behind the scenes rock doc “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” delves deep in to not only the bands love of their fans but also the extremely strong bond between front man Jesse Hughes and drummer Josh Homme. Friendships this strong are a rarity and throughout the course of the films 83 minutes you can clearly see how this life long bond is transferred to crowds around the world. Even in the darkest of moments this relationship seems to serve as the foundation for the bands strength in moving forward. If you watch one documentary this year it should be this one.

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)” premiers

Monday, February 13th @ 10pm on HBO.

Blu-ray Review “Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050”

Actors: Manu Bennett, Malcolm McDowell, Marci Miller
Directors: G.J. Echternkamp
Rated: R
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Death Race 2050” is produced by the king of cult classics, Roger Corman, creator of the original “Death Race 2000”, which introduced us to an actor known as Sylvester Stallone. “Death Race 2050” is an insane no-holds barred re-imagination of the original cult classic and stars Manu Bennett (“The Hobbit”) as Frankenstein and Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”) as the Chairman. Be sure to check out Discounts on Entertainment to pick up a copy. This is a must see if you are looking for a wild ride and a great ode to the good ole cult classic genre.

Official Premise: Legendary filmmaking icon, Roger Corman, is back with his most outrageous film yet in this sensational, action-packed and darkly humorous reboot of the original Death Race 2000! It’s the year 2050 and America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government ruled by The Chairman (Malcolm McDowell). The masses have been brainwashed with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, in which a motley crew of violent drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for shamelessly running people over and driving each other off the road. The reigning champion and fan favorite, Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who’s half-man half-machine, wants to take the crown, but his rebel spy co-pilot threatens his legacy.

universal is releasing “Death Rae 2050” as a combo pack with Blu-ray = DVD + Digital HD copy included. The 1080p transfer works perfectly with the visual overload of the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track nails with the action sequences. Great A/V combination! Special features are worth checking out for some cool featurettes. The first is “The Making of 2050”, which dives into this film behind-the-scenes with great detail from cast/crew. “Cars! Cars! Cars!” looks into the drivers and the stunts. Lastly “The Look of 2050” discusses the visual style of the film.

Death Valley High frontman Reyka Osburn discusses “CVLT [AS FVK]”

Reyka Osburn is the vocalist/guitarist for the California based goth/rock band Death Valley High. The group is set to release their second full length album on November 4th 2016 titled “CVLT [AS FVK]” and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Reyka about the albums creation, the addition of guitarist Sean Bivins and the group’s plans for 2016/2017.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the band and how everything came together?

Reyka Osburn: Death Valley High was sort of born out of my previous band Tinfed. Things had sort of begun to get a bit watered down towards the end of it. I wanted to keep doing a project that was going to be darker so eventually Tinfed disbanded and I kept going with the start of Death Valley High. When the band first started I had some people from the previous project on board but when we started playing live was when I started to get new members in the band as I continued to flesh things out. It really just grew from there.

AL: What can you tell us about the band’s new album which has sort of a unique title?

RO: We were looking for something that was us. We were all having sort of a tough time pin pointing where we were at so we thought that by blending the night culture that we love with dance/death rock/goth clubs with the hardcore scene which we also love. “Cvlt [AS Fvk]” was a morphing of several ideas we put together from various ideas.

AL: What has the addition of guitarist Sean Bivins been like for the group?

RO: We had been having Sean come out on tour with us so when it was time to record everything felt very natural. It was great to have Shawn help fill things out while still being able to keep our signature tone but with something a little more. We were able to mix in some more modern tones which were really cool. It was great for us as a band to have all this new stuff put together before going in to record.

AL: How did your partnering with producer Ulrich Wild come about for this record?

RO: Ulrich had approached actually and we just hit it off. He asked what we were looking for which led to us talking about some of his previous work with White Zombie. He told us about how he did those albums and things ended up being a lot of fun. We were able to throw any ideas at him and if it was worthy of keeping he would make it work. Ulrich was willing to give things his best sot to make sure we got what we wanted. I feel you can hear all the work we put into this record and the relationship between the band and Ulrich as well.

