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Changes (not the David Bowie song)

2013 was a big year for El Gore, both for the blog but also for the people involved. As it stands now, we all have full-time job and/or university duties, which is why we decided to loosen up our schedule a bit.

Trash Monday will continue without any breaks whatsoever and one review, be it music or movie, is also guaranteed. Of course, additional content might be added in busy weeks in terms of new releases.

That’s about it! We will strive to review as much as we possibly can, but for now our personal lives need to be put first. We hope you understand!

~The El Gore team~

Top 5 2013 by Yannick

2013 has been a very busy and rewarding year for me…especially in the music department. It’s been my first full year at El Gore and I managed to put out forty-seven reviews, which I’m a bit proud of to be honest, since I absolutely love doing what I do. But since the year is almost over, it’s time to compile a list of my top five albums…so here goes!

#5 Scarred – Gaia/Medea (review)

There have been quite a few really solid Luxembourgish releases this year, but to me the five guys from Scarred take the cake with their second full length. If you haven’t listened to this…you, sir or madam, have missed out big time. What are you waiting for? Go!

#4 Devildriver – Winter Kills (review)

Even though DD never really re-invent themselves completely on their biennially released albums…they always manage to suck me in and keep me there for quite a while. Winter Kills is no exception and has thus won a spot in my hall of fame this year.

#3 Stone Sour – House Of Gold & Bones Part 2 (review)

I said it last year…and the same argument is valid this time around: if Corey Taylor is involved in a project, it’s almost guaranteed to land on my list. But in the case of HoGaB Part 2 this is not pure fanboyism but actually appreciation of, arguably, the best Stone Sour album to date.

#2 Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell And Home (review)

These Canadians completely unexpectedly blew me away with their third release with the long name. While I never considered myself a true fan of melodic hardcore, I lost my musical virginity of the genre to a brilliant album, and I highly recommend giving it a go if I were you!

#1 A Day To Remember – Common Courtesy (review)
August Burns Red – Rescue & Restore (review)
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (review)
Secrets – Fragile Figures (review)

I thought about my number one long and hard. Not only is that what she said, but it’s also applicable to this list. There was just no way for me to choose between any of these four records since I’ve listened to each one at least, not even kidding, one-hundred times before putting down the first letter of my review. That’s how overwhelmed I was by all four individually. If someone held a gun to my head and asked me to choose an overall winner, I’d have to go with Bring Me The Horizon, simply because they put forth the biggest musical change…but I can honestly recommend all four records without a second doubt.

That’s it, folks. I hope you had as much fun reading my reviews as I had writing them and I hope that you enjoy the holidays: drink lots, eat lots and in case you get some cash…keep my list in mind. I’m looking forward to next year, which should see new releases by: Chiodos, Architects, Betraying The Martyrs, Slipknot, Issues and Emarosa! The local front also has two announced releases that I can’t wait to get my hands on; those being of the thrashers Sublind and the space cowboys Cosmogon!

Top 5 2013 by Luc

Yeah, 2013 was a great year, again. I am not talking about movies, because honestly, I went to the cinema only once or twice, mainly because 2013 wasn’t a very interesting movie year for me. Let’s see what 2014 will bring.

For the rest, 2013 rocked. I won’t include any private stuff, even though I could fill a top 100 with all that… but let’s see what else made 2013 so great for me.

#5 My Retro Game/Console Collection upgrade

I have always been interested in the oldschool consoles, arcade coin machines and games. Why? Well, first of all because of my childhood. I had an amazing one and I made the first gaming experiences together with my brothers and friends during this time. Secondly because of the fun factor. It is obvious that gaming graphics get more realistic from console to console but for me, it isn’t about the graphics, it is, as mentioned above, about the fun factor. So, this year I raised my Game Boy, Nintendo and Super Nintendo game collection by visiting flea markets and making good deals on Ebay. I also bought my first Dreamcast (damn, I love it and I have no clue why it flopped back in 1999) and other stuff which I won’t list now. If you are interested in the collection, you should check out my instagram as I post a lot of my stuff there.

#4 Bahnhofskino

If you are into B-Movies, listen to podcasts and understand German, the Bahnhofskino podcast is an absolute must! I discovered it this year and El Gore was already the co-host in one of the episodes. Even though I do not always agree with the hosts, Patrick and Daniel, they do a fantastic, interesting  and competent job. The Bahnhofskino podcast is hebdomadal with a new episode being released every Friday. Go and check them out!

