Friday, March 1, 2013

Reviews: FERALS VOL. 1 and BUCKCHERRY/ CONFESSIONS

FERALS VOL. 1 (Avatar Press, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Ferals Nos. 1-6 (cover dates December, 2011- June, 2012)
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Gabriel Andrade

Okay, stop me if you've heard this one before. A man walks into a bar. Gets drunk, meets a beautiful Norwegian woman and after a few more drinks heads to the bathroom for a one night stand and catches something from her. Nothing too outlandish about this, right? Except that the man is a police officer named Dale Chesnutt who went to the bar to forget the horrifying murder scene he encountered earlier that day. Like many one night stands, the man catches something...only this is not something that can be treated. 
Spoilers- That something is lupinism. An entire cult of lupines, with a chosen one who gets to assume the form of a wolf. When that werewolf comes to Dale's house and ends up killing his wife, it makes Dale look like the killer. The murder that he encountered when this story began was his best friend, Mark. The woman who he hooked up with is also found dead, further complicating things for him. He gets injured in a battle with the werewolf. Dale escapes from the hospital and tracks down what ends up being a werewolf cult. Some werewolf hunting FBI guys get involved and things go south. It ends rather abruptly and with a cliffhanger. You sonsofbitches! I'm not giving anything else away. I'm in for Vol. 2 I s'pose.
Like all Avatar Press titles, Ferals is a slick production with over the top violence and excessive gore...only this time with werewolves! Y'all can take your vampires, I've always been more of a werewolf guy. I hope that hipsters, tweens, and Hollywood don't get too fond of werewolves. I couldn't bear to see a lycanthrope Twilight.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- The double-edged sword of increased costs and decreased production values will kill books and make everyone go digital. Stop the madness!
Paper rating: 4.25 out of 5. The cost of paper must be rising. While this book has a decent weight coated stock, it is thinner than past Avatar books.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. Glue? Glue! Oh Avatar Press, why hast thou forsaken us? We used to get books with sewn binding for this price point. This is the fallout of ebooks, man. Less demand for real books, less demand for paper, skyrocketing paper costs, loss of economy of scale, and finally, horribly decontented product. It's the double-edged sword death spiral, babe. Fight the power! Destroy the Internet!
Hardback cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The image is printed on the cover with no dustjacket and has a super thick, waxy coating. 

Buckcherry/ Confessions (Century Media, 2013)
After five albums of radio friendly mainstream Rock, Buckcherry decide to do a concept album...of mainstream radio friendly Rock. Only this time they add a few forced-sounding additions to their core sound. Confessions is a concept album based around the seven deadly sins. Musically, it's not bad. These guys do slick overproduced Rock, which I don't fault them for. Think of it as Kiss and Aerosmith for the 21st century. It's decent and sounds good in the car but doesn't reinvent the wheel or save Rock and Roll.
I'm a big fan of the first two albums and feel that the other three all have their moments. This album's best moment is on the bonus tracks, which sounds more like demos. These guys need to lock themselves into a shitty sounding room with analog recording equipment and do an album completely live with minimal overdubs, as they were always way better live than on album. I really wish that someone had been rolling tape at St. Andrew's Hall in February of 2001.
Pride is an abomination to the ears, with lame rapped verses. There are a few clunkers on this album, and all of them occur when the band sounds like they are forcing diversity into their sound. I am all for bands progressing and evolving when it is natural. Some bands can leap and bound between albums, others move more slowly if at all. Buckcherry sound like they panicked about the lukewarm reception to 2010s All Night Long and decided to go this route.
Much like foodies can't appreciate a good greasy pizza, many more “refined” Rock fans dismiss these guys. I can accept these guys for what they are: mainstream Rock torchbearers for this century.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- There is a deluxe edition with two bonus tracks (mentioned above) and a DVD (which I'll never watch), an iTunes version with a different bonus track, and the Japanese version with different bonus tracks than either of those. This is not only lame, it is insulting.
The artwork in the booklet is lame and cheesy graffiti looking junk. 


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