AL: How did you go about choosing “Warm Bodies” as the album’s first single?

RO: All the songs are my babies. “Warm Bodies” was one we completed later on in the recording process. We got everything laid out and people started just gravitating towards that song. We started playing the song live to test it out and crowds were definitely in to it so we ran with it. I think there is a bunch of great single worthy tracks on the album which makes me question if this one is the strongest but we have gotten a lot of good feedback thus far with this track.

AL: Have you started to map out any touring plans to support the release?

RO: We have some European things happening along with a few other things which are being scheduled for both this year and next. There are talks of both tours and a few festival dates as well.

For more info on Death Valley High be sure to check out their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/deathvalleyhigh

DEATH VALLEY HIGH Crafts Industrial for the Masses with New Album “CVLT [AS FVK]”

DEATH VALLEY HIGH Crafts Industrial for the Masses with New Album

CVLT [AS FVK]

Out November 4 via Minus Head Records – Pre-Order Here

Listen to New Single “Warm Bodies” via Alternative Press

Melding New Wave, Goth Pop and Rock-Alternative Influences, CVLT [AS FVK] Fuels Your 90’s Nightmare…

“The new face of Goth Rock” – Outburn Magazine, July 2016

One part Marilyn Manson, another part Deftones and mostly parts all their own, Northern California’s DEATH VALLEY HIGH have crafted true alt-industrial rock for the masses with their new full-length album CVLT [AS FVK], out November 4 via Minus Head Records. The tracks on CVLT [AS FVK] meld traditional goth magic and modern alternative majesty – co-mingling new wave/dance beats, cinematic rock instrumentation and gritty, sensual, macabre-pop hooks.

With one listen it’s clear – with a new movement of industrial on the rise, DEATH VALLEY HIGH stands at the forefront with an offering of the catchiest, most unforgettable songs of their career. Teaming up with producer Ulrich Wild (White Zombie, Deftones), they ignite 12 nocturnal anthems that are impossible to shake and undeniably CVLT [AS FVK].

Pre-order your copy of CVLT [AS FVK] now via Bandcamp. Amazon and iTunes pre-orders are coming soon.

DEATH VALLEY HIGH is wasting no time releasing their first single from CVLT [AS FVK], entitled “Warm Bodies”! Take a listen to this goth-pop earworm, exclusively via Alternative Press, right now: http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/death_valley_high_premiere_new_single

“Warm Bodies” struts along on a creaky synth and deliciously danceable riff. It quickly snaps into an unshakable vampiric declaration, “We need warm bodies.””It doesn’t matter if you’re an animal, a salesman, a preacher or whatever, you need warm bodies,” singer Reyka Osburn explains. “If you look at it from a horror perspective, vampires need warm blood or it tastes rancid. Sex is all about warm bodies. It’s all encompassing. I like that duality.”

The DEATH VALLEY HIGH boys have always incorporated a gothic sensibility, but they fully embrace it on CVLT [AS FVK]. Since the release of 2013’s Positive Euth, DEATH VALLEY HIGH has logged over two years on the road, touring alongside everybody from Mindless Self Indulgence and Crosses to Filter, Orgy and Vampires Everywhere! These experiences left a permanent imprint on the band.

“The tours we’ve done and the fan attention we’ve received made us look inward and ask, ‘What do people respond to about us?’,” Reyka admits. “We could see how the crowd reacted. That definitely had an impact in shaping our next musical evolution. At the same time, we wanted to reinterpret our inspirations and influences in an original way.”

Producer Ulrich Wild originally reached out to the band and the friendship-pairing was instantaneous. The eye-opening process of collaborating with a producer the band was not familiar with prior was an adventure – especially finding the collective voice between the two.

“Ulrich was the perfect producer to capture this time in our musical mutation. He welcomed any Frankenstein ideas we had, and made them work; even if it meant the ideas didn’t come to life the first few times around,” Reyka adds.

He finishes, “We wanted to make an album of songs you feel in your gut and that make you get up and move. This has a take the night back vibe. We’re inviting you to the party.”

