Archive for March, 2012


Film Review: Agent Vinod (2012)

Easily the worst A-list actress of her generation, Kareena Kapoor, after sleeping through ‘roles’ opposite the Khans, now plays heroine to her boyfriend Saif Ali Khan, who, in and as Agent Vinod, fulfills his desire of being a hero in an action movie.

Throwing several references to the original Agent Vinod – an extra called Mahendra Sandhu (the real name of 1977’s Agent Vinod), an ISI chief called Iftekaar (the real name of the original’s villain) and the tattoo of a scorpion on all the baddies – director Sriram Raghavan, after interesting movies like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar, falls flat on his face with this lame remake of a boorish original.

There’s no plot here – just something about a nuclear bomb and its detonator that takes the movie across several countries, with people running here and there and firing guns at each other. Saif Ali Khan makes a few attempts at being humorous, but it’s impossible to take Agent Vinod seriously.

This member of the yawning audience gave up trying to make sense of the film after two and a half hours and left the movie hall, and is willing to bet a hundred bucks at the time of writing this review that Agent Vinod is still trying to detonate the bomb and has traveled a few more countries.

The only respite in Agent Vinod is familiar faces popping up every now and then. Gulshan Grover shows up at some point to watch Kareena Kapoor do a whorish mujra to a fuck-all song composed by Pritam Cheat-um, and says to a one-eyed (what a cheap tribute to the late Nawab of Pataudi) ISI officer, “Kya tum log ye sab se bore nahi hote? Mai toh bore ho gaya hoon!”

RATING: 1.5/5 


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Music Review: Cannibal Corpse – Torture (2012)

Had a smaller band released an album titled Torture, it would’ve been laughed off. But one has to take a couple of steps back in disbelief and fear when one thinks of the Cannibal Corpse logo above the word ‘torture’, because with that name comes a guarantee of unadulterated brutal death metal bliss no other band can match up to the quality of.

The visceral power of this unit is legendary; they come at you like hungry barbarians who’ve chanced upon a sheep, pounding away like it’s the first time they’ve got that chance, surprising you with how they keep their attack fresh each time without succumbing to the pressure of doing something new.

As became their style long ago, Cannibal Corpse begin the album with a frenzied assault: ‘Demented Aggression’ becomes the youngest brother of opening cuts like ‘Priests Of Sodom’ (from Evisceration Plague), ‘Pounded Into Dust’ (from Bloodthirst – my favourite CC record from the Corpsegrinder era)  ‘I Will Kill You’ (Gallery Of Suicide), ‘Devoured By Vermin’ (Vile), ‘Savage Butchery’ (Gore Obsessed) – yeah, I’m going to name them all, or as many as I can think of right now – ‘Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead’ (The Bleeding), ‘Meathook Sodomy’ (Butchered At Birth) and of course, ‘Hammer-Smashed Face’ (Tomb Of The Mutilated), ramming into you without a warning and preparing you for the next 30 minutes or so of battering, with is done in the usual way: some more pummeling tracks, a couple of fillers, instrumentals or experimental pieces of music dripping with bile. With songs like ‘Encased In Cement’ and ‘Followed Home Then Killed’, Cannibal Corpse assure you they’re going to push ‘As Deep As The Knife Will Go’.

Technically, Cannibal Corpse have never lacked anything: Chris Barnes was perfect for what they were doing back then, and George Fisher is a powerful monster with the richest growls in death metal. What am I doing? It’s pointless talking about Cannibal Corpse’s musicianship – they’re Cannibal Corpse: the band that defines death metal with every album. I’m not sure what other ‘fans’ expect of them, but I certainly don’t want them cave in to the pressure of trying to redefine their style or reinvent themselves and fall flat on their face. To hell with that… it’s thrilling to be reassured with every release that there’s one band that doesn’t care about jumping out of the vast boundaries it has created for itself and the genre.

Cannibal Corpse are relentless on Torture; predictable as you think they are, you can never guess what they’re going to do next. In the river of pus they’ll be hacking cadavers rabidly for a few seconds and then will suddenly throw you a groovy piece of flesh to rip apart as you regenerate in the fountain of blood.

Say what you will about CC, but you’ll always remember them as the most consistent death metal band ever; Cannibal Corpse have always been the best at merging gore-soaked brutality and ghastly horror with top-notch technicality to become a flesh-ripping, bloodthirsty beast that erodes everything in its path.

Torture, exactly like every other Cannibal Corpse album, is brutal death metal at its most sophisticated. It’s overpowering, even if not always overwhelming, and it’s futile trying to fight what was created to kill. We can only decompose in sickness and disease under the rotting pile of carcasses.


