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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (Soundtrack – Midnight Syndicate)

AxeGiantSoundtrackLRWhen you think of a giant, a picture of a large hulking beast normally comes to mind. The beast making each step look extremely difficult to take with the foot landing in a manner that it shakes the ground nearby as it crushes the land and knocks over smaller trees. This is what you will get a sense of in the very first track in the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The soundtrack for the Gary Jones film, “Axe Giant the Wrath of Paul Bunyan” produced by Midnight Syndicate.

The film’s plot takes the viewer into a group of first-time offenders at a boot camp who find out, the hard way, that Paul Bunyan is real. The problem they find is the legend is a bit different from what many of us grew up with as a child. This Paul, he isn’t so friendly, in fact he swings a mean axe.

This is about all I will say on the movie as this is more about the music featured in the movie. It is of course composed by Edward Douglas and produced by Midnight Syndicate. The music is something that had it been featured a bit more in the movie may have helped me enjoy the film experience more.

The problem in many of these films is that you either get the brilliant soundtrack to be too loud or under-utilized as it is just small background noise that if louder helps build tension. The piece S.T.U.M.P.S Meet Bunyan is a great example of how a piece of music could really set a scene. The piece uses a combination of low base like tones to show Bunyan’s movement and his ever changing gate as he chases the kids. The kid’s movements are met with a higher pitched sense of quicker musical movements that fit perfectly with a group running for their lives.

The album makes use of several lower toned pieces of music and brass movements to help give the listener a mental image of the giant.  His movements can be understood through the sound of the brass instruments representing steps and other movements Bunyan could be making. The music fitting what must be seen in the film, much like the seventh piece on the album, No Escape.

There are other great pieces on the album such as, The Legend of Paul Bunyan. The piece uses what sounds much like a guitar, or banjo, to give you a musical interlude to the legend. It would fit in perfectly behind the telling of what brought Paul to this place in his life and why he became the giant he is in the movie.

There is one additional track on the soundtrack that was written and performed by one Hickory Hawkins.  Hawkins is the lead guitarist of the band Hickory Hawkins and the Panty Sniffers who have been playing their style of music for years. The band’s music has a rockabilly sound that combines country music with that of the punk music scene.  So it is no surprise that the piece “The Ballad of Paul Bunyan” does a great job of telling the listener of how Bunyan got to be who he is now. It’s a toe tapping piece that makes a great use of a guitar and Hawkins voice.

Sadly in the case of many movie reviews this great soundtrack does not get much mention. Instead you will find many reviews calling the film a mediocre B-horror movie and pointing out some of the poor acting.  This in a way is a shame as they are not pointing out that the music played behind the movie is brilliantly well done by Douglas and Midnight Syndicate. It is just another great entry into the work that they have done and can stand alone from the movie. However, if you are like me, you will find yourself looking for the movie to see how the music is used. Who knows maybe you will also wonder had the music been a tad higher the film could have been even better than I thought it was.

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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Reviews

 

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The Disclaimers on Knightmist’s Blog

DisclaimerI apologize for this possible re-post for some but as I gain new followers I want to put out a disclaimer on my blog and my blogging practices. Also as it’s a new year it’s that time for a re-post.

First there is the source for my books. I do get some from authors who reach out to me and ask me to review their books. It’s always a great honor to have an author come to me, and this has also happened in the case of other media. A great example is Midnight Syndicate who reached out to me about their music.

I also use forums, and groups, on GoodReads as a way to find authors.  There are groups out there that you can join and put your name and blog out there, or look for those who want reviews. I have gotten books from individuals that way as well.

The other source is my own “leg” work in which I find a book on Amazon or a local book store and pick the book up.  I will try and contact the author to see if they’d be interested in doing the interview questions I have on the blog and if interested I will post those. In fact I am now doing my best to get an interview with all new authors I read on my blog.