Stay tuned for more tracks, videos and beyond coming from DEATH VALLEY HIGH leading up to their November 4 release of CVLT [AS FVK].

Photo by Attic Floc

DEATH VALLEY HIGH online:

www.deathvalleyhigh.com

www.facebook.com/deathvalleyhigh

www.twitter.com/deathvalleyhigh

www.deathvalleyhigh.bandcamp.com

www.minushead.com/bands/death-valley-high

DEATH VALLEY HIGH is:

Reyka Osburn – vocals, guitar

Adam Bannister – drums

Huffy Hafera – bass

Sean Bivins – guitars on CVLT [AS FVK]

Daniel Ka$$hu – full-time guitars (2016-)

Blu-ray Review “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death”

Starring: Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Adrian Rawlins, Oaklee Pendergast, Ned Dennehy, Hayley Joanne Bacon
Director: Tom Harper
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 2,5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I am nothing but excited Hammer Films is back in business making new horror. I was a big fan of the first “The Woman in Black”. Honestly though, “The Woman in Black” wasn’t a film that I was screaming for a sequel but the trailer for “Angel of Death”, looked creepy as well. Too bad, the film didn’t pan out at all. The scares were so tame, you barely even noticed them. The pace was way off and the story was didn’t draw me in at all.

Official Premise: The supernatural terror returns and unspeakable evil sets its sight on new prey when a group of orphaned children are forced to move into the abandoned Eel Marsh House with their caretakers, Eve and Jean. As the children begin to mysteriously disappear, Eve makes a shocking discovery…it may not be a coincidence that she has come to reside in a place inhabited by the murderous Woman in Black.

“The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” was released as a combo pack with a BLu-ray and Digital HD copy. The 1080p transfer worked with the dark and dreary conditions. Like the first film, the shooting locations have that certain Hammer charm today and look great on Blu-ray. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks delivers everything that you would expect from a horror film.

Like the film itself, the special features are quite the let down as well. First off is “Pulling Back the Veil: The Woman in Black 2”, which includes behind-the-scenes footage with interviews mixed in. There is also “The Woman in Black 2: Chilling Locations”, which briefly looks into the shooting locations for the film. Lastly there is a deleted scene and trailer included.

Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer talks about his new biography and 2015 plans

Jeremy Spencer is the drummer behind the bombastic sound of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. In the past couple years the band has released two successful studio albums and performed to thousands of fans. To add even more to an already crazy schedule Spencer found time to pen his first book a biography titled “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”. The book is a candid, no punches pulled account of Spencer’s life both in and out of the band. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeremy recently about the books creation as well as what the band has planned for 2015.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little over view of the book and tell us why you chose now to the time to release a book like this?
Jeremy Spencer: It all sort of started around the time that I had just gotten out of rehab. I had started writing basically about my whole life as a way to process and get something outs. It was very therapeutic. Anytime I had some down time I would start writing. Once I had a large amount of stuff I started looking back over it and found a lot of it very interesting. I sent it out to my dad to get his take on it and he thought that some of the stuff I had written could be a benefit to people. He did think it needed to be edited down so I would be ostracized as it was very raw and real. (Laughs) He helped me with that and I ended up sending it off to our management and they loved it. From there they started shopping it around to the publishing companies. It wasn’t anything I was planning on but things took shape and we moved forward. Even though our band is still popular and on the upswing which is not when books from band members normally come out, but that ended up being all the more reason to put it out when we did. I think the story can help a lot of people and the positive feedback has been great thus far. This book has helped me with a lot of different things in so it just been a great experience so far.

AL: Being so fresh out of rehab was it hard to look back at some of these stories you put in the book?
JS: Some of it was horrifying! I wasn’t proud of a lot of it, especially when it was where I hurt someone. Those things made me sad. I have tried to work through things the best I can and I certainly wasn’t proud of who I was during those times. At the same time if I didn’t go through that stuff I wouldn’t be where I am now. I think by being a drug addict it forced me to look at things that I may not have if I was sober. Once you start dealing with the addiction side of things you realize that there is more deeply rooted stuff to also address as well. That for me has been a blessing.

