Beartooth is a fairly new band I’ve recently discovered. Specifically, I found out they existed in April, and I liked their stuff enough to buy the one and only album they seem to have released.

The fact they named themselves Beartooth made me think that they were from Montanna. Looking into the band ended up pulling up a lot of stuff in Montanna by the same name, which means I officially know that much more about a state I know fuck all about. The only things I know about Montanna is that my dad lived there when he was, like, four or five or something, and that their unofficial state motto is “write your manifesto here.” But no, it turns out the band (near as I can tell anyway) has nothing to do with Montanna.

Their sound has been described by me and only me as “punk metal”. critics have called them metalcore, but I honestly have no idea how metalcore differs from any other genre of metal. Yeah, it’s a hybrid of metal and hardcore, but what the fuck is hardcore anyway? Seriously, I struggle to this very day when it comes to telling the difference. I can name bands that describe themselves as hardcore, but don’t really see how they differ from metal all that much.

All I can say for sure is I like a lot of what I hear from Beartooth, and really, really, REALLY hope this is the direction punk rock ends up taking. Especially since the punk genre has been dominated by dumbass skateboarders for as long as I can remember. Blink182, as catchy as that one song was, is hands down the worst thing that ever happened to the genre.

Before I go on too much of a rant, let’s remember that an album review is in progress, and focus entirely on that, shall we?

ALBUM ART: B

the album art for Beartooth's "Disgusting"

ALBUM CASING: C
Have I mentioned lately how much I hate cardboard envelopes? Though compared to a lot of the envelope like packages I’ve gotten in the past, this one’s at least fat enough to take up the same amount of space a jewel case would, so it really could be worse.

TRACK LIST

1. The Lines
GRADE: B+
I love how the vocalist spends the entire intro to the song getting all lit up like that. Definitely part of the punk element. Once the song actually gets started, it ends up being pretty good.

2. Beaten In Lips
GRADE: A
And this would definitely be the metal portion of their style. At least up till you get to the chorus. I wouldn’t say it mellows out, but he decides to start singing for sure. It has a slow start (and not so the vocalist can light up another J), but once it gets past the vocalist’s rhyming at the very beginning, things really pick up for the better.

3. Body Bag
GRADE: B+
It doesn’t quite compare to the previous track, but it’s good in it’s own right. Definitely worth a listen.

4. In Between
GRADE: A+
As of this writing, this appears to be the only single from the album. And it’s easy why they went with this one. I might go as far as to say this is the single best track on the entire album. It was definitely the track that hooked my interest way back when, and it remains a total fucking brainworm even now. I use this as my current ringtone, too. That’s just how much I love this song.

5. Relapsing
GRADE: A
“In Between” is my absolute favorite, but this one’s definitely an extremely close second place. It’s been a while since a track consisting mostly of shrieking from the vocalist has been a favorite of mine. And that’s assuming the shrieker in question isn’t a childhood throwback like Cradle of Filth or something.

6. Ignorance is Bliss
GRADE: B+
I really don’t know what to say here. It’s far from bad, but after two astounding tracks like that, it’s difficult to live up to the legacy, you know? But for what it’s worth, it’s far from bad. Definitely worth the listen.

7. I Have a Problem
GRADE: A-
I guess you do. Even the very beginning of the song conveys a vibe of urgency, or maybe even distress, and that’s before the vocals shrieks his way into existence. It’s a pretty intense track from start to finish.

8. One More
GRADE: A-
From a track title perspective… I don’t want to say it’s amusing that this one follows a song titled “I Have a Problem”, but at the same time, I can’t help but think it’s less than a coincidence. Although the two songs don’t seem to have anything to do with each other. At least in terms of story telling, anyway.

As for the song itself… I really can’t help but think this hits a little close to home. I’m not a musician (that dream died when I realized I fucking hate other people and being in a band means cooperating with people you fucking hate), but I’ve been here before in terms of writing stuff. That’s probably why I rate it as high as I do.

