AV Maniacs formerly DVD maniacs

Archive for December, 2010

The Forum Has Been Upgraded and is Now Open

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The forum has been upgraded to the latest version of  Vbulletin. As you may notice, it doesn’t quite the same. In fact, it looks pretty generic. This is because the newest version of the forum software wasn’t compatible with our older color scheme. I could have kept the forum closed for a while to try to fix everything, but since this upgrade took so much longer than planned, I decided to reopen it for all – it’s been too long hasn’t it?I will be working on getting the forum back to it’s original look and feel over the extended holiday weekend. Either way, I hope the bland visual look won’t keep you from posting. Anyway, enjoy the new, and hopefully, stable forum.

Book Review: Jeff Wagner’s Mean Deviation

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Mean Deviation: Four Decades Of Progressive Metal

By: Jeff Wagner

Published by: Bazillion Points Press

Released on: 12/1/2010

MSRP: $24.95


Jeff Wagner knows his heavy metal. He was the editor of Metal Maniacs for some time and has since published books, done liner notes, and more or less ‘been around.’ This experience and knowledge makes him a pretty solid pick to pen a tome on the most bastardized of musical genres, but rather than just write about metal as a whole, Wagner has narrowed his focus on the progressive side of heavy metal. Great. Another book about Rush and Rush clones, right? Well, that does come into play here. By default it has to. That said, this three hundred plus page tome casts its net with a pretty wide birth and winds up pulling in some really and truly interesting insight, criticism, and musical history that should appeal to anyone with an interest in metal, progressive or otherwise.


Wagner, quite logically, starts at the beginning. He opens up discussing the influence of sixties era prog rock on the metal community, how it lead to Black Sabbath’s more experimental work, how it gave birth to Rush, and how more marginally more obscure early prog-metal bands like King Crimson would have influence over a lot of what was to come. From the seventies we move into the eighties as metal gets harder and death and thrash metal are born. Here he discusses the influence of bands like Queensryche, Fates Warning, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Death, Watchtower and then later Dream Theater and the countless clones they inspired.


Wagner also heads into Europe quite frequently to cover the evolution of Scandinavian prog-metal, with a lot of focus given to Norwegian imports such as Opeth and, to a lesser extent Mayhem, as well as Swedish prog-metal masters Meshuggah. He more or less wraps up his chronological exploration of all things prog-metal by bringing us into the present day and discussing some of the more recent entries and with some speculation as to where it all might go.


Wagner’s book is written with a lot of passion and insight. Not personally being a huge ‘prog-metal’ fan it was hard to say ahead of time how much value there would be inside, but it turns out to be a consistently entertaining and interesting read for anyone with an interest in metal at all. Of course, as mentioned, Wagner covers the titans of the genre. Rush, Dream Theater and Queensryche all get a lot of coverage here and that’s all well and good. They deserve a place in this book, it wouldn’t be complete without them. Where the book excels, however, is in its coverage of the numerous forgotten prog-metal bands and in its coverage of the more obscure groups who took and continue to take stabs at expanding what metal can be.


Those looking for massive, stretching biographies will be disappointed – this isn’t that type of book and for most of the heavy hitters, there are (sometimes numerous) books out there that provide that type of information. This is instead a look at the formation and evolution of the prog-metal subgenre of heavy metal. As a how, why, and where explanation of prog-metal and its many deviations, it makes for very readable material. Wagner’s style is intelligent and well informed without coming across as pretentious or heavy handed. His passion for this music comes through on pretty much every page and the man writes with enough style that the book is never dull. On top of that, the book is nicely illustrated with black and white pictures throughout and contains a nice full color section in the middle. Illustrations throughout which come courtesy of Voivod’s Michel Langevin give parts of it an appropriately spacey feel while the index and appendices make the book a convenient reference volume as well.


For more information on Mean Deviation, check out the Bazillion Points website here.