#3 Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami was released in 2012 but I only discovered it this year during my stay in Berlin. What can I say about it? It is perfect! It’s brutal and gory with GTA 2-like graphics, a weird and hypnotic soundtrack (even though I like the in-game music, you should try Mr. Oizo’s Lamb Anger during the game) and a completely fucked-up story. If you like indie games, you know what I am talking about and are probably waiting for the follow-up. If you don’t know the game, check it out.

#2 Crust Punk/Powerviolence

Bands like Discharge, ACxDC, Charles Bronson, Fuck on the Beach, etc. really caught my attention this year. The rawness, power and aggressiveness are incredible!

#1 The El Gore Zine

It was always a personal dream to release a zine, and together with my El Gore mates and the help of other friends, we finally managed to release the first copies of the first El Gore Zine edition.
By the way, if you are interested in a copy, just drop us a message on:
Twitter
Facebook
or write us a mail: elgore1(at)hotmail(dot)com

I wish everyone a happy new year and we’ll see each other in 2014!

Top 5 2013 by Eric

#5 Grand Theft Auto

This game brought back my motivation to play videogames. Oh, and Trevor is my homeboy!

#4 Weekend Nachos – Still (review)

Nothing says fuck homophobia and all you little dipshits like this little gem!

# 3 Kelvin’s goal vs Benfica

Destroying your rival team’s title aspirations during injury time is priceless. I am a football freak and you guys got to deal with it.

#2 Jagwar Ma – Howlin (review)

If this is the new kind of indie music, I’m sold!

#1 Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Epic. Brilliant. Glorious. Best electronic masterpiece in ages!

Top 5 2013 by Denis

Another music year is going to end soon, and so I sat down and looked back at my personal highlights this year. I must say that it is a pretty hard task to choose 5 out of many good contributions, so in case you miss beauties like Motorpsycho‘s last progressive masterpiece or Serj Tankian‘s jazz experiment, let me say that those where great moments this year, but there are five other albums that occupy a slightly stronger place in my musical part of the brain.

Have a nice 2014!

 

#5 Clutch – Earth Rocker (review)

Muscle cars and cigarettes, that’s how spring 2013 started off! Clutch found a way to put lady groove in a perfect stoner rock dress; an album that still keeps the pace going in December!

#4 Fights And Fires – We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow (review)

In March, Fights and Fires released their second album and proved that they still have many things to say, or let’s say shout! Danceable post hardcore mixed with 90s elements and delivered in a cleaner production than the debut. The perfect soundtrack for Wrestlemania!

#3 The Majestic Unicorns From Hell – Valde Purgamentum (review)

“Holy fuck” where the first words that came to our dear Yannick’s head during the first listen of this instrumental metal brawl, and I guess he shared those thoughts with many others. One of those albums that will keep you awake during dark winter days.

#2 Queens of The Stone Age – … Like Clockwork (review)

QOTSA, once again, redefined their way of creating rock music, without losing the typical elements. The result: another great album from the men around mastermind Josh Homme. A band that is immune against boredom, although personally, I miss the harder days.

#1 Deap Vally – Sistrionix (review)

 

Two women, one guitar, one drumkit and one hell of a sound. This is not only my personal surprise but also my record of the year. Why? Because there is gospel, because there is soul, because there is rock and, above all, because it sounds authentic, a characteristic that is critically endangered in so-called modern rock music.

Top 5 2013 by Anna

#5 Like Lovers – Former Selves (review)

Emo is not dead. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Kerscher.

#4 Cargo (review)

A zombie short film that caught me off guard.

#3 Mambo – Bertier (review)

I get the impression that there were a lot of awesome mathy releases this year. There are three that I know of: the second TTNG (outstanding), Delta Sleep (good) and Mambo (very good), and three is a proud number when it comes to solid math rock, at least in my book. It’s an incredibly difficult musical style to master, and I have tremendous respect even for those who try and don’t fail spectacularly. So hats off to Mambo for creating a super fun record that won’t leave my iPod for an extended while.

#2 Sweetheart Come (docommentary)

The best thing to emerge from Luxembourg in a long, long time.

#1 MWTE – Attraction to Light (review)

Make no mistake, this list doesn’t reflect my actual highlights of 2013. First because my true highlights don’t have anything to do with music or film, and second because the majority of my favourite releases this year were not reviewed on El Gore. Attraction to Light, however, would have made it on my actual “best of ’13” list. I had been eagerly awaiting its production since the beginning of the year, and when I finally received the finished product, it felt genuinely rewarding. MWTE revived my love for electronica as a genre, and that secured them a place in my heart.

10 Silly German Movie Title Translations

In English: “The Satan chicks from Titfield.”