So, yeah, some of the items are sent to me, but one thing I DO NOT GET PAID for my reviews. If anything I will often get an Ebook format of the book, or an occasional hard copy. It is up to the author involved if I have not purchased the book.

My review style is not here to point out what I dislike about the book, or what does not work. My style is to give you highlights about the book and hope that you find them worthy of checking the book out yourself. I do not want to turn someone off of something just because I dislike it, and at same time if I like something it’s possible the next reader will not.  So that is why my reviews do their best to point out what others may enjoy who are fans of the genre in question.

I will review just about anything that I can as you may have noticed. I will review movies I stumble across that I feel have not gotten enough attention.  There are review books, music and movies, and who knows what could be next.

The books I review are read in order received, or purchased.  They are done as soon as I can as I find I’m an avid reader and can often get through a book in a week and the smaller ones sooner. I however try to keep it down to one review a week as not to take the spotlight away from the item I am featuring.

After a review sits on my blog for a week, or a few weeks, it will get crossed posted to their places. Often this is Amazon and on GoodReads and its just something additional I do without being asked and just something I decided to do.

My personal life stories and my short fiction are just that mine. They are works that come from my mind and reach the internet through the formation of words that become a sentence and thus paragraphs. They are then entered into the WordPress new post engine and posted on the internet. Those stories that are fictional are just that. Names and places are not meant to correspond with anyone real and if they do, well just a lucky guess on a mashed up name I came up with when writing. Now, if it’s a city or location well that is on purpose to help tell the story.

So there we have it this is the end of my Disclaimer and basically how the blog works. If you have questions you can email me at Knightmist72@gmail(dot)com.  Yeah I did the (dot) to make it harder for scammers as some cannot think. Oh and please no grammar coaches or spelling “bees” need apply as this is a quickly put together post to be informative.

Thank you all who continue to follow the blog and take time to check out the new posts. If you like what you are finding share with your friends, family, and even enemies if you want. As an avid reader it is always good to know people are reading my words as well. So again thank you for taking time in visiting the blog and don’t be a stranger.  You are welcome back at any time and can help yourself to the internet fridge and find your favorite beverage as you read. If you prefer coffee, tea or hot chocolate there is always a single cup coffee machine available as well.

Shawn “Knightmist” Micallef

Also to  make it easy this time I have put contact information to email me, but note to avoid some Spam there are slight changes to email address to avoid spam. Some spaces and words where symbols belong.

Reach me by email at: Knightmist72(at )gmail (dot) com

On Twitter: Knightmist72

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Personal

 

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Ten Questions + 1 with Author T Bison

T Bison is the man behind the book, The Eradication. Below are the answers to the now famous, or is it “infamous” Ten Questions +1.

TbisonWhat inspired you to write The Eradication?

Insufficient brain capacity.  I had the storyline in my head, but I was just entertaining myself with it.  But once I started filling in the details, I got confused.  So, I wrote everything down.  Before I knew it, I had a book.

Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

The only thing I tried to do was represent as many ethnicities as possible.  I have friends (acquaintances, actually) from all walks of life.   However, I will let you in on an inside joke to one of the names.  A friend of mine (Joe Van Harken) took too long to return my phone call one day (I’m sure it was an extremely important call).  In the book, I introduced him as a character in one sentence, and then I killed him off in the next sentence.  Don’t cross me, Joe.

During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Yes, quite a bit.  I think that’s a very important part of the process…for anyone.

 What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I was a late bloomer, as far as reading goes.  I didn’t start reading until my mid-twenties.  I would read all things serial killer/true-crime.  I still do. 

Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

They all seem to think the book is written very well.  They like my ‘style’, but I don’t know what that means.  They’re shocked by the ending.

What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?  

I’m not the type of person that gets excited over trivial things, but I was proud and surprised.  If someone would have told me a year ago that I would have a book for sale, I would have planned that person’s intervention.

Do you continue to write?

