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?

This particular album was, I kid you not, a hand-me-down from my dad. I ended up with this album somewhere around 2001 or so as memory serves. I also remember being pretty skeptical going in. After all, if your parents liked it, then it is your civic duty as the child of the family to hate it.

Still, I humored him, and I took it off his hands. First thing I noticed immediately was that the thing was scratched. Track 2 was absolutely unlistenable as a result, and track 4 had a hiccup here and there. The rest of the album… Was surprisingly pretty good.

With a name like Infectious Grooves, it’s not hard to see where they’re going. These guys were part of the funk movement that eventually led into “New Metal”: the scurge of every old school metal fan in the world. At the point they came out, the genre was less of a rap-rock hybrid, and really just standard rock with a lot more emphasis on funky bass lines. The lead guitar riffs are probably not all that technical, but bass players who want to aspire to greatness could probably learn a thing or two from this.

I don’t remember how, but I remember losing the copy I inherited from my dad somewhere down the line. Probably just as well, considering the condition it was in. Recently, I obtained a brand new copy, and have taken the plunge into nostalgia creek.

And now, I offer you the chance to swim with me. Won’t you swim with me? No? Fine, let’s just listen to the album instead.

ALBUM ART: C

the album art for Infectious Grooves' "Groove Family Cyco"

Yeesh! The term “Technicolor nightmare” comes up a lot in my head upon looking at this. Oh well, it’s not like the album art ever had an impact on whether or not I enjoyed the album.

TRACK LIST

1. Violent and Funky
GRADE: A-
First track in, and I’m already intrigued. The verses are mostly just making fun of old sayings like “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Some are more clever than others. I remember thinking a couple of those weren’t very clever even back when I first heard this song, but hey, they all can’t be good. The instrumental is clearly the main event in this song. Perhaps even the album. We shall see. Until then, I recommend this song very highly.

2. Boom Boom Boom
GRADE: B-
Compared to the rest of the album, this is actually fairly new for me. As I said before, this used to be the track that skipped insanely back when I had my original copy. I thought for a moment this might’ve been where Group X got the idea for “Bang Bang Bang”, but it turns out they have nothing in common beyond heavy emphasis on bass. Now that I’ve finally had the opportunity to hear this song in its entirety with no skips, it’s actually pretty good.

3. Frustrated Again
GRADE: A
This was probably my favorite track on the entire album back in the day. Nearly fifteen years later, it’s not hard to see why. I’d still say it’s among my favorites. This is one of the rare instances where the instrumental is less funk, and more straight forward high speed metal.

4. Rules Go Out the Window
GRADE: D-
Where as “Frustrated Again” remains one of my all time favorites from the album, this one… Not so much. I’m not one to criticize lines like “If you want what’s under the sun, you better get your fingers ’round a gun”, because while I am a bit of a lefty politically, the second amendment has always been where I and the democrats disagree. Really, this song is more annoying than anything else. It’s a wee bit on the repetitive side for my taste, and nowadays, I usually just end up skipping it.

5. Groove Family Cyco
GRADE: B
It’s pretty good. It falls a bit short of A-material for me, and considering it’s the title track, that’s kind of a bummer. However, it’s far from the worst song I’ve ever heard, and I like it quite a bit.

6. Die Lika Pig
GRADE: C
It’s not bad, but it kind of struggles to hold my attention. Not really sure what else to say, other than god bless ’em for trying.

7. Do What I Tell Ya!
GRADE: B+
This is what we in the 90s used to call a “dis track”. I can guarantee no one uses the term dis anymore. For all you youngens reading this, dis is to the 1990s what pwned is to on-line gaming, or getting served is to shitty dance movies.

Bck in the 1990s, there was a band by the name of Rage Against the Machine. They were loud and proud anticorporatist rockers preaching their gospel on every album, and at every concert. Except they were signed to Epic records, a subsidiary of Sony Music. Sony Music: a corporation. The very thing Rage Against the Machine was preaching against! So yeah, people in the underground had a tendency to shout hypocrite every chance they got, and Infectious Grooves was no exception.

I don’t hate Rage Against the Machine. They were one of my favorite bands for quite a while, actually. But yeah, I was well aware of the irony. I think. I can’t remember anymore. All I know is this track made me laugh a little more when I found out it was about them. It actually took me a while to put two and two together on that one, but I eventually did.

8. Cousin Randy
GRADE: B+
Far be it for me to criticize being loyal to family through thick and thin, but honestly, this Randy guy sounds like a real trainwreck. The kind of trainwreck you’re better off cutting ties to, and keeping your distance. Then again, I don’t have anybody like that in my family. That I know of. The song is a little monotonous, but enjoyable despite it.

