Released: April 2013
I couldn’t review this album to coincide the release date, because I didn’t get an advance copy. Even if I did get an advance copy, I wouldn’t have been able to get the review done in time. I wanted to let it settle into my brain for a gooood long time. You see, I’m old now, methodical, and untrusting of new bands that I fall in love with. I look back on some bands that I’ve embraced as a result of their debut albums, and I’ve been burned one too many times. Any band has 10 years to write one album of solid material, but then has to follow it up in the next couple of years, while touring and promoting their first oeuvre. I had a good feeling about my boys in Ghost, but I wanted to hear this as a whole. I wanted my mind to conjure up it’s own images from the sounds, much like I had the luxury for their debut ‘Opus Eponymous.’ I ignored the first two videos for ‘Secular Haze’ and ‘Year Zero.’ I wanted to pick the hits for myself.
Well this was all for naught, because basically these are the album’s best tracks. They know what they have in Ghost, which is cool. Some bands are immune to their own magic and can’t seem to harness what makes their songs appealing, and choose the wrong ones as singles.
Well, the verdict is that Ghost’s 2nd album ‘Infestissumam’ is solid sophomoric fare for the fans. They upped production, shed about 50% of their Mercyful Fate… influence, we’ll call it, and widened their thematic scope just enough to keep me as a drooling slave.
Their are some missteps though. ‘Jigolo Har Megiddo’ is a standard song with pretty stupid lyrics, about how virile singer Papa Emeritus is, or whatever, it doesn’t work for me. I assume this track is meant to further his reputation as a sex symbol (?) in his live performance. I noticed this trend last time I saw them live. Don’t get it.
While I love the kitschy late chorus in ‘Ghuleh/Zombie Queen,’ the beginning is embarrassingly ‘guth’ and puerile. It sounds like Papa Emeritus is crooning about Robert Goulet, and while he’s pretty badass in a Las Vegas dick-swingin’ way, he has no place in the same realm as Ghost. Or does he? Why do I feel an ownership to this band and it’s output? The mystery of this Ghost cult deepens.
I also take track “Body and Blood” as a contrived use of imagery and words fit into a simple, easily-digestible filler track, that could be used to represent them on the radio. That’s not what I want from Ghost, but again, who the hell do I think I am? At least they’re taking chances with this stuff. So what if they don’t hit every mark?
On the first album there were a few things that singer Papa Emeritus did that chilled my bones. His calm and stoic delivery of words like ‘bathory’ and ideas like maternal slavery and such scared the shit out of me. I was hoping the same thing would happen with ‘ Infestissumam’, and it did. I don’t believe in Satan and Hell, but hey, either do Satanists at their core. They believe in the dirt, the earth, what they can hold in their hands. They more specifically don’t believe in an otherworldly saviour or purpose. They want power over other men, so the imagery and rituals are used to ensnare poor saps that crave that kind of thing. In ‘Idolatrine’ the words in the chorus very calm and stoically (again) rub it in our faces that they are simply stealing our money and time by dressing up in demonic costumes and singing forms of chant-worthy idolatry for us , the “imbeciles” and “simpletons.” Genius! The capitalistic intentions of this band are true evil! That kind of thing scares the ever-loving cheese outta me. Bravo!
Speaking of which, seems to me that Ghost likes having the audience chanting along with them during the concerts. Songs like ‘Per Aspera Ad Inferi’ have us chanting in Latin, thoughtlessly, probably something Satanic, I don’t feel like looking it up. ‘Year Zero’ has us hailing Satan, and the closing track ‘Monstrance Clock’ has us coming “together as one, for Lucifer’s son,” nonetheless.
I prefer to stay ignorant to the intentions of Ghost over my sweet virgin ass, and just send them all my money for music, shirts, goblets, incense burners or whatever they are selling. I want it. I am not here to question the system, I am to simply listen and obey.
So all in all a satisfying follow up release, seemingly made to fill in the spaces in the established live set list. Like the album ‘Killers’ compared to the self titled ‘Iron Maiden’ record, all the classic tracks are on the s/t but the second album is smoother, livelier, and more digestible for the potential “marionettes” in the Ghost army.
Artist: Maurizio Guarini
Album: Creatures From a Drawer
Released: June 2013
This is a special magGot review because all of us here at magGot Films are extreme admirers of the band Goblin, and of keyboard renegade Mr. Maurizio Guarini. I didn’t want to hog all of the blatant ass-kissing space, so I thought me and my esteemed colleague Jesus magGot would put our lips together (oh, so gay) in honour of this release.
Skeeter: I was very excited for the release of ‘Creatures From a Drawer’, Jesus, but I wasn’t sure it would be completely up my alley. I wasn’t sure that it would be much like his band Goblin, because in my mind that band is primarily (the other keyboardist) Claudio Simonetti’s child. I have to say, though, that ‘Creatures From a Drawer’ showed me just how and where Guarini’s influence affects the classic Goblin sound. In fact I found this release to have that classic Goblin sound more genuinely than any of Simonetti’s material since that era. What say thee, my Lord?
Jesus: Well my Son, I had no idea what to expect. Being a relatively new fan (I only became a proper fan when we saw them live in 2012) I came into this rather virginal. I, in fact, needed to go back through Goblin’s catalog after listening to ‘Creatures From a Drawer’, as I wanted to find, as you put it, the Guarini influence. And it truly does come out in spades, especially when you realize that several of the albums were Simonetti-less and were driven by Gaurini, including one of my favorites “Buio Omega”!
Skeeter: Well lets start off with the first couple tracks, cuz all of these deserve a little attention. They’re all so different. What do you say, Jesus?