I will.  Like The Eradication, I have to have the story in my head before I start writing.  I’m not the ‘creative writing’ type.  But I am plotting a new story in my head.

What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I don’t think I want the actual story to relay a message, other than possibly forming your own idea of personal justice (everyone has a different opinion).  What I would rather people get from this, is that if you use your imagination and have fun with whatever goofy hobby you have, you can accomplish an unforeseen goal.

If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

A positive legacy.

Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

Well, I have no dedication, but I do have an acknowledgment section.  I thanked the people that read my original scrap heaps of ideas.  Their critiques helped shape the final product.  I also thanked a group of lifelong friends that encouraged me to start writing my dumb jokes down.  That little nudge into the writing world eventually lead to this book.  All of them are very important to me.  The most important.

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

If you knew me, you would be asking that question with a sarcastic tone.  I’m not the type to travel around, speaking aloud and giving autographs.  I live in the middle of the woods for a reason.  As far as traveling for the sake of traveling, I’ll go anywhere, as long as they have booze.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in Interview

 

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The Eradication by author T Bison

EradicationThe Eradication is a novel by author T Bison, which will get the reader asking themselves some serious questions. The main one I found myself asking was,” how would I feel?”, when I learned what drove Hayden to do what he did..

Hayden is man who saw his world turned upside down, side- ways, and every which way that is possible in one evening. You’d think it was the event you find him facing when you begin reading the book. The fact he is in front of a Judge with a record of not showing compassion and caring more about protecting those in power then the little man. It’s in this court room we get a bit of insight into what Hayden has done. Those hints do no justice to what he really does and those stories await the reader.

What drives Hayden to accomplish what he does is one horrible event he comes home to find. He comes home after a few drinks, finds the door open, and his dog cowering in the corner. He finds out why the dog is so shaken when he sees his wife’s body, yes body, on the bedroom floor. She’s been beaten to death and violated brutally by an attacker and Hayden has the misfortune of finding her.

Hayden is one of those men that many today would categorize as a conspiracy theorist. He believes government is too big, too far reaching, and that people may depend on the government to much. So it is no shock that he does not call the police first, and when it’s time to deal with the police he has his own unique way of dealing with them.  I must say that the way the character is written at this point has me routing for Hayden more and more.

T Bison does a great job of creating the character of Hayden Burns and bringing the reader into this man’s mind and his impact on others. He can be the silent type, but if you are able to connect with him, he is a true friend. This becomes clear as he helps a young man get a job with his company, and later he helps give a waitress an idea for a new career path.

The book is set in a way that the reader gets to learn about Hayden and those lives he enters. The story follows his life and at times provides more information through needed flashbacks to younger periods. These flashbacks are not cumbersome but something that helps move the story forward. It will also help the reader get more information and explain why Hayden does what he does.

What T Bison does masterfully in this book is give you the appearance that Hayden has moved on from his wife’s murder. The ability of the man to move and accept what life has given him may have you feeling so happy for the main character. You will find yourself forgetting the opening scene, or wondering what got happened put him in front of a judge.

As the true depths of what Hayden has been doing over the many years becomes revealed you will find yourself in shock. The stories elements will flash in your mind as you remember moments on how and when he may have done, what he has done. The one thing you will take from The Eradication is a well written book with developed characters. The book will seem like a quick read as you will find yourself unable to put it down, and that is a sign of a great book,

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Reviews

 

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The Devil’s Bed by Doug Lamoreux

DevilsWhen one hears the terms, “The Knight Templar”, there are several things that come to mind. There is the romantic mind that remembers knights fighting in the crusades with a red cross displayed on a tunic, or coat of arms. There are those that will think of the secretive group they were known to be by hiding their initiation rites, or there are the versions found within movies and books.

Doug Lamoreux’s book, The Devil’s Bed, will take the reader into some of the truths of the Templars.  These truths will tell you of how the powerful group met its downfall in the 1300’s due to the abuse of power by others during the time and “false” charges of heresy leveled against the group.