Win Family Guy – It’s A Trap on DVD

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


Return to the Griffins’ version of that galaxy far, far away as their freakin’ sweet saga continues with “Family Guy: It’s A Trap!” – arriving exclusively on Blu-ray and DVD December 21st from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. In the third installment of the hilarious Star Wars satire – following 2005’s “Family Guy: Blue Harvest” and last year’s “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side“ – the Griffins reprise their intergalactic roles in an outrageous retelling of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

In this spectacular and offensively uproarious final chapter, Luke Skywalker (Chris) and Princess Leia (Lois) must travel to Tatooine to free Han Solo (Peter) by infiltrating the wretched stronghold of Jabba the Hutt (Joe), the galaxy’s most loathsome and dreadful gangster. Once reunited, the Rebels team up with a tribe of Ewoks to combat the Imperial forces on the forest moon of Endor. Meanwhile, the Emperor (Carter Pewterschmidt) and Darth Vader (Stewie) conspire to turn Luke to the dark side, and young Skywalker is determined to rekindle the spirit of the Jedi within his father. The Galactic Civil War has never been more outrageous, as the Rebel forces gather to attack the seemingly defenseless and incomplete second Death Star in the battle that will determine the fate of the galaxy.

Adding to the fun, “Family Guy: It’s A Trap!” is loaded with hysterical cameo voice spots – including Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn reprising their roles from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Adam West (“Batman”), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars Trilogy) and conservative talk radio juggernaut Rush Limbaugh as the voice of the large carnivorous repto-mammal, the Rancor.

Follow Darth Stewie on his national balloon tour here – http://twitter.com/stewie_vader, and also make sure to visit http://www.whackanewok.com/ to play the new Family Guy Star Wars “Whack and Ewok” game!

To win your own copy of “It’s A Trap!” on DVD, simply answer the following question:

Who does the voice of the Rancor in “It’s A Trap”?

• Jon Stewart
• Rush Limbaugh
• Bill Mahr
• Jay Leno

Dark Stars Rising From Shade Rupe On Shelves 12/14 From Headpress

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Conversations from the Outer Realms
by Shade Rupe
The smaller half of Penn & Teller ends his silence for a lengthy discussion of magic and falsehoods, Divine opens the closet during his transition to playing male roles, Crispin Glover gives love to Fassbinder, Faster Pussycat! Kill, Kill!’s Tura Satana tells it like it is from burlesque shows to Hollywood, Alejandro Jodorowsky showers cinema lovers with psychomagic, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge lays down the gauntlet with his creations Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and much much more.
DARK STARS RISING: CONVERSATIONS FROM THE OUTER REALMS is a collection of 27 candid interviews spanning 24 years with unique, free-thinking artists, from America, Austria, and beyond. Working in different media, countries, constraints, and freedoms, the vortex here is created by New York film writer Shade Rupe, known for his avant interests and the cultural realm he inhabits with his Funeral Party books. Everyone in this collection has produced artifacts that affect the heart, mind, soul, and future.
With over 500 stunning photographs and illustrations, many previously unpublished, DARK STARS RISING is a visually sensational pulsating miasma—a hearty feast for the mind!
• “The most fearsome creatures in the transgressive cinema.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times“
• “An untamed grab bag of gonzo weirdos in one lovingly sculpted collection. A must-have for miscreants of almost every persuasion.” – Chris Alexander, Fangoria
• “There is a smarter universe out there and Shade may just have inadvertently mapped its manifesto.” – Steven Severin, Siouxsie and the Banshees
• “Nobly horrific. I loved it!” – Ken Russell, director Altered States
Shade Rupe lives in Manhattan and publicizes, assists, and attends film festivals the world over, including Sundance, Toronto, Sitges, and Cannes. His screenplay Fear Factory will be produced in 2011.
ISBN 978-1-900486-69-9 Binding Paperback Size 9.5” x 6.9” x550pp
Market Art/Biography Price $27.95
Illustrated 500 b&w photos and 8 color plates
Publication Dec 8, 2010 Publisher Headpress
Trade distribution: SCB
A book published by HEADPRESS Suite 306, The Colourworks 2a Abbot Street London, E8 3DP, UK