9. Why
GRADE: B-
Why indeed. I remember I used to skip this one a lot, though why is anyone’s guess. It’s actually a lot better than I remember.

10. Made it
GRADE: B-
Well it’s definitely a… Interesting, way to end the album. It does rock pretty hard, but I’d have probably ended the whole thing with “Cousin Randy”, and put this one at the track 8 spot. But hey, it’s all good.

OVERALL GRADE: B

I can definitely see why I hung on to this album as long as I did. It’s one of the few hand-me-downs from my dad’s music collection I hung on to, and lost on accident. Why I never explored these guys any further than this album, though, I’m not entirely sure. Probably because they had a pretty impressive gap between this, and their next album if Wikipedia can be believed.

If you’re looking for a little 90s nostalgia, these guys are a good place to start.

My blogroll changes off and on, and normally, I don’t bother updating. However, I do feel like addressing why The Idiot News Network, a site I used to update infrequently along side ELT and Jade Blade Legacy, is no longer available. As of Tuesday, I’ve officially deleted the website from existence, the directory that it was being stored on via my FTP, and while the domain can’t be deleted, I’ve told my hosting provider I have no desire to renew the domain in July (when it expires).

In large part, it’s a cost cutting measure. As of my cat’s latest visits to the vet, I need to start saving a little more money. Thank god I qualify for disability pay, or else I’d be in the red for a lot longer than a month (by my calculations). That cat is also lucky she isn’t living on the farm, because I’d have probably tied her to a brick and thrown her into the creek by now if she were. Yeah, farm culture is pretty brutal. “Help out or get out”, as the old otto goes.

Another part of it is that honestly, in order to make good headlies, you have to pay attention to the news. And the more I pay attention to the news anymore, the more depressed with life I get. I can’t even make it funny anymore.

So if you enjoyed Idiot News Network, I’m sorry for your loss. Frankly, my need for transportation and food superceeds your need for poorly written faux news that either doesn’t age especially well, or was never funny to begin with. It was a fun ride while it lasted, and I’m impressed I was making it work as long as I had. Still, nobody was reading it aside from a friend or two on Facebook, and they’ve already expressed they’re fine with it dying a quiet, dignified death in obscurity, so there.

I expressed that I didn’t want another domain to be renewed, but it’ll be 2016 beore that happens. I only ever bring that one up because according to my host, it’s my primary domain. If that goes down, I think it’s likely that my account overall might be shut down. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen, because I honestly like having Egyptians Like Triangles around. The joke hasn’t been funny since 2011, and I’m pretty sure nobody reads this thing anymore either, but it’s good to have a place to vent and rage when 140 characters can’t do it justice. Also, WITCP has helped me sort out my CD collection quite a bit, and trust me, I’ve still got a lot to go. And that’s not including the new albums I’ve purchased, and newer copies I obtained to replace older ones.

If 2016 comes along, and ELT is gone… Well, now you know why at least. If that ends up happening, then I hope you enjoyed the ride. It’s been an exciting five years.

I don’t see that happening, though. So hopefully, ELT will last many more years. I guess we’ll see.

This may come as an absolute shock to everybody reading this ( :) ), but I don’t like this song. At all. I know, right? SHOCKING!

The difference between this and “Appocalyptic”, though, is that I actually didn’t hate it right away. “Amen” took more than one listen to formulate an opinion on. Where as “Appocalyptic” set a personal record for opinion setting (I hated it with a passion the very moment I heard the chorus).

I’m beginning to think that naming your song “Amen” is a recipe for disaster. Need further proof, I recommend you look up Kid Rock’s “Amen” as well. Seriously, you want to talk about a track that killed my fandom of Kid Rock fucking dead, look no further.

Naming your song “Amen” is almost a guarantee that the artist is going to make it sound all gospel like, but since it’s the rock genre, there’s probably a sort of “keep your jesus off my penis” type message buried in there somewhere. Degree of subtlety may vary, but it’s always the route they take it seems. It was funny the first time… Okay, maybe funny isn’t the word I’m thinking of, but it was clever enough the first time. Here in 2015, I’ve heard this cliché more times than I can count, and I’m bored with it more than anything else. Not that I’m in favor of Christianity, but at the same time, it’s not the most original approach.

Unsurprisingly, Halestorm’s approach to the trope isn’t all that inspired. There’s little I’ve heard here I haven’t heard in someone else’s version of this trope. Not to mention I have to question Lzzy’s sincerity in this one. She is, after all, a shapeshifter. Is this genuinely her opinion, or is this just to fill a quota?

