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The Body Tag

Twenty-five years ago, on August 8, 1986, Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me opened in limited release (opening in wide release on August 22).

In 1982, one of my favorite Stephen King books Different Seasons was published, consisting of four novellas that each correspond to a season of the year. I love this book so much because three out of the four tales do not have anything whatsoever to do with the supernatural — a bit of a departure for King. One of his strengths as a writer is his ability to create real flesh and blood people who populate his stories, no matter how crazy things get. This ability especially shines in Different Seasons, and anyone who doubts the writing talent of Stephen King should read at least one of the stories from this book.

Three of the four stories, the same three that do not rely on anything supernatural, have been made into films — the first being Stand By Me which was adapted from The Body. The second film to come from this source was The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Frank Darabont’s flawless adaptation of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Unfortunately my favorite of these stories, Apt Pupil, failed as a film (released in 1998), mainly due to the fact that director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Brandon Boyce changed the ending so significantly that they pretty much rendered the rest of the story pointless.

The screenplay for Stand By Me, by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon (who also wrote 1984’s Starman) is remarkably faithful to its source, right down to the moment where Gordie encounters the deer — one of my favorite little incidents from King’s story that I couldn’t believe made it into the movie. Future adapters of Stephen King material take note: it’s the small character moments like this that make me an admirer of the author’s work, and leaving such moments out of the movie — even though they might not advance the plot — is utterly stupid.

As you will soon see as the lone active metal reviewer on Popdose my tastes end up being nowhere near the other writers, so representation in an overall “best of” list is usually slim to none.  I do however, put the metal horns down on occasion to check out what the pop world has to offer. The pop albums in my top 10 were extremely easy to pick, my metal ones not so much. 2010 was a great year for metal in my humble opinion but the six listed below are the cream of the crop.

10. Karma To Burn, Appalachian Incantation (Napalm)
This was the first record in nine years for this (mostly) instrumental stoner rock trio and is simply a wonderful record to light one up to.

9. Accept, Blood of the Nations (Nuclear Blast)
Another comeback record here but the difference is that I never expected this one to be so great. After 27 long years guitarist Herman Frank rejoined the band, although singer Udo Dirkschneider chose not to participate. The end result of their 12th album and first in 14 years is a blistering fist-pumping anthemic ride through heavy metal the way it should be played.

8. Filter, The Trouble with Angels (Rocket Science)
Filter’s 5th record was clearly made by a very angry and depressed Richard Patrick as the lyrics are dark and biting but it’s the music that stands out again on The Trouble with Angels. Patrick seemed to be reacting to the critics of their previous record which was “too soft.” So he came out and made a hard rock record that rivals the Amalgamut in terms of sheer power.

I feel the need right up front to warn you to brace yourself before you listen to The Body’s All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood. I could let you experience what I did when I listened to the first track, “A Body.” But that’s not really too cool of me to do.

The first time I listened, I was lying in bed and I had the title of the album in my head, picturing the waters of the earth, peaceful and serene (and not filled with oil), which is easier than you would think since the track begins with the Assembly of Light Choir performing a beautiful chant.  And since that chant continues for seven minutes, I kind of got lost in that moment.  Then, around that seven-minute mark, the guitars, feedback and ungodly wails from the depths of hell kicked in and scared the living shit out of me. It’s a startling change, especially to open an album, but it sets the scene pretty well for what’s about to follow and from that point on, it was pretty easy to picture those waters blood red.

I’ve seen the Body called Prog-metal and post-rock, but to me they are just simply a motherfuckin’ psychotic doom band.  All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood is loud. I think I have to state that again to really get this across. This is loud, this is noisy, this is disturbing. This is creepy as all hell — and totally amazing.