The new issue of Ghost Cult’s digital magazine is out now! Ghost Cult #19 features an in-depth interview with The Atlas Moth’sStavros Giannopoulos. The June release of The Old Believer (Profound Lore) was a previous Album of the Month for us. Other features include Arch Enemy, Anathema, EyeHateGod, Killer Be Killed, Tombs, Whitechapel, Cradle of Filth, Prong and Lionize. We also have special features such as Metal Book Reviews, a recap of Maynard James Keenan’s (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) Birthday Celebration, Unsigned bands, album reviews and more. As we do every issue we present concert reviews from around the world from the likes of Neurosis and Ghost B.C., as well as metal festival reviews like Maryland Deathfest, Scion A/V Rockfest and the inaugural Temples Festival. Read it on our site and download it for your smartphone or tablet.
Women in heavy music is a polarizing topic, steeped in sexism and fraught with concepts of ability, power and entitlement. For female musicians who love their music hard, not much has changed since the 70’s when certain brave women cranked their amps to 11 and dared to rock a stage. There may be more female musicians in bands nowadays, but it takes more than numbers to establish true progress. There have been articles, books and blogs written about it, so does Not Just Tits in a Corset by writer/photographer Jill Hughes Kirtland break any new ground?
Well, not really. However, what Kirtland has done was put together a comprehensive book celebrating the past and present women of Metal, and letting them tell their stories as opposed to the author voicing her views with trite comments from the musicians thrown in. It is a good read, and it was great that she not only mentioned and interviewed famous Metal women such as Cristina Scabbia and Angela Gossow, but that she dug a little deeper, featuring unsung heroines such as Addie Lee of Fanny, Betsy Bitch of Bitch, and Linda McDonald of Phantom Blue/Iron Maidens. It is structured in a linear way, from The Runaways and Fanny in the 70’s, through the 80’s with the California scenes and to the Hard Rock/Metal Queens of today. Throughout, the song sadly remains the same then as now – incredible highs of success, camaraderie, male support and total control of the music and image, to the lows of sexism, disrespect, and dismissive attitudes. Kirtland never loses sight of keeping things positive overall, focusing on how these women have persevered and remained true to their calling. It had to be a tough balance for Kirtland in trying to create a layout and flow that was eye-catching and easy to read, but still had journalistic integrity. There are times when artists are mentioned in a cursory manner, but that is tempered by powerful statements from several women who have been in the trenches. The Table of Contents’ many exclamation points screams “tabloid” and initially raises some doubts about how serious this book could be taken, but then her heart-felt preface dials it back to why the screaming is necessary – to be heard and to be taken seriously – by those who refuse to pay attention and acknowledge woman’s presence in this scene as musicians, writers, managers, label-owners, promoters, photographers, etc. I also commend Kirtland for not only focusing on the female Metal singers, but also reminding readers that many women are actually instrumentalists in the band, interviewing such as hard-hitting drummers as Justine Ethier (Blackguard) and Roxy Patrucci (Vixen). There are certain notable hard rockin’ women that are not mentioned at all (no Heart? No Skin from Skunk Anansie? No Ice Age?), but that just shows how many women were and are out there in Hard Rock/Metal doing their thing!
The mighty Doro Pesch does the preface and is further featured in the book. This is totally fitting, and I feel that if there was one woman who embodies the enduring spirit of Metal, it is her. There are many great pictures of the artists, making the book better for your coffee table than on a shelf. Not Just Tits in a Corset may not leave the reader feeling any better (or different) about how women in Metal are viewed and treated, but it will leave a sense of pride, positivity and empowerment while turning one on to artists they may not have heard of before. A satisfying blend of history, commentary, pictures and styles, this is a book that is a must-read for every Metalhead worth her – and his – salt.
Heavy Metal Movies (Bazillion Points), written by Mike “Beardo” McPadden is a project the likes of which any metal geek-movie geek fusion would be proud to have accomplished in their lives; proof that they have indeed seen more movies than you, and can tell you how headbangingly awesome each is in their own way. Indeed, this titanic titanium tome does indeed show, rather than tell the sheer amount of neck-snapping cinematography observed by one man needed to even dare a book of this lethal thickness. From A to Z, it’s an outpouring of movie mayhem and magick from teenage stoner boners to Nordic loners; rockumentaries and mockumentaries; canon appearances by the metal gods on screen and on record; from swords to spaceships, and from monsters to Manson (Editor’s note: both Charles and Marilyn), this book packs it all in, dating from the silent era Nosferatu (1922) to the modern Hollywood bombast of The Hobbit (2012) and a whole hell of a lot of stuff in between that inspired distortion, patched denim, leather, and poor hygiene worldwide.
No small undertaking, indeed, and it is by no means exhaustive —there’s only so much movie madness a man can take, what with repeated viewings— but after the decades of retinal abuse, surround sound pounding, and mental torment the equivalent of ten thousand screaming Metal shows, with enough theatre expertise to fill a million beer-drown’d dive bars, is it worth viewing?
The first thing to take into account is that not every movie will get equal attention. It’s clear which movies Mike is not entirely familiar with, as some get a full, comprehensive summary, and others read like a short IMDb synopsis. The subjective nature of movies also may lead you to find yourself disagreeing with him from time to time. For instance, he totally trashes the 1995 Judge Dredd, but gives praise to How To Train Your Dragon (2010); no bueno for me there, bud. Nevertheless, you’ll find great joy in flipping through at random, finding movies you’ve either seen and loved/hated or only heard of; from underground foreign titles that only exist on VHS to the readily available titles in a store near you, you’ll not be stuck for heavy viewing material.
All eras of metal mania on the big screen are represented, and no genre is left untouched, except perhaps romance, because romance isn’t metal. Half the fun of looking through this book is seeing the posters of movies both familiar and obscure, drinking in all of the imagery and titles that inspired rock, metal, punk and hardcore’s unique sense of aesthetic. While the weight of the book and the inclusion of so many titles show that a lot of thought and work went into its making, it does fall short with the apparent lack of peer editing.
For instance, the Eraserhead review reads awkwardly, mentioning Jack Nance’s iconic hairdo twice, in amnesiac fashion. As entertaining as the ‘reasons’ for why a movie is metal are —marked none-too-discretely by pentagrams—, an index would be oh-so helpful; what if I want to specifically flip to more post-apocalyptic movies, movies specifically with metal soundtracks, or ones that deal with censorship, or have fun with possessed nuns? He misses the chance to reference grind band Maruta’s name in relation to Men Behind The Sun (1988); how many other small oversights have there been that steal from the overall potential richness? The book is, frankly, quite messy due to the lack of features that make it easy to selectively navigate, but as I mentioned, it’s best for flipping about aimlessly. Be prepared to hellhound-ear this thing to hell.
Where the book fails, however, its strengths are there to remind you that it’s all in good fun. Sure, it’s not a definitive encyclopaedia with every single cool moment delineated scientifically for your judgmental camera of a brain. It’s a book by a geek, geeking out in print, for other geeks to enjoy. Want to know about every Metallica documentary, every Alice Cooper cameo, and just how many Z-grade alien movies you can watch without cooking your brain? If you’re willing to have a chaotically heavy and at times, brutally eggheaded read under 666 pages, by all means, go for it.