I haven’t heard anything else from “Into the Wild”, but I got to say, I’m not very impressed with the singles so far. Shit, the self-titled album at least had “It’s Not You”. “The Strange Case of…” had “Love Bits But So Do I”, “Here’s to Us”, and after about a year of absence from the radio, I eventually grew to like “Freak Like Me”. Everything I’ve heard from “Into the Wild” thus far has been dreadful at best. Not a good sign.

And no, I’m not going into every Halestorm song or album wanting to hate them. I really want to like these guys. Lzzy may not be much on consistency, but she can carry a tune with the best of them. The band themselves aren’t without talent either. But man, these last couple of songs have really left me not feeling very optimistic. I just wish I could see what you people see in them. I’m afraid it’s a classic case of “Yeah, the band sucks, but that chick is hot.” IE, the Britney Spears approach to music. You know, back before she had two kids, shaved her head, and ended up being pretty sympathetic compared to the idiot she ended up getting married to.

I honestly don’t know why I even bother.

So sometime around April, Toonami’s glorious second coming hit year three. I’ll spare you the gory details about how I feel:

A. I’m getting too old for this crap.

B. I’ve already stated how I feel about how this generation of mine is hyperfocused on its nostalgia to the point of digging up corpses and putting on puppet shows.

All that being said, Toonami actually has given me an interesting show here and there. Deadman Wonderland was absolutely glorious. The first season of Sword Art On-line was actually pretty good (more than I can say for the second and third season right about now). Attack on Titan… Well, at least it started out good. It lost me at the point where the main character could transform into a titan, honestly. It didn’t help that I missed about three episodes in a row once, and had to play catchup. And as much as it contradicts what I said about the nostalgia fixated generation I live in, I’m enjoying rewatching DBZ Kai.

Then you have idiotic decisions like rebrodcasting Naruto: the show that I personally blame for the death of the original Toonami in the longrun. Admittedly, not every new show is going to be a hit. In fact, Kill la Kill is turning out to be a real headache to sit through. But at least with newer stuff (assuming you didn’t watch it on Netflix already, or watch some sort of crappy fansub of it on Youtube), it’s expected to be a gamble.

And then there’s Inuyasha: the Final Chapter. We’re being presented the thrilling conclusion in the epic Inuyasha franchise! Long after everybody stopped caring. It’s like Sting showing up in WWE this year. fourteen years ago, that was all part of everyone’s epic fantasy regarding a war between WWF and WCW. Fourteen years later, WWE is shit, most of the smart ones among us left years ago, and those of us dumb enough to stick around (even if we’re just popping in around Mania) gave up that particular ghost a long time ago. Then one day, he just shows up, and I’m supposed to care again? Whatever, bro, I was done with that fantasy long ago.

Of course, that’s not exactly what I’d call a fair comparison. Specifically because I never liked Inuyasha. If I ever watched Inuyasha back in yee olden times, it was mostly because I was a lot more interested in Yu Yu Hakusho, and was willing to weather the storm till that show came on. I was a lot less open minded towards love stories back then, being a fifteen or sixteen-year-old boy who wanted to watch ultrapowerful anime dudes punch over ultrapowerful anime dudes. As an adult, I’m a little more open to romance, but nowadays, I see that, and all I can think is “Ew, she’s only fifteen! Come on, dude, you can do better!”. I don’t care if the age of concent is fourteen up there: nobody said I had to approve.

Overall, I just wasn’t invested in anything. I felt no connection to any of the characters, I felt no urgency in collecting jewel shards (eve after they established Naraku), and aside from Sango, virtually every character who ended up joining their party was more annoying than anything else. So yeah, I’m obviously not going to enjoy the final chapter.

However, I have a hard time imagining anybody, aside from the absolute most hardcore of fans, is interested in this. The anime had one of those world famous endings that implied they ran out of comic book… Er, manga, to go by, and rather than get the cliffnotes for how it’d end like the director of Scott Pilgrim VS The World did, or try to show us how they think it’d all end like they did with the original Full Metal Alchemist, they just gave the audience a real half-assed ending that basically said read the comic. If I were a fan of the anime, I’d probably be mad. Then they come out with a whole new season that adapts the remainder of the comic years later… I give you props if you’re among the super hardcore holding out this long. I imagine even the regular hardcore moved on with their lives. Barring that, they found something new to obsess over.