You may be asking yourself why the quotation marks around the word false. The answer can be found within the pages of the book. As you enter the pages you find Brandy taking a tour of an old castle. Brandy is accompanied on the tour by her best friend Vicki, whose brother just happens to be Brandy’s fiancé.

The two women are enjoying their stay in France and the purpose of this tour is to help Brandy get information on her college thesis entitled, Burial Practices Around the World and What They Mean to Life. So, it made sense for Brandy to take this tour in hopes of finding some great reference material for her thesis.

As most people know when you take a guided tour you may have those moments of lack of focus. Those moments come when the guide is imparting general knowledge or things you just are not interested in. This is how the bulk of the tour was going for the two women; till the guide finally got to the topic Brandy wanted to hear about. The topic being that of death.

It is during the discussions of the death and what became to the inhabitants of Castle Freedom that Brandy loses track of her future sister in-law. It’s during those moments that someone else takes notice of the attractive Vicki and by the time the tour is over Vicki is missing.

The book will begin moving at this point as events begin to reveal themselves to the reader. You find out what happened at Castle Freedom those centuries ago and who is buried in cemetery far from holy ground. Those entombed on this site may have been guilty of their charges, or maybe not all of those buried there are.

The story will introduce the reader to a mixed group of characters who all make the book an enjoyable read. There is Brandy’s fiancé, Ray, who seems to have quite the relationship with Brandy. They may seem to have troubles at the start of the book but they unite to find Vicki. Ray had skipped out on the tour and met the tattoo artist in the small village of Paradis instead of joining the girls.

The local newspaper reporter one Aimee Laurent will also end up joining the group as she is a reporter after all. Those running the tour that Brandy and Vicki take is being run as a possible front for the town’s local drug dealer. This is at least what the local Gendarmerie (military police) commander Colonel Mael Blanc believes.

The Devil’s Bed will take the reader into a book of mystery and more importantly murder and gruesome deaths. The murders will play an important role within the story, but not as much as who, or what, committed them. This is the great aspect of the story as Brandy and Ray run around Paradis’ small town and a beautiful maze that requires historic knowledge to move through.

Doug Lamoreux does a great job of setting the tone of the book early within the story. You will enjoy the characters as they are developed and even maybe surprised but the way some of them end up by the end of the book. The story is well written and fans of horror, supernatural thrillers, and mystery will all enjoy this book.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Into the White (2012)

IntoWhiteIn the summer and autumn of 1940 England was an island under siege. Germany sent its mighty air force, the Luftwaffe, into England to attack military and civilian targets.  The attacks lead to massive air battles as the German bombers were met by English fighter planes. It was all out war over the heads of the English country side, the channel and some parts of Europe. This battle would later be called The Battle of Britain.

On April 27th, 1940, a German Heinkel HE 111 was shot down near the Norwegian town of Grotli. The British Blackburn Skau, hit by the Heinkel, would also later crash.  The men aboard the planes would have no idea that their aerial battle would become one of survival in the harsh Norwegian mountain.

The movie Into the White takes the viewer into the real events that unfolded after both their planes went down. The story starts within the German crew as you see their plane crash and how the crew must find a way to survive. This includes surviving the first night in a snow cave they must build.

It is after they lose their supplies in an accident that the Germans come across an abandoned cabin. They go inside and start doing what they must to get warm and take stock of what provisions they find inside. It is not long after they hear some shouting and this means, here come the British.

The film does a good job of showing how these two enemies must come to grips living together in this cabin. There are questions on why the Germans feel they must rule the world, with a great counter by a German officer. The German’s counter is pointing out the many British colonies at the time and some of their history.

The film has elements of humor mixed into the tension that will eventually overcome men trapped in a situation that they find themselves in. A good example is how when they start realizing they are low on firewood they go as far as taking the walls from their “outhouse”.

