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Japan has a style unto itself when it comes to metal, and ultimately the number of bands from the East that find success overseas are small in number. While true, that does not reflect the quality of music coming from Japan, and Serenity In Murder are a perfect example of what more bands in the symphonic side of the genre should be accomplishing. With The Eclipse, the band’s third album shows them fine-tuning their sound, and in a quick 40 minutes accomplish what many bands take twice as long to do across two discs.  

I’m not even going to try and hide it: I had the most fun in The Lego Batman Movie than I’ve had in a DC movie since Man of Steel. Riding off the hype that was The Lego Movie, the Batman from that film makes his return in the fashion you would expect: narcissism abound and a meta sense of humor that would even make Deadpool jealous. Yes, Lego Batman is certainly going to be a hit, but it’s the fact that it’s better than all the DCEU films that should make everyone turn their heads in curiosity and astonishment if they haven’t already.  

There’s nothing about Tool that isn’t shroud in mystery and secrecy. How many secrets are present on Lateralus? Are they even playing in a real time signature? Is their fifth album even going to come out at all? While the latter may never be answered, one thing that can strike the fans odd is how little they know of their frontman. It’s true, though, that Maynard James Keenan keeps a low profile when it comes to his personal life, and he has gone to great lengths to do so. A man of numerous accomplishments and ventures in his life, it only seems appropriate that a book would chronicle all of it.  

2002’s The Ring is responsible for a trend in Hollywood during the turn of the century, in which J-horror film remakes were going to become a point of focus for film studios. The film, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts, is an intelligent, atmospheric, and well acted adaptation of the 1998 Japanese film that set a high standard for these remakes, of which it hasn’t been met since. The likes of The Grudge, Dark Water, and others have been adapted for the American screen, and even The Ring’s own sequel couldn’t touch what had been accomplished with the remake. Rings, however, tries to stick to what made the first one work, but unfortunately can’t capture that sense of dread, mystery, or emotion... 

January has the tendency to bring out the worst of movies. This known fact contrasts the large numbers that the box office makes during the month of December, especially in recent months with Star Wars making a return. However, with a cult following and a debatably long break between films, the Underworld series rears its head and makes a return, using this empty time frame to cater to its loyal cult following. Never one for the critical reaction and one solely for the fans, Underworld: Blood Wars makes its best attempt to keep the series going and continue what the previous films started.  

“Another year, another Star Wars movie” is something I’m going to have to get used to saying. After Episode VII did pretty good at the box office last holiday season, the already-planned Rogue One: A Star Wars Story guaranteed fans that the franchise’s new home at Disney was going to put love and care into each of the installments that they had planned up until at least 2020. Rogue One serves as the first in an anthology series, in which the film details how the Rebels came to have the plans for the Death Star in the first place. So, that begs the question: is this a path worth traveling?  

By Hunter Cooke…. It’s not often you see an original, good heavy metal band that’s still around today creating new music while not sounding stale. I don’t consider myself a classic heavy metal guy but I have listened to my fair share of it, especially through my childhood. Tygers of Pan Tang are a heavy metal band from England that have been around since 1978 and have now again been active since 1999. Their new self-titled album mixes a classic heavy metal aspect with thrash undertones and plenty of high pitched vocals and solos.  

I think I can estimate that I’ve been enjoying metal as a genre for about nine years now, going on ten sometime next fall. Like so many others, my first bands were Iron Maiden and Metallica, both of which inspired me to pick up bass and to explore heavy metal, power metal, and thrash metal in my early days. Metallica in particular was instrumental in me pursuing heavier music, as their older material helped me find bands in similar styles that only got a progressively resulted me in the taste of music I have today. I do owe Metallica a lot, and yet I owe them an honest review with Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.  

The world of the Harry Potter franchise needs no introduction. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it, read it, or experienced it at some point. Its inspired several imitators, movie studios to rely heavily on the young adult film market, and captured the imagination of literally millions of people around the world. It’s kind of a big deal. With the core franchise revolving around the titular character having wrapped up in film format back in 2011, many would have thought author J.K. Rowling was putting the franchise to bed and living happily ever after. How wrong we were.  

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Literary fans rejoice! Through Cadabra Records, read by Andrew Leman and creepy soundscapes provided by Theologian, the delightfully dark Pickman’s Model by H. P. Lovecraft comes to frightening life!  

  New Jersey isn’t as bad as they say: sure there’s the pollution and unfriendly people, but once you get past the north-eastern part of the state you tend to find a bit of everything. Despite being cramped and filled with a ton of people, New Jersey doesn’t get a lot of the lower-to-mid tier touring bands because of a lack of a suitable venue for their shows. So technically, that’s why see plenty of bands from overseas playing venues in the Manhattan and Brooklyn area. Every now and then, however, you’ll find the brave band from Scandinavia make a venture into New Jersey, in this case Finland’s power metal titans Sonata Arctica, and you just feel inclined to venture there yourself to bear witness... 

Hot off the new releases press, Upon A Burning Body, out of San Antonio, TX, drop a hell of a load in their new album, Straight From The Barrio.  

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