I don’t know, that whole concept just seemed like a bad idea to me. Sure, it gives the fanbase closure, but like I’ve been saying, I’d be genuinely surprised if anybody stuck around this long. It’s not like they’d been spending that entire downtime between seasons teasing the thrilling conclusion to anybody like George R. R. Martin is with The fucking Winds of Winter. Near as I can tell, it just popped up that it was going to start airing one night, and I was like, “Really?”

Of course, I say all that knowing full well I haven’t been a part of the anime community for years now. So what the hell do I know?

NOTE: My apologies for getting this one out so late. I’ve had a lot on my plate: playing one of the worst games of phone tag since I was still in college, dealing with something disability related… And is all that weren’t bad enough, my cat ended up with infected teeth, and stopped eating for a solid week. Things have been pretty stressful over here. However, my disability pay issue has resolved itself, my cat is back to normal, and… Well, as far as the phone tag issue goes, fuck it, it wasn’t nearly as important as I thought it was going to be anyway. So yeah, my apologies to all two or three of you for making you wait. Now then, on with the review!

It’s been a long time since I’ve covered H.I.M. on here.: self declared “love metal” artists. A lot of people in the states had a real mixed opinion of the guys, though two years or so after I wrote the review for “Razorblade Romance”, I find myself wondering if their affiliation with that retard from Viva La Bam had something to do with it. He does have a heartagram tattoo, and the heartagram is basically H.I.M.’s calling card.

“Dark Light” was released in 2005. I’d call 2003-2005 the height of H.I.M.’s popularity, though in hindsight, I think they just happened to be at the right place at the right time as far as America was concerned. Emo was pretty much in full swing throughout 2005, and a lot of my former metal clique had often accused H.I.M. as being a sort of unintentional founding father of the subgenre.

I kind of remember “Dark Light” being the point where I had initially called it quits with that particular fandom. Part of it might’ve been burnout, part of it might’ve been that all the metal sites I liked at the time absolutely destroyed them and I had yet to escape that “I want to be one of the cool kids” mentality. Keep in mind, I repeated twelth grade, so it probably took longer than it should’ve to break out of that mindset. It might’ve been the burnt copy my dad got me for my birthday was, in all brutal honesty, a pretty lackluster copy. I appreciated the gift and all, but it didn’t take me long to notice how staticky it got by track 4. It wouldn’t even play anything past track 5 without skipping a whole bunch.

Ten years later, I find myself older, wiser, giving less of a fuck about what all you elitist fuckheads have to say, and seriously fucking bored with the playlist the one rock station in KC has to offer. As a result, I found myself rebuilding my H.I.M. collection, obtaining an official copy of “Dark Light”, and wondering why on Earth I ever changed my mind about these guys.

Really, if you’ve heard on H.I.M. album, you know what to expect from this one. Tragic romance, goth themes… This time around, they seem to be including more keyboard. As a bit of a keyboardist myself, I can appreciate that. Perhaps it’s nothing especially new, but it does contain some of my favorite songs they’ve written.

I could go on, but I’ve already padded this out as far as I can. Let’s put “Dark Light” into the ol’ CD player, and give it a listen.

ALBUM ART: B+

the album art for H.I.M.'s "Dark Light"

TRACK LIST

1. Vampire Heart
GRADE: A
It’s an excellent introduction to what we’re about to hear throughout this album. It’s not jarring, but it gets right into the thick of it without wasting your time all at the same time. I really appreciate stuff like that.

2. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
GRADE: A+
The first, and as far as America is apparently concerned, the only single from this album. Research tells me the concept of ripping out the wings of a butterfly has something to do with a Greek myth. In order to be young and beautiful forever, someone had to destroy something beautiful, and they did so by… Well, by ripping out the wings of a butterfly. I think that’s how it went.

All I know is that it’s not hard to see why they went with this for a single. For starters, it was still technically that point in time when everybody was releasing track 2 as their single. But mostly, it’s because I find this song to be ridiculously catchy. It’s amazing how they made something like “rip out the wings of a butterfly”, an act that sounds absolutely morbid, sound so beautiful.

3. Under the Rose
GRADE: A
Admittedly, the line of “I’ve been burning in water and drowning in flame” sounds kind of hokey. That much aside, it’s another brainworm of a tune. I suddenly find myself wondering why I went this route when I could’ve just done what I’ve been doing the last few go-arounds. What can I say? I’ve been thoroughly impressed so far.