Seeing as the month of November has been somewhat stressful so far for us movie people, we’ve been sticking to top lists for a majority of the month and today won’t be an exception. For this Film Friday, we decided to compile a list with films which have ridiculous German translations. From unnecessary racial slurs and vulgarity to just plain senseless strings of words, we’ve seen everything. We tried to exclude porn films for the most part because it’s already widely known that they excel at silly titles, but there are a few soft porn/erotic flicks on the list… not nearly as many as you’d think, however. Enjoy reading this one as much as we did researching it!

#10 Deine Muschi wird um Gnade winseln (Animali metropolitani)
In English: “Your pussy will beg for forgiveness.”

#9 Sie bumste nur einen Sommer (Passaporto segnalato)
In English: “She screwed for one summer only.”

#8 Grunz – schmatz – grunz… am Anfang war das Ei (Grunt)
In English: “Grunt – smack – grunt… at the beginning, there was the egg.”

#7 Cash – Die unaufhaltsame Karriere des Gefreiten Arsch (Whiffs)
In English: “Cash – The unstoppable career of the freed ass.”

#6 Ihre Brüste wackelten im Todestakt (Passi di morte perduti nel buio, English title: Death steps in the dark)
In English: “Her breasts jiggled in step with death.”

#5 Nachts, wenn die Leichen schreien (The Devil’s Rain)
In English: “At night when the corpses scream.”

#4 Im Fummelschuppen von Buffy-County (Southern Comforts)
In English: “In the grope-shed of Buffy County.”

#3 Schlitzauge sei wachsam (Shui quan guai zhao, English title: Sleeping Fist)
In English: “Chink, beware.”

#2 Es kracht, es zischt, zu seh’n ist nischt (Now You See Him, Now You Don’t)
In English: “It bangs, it sizzles, there’s nothing to see.”

#1 Die fröhlichen Holzfäller der nickenden Fichten (Le journal érotique d’un bûcheron)
In English: “The jolly lumberjacks of the nodding spruces.”

We don’t know about you, but some of these have made their way on our to-(hate-)watch lists. If you have any additions, feel free to share!

5 Classic Horror Films That Took Us A While To Catch Up On

If you’re into cinema, you’re probably familiar with the phenomenon. There always seem to be a few classics that slip through the cracks and sit festering on our to-watch lists for years. Sadly, it’s well-nigh impossible to watch every significant movie ever made, but we film reviewers at El Gore want to try, and we’d like to document some of our impressions along the way.

#5 Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Luc: A Nightmare On Elm Street is probably the biggest surprise for me, in a positive way. I’m not a huge fan of supernatural elements in horror films, and I wouldn’t have watched this one if it wasn’t for the great 1985 B-movie The Stuff, which made use of the same rotating technique the makers of Nightmare did. I appreciate that they don’t show gore just for the sake of it, but use it intelligently. I like campy 80s horror films and this one is now among my top 10 in the genre.
Anna: This is my favourite movie on the list. I think it is a masterpiece. Genuinely creepy, intelligent and well worth the hype. It’s not so much a slasher picture as it is surrealist cinema — a genre I am not particularly fond of, but it’s crafted to perfection here. The psychology behind the character Freddy is intriguing, too. Apparently he’s a hybrid of terrifying and semi-traumatic experiences Wes Craven had as a kid (a stranger stopping and staring right into his eyes outside of his window, a bully named Fred) and his garb is very deliberate. The entire movie calls for interpretations and discussions of possible symbolism, and I love that.

#4 Friday the 13th (1980)

Luc: In my opinion, Friday the 13th hasn’t aged well at all. It’s strange how there are people being slaughtered constantly, but you still get the feeling that absolutely nothing happens throughout the movie, with the exception of the plot twist, which completely missed the mark for me. It was a massive disappointment, and my least favourite film on the list.
Anna: To be perfectly honest, I thought this one was one big pile of “meh.” I agree with Luc in that it might have worked back in 1980 when it had some sense of novelty to it, but in 2013, it is a trite and underwhelming watch. The plot twist seems to channel a bit of Psycho, but it wasn’t a light-bulb moment and even seemed somewhat off to me. As I said, I would probably review it differently had I seen it when it originally came out. But today, it’s a decent slasher. Nothing more.