AL: The books layout jumps back and forth between the past and present. Was that something that was a conscious decision or was that idea taken directly from your initial writings?
JS: That was something that happened during editing and was suggested by the book company. I am really glad they suggested that because it’s a bit different. I haven’t really read any books that do that. I wrote sort of chronologically and that has been done so much that we decided to change it up. I am really happy with how it turned out.

AL: Throughout the book you speak very candidly about the other members of Five Finger Death Punch. Was it difficult being that truthful knowing your still going to be working with them on a day to day basis?
JS: For sure. I definitely toned things down a bit as my intentions were not to throw anyone under the bus. I made sure to talk with the guys about anything I may have thought was questionable beforehand. I gave them a chance to read the parts they were in ahead of time if they wanted to just in case there was any worry or things like that. This project meant a lot to me and I didn’t want it to hurt anyone. I had to obviously pull back the curtains some so the reader could get a better feel for the story so if needed I changed people’s names or things like that. I was very cautious about all those things. Again there were a few things that got removed. Some of the things I found hilarious at first we decided to leave out after talking a little bit more about them because ultimately they didn’t fit well with the story. I think everyone was pleased with how the book turned out as no one was exposed too much.

AL: With the book having been out now for a few months is there anything that made it into the book that you sort of regret having in there?
JS: I am comfortable with. I don’t really want to change anything or wished I had done something differently. If that first draft I submitted would have come out it would have been terrible! (Laughs) The book went through a lot of editing. The whole thing was a process as there are just so many different steps you have to go through when writing a book. I have lived my several times over now.

AL: The band recently wrapped up a really great co-headlining run with Volbeat but, have there been any discussions about what the band will be doing in the coming year?
JS: The band has huge plans for next year. Once we get through the holidays we will be heading over to Japan for a run of shows there. After that we have a little time off and then we will be heading in to the studio to make the new record with hopes of a summer release. We also have some plans to do a few spring shows and a European run with Judas Priest. First thing first we have to get the new record done and out.

Book Review “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”

“Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”
Author: Jeremy Spencer
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dey Street Books

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

From the cofounder and drummer of Five Finger Death Punch Jeremy Spencer, “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem” is an inside account of one of today’s most successful heavy metal bands. The book is a revealing, personal journey told first hand by Spencer about the highs and lows of the rock and roll lifestyle. From the group’s early and from all point in between its all here told candidly by the man who lived it.

Very rarely do you get a tell book from a band member who’s still in the band they gained notoriety with let alone who is still selling out arenas around the world at the time of the books release. However Jeremy Spencer’s “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem” is the exception to that rule. From his earliest exposure to music to his first encounters with drugs and alcohol everything is here in this book. Even stories about the bands infighting and uncertainties about one another are included in this book. Again very rarely do you get this kind of access from a group who is still together and at the top of their game. Spencer tell it like it is approach really gives the book character while adding to each story compiled for the book.

At times I did find the books layout to be a bit confusing as past and present events are mixed among chapters. However this gave the book more of a real feel as it was felt like you were in the room listening to these tales from the road with the man himself. Throw in a slew of never before seen color photos and you have the making of a stand out biography worth checking out whether you’re a fan of the band or not.

Concert Review: Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat – Syracuse, NY

Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Hellyeah, Nothing More
Tuesday, September 23rd 2014
War Memorial at Oncenter, Syracuse, NY

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The haloed halls of the Syracuse War Memorial were rocked by the sonic landscape of not one but 4 great music acts. Headliners Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat along with special guests Hellyeah and Nothing More made a stop in the home of the Orangemen as part of their fall arena tour which runs through October. Those in attendance were treated to a spectacular night of music as each band gave the crowd everything they had and more.