Jesus: Fuck sakes…
Sleeter: The opening track ‘Dialogue’ utilizes some modern sounds, but would still fit well in an early 80’s art house alien picture. Perhaps one where a semi-sexy alien is captured and only the young upstart with the dreaded night shift seems to be able to ‘connect’ with her. The second track ‘Gentle Robbery’ is the most Goblinesque for my money, on the disc. This wouldn’t be outta place in a classic fleshy-headed mutant movie.
Jesus: I couldn’t agree more! Now we are all familiar with Maurizio’s work on film soundtracks however He states in the liner notes that ‘Solar Channel’ was originally written for the opening titles of a video game, and this is obvious within seconds of the track’s beginning. Visually the track takes you on a journey, I can see large landscapes with castles in the distance, or at times modern buildings within a darkened framework. The song takes you to a world that for now can only live inside your imagination… which is certainly not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.
Skeeter: I wanna play that game! More sonic chaos follows with ‘Aniens Comma 21’ which is a cool blend of synth voices, off-kilter keys, and some, well, fucking amazing drumming seemingly played by 12 coked-up elves at the same time (aka Canadian drum legend Great Bob Scott of The Look People). Next up are two tracks together that comprise the centrepiece of the album, literally and musically. ‘So Dark’ is the suspense building embellishment that leads into the incredible ‘Black Dog’ (Zeppelin be damned!). The highlight of this track, and thus the album is the haunting spoken word passages by this mystery woman Cinzia Cavalieri. I have not heard anything of late that has oozed such an evil cool.
Jesus: And this is where it feels like we should be flipping the record. ‘Beside the Cathedral’ in bright contrast to the previous track begins by soothing us out… my brain went into the gumdrop forest for some reason at first…. before the timbre changes and leads us through alleys of unknown origin. I mostly associate the back page of the leaflet’s art with this song. The characters simply come alive. Which brings us to what has to be Jesus’ favorite, the upbeat feel good ‘Looking Around’. I simply can’t sit still around the 4:13 mark! Gives me the feeling of memories of summers past.
Skeeter: I was also doing the Peanuts dance during that part. Now, rounding up the pack are the more atmospheric and futuristic ‘Magic Tunnel’ to bring images of unmentionable pleasures, perhaps from a European nudie flick, before the funky closer ‘Lost My Camera’ brings back the sick Great Bob Scott on the skins. This is another track that I could see in an arty European thriller.
Jesus: Yet another couple of tracks with high cinematic elements… but let’s be honest, I don’t think there’s track on this album that could not be used for film. Wouldn’t you agree?
Skeeter: Yes. In fact I’d say Maurizio Guarini’s ‘Creatures From a Drawer’ is the soundtrack to the greatest cult movies never made.
Jesus: Oh, so you’re just gunna one-up me, eh. Well suck on this, you Mangia-Cake: I love this album more than you do!
Skeeter: Go to hell, Jesus! I love it more!
Jesus: Well regardless of who loves it more I would certainly recommend grabbing the CD. The artwork is the added treasure that completes the album, done by none other than Maurizio himself.
Skeeter: Now that I’m done listening to the album, I’ll take a deeper look at the packaging…(does so)…Holy crap, you’re right! The liner notes and artwork are beautiful and unique. We here at magGot Films could not possibly recommend ‘Creatures…’ any higher. This is a vital record for anyone that loves classic soundtracks, atmospheric oddities, and/or the band Goblin in it’s purest form. I’m serious! Go now and buy it online from backtothefudda.com, or if you live in Toronto, come and meet the maestro Maurizio freakin’ Guarini at the Lula Lounge (Dundas W/Brock) Wednesday June 5th, 2013 for the CD release party, starting at 7:30!!! Hopefully 12 coked-up elves, and that mysterious woman will be there.
Album: The Powers That Be
Released: February 2013
I got this little gem a little late in the production schedule so I can’t give a long review, but I really wanted to include this demo from Toronto thumpers PHANTOM. Besides going with the theme of Ghosts n Goblins, I wanted to include this ‘The Powers That Be’ debut EP because I already knew I’d like it. I’d seen them live and knew that I was seeing a future force to be reckoned with. These guys had been slogging it for years as the Ash Lee Blade band until the prolific singer’s ‘retirement from metal.’
Now they have hit the reset button and started fresh with an EP of metal in it’s purist form. No swearing, no big splashy dragon on the packaging. Besides pushing a cool sense of xenophobia and paranoia in their lyrics, its just basics like “keeping the flame,” “remaining in metal” and such. Here on this recording they aren’t blowing our minds, that will come on the next releases. Here they are laying their own groundwork. The Book of Phantom, Chapter 1 : Our World, Our Rules.
The band itself are 4 of the most solid musicians that you could possibly find on the metal scene, and they are beyond lucky to have each other. On this release; D.D. Murley (all guitars and vocals) shows off his vibrato-less falsetto consistently in tracks ‘In Metal’, even adding a little King Diamond like macabre growl to the song ‘Citizen Pain’ not to mention a sweet guitar solo. Necro Hippie (Bass) has a magic three-fingered attack on ‘Keepers of the Flame’ and ‘Killing Concubine, and J.J. Blade (Drums) absolutely rips the opening title track, double bass a-pounding till the last track is spent. Producer Matt Sabbath added a solid and pure sounding frame for the listener to be in the action, hearing the slap of Necro’s bass-strings and the imperfections of the vocals. I dig that kind of thing. Takes you closer to the action.
If I had to pick a weakness it would be the vocals. Not because they are bad, in fact D.D. rips! It’s just that I wanna sing for this absolutely stacked band. It’s 100% jealousy.
You can scoop up this and any future releases at the usual online sources, and maybe we’ll see these guys on the charts someday.