9. Me in My Own Head
GRADE: B
I feel like I ought to be enjoying this song a lot more, but for some reason, it just doesn’t quite hit the A-rank for me. I guess by the time you get to track 9, the novelty starts to ware a little thin? That being said, it’s still pretty good, and I still like listening to it. I don’t know, maybe I’m just expecting more than I got.

10. Keep Your American Dream
GRADE: B
In this day and age where 99% of Americans believe the American dream is dead, I’m surprised this isn’t a single just yet. I suppose the cycle is still young, though.

11. Dead
GRADE: B+
Is it the most intense track on the album? I hesitate to say yes or no, but it’s definitely among them.

12. Sick and Disgusting
GRADE: C
I’d call this skipworthy, but we’re at the end. I’d have honestly ended with “Dead”, and maybe put this on track 8 or 9 or something, but that’s just me. I don’t want to say it’s a disappointing ending, but I still feel like this could’ve ended better. But hey, if it took this long to get into C-country, then you must be doing something right. Right?

OVERALL GRADE: A-

I thoroughly enjoyed this album, and I highly recommend iiving it a listen.

Normally, this is where I’d be putting the video so you can listen to it yourself. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anything besides “guitar covers” and other people’s reviews of the track. So until further notice, you’re unfortunately going to have to take my word for it. My bitchy, opinionated, 5DP hating word.

Frankly, I was amazed to hear 5 Finger Death Punch are still around. Following a bit of news I’d heard earlier in the year, I thought for sure the band had imploded on stage.

Apparently that was just a fraction of what happened at a show a couple months ago.

However, considering the band is actually making a pitstop in KC in the not too distant future, I get the feeling it wasn’t a breakup so much as it was a bad show. That, or the drummer officially got fired that night. I’ll believe either one.

Either way, a new 5DP album is coming out, and the single, “Jekyll and Hyde”, is making its rounds. And this may come as an absolute shock to long time readers, but I hate it. I know, right? SHOCKING!

I wouldn’t have given the song the time of day, except there’s one tiny little detail I can’t help but notice right off the bat. This song sounds suspiciously like a song by The Butthole Surfers.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just my imagination. I get shit for making assumptions like this ever since I complained about “I Miss the Misery” sounding suspiciously like that Sick Puppies song that came a year before. Plus I suppose in the long run, Jim Cornette’s legendary “seven years rule” could apply here as well.

Still, as weird as it sounds, I like The Butthole Surfers. They came from a time when the alternative scene wasn’t a bunch of fedora wearing hipsterfags playing the same old tired Jack White bullshit and calling themselves “indie”. You’re in the mainstream, asshole: you’re about as far away from fucking indie as you can get! That song, for it’s time, was pretty awesome. If absolutely nothing else, it was different.

5DP’s “Jekyll and Hyde”, meanwhile, is the same old uncreative “ME ANGRY! ME YELL IN MIC!” American metal that reminds me why I ran off to Europe while the getting was good while trying their best to sound like that. It does sound different… If only because it’s a bit of a departure from the usual three songs 5DP writes on every given album. Yeah, now they have song number 4. Congrats?

Bottom line: this song sucks. I’ve given up on 5DP a long-ass time ago, and frankly, I don’t see that changing any time soon.

It’s been quite a while since I talked about MMA on here. I was going to talk about Jon Jones getting suspended and stripped of the belt for that hit and run, but I had to withhold because I’d submitted that article to The Kansas City Star. Unfortunately, they ended up not accepting it, and here and now in June, it’s not exactly a relevant topic anymore. So I held off. Then, I saw what was going on over at Bellator.

I’ll own up and admit that UFC is pretty much my choice MMA promotion. It’s the most popular, it’s got all my favorite fighters in it right now, and while not every main event ends up being worth the fifty bucks I hand out (I’m looking at you, Ronda Rousy VS Cat Zinganno), I rarely find myself hating UFC events as a whole.

Bellator, on the other hand, just doesn’t do it for me usually. The fights can be just as hit or miss as anywhere else in the MMA world, but Bellator just really struggles to hold my attention. Add on the fact that in recent years, Bellator is apparently becoming the retirement home for mixed martial artists (I wanted to say the WCW of MMA, but I doubt many would get the reference), and yeah, I think I’ll stick with UFC.