Starting off the night was up and coming progressive/rock band Nothing More. Though the 4 piece group hailing from San Antonio, TX set was brief the band used their time wisely delivering the best they had to offer to the fans who were still filing through the arena doors. The Chad Gray fronted Hellyeah would blast on to the stage next bathed in bombastic thunder thanks to the drumming styles of Mr. Vinnie Paul. The band has gone through a lineup change since the last time I saw adding bassist Kyle Sanders and guitarist Christian Brady but the two meshed well with the other members resulting in a quality set.

Danish import Volbeat would follow hitting the stage accompanied by a sea praise to which they returned the thanks will a 14 song set that mixed newer songs such as “Doc Holliday” and “The Hangman’s Body Count” with fan favorites like “Hallelujah Goat”, “The Garden’s Tale” and the Dusty Springfield penned “I Only Wanna Be With You” before closing out the set with the always rousing “Still Counting”. The band took time to thank and recognize the crowd several times throughout the night and at one point even welcomed several children to the stage to dance and sing among the members. As the house light went out prior to Fiver Finger Death Punch taking the stage the crowd erupted one more only this time they were even louder as the excitement in the Oncenter was reaching critical mass.

As the band made their way on to the stage several flashes of light went off and it was on. For the next 80 minutes everyone in attendance belonged to the 5 members of Five Finger Death Punch. Singer Ivan Moody captivated the crowd with his lyrics and stage presence while the dual guitar attack of Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory chugged their way through songs such as “Burn It Down”, “Lift Me Up” and “Bad Company”. During the song “Burn MF” Ivan and company abruptly stopped mid song to address an issue with several bouncers attempting to control a nearby circle pit. Moody assured the staff and concert goers that everyone would take care of one another and then instructed the bouncers to leave the floor area. After a minute or two of hesitation the floor cleared and the band kicked back in without missing a beat. This would be the only incident of the night as everyone held true to their word as the ripped through several more numbers including a two song encore.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when two headliners join forces for package like this. A lot of times what happens is one or both acts cut elements out of their set which great impacts the overall experience sometimes it’s a stage effect or in a lot of cases its material. This packaged proved to be the exception as all the bands on the bill pulled out every available the stops to ensure those who came out this night got their money’s worth. The tour package runs through the end of October so if you haven’t got your tickets for one of the remaining shows I really don’t know what you are waiting for.

Hellyeah Set List:
1.) Hellyeah!
2.) Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
3.) Demons in the Dirt
4.) War in Me
5.) Moth
6.) Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
7.) You Wouldn’t Know

Volbeat Set List:
1.) Doc Holliday
2.) Hallelujah Goat
3.) Sad Man’s Tongue
4.) Heaven nor Hell/Warrior’s Call
5.) 16 Dollars
6.) Lola Montez
7.) Dead But Rising
8.) I Only Want to Be With You
9.) The Mirror and the Ripper
10.) The Hangman’s Body Count
11.) The Garden’s Tale
12.) Fallen
13.) Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
14.) Still Counting

Five Finger Death Punch Set List:
1.) Under and Over It
2.) Burn It Down
3.) Hard to See
4.) Lift Me Up
5.) Bad Company
6.) Burn MF
7.) Drum Solo
8.) Remember Everything
9.) Battle Born
10.) Coming Down
11.) Never Enough
12.) Here to Die
Encore:
13.) The Way of the Fist
14.) The Bleeding

Book Review “Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row”

“Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row”
Authors: Damien Echols and Lorri Davis
Hardback/ 448 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

Lorri Davis was a single woman, living in New York City, when she was invited by a friend to go to an early screening of a new documentary. What she saw changed her life. Lorri saw alienation, and she saw herself being represented onscreen. Coming from the South she had always felt like she didn’t belong there, and that she did not fit in with those around her. This documentary showed her a teen-age boy who had gone through the same situation: only a hundred times worse. The documentary was “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and the teen-age boy she identified with was Damien Echols; one of the West Memphis Three.

The story of the West Memphis Three, as told through “Paradise Lost” stuck with Lorri, and haunted her. She became relatively obsessed with Damien, and could not get him out of her head. So, like dozens of others whom viewed the same film, Lorri decided to write to Damien. And so began a love story like no other.