#3 The Exorcist (1973)

Luc: My mother told me that when she saw this one in theatres right after it came out, she found it deeply shocking and still does. I might be desensitised, but a few demonic screams of “fuck me!” and some fake vomit are not enough to instill terror in me. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I generally don’t like movies dealing with exorcism, not even the modern ones, so it might just not be my cup of tea.
Anna: Another horror classic that, try as I might, I am unable to fully savour. I cheated with this one, because I already watched it a few years ago with friends during a sleepover. We all thought it was hilarious then, but I blamed it on the jovial setting. I watched it again two weeks ago to find that my impression remains unchanged. At this point, it’s more of a comedy to me. Maybe I was born too late, maybe I’m jaded, maybe I wouldn’t know taste if it socked me in the face with the force of a Typhoon, I have no idea. All I know is that I truly, sincerely don’t understand how The Exorcist could be scary or shocking to anyone over the age of 10.

#2 Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Luc: Even though this Polanski is unarguably a pioneer of the Satan child/satanism/demon/black magic type of movie, I think many successors have done it more effectively. What really irks me about Rosemary’s Baby is not the subject matter, but the way they treated it. The irritating performances (not the characters themselves, but the actors) are another factor in that equation. One of those films that could have stayed on my to-watch list a little while longer.
Anna: I really hate that I ended up not liking Rosemary’s Baby as much as I thought I would. I understand why it’s so highly regarded and respect it as a classic, but it just didn’t do much for me. It was unsettling in places, but even as someone who loves slow pace in movies, the plot development struck me as excessively prolonged. On top of that, I wasn’t invested in the characters in any way. What I did like were the ending and the cinematography. This film is stunning visually.

#1 Psycho (1960)

Luc: Hitchock’s work, for me, is a tricky matter. I am aware that the man has done a lot for the world of cinema, but even still, I cannot worship him as devotedly as others do. Also, I postponed watching Psycho in full for a long time because I thought I already knew its development based on the famous shower scene. Now, there are two Hitchock movies that I’ve seen and disliked, namely The Birds and Rebecca, and three that I’ve seen and regard as masterpieces: Vertigo, The Rope and as of today, Psycho. Even though it’s the oldest movie on the list, I think it works better than the other horror works on so many levels.
Anna: Psycho is fantastic. There’s not much else to add. It’s unnerving from start to finish, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire runtime, and I did not see that plot twist coming. It lives up to its reputation as first-rate and psychologically harrowing. (And unlike some famous critics, I am pro-explanatory shrink scene.)

5 Mini Reviews of Fucked-Up Francophone Films

I’ve been delving into the world of French language horror/extreme cinema lately (not least because I want to improve my French), and as the movies are piling up, I decided to deviate from the usual Film Friday format and compile a list with 5 of my most recently watched flicks. I hope you’ll find one or two that spark your interest. Let’s get down to business without further ado!

#5 Frontière(s)

The plot according to IMDB: A gang of young thieves flee Paris during the violent aftermath of a political election, only to hole up at an Inn run by neo-Nazis.

Mini review: A messy mix between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hostel with some Nazi-horror peppered throughout (also, the head of the family reminds me of Dr. Heiter from The Human Centipede.) It starts out rather promising and has its moments, but it’s disappointing overall. I feel like the movie takes too many turns, includes too many elements and is inconsistent in its theme. It’s a clusterfuck of every monstrosity and method of torture imaginable, and unless you’re into that particular niche, I’d stay away from it.

#4 A l’intérieur

The plot according to IMDB: Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

Mini review: I don’t usually feel comfortable giving excessively brutal movies a positive rating, but A l’intérieur is an exception. Firstly, in terms of technicality, ambience, suspense and unpredictability, I think this film is amazing. Secondly, I don’t believe it can be described as torture porn for the simple reason that it shows graphic violence, but doesn’t glorify it. We’re painfully aware of the fact that we’re watching a heavily pregnant woman in peril and we’re rooting for her until the bitter end. Not once are we encouraged to relish in her anguish or enjoy what is being done to her. We’re encouraged to wish for the woman and her unborn child to make it out alive, never to get pleasure out of seeing them hurt. At the very least, A l’intérieur is the epitome of “effective.”

#3 Captifs

The plot according to IMDB: A group of medical aid workers in Kosovo is kidnapped by a non Slavic gang of organ traffickers.

Mini review: This is a solid horror film. The organ trafficking thing scares me shitless, so that might be the main reason why it worked for me, but it also scores in terms of cinematography and writing. It serves as a perfect starter if you’re in the mood for a Saturday evening horror marathon.

#2 Les 7 jours du talion

The plot according to IMDB: A doctor seeks revenge by kidnapping, torturing and killing the man who raped and murdered his young daughter.