Case in point, last night’s fight between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock.

Kimbo is still in his prime, and has the potential to go somewhere. However, I’ve always felt like Kimbo was the most over rated mixed martial artist in the sport. These feelings stem from the fact I saw him in The Ultimate Fighter: Jackson VS Evans, and he got his ass kicked both times. Roy Nelson (one of my long time favorites in the sport) basically squashed the guy in his first fight, and… I can’t remember who he took on next, but I remember he came back as an alternate for someone who got injured in the middle of the game, and got squashed all fucking over again. Then, in his first official UFC fight (why he got signed in the first place is a whole other rant), he got beat again! So yeah, long story short, I really don’t understand what a lot of you guys see in Kimbo.

Then you got Ken Shamrock. Shamrock, god bless him, has got to be the oldest dude in MMA right now. I think the commentator said he was fifty-one. Seriously, dude, even Randy Cotour threw in the towel at forty-five. Or maybe it was forty-six? Either way, your forties is that time when you consider stepping down from fighting, and maybe consider a career in training, or in sponsoring MMA gear, or being a character in Sylvester’s latest Expendibles movie, or something. Why on Earth are you still doing this!?

Also, I’ll admit I haven’t seen every single fight Shamrock has ever been in ever, but I’m pretty sure that guy has lost literally every fight he’s been in since 2004. He lost against Rich Franklin (hilariously, I might add), he lost against Tito Ortiz (who I don’t like, but if nothing else, he can actually back it up), he lost at the one and only IMPACT FC event I ever saw, and now he’s in Bellator. How does this guy keep finding work!? I mean yeah, he’s been a mixed martial artist since the 90s, and even had that stint in WWF/WWE, but if anybody else had that many losses in a row, I’d probably consider other fighters.

Big shock, Shamrock ended up losing this fight in the first round. I’ll give him credit where credit is due, I actually thought he was going to win once he got that rear naked choke in. Either that, or I thought he was going to strangle Kimbo to fucking death on live television. Based on the video package that proceeded the fight, I get the feeling Shamrock probably would’ve done just that at the weigh-in alone.

In the long run, I guess I can’t complain too much. Bellator generally airs their events on SPIKE for free, and when the show’s free, I feel like I don’t have a whole lot of room to complain.

That being said, this had bad idea written all over it, from start to finish. I honestly didn’t give a fuck about either of these guys, and truly tuned in to see Bobby Lashley. By the way, his fight was pretty much the dictionary perfect definition of one-sided, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’d make a remark on how this match was bizarre Pacquiao VS Mayweather, but apparently, that fight ended up being a legendary disappointment. I don’t know, I didn’t exactly have a hundred bucks to lay down for a fucking boxing PPV. Yeah, I said a hundred. Technically it was $99.99, but whatever, it was a hundred.

Bottom line: Shamrock’s done. If he wants to keep fighting, then that’s his decision. But as far as I’m concerned, that guy is done.

the album art for Korn's "The Paradigm Shift"

This album right here, if absolutely nothing else, is one of many reasons I don’t review albums straight off the burner anymore. Otherwise, I end up with another asskissathon like Otep’s “Hydra” ended up getting. Frankly, I’m glad I waited as long as I did on this one as I did, because if I was super excited before, I can safely say the novelty’s died down a bit.

I admit, Korn hasn’t really been able to hold my attention lately. I wouldn’t say they’re newer material as sucked (unless we’re talking “The Path of Totality”, which absolutely sucked), but you can tell losing Head really did something to their dynamic. Unlike a lot of bands I like, Korn is one of those groups where everybody matters, and when so much as one member leaves the band, you notice. And because Head found Jesus somewhere around “See You on the Other Side” and left the band, you could just feel it.

Head came back for 2014’s “The Paradigm Shift”… But by this point, the damage might be a wee bit irreversible. Granted, it’s a step up from “The Path of Totality”, but the sucky dubstep elements from that album, while subdued by comparison, are still there.

