Bandcamp find: Trevor Something

I have seen Trevor Something‘s name floating around on Youtube, usually on the NewRetroWave channel with his Trevor Something Does Not Exist album; it always stuck in my mind as the album artwork is by Ariel ZB, who also does all of Perturbator’s albums. I didn’t listen to that album too many times, as it seemed a bit “scattered”.

However, recently I was browsing the shoegaze tag on Bandcamp and his album Death Dream was listed. At first I only noticed the album name, so when I started listening to it and jamming along I didn’t connect that it was him. However when I did it was a pleasant surprise, as I REALLY like how he has evolved over his more recent releases. While Death Dream maintains a dark and almost sinister background, on his latest release Soulless Computer Boy and The Eternal Render it’s a lighter, “fluffier” ambient release and is amazing to relax and get lost in. That latter feeling is definitely bolstered by his masterful use of effects, whether it’s on the beats, bass, or synths.

I’m now a big fan of Trevor Something, and I can’t wait to keep listening to all of his releases and really soak it all in!

Time Travel Dilemma

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about Spaceslug’s debut album, Lemanis. Now they’re back with their follow-up, Time Travel Dilemma. There is some evolution going on, but it’s quite subtle. If you dug Lemanis, you’re gonna love this one. If you were expecting more changes or shake-ups, I don’t think Spaceslug is gonna be your jam. For me, this is the perfect music when I need to slow down and just live in the current moment.

Bandcamp find: Ruby the Hatchet

Need some nice 1970s style fuzz psychedelic rock? Well then Ruby the Hatchet might well be the thing you need, man! The sound? HUGE. Bigger than some doom bands I’ve been checking out. Add in excellent sound mixing and quality, and finish it off with fantastic female vocals, and you have a contender for one of my favorite finds of 2017!

Dragons of Autumn Twilight

It’s been a very long time since I’ve last read the Chronicles trilogy. It was in middle school that I first learned about it, likely from my friend “Chip” who also introduced me to RPGs. What’s the connection? The Chronicles trilogy takes place in the Dragonlance universe (created by the book’s co-author Tracy Hickman with his wife Laura, and expanded with the help of the book’s other co-author Margaret Weis), used by TSR (and later Wizards of the Coast) as a setting for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons as well as a multitude of books. Regarding the latter, I’m pretty sure the Chronicles trilogy was by far the most popular. I remember reading quite a few other Dragonlance novels, but I can’t recall which ones, let alone what they were about.

Awhile ago I re-purchased the original paperbacks off of eBay, meaning to re-read them at some point. That time finally came a few weeks ago, when I sat down with the first book, opened it, and came to a horrible realization: the text was too small! Getting old sucks, yes, but seriously it’s really small. I guess for the paperback size it had to be that small in order to come in at a decent page-count. So, I set the books aside in my “to donate” stack, went on Amazon, and purchased the first book for my Kindle. While I still hate using PDFs/tablets/etc. for RPG material, for reading a book it’s just too nice using a Kindle: no holding a book open or page flipping, long battery life on the Kindle’s e-ink screen, and I can even read on my phone or online if I want to.

ANYWAYS, how was my impression of re-reading the book after so long? After all, I had tried to re-read a Forgotten Realms book years ago, and oh the pain! In contrast, I think Dragons of Autumn Twilight holds up fairly well, even though it’s still clear in spots that the writers were still fairly green at the time, and a better editing job could have greatly helped. While we get some insight into each of the main characters, we don’t get much about the main villain. He’s just there, described as the bad guy with the evil queen’s support, and then at the end is a quick fight.

I wanted more backstory for Tanis, and I wanted more development between him and Laurana. I wanted more backstory for all of the characters, honestly, to give them more motivation for their actions now. From what I can remember I think Dragons of Winter Night does go more into that. I did enjoy re-reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight more than I anticipated, so I know it won’t be too long before I pick up the next two.

Grave Encounters

It’s very rare for a horror movie to truly scare me. There’s been many that have made me uneasy, or even a genuine sense of dread, but not along the line of thinking as holy shit what’s going on, stop moving, don’t go down that hallway! I would say The Descent and Paranormal Activity have succeeded with that, and the most recent to really make me question what in the world was going on is Grave Encounters.

A reality show host and crew lock themselves in an abandoned psychiatric hospital to try to find any activity. The first few hours are uneventful as they move around, setting up cameras and checking out some weird feature explained by the caretaker.

Once evening comes, the caretaker is filmed leaving along with chaining the doors closed. The crew makes a big posturing stand on camera, but as soon as recording is finished they relax and assume it will be yet another uneventful stay at a supposedly haunted location. It isn’t before long while walking around that the crew starts to hear weird things, and then one of them disappears, starting to create panic for the rest.

Coming up to the climax of the film, more and more weird sounds happen, and even sightings start to manifest. No other members disappear, but the greatest things (to me) that really sets up the tension and feeling of dread is when they start to realize that time is not passing as it should, as well as the layout of the building isn’t following what is shown on the map.

Near the end of the film, panic is at full tilt, with the crew yelling and running around. A few more are attacked and killed, with the remaining starting to think they’re going out of their mind. The last scenes are a mixed bag for me, trying to put too much explanation into things that don’t really need it.

All of that being said, Grave Encounters is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a number of years, mainly because it relies more on atmosphere and dread rather than gore. I don’t plan to see the sequel, but I do hope to find more movies similar to this!