Metal and Movies

From Pet Sematary and Avengers: Endgame to Periphery and Belzebubs – big-screen releases and the heaviest new albums

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Kicking off this month’s movie releases is Pet Sematary. After the success of 2017’s It we were bound to get another Stephen King remake. Chapter 2, Pet Sematary hopes to quench some thirst for the horror novel master.

After relocating from the city a family discovers a mysterious burial ground in the woods by their new rural property. When tragedy befalls them they unwittingly set off an unnatural chain of horrific events. Unfortunately, the tagline, “sometimes dead is better” is all too fitting here. This remake fails to live up to the original novel and the movie that no doubt spurred its production.

From the acclaimed stop motion studio Lakia, Missing Link provides some perfect family entertainment for the Easter break. As with its most recognised films Coraline and Kubo, Missing Link is a lovingly crafted charming fantasy tale. This time an 8ft tall hairy figure goes on an adventure around the world in search of his long lost relatives.

More suited to purely younger audiences is the CGI adventure Wonder Park, a movie about a young girl’s imaginary theme park filled with crazy rides and characters.

Family entertainment also kicks off a big month for comic book movies with DC offering up the surprisingly good Shazam! Despite my feelings (read irritation) about the original comic character – who funnily enough was originally called Captain Marvel – the movie has become a fun action-packed hit. Bestowed with the powers of an ancient wizard, 14-year-old Billy Batson can transform into the hero Shazam, a premise that offers up a lot of the movie’s fun and humour. What would a 14 year old do if they had Superman-esque physique and powers.

Marvel’s big movie this month is a hard one to miss. After 10 years and 22 movies that have been leading to this point it’s hard to approach Avengers: Endgame without hype and scepticism. Already breaking box-office pre-sales records, it’s the sequel and conclusion to last year’s Infinity War, which saw half the cast/world wiped out in “the clickening”. We finally get to know who and how people come back.

Details are scarce, rumours and fan theories are rife, stars and makers are tightlipped, trailers for previous films have included fake-outs and alterations – so who knows? What we do know is that Spider-Man, despite being dust, must return as he has a movie due out later in the year for which there are already trailers. Captain Marvel will no doubt play a big part. Rumours surround Ant-man and the Quantum Realm, Dr Strange and the Time and much more.

The final comic offering is Hellboy. Initial reactions have been mixed for David Harbour’s (Stranger Things) portrayal of the horned, red anti-hero with a big hand, previously played by Ron Perlman. Either way, from trailers and initial footage it looks pretty close to Mike Mignola’s original comics in style and tone.

One thing’s for sure – Hellboy would definitely approve of this month’s metal albums. Djent pioneers Periphery’s new album kicks off with the hefty 16-minute track Reptile. Never ones to do things by the book, Periphery IV: Hail Stan is the sixth album from the band and is rife with complex time signatures, sweeping choruses and some of their heaviest material of recent years. Lighter tracks like It’s Only Smiles and Satellites are more accessible to newcomers and act like a musical gateway drug to the likes of Blood Eagle and Chvrch Bvrner.

Preview single Shut Up for New Years Day’s upcoming album starts with a poppy hip-hop hook before bringing in a few underlying metal tones. It’s a little bit of a fake out for what is all in all a much heavier album. Still, the pop influences remain but the deep bouncing riffs take more prominence. Frontwoman Ash Costello offers up a varied vocal to match the music, mixing sultry vocal fries that would make heyday Britney jealous with great cleans and screams to match.

Alpha Wolf’s Fault makes wise use of full-on driven riffs and heavy breakdowns for a short but very effective metalcore album

Next a few metalcore releases. On the hardcore side, Polar release Nova, an album packed with neck-snapping riffs. Although it does what it does well, it ends up being a little formulaic. The blast beat riffs may be crushing but the over-reliance on switching between screams with harsh riffs and big crowd-sung choruses offers little movement, apart from a couple of short electronic bridge tracks and closing track Brother.

More typical modern metalcore, Imminance’s Turn The Light On offers a little more in the way of dynamics and flow. Stand-out track Room To Breathe shows just that, whereas Alpha Wolf’s Fault makes wise use of full-on driven riffs and heavy breakdowns for a short but very effective metalcore album.

Possibly the cutest death metal band in the world, Belzebubs may be portrayed as a cuddly comic strip but their music is anything but. Their new album Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods is pure black/death metal. Atmospheric intros? Check. Blistering double kick drum? Check. Whimsical solos? Check. Guttural vocals? Check.

Grand Magus offer a little more traditional heavy metal on Wolf God. Perfectly timed for the return of Game of Thrones, its songs conjure scenes of warriors and fantasy battles. It may not be the heaviest release this month but it will certainly get fists pumping and horns raised when they return to Bloodstock Festival later in the year.

Finally supergroup The Damned Things return with High Crimes, featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die) and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio. Whether you like this album will depend if you’re a fan of their other bands. They sound like the exact sum of their parts, with a little hard rock thrown in for good measure.

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