Personally, I hate dubstep. It honestly just sounds like a random assortment of noises set to a drum machine. I know, the irony of a metal head referring to other music as disorganized noise isn’t lost on me. I stand by what I say. I haven’t heard much from the dubstep seen in more recent years… Then again, I don’t pay attention to what’s popular anymore, because ninety-nine percent of what’s popular either sucks, or is intended for kids.

So yeah, “The Paradigm Shift”. Is it a bad album? No. There’s plenty on this album that I rather enjoy, even if it does have all that dubstep nonsense in there. is it a good album? Well… Honestly… Not no?

Now that the novelty of Head rejoining the band is gone, and the additional novelty of new material has subsided, I can say with all sorts of certainty that “not bad” is the best way I can describe this album. That kind of implies that it’s not very good at the exact same time, but in terms of Korn, I’ve heard worse.

All and all, it’s listenable. If you’re a fan of Korn, picking this one up wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you’re looking for greatest hits material, though, you’re probably better off looking at their earlier work first.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

Ah, Sabaton. A 2011 discovery of mine that remains one of my absolute favorite Swedish acts to this very day. True, I’m not quite as fanboyish about them as I was when “Coat of Arms” was the latest release (that sort of devotion currently belongs to Gloryhammer), but I still thoroughly enjoy them.

I’m also beginning to think that the breakup announcement they made days after “Carolus Rex” was released was either an April fools day joke, or perhaps the term “going their separate ways” was a bit poorly explained on their part. In the case of the latter, I’m guessing the vocalist, and maybe another member had to rebuild the band from the ground up or something. I honestly don’t know, but I’m glad the band is still together all the same.

“Heroes” is Sabaton’s 2014 release, and it focus primarily on historic figures of past wars. I know, right? A Sabaton album themed around war and history? They’ve never done that! Someone must alert the media!

Seriously, though, I’ve heard someone refer to “Heroes” as a bunch of B-sides that got left off of “Coat of Arms”. I can’t tell if they were criticizing the album with that statement or what, but I happen to like “Coat of Arms”, and don’t take that as an insult. Sabaton had pretty much blown the load making “Carolus Rex” in terms of creativity, so maybe something simple like a B-side compilation isn’t such a bad idea, either. Assuming there’s any validity to that claim.

I’ve reviewed Sabaton on here a few times, and it’s safe to say that if you’ve heard all those albums, little has changed here. It’s diverse enough to stand out as its own album, but it still sounds like something Sabaton would write. We haven’t gotten into AC/DC record the same god damn album every outing just yet. Hopefully, we never will.

I could go on, but I’d much rather listen to this album. So let’s put “Heroes” into the ol’ stereo and give it some spin!

ALBUM ART: B+

the album art for Sabaton's "Heroes"

TRACK LIST

1. Night Witches
GRADE: A
Starting with a bang, we get a pretty intense track about The Night Witches: an all-female soviet bomber regiment. It starts off soft, but picks up volume and tempo pretty quickly, and becomes an awesome ride from start to finish. Good intro track if I do say so myself.

2. No Bullets Fly
GRADE: B+
Based on the “Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident” where a German pilot escorted an American bomber back to its base. I’m seriously going to have to look into the incident this song is based on, because it raises a lot of questions. And if the song actually answers those questions, I have no idea, because I’m too busy rocking out. This is kind of the problem when you to to inject education into your metal. The song itself is a pretty evenly paced track, and while not quite as catchy as “Night Wishes”, it’s still definitely worth a listen.

3. Smoking Snakes
GRADE: A+
This song is about three Brazilian fighters who got separated from their group, and ended up having to fight a shit ton of Germans. They didn’t survive the encounter, but apparently took out way more fighters than one would think. The Germans ended up honoring them with a cross reading “Three Brazilian heroes” on it. Sixty years later (give or take), Sabaton would honor them with a song that is, hands down, one of my absolute favorites on the entire album. It sounds kind of like “Aces in Exile” off their “Coat of Arms” album, but not exactly like it. Rather, this is probably where the whole B-side argument might actually start making sense. Frankly, I don’t care. This song is awesome.