What Into the White does very well is it shows the human side of the two crews. You get to see what the men are like and how they are eventually able to put aside their animosity to each other to survive. As they get to know each other more they share more of their personal lives and you find it hard not to like either crew.

The movie’s cast is made up of actors that American viewers may not fully recognize. The one main difference is a red haired actor that some may go, “its RON!” when they see him on the screen. The actor I’m referring to is none other than Rupert Grint who many will know as Ron Weasely from the Harry Potter movies.

In the rest of the cast you will find David Kross, Florian Lukas, Lachlan Nieboer and Stig Henrik Hoff. Some may recognize Hoff from his role from The Thing (2011). I should mention that Downtown Abbey and Torchwood the actor Lachlan Nieboer maybe familiar as well as he did act in at least two episodes in each show.

The great thing about Into the White is that you do not need to be a fan of World War 2 movies to enjoy this film. Although the movie takes place during this time in the world the story can be called universal. It shows what people will do to overcome what appears to be a hopeless situation. The film also shows how brothers in arms can apply to those who wear the same uniform but the same experience. The other great thing in the film is the fact it was shot in Norway so the setting is real and although potentially deadly it is beautiful.

The one thing I will add is that this is a movie and thus some of the events were changed. This is a fact that many “based on real event” films will do to help get an audience. The story stays close to the actual events and does not take to many major liberties. The one thing I found interesting after researching the true story is how the German soldiers involved had their names used in the film, but the British names where changed. I’m not sure what that is but it does not matter in the film. What matters is that by the end of the film you should find you just watched a great movie.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Monsters of Legend (Album) by Midnight Syndicate

monsters_of_legend_cover_loresMusic has the ability to take the mind and make it play tricks on a person. A song can make you think of a happy time in your life and bring a smile to your face. It may also do the opposite and have you rushing to move to a new song so as not to relive a painful memory.

This is why music is used so often in television and films. It helps to create a mood and set a scene from the fantastic to the mundane. Its use is key and important and often can make or break a movie’s success if not used correctly. It is thus important to have those around that can make that music and produce it for people to enjoy.

Midnight Syndicate is one of those bands who have been making music since 1997 and their influence can be felt in many genres. Their music has been used in video games, movies and TV shows like, a Barbara Walters special and Monday Night Football.

This is where their newest album Monsters of Legend comes in. This album is one that any horror fan will fall in love with. The music on the album will is primarily instrumental but there are some small vocals found in a few pieces of the music and this just helps to increase the tone of the track.

Midnight Syndicate makes beautiful work of what can only be said to be an orchestral arrangements to bring their music to life on Monsters of Legend.  As I listened to the album I found myself thinking back to classic Horror movies and picturing their music used in a scene. Moments where Frankenstein’s monster comes to life and starts to wander the country side is just one of the many items that came to mind.

Other songs within the album will bring up film moments when a creature comes into view and people must run to escape the beast. These songs will bring not just some beautifully haunting music to the ears but images to the mind.

I dare say that this album could easily be turned on as a person reads a book and you could pick the appropriate track to help set the mood for the book that you are reading. A few examples of this:

Unwanted Visitor – A title that speaks for itself. It’s the perfect piece to put on as someone, or something, begins to reveal itself with the story.

Black Woods – Can be used to help punctuate that lonely moment when the story calls for travel in an unknown area.  An area that is unfamiliar, a feeling of foreboding awaits and most important one should not take their time getting through.

Twilight – A track that makes use of a haunting vocal that seems perfect for a dark night. A night that has people looking over their shoulders wondering what could be out in the dark. A night that anything could happen and goose bumps climb up the arm.

The simple truth about Midnight Syndicate’s album Monsters of Legend is it’s the perfect soundtrack for the mind. It’s music that can be listened to and enjoyed by Horror fans who like to be scared by that bump in the night. As a person listens to the album, they should get a sense of why this album was named. The creatures of old will certainly come to life in your imagination as you enjoy this great album.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Reviews

 

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