Mini review: As you might have suspected from the plot summary, Les 7 jours du talion is hands down the most depressing picture on this list. It’s dunked in nebulous shades, depraved of musical accompaniment and deals with one of the bleakest tragedies a family could ever suffer: the murder and death of a child, and the desperate craving for revenge afterwards. It goes without saying that the film is not thrilling in the mindless horror sense. It’s heavy through and through, and really does treat the subject with the necessary amount of seriousness and dignity.

#1 C’est arrivé près de chez vous

The plot according to IMDB: A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Mini review: C’est arrivé près de chez vous is an absolutely horrifying viewing experience. I see it as a Belgian counterpart to Funny Games — a harsh criticism of the exploitative nature of the media’s coverage of violence and the audience’s voyeuristic gaze. It’s shot in a mockumentary style, which helps immerse you in the story better than, say, Natural Born Killers‘ over-the-top shtick. The latter left me much less impressed and pensive afterwards. I highly recommend this brilliant cinematic satire if you believe you can stomach the disturbing and unsparing scenes of gratuitous savagery.

Anna’s Top 5 Albums for Autumn

Reviewing music is not my job around here, nor my forte in general, but today I want to write about records regardless. With all due respect to the aficionados, I’m getting a little fed up with all the post-hardcore/metalcore, and since I feel that my taste differs pretty substantially from the others, I figured I’d add a breath of fresh air by compiling a list of music you wouldn’t typically find on El Gore.

Autumn is my favourite season. I love the orange-gold-red colour palette and crisp air, I love the big scarves and boots, I love watching nature degenerate and drift into hibernation mode, I love how even though everything is dying, it still feels like the best things are just on the verge of happening. I aimed to reflect all these things in my list and tried to offer some variety while keeping it relevant to the theme. Hope you enjoy!

#5 Hakobune – Shadow on the Lawn

Takahiro Yorifuji creates the kind of tranquil sounds that even the most musically open-minded of my friends find impossible to listen to (“each song is just 10 minutes of static noise with a barely discernible tonal quality to it!”) To me, it’s music that runs entirely on intuitive emotion. A dreamscape, if you will. Ambient drone is my preferred genre for reading/writing sessions and long solitary walks, and I maintain that there’s nothing more emotionally gratifying than walking through a golden autumn wonderland while Shadow on the Lawn is playing. I encourage you to try it.

Highlights: Shadow on the Lawn, It Begins to Sway

#4 The Horrors – Primary Colours

Now for something more universally accessible. Primary Colours has an attractive sombre feel to it that runs like a guideline through the entire record and suits the darker early days of autumn. The British rock band’s second release was produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead, which is indicative of its high quality: it is dirty, passionate, even sensual at times, but somehow also stoic. Stoically passionate and sensual. I don’t know how they made it work, but they did.

Highlights: Mirror’s ImageI Only Think of You

#3 Dungen – Skit I Allt

While Swedish quartet Dungen’s best album from a technical standpoint is arguably Ta Det LugntSkit I Allt is my ultimate fall jam. It sounds just the way the crisp-air-and-sunshine combination feels. It’s sweet, almost sugary (I have an inkling that the flute is to blame), but ultimately way too pensive to topple over into kitsch. Its instrumental passages make it shine.

Highlights: Vara SnabbHögdalstoppen

#2 Lackthereof – My Haunted

Danny Seim, multi-instrumentalist, member of the band Menomena and lone mastermind behind Lackthereof, has one of the most charismatic voices and some of the most creative ideas in terms of texture I’ve ever heard. He’s known for his maximalist approach to music, but unlike his work with Menomena and most of his other Lackthereof material, My Haunted sounds very simple and understated. On most tracks, it’s Seim and his acoustic guitar with some reverb, vocal layers and percussion thrown in here and there. Still, it has this unmistakable hypnotic signature sound to it that made me fall in love with Lackthereof in the first place, and it’s become my go-to album for misty, melancholic days.

Highlights: Both of Us, Shortest Path to the Ground

#1 Tame Impala – Lonerism

I’ve tried to fight it before because I’m aware of how pretentious it sounds coming from a person my age, but I can no longer deny that most of my favourite bands peaked sometime pre-1990. I guess I just have a thing for that crackling, messy, raw-sounding kind of music that’s been largely replaced by baby smooth production. Tame Impala is an exception to the rule, and that’s why I adore them.

While their debut, Innerspeaker, is more of a summer record (and was appropriately released in May), Lonerism was made for the darker days (and appropriately released in October.) On the surface, it is perfectly hopeful and features some seriously danceable tracks, but at its very core lies sadness and nostalgia. If you get into that perfect moderately gloomy- reflective fall mood, you’ll notice.

Highlights: Endors-ToiKeep On Lying