4. Inmate 4859
GRADE: B+
Based on an inmate at one of the consentration camps in Auschwitz, it’s a pretty catchy tune. The beat is less of a full-speed ahead like we’ve been getting, and more of a drudge. Said drudge like beat is probably perfect for something as historically heavy and grim as Auschwitz. The chorus has a real brainworm quality to it, though I can’t decide if it’s the melody, or the story the song is conveying. Yeah, it’s a lot easier to follow the theme when they take it slow. Sue me!

5. To Hell and Back
GRADE: A
The first, and as far as I know as of this writing, the only single off the album. The instrumental led me to think it was based on something from the American wild western years. Instead, it’s based on Audie Murphy: one of, if not the most decorated Texans to fight in World War 2. I say this song had to grow on me, but I mean that in the sense I’d graded it with a B+ when I first heard it, and it’s since become one of my all time favorites on the album.

6. The Ballad of Bull
GRADE: A
Based on Leslie “Bull” Allen: an Australian corporal who saved twelve wounded soldiers. A piano ballad is an… Interesting choice. You wouldn’t expect a band like Sabaton to go that route, but it’s actually quite fitting. It has a real “We are the World” sort of feel, but not in that tacky celebrity cashin sort of way.

7. Resist and Bite
GRADE: C
Based on Chasseurs Ardennais: a Belgian infantry that fought in The Battle of Belgium. Not going to lie, this is the point where the album struggles to hold my attention. It’s not a bad tune, but by Sabaton standards, it feels a little… Generic.

8. Soldier of 3 Armies
GRADE: C+
Based on Lauri Porni: a man who fought in the Finnish army, the German SS, and the American Green berets. It’s an impressive legacy. It’s just too bad the song about it really doesn’t hold my attention that well. It’s trying, but I just can’t get into it for whatever reason.

9. Far from the Fame
GRADE: B+
Based on Carel Janousek: hero of the Czechoslovakian air martials, and imprisoned by the communist regime. This is more like it. This song has some swing to it, and I always love it when songs have a little swing in the beat like this.

10. Hearts of Iron
GRADE: B-
Based on the twelth and ninth German armies who helped civilians and surrendering troops escape from a battle against the Soviets. A battle they ultimately lost. It’s a slow start, but it eventually picks up momentum, and becomes a bit less skip worthy as of the chorus.

11. 7734
GRADE: A-
Here we encounter something interesting. According to my research material, this was originally featured on something called “Metalizer”: a demo tape (I guess) you only own if you happen to be especially hardcore about your Sabaton fandom. It doesn’t really seem to be about any specific war (as far as I know). Anybody who’s ever screwed around with a calculator knows 7734 is hell up side down and backwards. Much like how 80085 spells boobs.

12. Man of War
GRADE: D
Try as I might, I just can’t get into this song at all. I also take points off because it’s basically a tribute to Manowar: one of the most over rated metal bands in history. Yeah, that’s right, I fucking said it. COME AND GET ME! In all seriousness, though, I hate Manowar, and I’m kind of bummed it had to end like this.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

So maybe it’s not the greatest Sabaton album ever released. Either way, it’s worth a listen.

My internet has been a bit on the flaky side these last couple of weeks. Occasionally, it’ll work, but for the most part, it wouldn’t. According to my provider, it’s a bit of a problem they’d been having with thousands of their customers lately. Maybe it’s the unusual amount of rain we’ve been getting here in Kansas, maybe it was the ninety plus degree weather that immediately followed… Hell, Consolidated Communications (formerly SureWest) just sucks. Call me crazy, but naming your company something like Consolidated Communications is a great way to tell your customers you don’t give a fuck about them in the slightest, and are waiting eagerly for one of the titans of cableTV, landlines, and WiFi internet to buy you out.

The problem seems to be resolved now at long last, and barring a relapse, or something worse, things ought to be getting back to normal around here. Of course, it’s also the summer, and long time readers know I tend to slack off on this thing when the summer comes along.