PUA Magic Is A Mystery Clone And His ‘Attraction Methods’ Is A Ripoff Of Every Seduction Guru Out There

So, after the infamous Shiva we have another India wannabe PUA trying to pass himself off as a seduction guru. “PUA Magic”, whose hilarious videos are all over Youtube is an Indian now living abroad trying to make a living off other seduction artists’ work.

“Magic” rehashes everything that has already been said by every other pickup artist worth his canned routine (or inner game, if you learn from naturals) and sells it under the name “Attraction Methods”.

It’s easy to figure out what he’s doing just by watching a few videos: Magic talks about everything from pickup lines and peacocking to alpha mindset and body language. In short, Magic is a Mystery clone selling the work of other PUAs as his own, adding absolutely nothing new to the game, and just repeating things that have already been taught by the masters in that atrocious accent of his. Magic should come back to India because his plagiarism of other people’s work is embarrassing as hell for Indians who have been following the seduction community. Or since his Attraction Methods is a cheap version of what is now basic seduction material, he should start thinking about a career change.

ALSO READ: Indian PUA Shiva Rips Off Other Seduction Masters


Fishing In The Arabian Sea On A Sunday Morning At Juhu Beach

It’s quite exciting to be off the sand and in the water, especially in the morning, with two fishermen telling stories about the sea, and explaining the kind of work that goes into getting the daily catch.

We requested Gajanan Mangela and his son Manohar to let us accompany them on their morning trip that would venture into water at least 20-30 feet deep, and a hundred and fifty bucks convinced them.

The father-son duo told us how fishermen monopolize the sea and the Government does nothing about it. The Government, according to the Mangelas, no longer has time to even accept bribes. They bitched some more about corrupt politicians, as do most Indians, and the boat stopped near a flag.

Every fishing team has special flags which mark their territories for the day. Flags help the fishermen know whose net is where.

Some use fishing nets that catch even the tiniest of fish, and the practice of using such nets is wrong, according to Gajanan. Netting small fish is a harmful practice; they should be allowed to grow big enough to breed. The Mangelas (and many other fisherman) throw the smaller fish that are caught in nets back into the sea.

Two of the 10 crabs that were caught in the Mangelas’ nets. I wonder what these crustaceans think of butter, garlic and pepper.

Caught making love in the shadows! These horny crabs continued their morning romp even after getting stuck in the net.

A decent catch that made the fishermen smile for a few seconds. Sharks need water that’s free of pollutants, and that’s why big sharks stay away from our seas and there are no shark attacks.

I felt this fish’s life leave as I held it. I held it for a few seconds even after I was certain it was no longer alive.

Different forms of life inhabit different shells. Not usually eaten, these creatures grow in size with the shells they dwell in.

This is what they call ‘lice of the sea’. This insect sucks the blood of fish and that’s all it ever does.

And it’s back to the shore after more than an hour of being on the boat. Sea life has greatly decreased and the number of fishermen has gone up, moans the senior Mangela, despite having caught lots of fish, shrimps, prawns and crabs. No lobsters, he complains.

But they want us to join them on the fishing expedition on Holi on their 10-horsepower boat, which is bigger than this 2hp motorboat. And it’s also the season for the dolphins to visit us, they tell us as we shake hands and thank them.


Why Metalheads Should Always Wear Black

It has been brought to my notice that some people think metalheads shouldn’t dress in black or ‘look metal’. Statements like these tend to come from people who dress exactly according to the style of music they play, and we’re going to discuss in short why metalheads shouldn’t wear anything but black. Here are a few questions:

Do you attend wedding receptions in shorts and chappals?

Even been to the beach in formal attire?

Would you put on your most colourful shirt to attend a death ceremony?

Would you pick the ugliest shirt you own to wear on your first date with a hot chick?

Do you dress shabbily when going to a party?

Then why would you disrespect your music by not dressing appropriately for your band’s show?

We already know that people attend music concerts not just to listen to live renditions of songs they like, but to also see the band. Now if you’re an extreme metal band and happen to be performing in pink/blue/yellow t-shirts, you know exactly how seriously the audience is going to take your music.

That it’s the music that matters is something we all know, but if you’re dressed like you’re on a chai-and-smoke break,  seeing your band’s live performance won’t be such a wholesome experience. Even I’ve made the mistake of not wearing black for performances and I later understood the importance of choosing the right attire.

Imagine James Hetfield dressed in clothes he picked up from fucking Hawaii.

Think of Rob Halford walking onstage in his favourite jeans and t-shirt.

Angus Young in jeans, maybe?

Or perhaps a grunge band in spikes, leather and corpse paint?

Picture your favourite black/death metal band dressed like your band.