Damien and Lorri started to write each other letters, reaching a point to where they both would write several letters a day. They felt a real connection with each other, and within less than four years they were married. The ceremony being unique in and of itself: a Buddhist ceremony held on Death Row. Lorri Davis would soon quit her job, move to Arkansas, and lead a team of investigators and lawyers to one day bring release and exoneration to her husband. While the release has occurred, the exoneration still has not.

In “West of Memphis”, one of the four documentaries that cover the West Memphis Three case, Lorri mentions her and Damien having written somewhere around 5,000 letters to each other; all between 1996 and 2011 (the latter being the year Damien was released from prison). Lorri also states in the film that she had contemplated burning all of the letters; presumably as a way to start anew and move on. However, she and Damien did no such thing.

“Yours For Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row” is a collection of a very small portion of those letters; as well as present day notes to fill the reader in on the authors’ mindsets. Giving bits of notations to things referenced or alluded to. It truly is a wonderful journey into the minds of two people; two people slowly falling in love, no less. Damien has always been a writer and a poet. Having self-published a memoir in 2005 called “Almost Home”, and an updated version of the same book, with more content, in 2012 entitled “Life After Death”.

“Yours For Eternity” offers a unique perspective on the West Memphis Three case, in as much as it almost has nothing to do with the case itself; but offers a look at the circumstances Damien and Lorri were put in because of the case. Together they don’t spend their time delving into clues and information about who may or may not have committed the crimes; they leave that to the outside world. Within the letters they spend their energy trying to decipher and decode each other. They create a world and a life together using only their words. Damien and Lorri built a friendship, relationship, and a marriage, using the only thing Damien was allowed to have on Death Row: anything made of paper.

This book is a fast and easy read, and it’s rather beautiful. The reader is allowed access to the most intimate of thoughts and feelings and will allow you to view the people involved in this case in a whole new light. Damien Echols and Lorri Davis are currently traveling the United States in support of this book. Go see them if they come to your city.

Blu-ray Review “Death Spa”

Starring: Starring: William Bumiller, Brenda Bakke, Merritt Butrick, Robert Lipton, Alexa Hamilton, Ken Foree
Directors: Michael Fischa
Rated: Unrated
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Run Time: 87 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Death Spa” is the first title to be release under the newly revived Gorgon Video label under MPI Home Video. If you are a fan of cheesy classic 80’s horror, you are going to want to support and check out this release for sure. This is the first time that this film has ever been released on high def Blu-ray as well in its uncut, unedited version. If you are looking for tons of graphic gore, unnecessary nudity and some good laughs that look no further than “Death Spa” for a great time. Plus seriously, can you turn down a tagline like “Welcome to the health club where you’ll sweat blood”?

Official Premise: The new fitness club in town has everything a health nut could ever want: a variety of workout machines, classes taught by friendly (and frisky) instructors, and a state-of-the-art computer control system for maximum client comfort. Unfortunately it s also possessed by the evil spirit of the owner s dead wife, and before long every dumbbell, leg press, and rowing machine becomes a deadly weapon for her to enact bloody vengeance on the club s beautiful members. So if you re looking for a real workout from hell, enter DEATH SPA a new exercise in terror!

“Death Spa” hits Blu-ray with a new 1080p transfer, which was created from a 2K scan of the original camera negative. The last time I saw this film was on VHS back in the 90’s, so this was a real treat personally. The colors are sharp and the print looks solid overall, not perfect but still impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 also does the trick for this title as well. It is a well-balanced surround track. MPI also released this film as a combo pack, so there is a Blu-ray and DVD included here.

In the special features department, there is some decent new content included here. There is a commentary track from Director Michael Fischa, Producer Jamie Beardsley and Editor Michael Kewley. They comment in the track that they each haven’t seen the film in 25 years. I feel that it makes up for an interesting track for sure. Next up is “An Exercise in Terror: The Making of Death Spa”, which is a solid 50 minute behind-the-scenes look at the film. There are interviews included from Jamie Beardsley, Michael Kewley, cinematographer Ace Armenaki, actors William Bumiller, Hank Cheyne, Shari Shattuck, Elizabeth Ziegler and more. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Book Review “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”
Author: Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood
Hardcover: 378 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” written by former Kerrang! Editor Paul Brannigan and British rock journalist Ian Winwood is an in-depth look at arguable one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. The first in a two part series Vol.1 documents from the bands inception in 1981 up through 1991 and the release of the groups ground breaking “Black” album. “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” is being released via Da Capo Press and features 378 pages along with 8 pages of photos.