The Three Body Problem is a book that was recommended to me a couple months ago. The name made me think it’d have something to do with swopping consciousness, or more like tat Geschtout thing I remember reading in The Rook. I’m probably spelling it wrong, but either way, The Rook is awesome. This book…

Honestly, I hesitate to call this book a chore. However, it definitely had its tedious bits. A lot of which came from the author explaining the science behind all sorts of stuff.

I love science as much as the next guy, but at the same time, I don’t know nearly as much about science as someone with my reading habits probably ought to. There is a lot of science in this book that goes way over my head. There’s also a lot of bits and pieces about China during the communist revolution: a subject I know fuck all about honestly. There is a lot I want to know about China, but audible.com doesn’t have a very good selection.

The extremely tedious part of the book, without spoiling too much, is when we suddenly switch perspectives to the aliens. The whole point of The Three Body Problem is that they’re trying to reach out to these super mysterious aliens that might or might not even exist, and the author immediately murders the intrigue and the mystery by focusing on what said aliens have been doing between the time humans first reached out to them and now. It’s the same gripe I, and a lot of other people have against Terminator: Salvation. SKYNET was always this mysterious thing in the shadows, and then suddenly, in the fourth movie, it gets a face and a voice, and the intrigue and the mystery is dead. Which was kind of how I felt about the aliens. I’d be fine with the aliens being absolute dicks like they are, but I really didn’t need to have the entire story interrupted with two of the longest god damn chapters in the world talking about the mysterious thing that’s held my intrigue.

I don’t want to hold it against the author too much, because I’m not familiar with Chinese literature, and for all I know, subtlety is something the Chinese aren’t very good at. Either way, as an American reader, that excessively long moment really took me out of the story, and I’m honestly surprised I even bothered finishing it.

As I said before, it’s a book that’s been translated from Chinese to English. In terms of translations, believe me when I say I’ve seen some pretty horrendous ones. Ever try reading Kafka? Yeesh! You can kind of tell it was written by a Chinese guy… I think Cixin is a guy’s name. Or maybe they do that thing where the surname comes first, and his given name is actually Liu. And trust me, that’s definitely a boy’s name. This is seriously how uninformed about Chinese culture I am, people.

The book’s ending is obvious sequel bate. Problem is I’m not entirely sure I want to check out the sequel when and if it gets here. This first book was a bit of an ordeal. I feel like I accomplished something getting through it, but not in a way that makes me want to brag to my friends.

Overall, I guess what I’m saying is that this is another instance where I didn’t hate the book, but I ended up not liking the book either. So I guess read it at your own risk if it sounds interesting to you.

Whew boy, spellcheck is going to hate me for this one. Though to be fair, if I actually ran spellcheck on here instead of going with my gut 99% of the time, it’d probably hate me anyway. Lord knows I’ve been spelling chorus wrong for years now. Hell, I probably still am!

Sevin, oddly enough, was a creation dating back to when I was about twelve. In short, Sevin was like The Blob from Clayfighters 63 1/3, or like evil Flubber. He was, in all essence, a black glob of space ooze that could, and often did change shapes and forms on a whim. He went through several incarnations before I finally gave up on him.

In his first incarnation, he was the main villain of a very poorly written Dragon Ball Z ripoff. Dragon Ball Z was still fairly new to me as a twelve-year-old, and it was the single most awesome thing ever. Yes, it takes for fucking ever for anything to happen (yet again why I declare the team behind DBZ Kai are doing the lord’s work), and yes, it’s probably the single most mindless idiotic thing to ever come out of Japan (and considering anime as a whole, that’s saying a lot these days), but I still loved it then. I love it now, in fact. And when I loved something in those days, I incorporated it into my work.

Specifically, Sevin just came to Earth, and challenged the world’s greatest martial artists to a fight. The greatest martial artists showed up, and suddenly, battle began. And several fight scenes plagerizee from the fight with Nappa and Vegeta (more so Nappa) occurred. Except instead of coming out of explosions unphased, Sevin’s various bits and pieces reassembled themselves, and he’d make a smartass remark of some sort. Funny to think Majen Buu wouldn’t come to the American audience till I was in high school, because that was pretty common of him.

