Reviews

Various Artists: Metals Darkside [DVD]

Ex-porn stars and metal, what could be better? Uh lots of things, it so happens.


Various Artists

Metal's Darkside - Vol. 1: The Hard and the Furious

MPAA rating: N/A
Label: MVD Visual
UK Release Date: Available as import
US Release Date: 2007-01-30
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Various Artists

Metal's Darkside - Vol. 2: The Deeply Disturbed

Label: MVD Visual
US Release Date: 2007-01-30
Amazon
iTunes

What do you get when you combine a former porn starlet with some of the most noteworthy names in extreme metal? The quick answer: a pretty damned underwhelming product. That said, while it's awfully easy to heap scorn on this pair of amateurish DVD-zines hosted by Jasmin St. Claire, her enthusiasm, her love for the genre, and her willingness to showcase artists that never get any exposure on American television is admirable. If only she'd make the series more about the artists and their music, and less about her, because if you don't know already, this extremely extroverted, opinionated lady loves to spout off about anything and everything.

Metal's Darkside is actually a good idea. St. Claire, who has since retired from the adult entertainment biz and is a well-known spokesmodel for BC Rich guitars, has wisely used her own notoriety to help promote the series, and her guests on both volumes are all good ones. However, shot on extremely low-budget home video, and featuring introductions by St. Clair in front of painfully tacky bluescreen images, we can't help but wish that the whole product had a more professional touch.

The first installment in the series, dubbed The Hard and the Furious, has its moments. George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, vocalist for death metal greats Cannibal Corpse is candid and forthright, offering intelligent, thoughtful answers in spite of some rather inane questions posed by St. Claire (do we really need more questions about how wrong censorship is?). The boys from Death Angel and the members of Nevermore are all good sports, and provide a few good laughs, but St. Claire has a habit of interrupting answers with her own opinionated, and often loud interjections.

A 2004 interview with Damageplan is included, and while we can't help but be reminded of the horrible fate of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot in the weeks that followed the interview, Dime's brother Vinnie Paul projects his usual likeable presence throughout the conversation, humorously telling the tale of how the Stanley Cup was dented at his house in 1999 ("The worst part was, the USA Today headline read, "Stanley Cup damaged at drummer's house!"). The one interview that does come out decently is her conversation with Satyr from Norwegian black metalers Satyricon, as she sits back and allows the surprisingly polite musician to answer the questions. The extras on the DVD are skimpy, the most cringe-inducing of which being a lengthy, tiresome diatribe by a bubble-bathing St. Claire (sorry guys, no nudity) who either declares that certain bands "fucking sucks" or certain public figures should "fucking die".

Volume Two, The Deeply Disturbed, is a mild improvement. The interview with Terrance Hobbs and Frank Mullen from veteran death metal band Suffocation works rather well (especially Mullen's hilarious explanation of how practical a serial killer Ed Gein was), as does the piece with Shadows Fall, but St. Clair's questions become more and more redundant the more interviews she conducts (how many times must we endure the same "gun to the head" question?). There is one hilarious moment during the Exodus interview; when St. Clair asks guitarist Gary Holt what band from his era does he wish deserved to be more popular, his quick reply is, "Uh, us?"

It's nice to see a lesser-known band get some attention, as LA nu-metal outfit Deconstruct is given some time, while more well-known American upstarts the Black Dahlia Murder make their usual public plea for weed money. Again, the extra features don't exactly deliver, as videos by Fight Paris and Firewind are tossed in as filler, while a "tribute" to festival fans is nothing more of several minutes of various chuckleheads going "Whoo!" to the camera.

If it had a slicker look, Metal's Darkside would be much easier to digest, but even if it did have a bigger budget, the interviews, while mildly engaging, don't exactly tell the fans of the bands anything they don't already know. The bottom line is, Ms. St. Claire obviously puts her metallic heart into this project, and she does have good taste in music and movies (anyone who digs River's Edge is pretty cool), but it's hard to justify paying 15 bucks for either DVD. It's an earnest project, but in the end, while it would make for an above average public access cable program, as a DVD, the series sadly falls flat.

3

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image