From the time I first saw Metallica’s video for “One” I was hooked. Anything and everything related to the band I had to check out (good or bad) and even though they had released 3 albums prior to “And Justice for All” the album spawning the single “One” and I was late getting to the party it didn’t hinder my quest for all things Metallica. Prior to reading this book my expectations were not very high as I had thought that I pretty much read everything about the band that was available. Upon delving in to the 378 pages you instantly realize that you are going to be in for a treat as the authors take you places normally off limits to the public. Weather they are talking with members of the band at their practice space known as “HQ”, Telling stories of speaking with Lars on a phone booth at 3am or covering the listening party for the “Black Album” “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” has a bit of everything. Even if you have heard some of these accounts before I found it quite interesting to hear different take. Along with some great writing are 8 pages packed with rare photos going back to when Dave Mustaine was in the band. I only wished that there had been a few more of these photo pages placed throughout the book to correspond with the subsequent chapters.

Fans of Metallica and or heavy metal music in general will surely enjoy “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”. Not only does it contain some really cool interviews and accounts but it’s a fairly straight forward and easy read. So even if you are terminally shaken from years of head banging and moshing I encourage you to put down your devil horns and stagger over to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of this book.

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Following hot off the heels of Five Finger Death Punch’s July 2013 release “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”, “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Picks ups where the previous album left off. The album like its predecessor is being released via Prospect Park and was produced by Kevin Churko.

I always have to question a bands decision when they decide to release multiple albums within months of each other. However after my first listen of “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” any preconceived notions I may have had were instantly thrown out the window. From the albums opening track “Here to Die” which goes from zero to sixty right out of the gate I couldn’t wait to hear the other 11 tracks. Vocalist Ivan Moody seems to have tapped in to a channel of aggression which seems to be the catalyst for every track. Songs like “Wrecking Ball” and “Matter of Time” rip through your speakers and assaults whoever maybe in the immediate listening area. Even when the band slows things down with the albums closing track a cover of the classic Animals song “The House of the Rising Sun” the band still maintains the consistency of the previous numbers. Producer Kevin Churko continues to show why he is the best producer for the job as he does a remarkable job captured all the nuances of each members playing while elevating their sound with a really great mix that was music to my ears.

If you already have “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” then “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” is a no brainer. However if you haven’t yet grab either copy I would recommend starting here with Vol. 2 as the album takes you on a rollercoaster ride filled with raw emotion an energy that keeps your attention from start to finish.

Track Listing:
1.) Here to Die
2.) Weight Beneath My Skin
3.) Wrecking Ball
4.) Battle Born
5.) Cradle to the Grave
6.) Matter of Time
7.) The Agony of Regret
8.) Cold
9.) Let This Go
10.) My Heart Lied
11.) A Day In My Life
12.) House of the Rising Sun

Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Signed CD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Media Mikes has teamed up with SKH Music to giveaway 1 band signed copy and 3 regular copies of Five Finger Death Punch’s latest album “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol.1” If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite FFDP song. This giveaway will remain open until Sept. 6th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Acclaimed hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch’s highly anticipated The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1 (Prospect Park in North America / Eleven Seven in all other territories) has debuted as a global success. The album has achieved career highs for the band, with a mainstream chart debut at #2 in The United States, #3 in Canada, #4 in Germany, alongside impressive entries in other territories across the globe. The lead single “Lift Me Up” (featuring Rob Halford of Judas Priest) is currently #1 on the U.S. Active Rock charts for the third consecutive week. The successful debut exhibits that Five Finger Death Punch is challenging the notion that “Rock is Dead,” as they look poised to deliver a fourth consecutive Gold certified album following the successes of The Way of The Fist (2007), War Is The Answer (2009) and American Capitalist (2011). Cumulative single sales have now exceeded over 4.5 million.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – Volume 1”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Los Angeles metalers Five Finger Death Punch are back with the first of two new albums titled “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”. The album is the follow up to the bands 2011 release “American Capitalist” which was certified gold in September of 2012. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” is being released via Prospect Park and features 14 hard rocking songs produced by Kevin Churko.