This story never even got finished, but I hung on to Sevin.

At the age of fifteen, I brought Sevin back from the dead. Remembering him as a sentient glob of smartass planetary pwnage, I decided to make a series of short stories where he traveled to various worlds, and absolutely wrecked the place. The short stories were like Gwar concerts in their violence and dark comedy, and I’m pretty sure one of them parodied Silent Hill 2. These were fun to write, but they never really went anywhere.

I remember trying to submit a couple of these to a website or two that took original fiction. I’m guessing they didn’t find them as funny as I did, which at fifteen wasn’t really all that uncommon. If Fictionpress.com existed back in those days, I’d probably have posted them there for a grand total of nobody to read.

Lastly, I used him as the villain in a series of novels that totally didn’t rip off Mortal Kombat. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that one at one point. Either way, He was less of a world conqueror, and more of this gelatinous black monstrosity that devoured souls, and destroyed worlds in a nearly mindless rage. He was probably one of the few things from that pitiful four or five book series I remember actually being proud of, which is honestly why I hesitated to mention him among the mess that series ended up being.

The only real downside to him was that I ended up making him too invincible. I had to shoe in a weakness to silver in there somehow, and I don’t remember how other than that one of the characters that had been a sort of comedy relief at the time suddenly had to step up and become the new hero. His gimmick, from start to finish, was that he used silver weaponry, and when it came for him to be the final opponent, he suddenly found himself winning the battle completely out of nowhere. Probably could’ve had a lot better buildup than that, but what do I know.

Also, I remember declaring the villain in that last book in that series was a cell ripoff. Yeah, after remembering Sevin and what he was all about, I take that bit. He was a lot like Majen Buu when he turned evil, but hadn’t reverted to that super scronny version of Buu that had absolutely no concept of restraint. Except jet black instead of bubble gum pink.

I can’t remember if I used Sevin for anything else from that point onward. I know for sure I used the name sevin for some fanfiction I’d written. Fanfiction that, in hindsight, I’m not especially proud of anymore. I’m not ashamed of it, and I actually joke along with the friend who used to co-write with me on that old piece of shit Geocities page in the rare instance it comes up in conversation, but if I could do it all over again, I’d probably either keep about thirty percent of those ideas to myself, or at least make more of an effort to make the reader feel like they didn’t stumble upon some random blind school clique’s series of insider jokes that only they thought were funny.

Years later, I really have no use for this character. I recognize him for what he is: the product of a twelve-year-old’s imagination that managed to hold out pretty long when you take into account my lack of attention span. But now, I give him away to the glorious orange god of failure. May he find a place in his infinite vault to keep it.

The album art for Primus and the Chocolate Factory

Somewhere around 2013, I grew to appreciate Primus and all of their bizarre bass-centric glory. At the same time, Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory is one of my all time favorite movies from my childhood. The book was also good, but it’s one of the extremely rare instances where I’ll declare the movie was actually better. Also, the remake Tim Bertin made back in 2003 or 2004 is inferior to the 1970s film by a longshot. Yeah, I honestly never thought I’d have anything negative to say about Tim Bertin, but then again, I never thought he’d put out a piece of shit like Dark Shadows either. Gene Wilder was a superior Willy Wanka. Gene Wilder was manic and a bit cartoony, sure, but I looked at the Gene Wilder Willy Wanka, and I could see this guy existing in real life. The Johnny Dep Willy Wanka looked less like how I imagined Willy Wanka, and more like how I’d imagine Marilyn Manson would look in a Willy Wanka costume. Hilariously enough, I remember hearing Marilyn Manson actually tried out for the role when the movie was still being put together. Sadly, Manson was still relevant, and Tim Bertin is in love with Johnny Dep or something, so he didn’t get the role. And yet Johnny Dep looks like how I imagined Manson would look in that getup. I looked at that pale, sickly Willy Wanka, and all I could think is “Is Wanka a zombie in this one? What’s the deal?”