Just ruined your fun, didn’t I?

This post isn’t suggesting you put on the battle armour when you’re out shopping or buying groceries with the girlfriend, though it would be nice and cool and funny and would keep a metalhead smiling all day. Just remember that you dress “appropriately” for all occasions and even your daily routines, so there’s clearly no harm in looking the part and delivering the goods.

There’s going to be a post next week on why some bands sing exclusively about the devil and other dark stuff, and I’m going to try and explain that in a less angry and more sensible way.

MUST READ: The Beggar Mentality | All Jains Are Poseurs | Vishal Dadlani


Music Review: Skyharbor – Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos

By Prayag Arora-Desai

It’s a precarious time for ‘djent’; most of it either still sucks – or has gotten to sucking – major ass. Meshuggah’s Koloss for example sounds pretty boring from the previews. But once in a while, braving the stereotypes and decay that have riddled the genre since Fredrik Thordendal coined its definitive onomatopoeia a few years ago, a genuinely creative worm will crawl out of the woodwork to say Fuck you! to disparaging hipsters such as myself. Like Vildhjarta from Sweden, who recently put out their debut LP; a monstrous nugget of an album that I hereby deem the most important in it’s category since Meshuggah’s Chaosphere. Really, go ahead; I’d like to see which of you has the gall to judge differently. Masstaden took Vildhjarta years to write and produce and the output is assfuckingly spectacular. Unless you’re tone deaf or stupid or something.

Presently, in the wake of Vildhjarta’s palm-muted 8-string carnage, homeboy Keshav Dhar is all set to blow minds with Skyharbor’s seminal (read: India’s first) full length contribution to djent. At least that’s the buzz. You’ve got to wonder if Dhar is shitting his pants. Or maybe he isn’t. He seems like the cool, confident sort to me. I ran into him one day at Candies where he was with Manasi Kale, this scenester friend of mine who wears only black t-shirts. We discussed for a few minutes our mutual love for Amogh Symphony and Cloudkicker. I offered him a cigarette which he refused. Then I saw him again, killing it on stage at Nh7 Weekender a few days before news broke that Basick Records would be releasing his debut album – which, like Vildhjarta, he’s been brooding over for way too long.

Then, just the other day, I got my hands on Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos.

What do I think? Well, for one I’m only too glad to have finally heard it (completely illegally of course, and I won’t get into any more detail about this). I’ve been YouTubing Hydrodjent/ Skyharbor for (literally) years now. I’ve looked forward to this album. Immensely. Getting into my first listen of Blinding White Noise…, I was smiling so much my cheekbones hurt.

It’s sort-of-pretentious and very concept-albumish that the ten tracks on BWN:I&C have been slotted under two rubrics: the first seven under Illusion; with Daniel Tompkins on vox and the rest, Chaos with Sunneith Revankar*. But it isn’t as much a concept album as they say. There doesn’t seem to be much of a theme going on here, and the tracks in themselves are strong, each with it’s own self-contained energy, but string them together and the whole thing gets as fucking repetitive as djent bands are often wont to sound. Take my advice and put this on shuffle, with a sizeable break every two-three songs. Roll up a fat one. Drink some alcohol. It’ll be fun. It might even help you overlook the cracks in the album that show up once you’re done sitting through all 48 minutes of it.

The first thing you notice is that the songs were all probably written on solely instrumental principle, and Tompkins’ vocals seem to be that last-minute, desperate add-on that adds up to no clear purpose. His voice is monotonous, whiny and tends to muffle the rather amazing guitarwork that finds itself being pushed beneath the surface. Revankar does well though, screaming like a bunch of horny werewolves in heat, and his vocals don’t so much wrestle with the guitar lines as make love to them.

On the whole, Blinding White Noise shares its fail factor with the Periphery album from back in 2010. It’s… overdone, to put it simply. I can still listen to the Hydrodjent demos off YouTube and be impressed as fucking hell, but on this one, Skyharbor hasn’t nearly created another Masstaden or Chaosphere. Even with four years of effort, Dhar’s debut lacks the organic brutality of old school Meshuggah-esque prog, and in comparison to more modern prog-metal acts, the sound is jaded, uninspired, way too imitative. Keshav Dhar has been around for long, yes, but he’ll need to stick around for a lot longer to make the impact he is truly capable of in the long haul. Which I hope he does, because I was lucky enough to discover him when Hydrodjent was still one of the coolest djent outfits around. Best of luck, dude. Make another album soon. An instrumental one, ok?


Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos releases 23rd April, 2012.

Rating: 2.5/5

*cool title for a heavy metal talk show.

ALSO READ: Prayag Arora-Desai’s review of Goddess Gagged‘s Resurfaces

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