Prepare to have your fillings knocked loose as the boys in Five Finger Death Punch pull no punches with the first of two new releases slated for 2013. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Immediately amps things up with probably my favorite song off the album titled “Lift Me Up” which features a stellar guest performance by the Metal God himself Rob Halford. The album takes you on a roller coast ride of emotion as singer Ivan Moody seems to be venting his inner most demons on tracks such as “Burn MF” and “Dot Your Eyes”.

Moody’s vocal presentation combined with the thunderous bottom end of bassist Chris Kael and drummer Jeremy Spencer and the searing tandem guitar attack of Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook the album sounds amazing! Though I’m not a big fan of albums that feature different version of the same song FFDP was able to make it work with the addition of guest vocalists Maria Brink, Jamey Jasta and Max Cavalera. Each guest performer seemed to not only give the track a breath of fresh air but also elevate them to a higher performance level.

Solid from start to finish “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” delivers. If the bands 13 original tracks weren’t enough for you the guys in FFDP take things a step further by throwing in a rocking rendition of the LL Cool J classic “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Whether you are a fan of heavy metal or not the latest release from Five Finger Death Punch is a must have.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

Blu-ray Review “The ABCs of Death”

Directed by: Various
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Run Time: 130 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Yeah…I am not sure how to easily explain this film.  “The ABCs of Death” consists of 26 short films from 26 different directors from all over the world.  Some of these are downright awesome and some of them are absolutely terrible.  I am still recommending this film just because it is so unique and like nothing I have ever seen before. In case you haven’t caught on each director was given a letter and complete creative freedom.  The shorts range from live-action to hand drawn animated to claymation. So there is tons of variety here.  If you are a horror fan, this is easily one of the most creative films you will see this year…as long as you have a tough stomach!

I would love to list all the clever names for each show but for me finding out during the film was part of the fun. When I was watching, I was constantly trying to figure out what the hell was going on and what was the short going to be called. I will giveaway two of them since they were the most obvious. I am not going to give the premise away but I will tell you the names. One of my favorites was “D is for Dogfight”, it was well done and very clever with only one word of dialogue.  The absolute worst was “F is for Fart”, go figure it was made in Japan, which is downright stupid and just gross.  I like a good fart joke but this was terrible. That is another thing some of these shorts is that all of them don’t all fit in the horror genre either except for the fact of dealing with death.

Official Premise: Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. The ABC’s OF DEATH is perhaps the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning fifteen countries and featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children’s educational books, the motion picture is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters; each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Provocative, shocking, funny and ultimately confrontational, THE ABC’s OF DEATH is the definitive vision of modern horror diversity.

This Blu-ray being reviewing is the 1-disc Blu-ray version.  It also features an alternate cover which the baby holding the book has been removed. I personally prefer the originally artwork, which is only available on the 2-disc combo pack with a Blu-ray and DVD of the film. The 1080p transfers look good for the most part but constantly various in quality since there is many different types of camera options used for each short.  The same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio tracks.  It various from short to short but all around sounds decent.

The special features are quite impressive for this release. Get ready for this…there is a filmmaker commentary track on each short. I think that is a real treat because you can get to hear the vision behind each film. There are also extras included for 14 out of the 26 shorts. Including the letter A has a visual effects featurette. The letters B, D and I have a Making Of featurette. C includes some Deleted Scenes. F, H, J, T, V, W and Z all have Behind the Scenes looks and R has a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery with 71 photos. Lastly there is “AXS TV: A Look at The ABCs of Death”, which runs under five minutes and some trailers included.