But yeah, Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory is actually pretty near and dear to my heart. Primus, as I said before, is a more recent fascination, but a fascination all the same. So if you mix the two together, surely you get nothing but good things, right? Well…

Honestly, I went into this one a little less than optimistic. Les Claypool himself had once said on All Things Considered that Willy Wanka was a bit of a “sacred cow”. Meaning that there was absolutely no way you could approach doing an entire album of cover tunes from Willy Wanka without pissing somebody off. Even if the album was great, somebody wasn’t going to be happy about this decision.

I’d like to think I’m a lot more open minded than that. Sure, I trash just about everything that’s a remake anymore, but only because one-hundred percent of remakes in the last five years have been absolute disappointments at absolute best: Karate Kid, Conan the Barbarian, Robocop (dear god, do not get me started on Robocop again)… Poltergeist looks like another remake on the virge of missing the point of the original altogether, for that matter. Seriously, we need to abandon this fixation on nostalgia, because it’s only making entertainment worse in the long run. Not everything can be My Little Pony, you know. In fact, I don’t even get why people like My Little Pony. Seriously, it’s a show for eight-year-old girls!

I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere else with that, but I forgot. So anyway…

I bought a copy of Primus and the Chocolate Factory, and gave it a listen. It ended up being a pretty enjoyable effort, although there’s maybe one or two things I’d have done a little differently. For example, the oompa-loompa songs.

This album features all four of the oompa-loompa songs as separate tracks. If I were the one writing this album, I’d have probably done some sort of oompa-loompa medley. If not that, then maybe I’d have made more of an effort to make them sound different from each other. The lyrics, and maybe the addition of an instrument like a flute or something, are literally the only differences between them. Hell, even in the movie, they went out of their way to change up the rhythm, or the key.

Aside from a couple minor gripes, though, it’s a good effort. I enjoy just about every non-oompa-loompa track on this album, and I’d say it’s at least worth looking into.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Remember The Used? Because up until a week ago, I’d honestly forgotten all about them. After getting reacquainted with their one hit, I’m kind of wishing it’d stayed that way. Yee gads this song sucks!

The entirety of the song is built around the chorus. I think there’s a grand total of one other verse aside from it. I guess we could say The Used predates Beonse’s habit of writing four-minute jingles by a good eight years or so. It’s not exactly what I’d call better, though, even if it is a rock band.

I can put up with a lot in terms of annoying vocal styles. I can tolerate the “singing through my nose” style of Aaron Louis and Taproot. I can put up with the broken jaw style of vocals you hear from Breaking Benjamin, Glassjaw, and even Flyleaf. Some of my favorite bands in the universe have shrieking idiots for vocalists, and I don’t hold it against them. Then we get to The Used. I don’t know what it is about this vocalist, but Christ all mighty this guy is annoying!

The more I listen to this in hindsight, the more I wonder if these guys were going for the ironic sound. The classic Green Jelly “we suck on purpose” sort of thing. Because there is no way in hell these guys thought this was a good sound. Then again, I’m probably one-hundred percent wrong, and they actually did think this sounded badass.

Back in 2002, this song was all over the god damn place. I think my family was making the switch from Time Warner to Everest at the time, but both of their metal channels played this into the ground. FUSEtv, back when it was a music video channel and not another outlet for shitty reality TV that no one could possibly like, used to play this video all the time. It was a pretty popular song, and for the life of me, I never understood why. If I ever downloaded it from WinMX, it had less to do with actually liking the song, and more to do with trying to figure out the mystery. Much like Bobby Hill trying to figure out why on Earth Ray Jay Johnson Jr. was funny, though, I think I ended up going insane, and through insanity, I was mistaken for a fan. Or something. I don’t know.

All I know is 2003 came around, and suddenly, these guys went from being all over the god damn place, to absolutely nowhere. And thank god!

I’ve been impressed with what the span of ten plus years has done to my opinion of a lot of things. Sadly, thirteen years later, my opinion of The Used has remained pretty much unchanged. Thirteen years later, these guys still suck harder than anything I’ve ever heard. And that includes the latest In This Moment single. Of course the only reason I didn’t induct that one today is because Mushmouth apparently said she wanted people to hate it. So… Uh… Congratulations?