4. Killing Loneliness
GRADE: A
This song is my current ringtone. that ought to tell you how much I enjoy it.

5. Dark Light
GRADE: A+
I’d remark on how this is probably my favorite track on the entire album, but considering they named the album after this song, I get the feeling they wanted me to like it that much. I’ll admit, I had to get used to the chorus. It felt like he should’ve been hitting a different note than the one he went with the first one or two times I heard this song. Years later, I’m used to it, and thoroughly loving this song. I’m surprised they didn’t make this one the single. Hell, it’s the album’s name sake! Oh well.

6. Behind the Crimson Door
GRADE: B+
The good times couldn’t last forever I suppose, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a B. Isn’t The Crimson Door the name of a porno? Don’t quote me on that: I probably have no idea what I’m talking about there. It’s still a pretty good song all the same. It kind of pales in comparison to what we’ve had up to this point, but I’ve heard far worse.

7. The Face of God
GRADE: a-
It’s got a slow start, but once the instrumental kicks into gear, it’s actually pretty awesome. The slow start doesn’t even feel like all that much of a chore to sit through, either. While not quite as to the point as “Vampire heart”, it doesn’t drag on. The actual song itself, meanwhile, is pretty catchy in its own right.

8. Drunk on Shadows
GRADE: B
It’s good. Surprisingly not great, but good enough. The concept of being drunk on shadows is kind of a puzzling one to me. How do you drink a shadow exactly? I didn’t even know shadows were alcoholic. Guess you learn something new every day.

9. Play dead
GRADE: B+
It’s very pretty for something so tragic. That’s kind of their M.O. since day one, but still…

10. In the Night Side of Eden
GRADE: A+
I’m tempted to make a Simon R. Green joke here somewhere, but I can’t think of any that don’t come off as forced. Plus it’s not outside the realm of possibility I’m the only one who’s ever read his Nightside series. As far as this song goes, it’s the perfect ending to the experience. Right down to the haunting repeat of the chorus of “Forever we are, forever we’ll be, forever we’ll be crucified to a dream” at the end in that really deep voice. I leave this album feeling pretty satisfied with what I’ve heard, and look forward to hitting the play button again to hear the beginning.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Yeah, I’m seriously wondering why I ever gave up on these guys when I did. They’ve come out with several albums since, and I really need to play catchup with it all. Till then, I hope you enjoyed this review.

For as long as I’ve been on the internet, I’ve noticed something baffling. Something that, near as I can tell anyway, continues to be a problem. That thing, in short, is the inability to distinguish the difference between BAD and over rated.

Back when I was a little more active in fan communities and message boards, I remember this being a regular occurrence. Especially if you were one of the guys who had the brass balls to declare Final Fantasy 7 was over rated. The Final Fantasy fans heard “over rated”, and reacted as if the poster had insulted their family honor!

A couple things:

1. It’s a fucking video game. I was aware back then that a lot of the over reactionists were in high school, and they’re used to being locked in an aquarium like environment where popularity was a life or death scenario, and something as trivial as a favorite band was like a religion. Hell, back when I was that age, I was just as guilty of that as everyone else was. But really? You’re going to declare internet jihad on someone just because they don’t like Final Fantasy 7 as much as you do?

2. Final Fantasy 7 is over rated. Shadow Hearts FTW, bitches. :)

3. OVER RATED and BAD don’t mean the same thing.

Good things can be over rated, you realize. To use some of my personal favorite examples, Dragonforce is something I’d consider over rated.

Do I hate Dragonforce? No. I think they’re a pretty solid act with some pretty decent tunes. Do I think they deserve the absurd amount of attention they got throughout 2008? At the risk of pissing off the internet, I just didn’t see what the big deal was. True, I didn’t come to appreciate power metal until bands like Blind Guardian, Sabaton, and Manticora showed up on my radar, but I just didn’t see what the big deal was.

So yeah, I didn’t think Dragonforce was the end-all power metal gods everyone else at the time did. However, they weren’t bad by any means.

When I think of something that’s BAD, I tend to think of something more along the lines of Ke$ha personally. The music is horrible, her voice is repulsive, and every time she comes on the radio, I can’t turn the station fast enough. If I hear Ke$ha has a new album out, I immediately feel my skin crawl with dread, knowing that I’m going to hate what’s coming.

If something is BAD, I want to stab it with a broken beer bottle in the crotch until it’s dead. If something is OVER RATED, I’m at least willing to hear it out. Hell, I might be surprised. You never know.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this is that OVER RATED

When it comes to World Wrestling Entertainment, I find that anymore, I apparently have what therapists and Youtube commenters call “Trailer Park Wife Syndrome”. Meaning that no matter how poorly I’m treated, and no matter how much I get beaten mercilessly, I find myself making like Lzzy Hale and missing the misery. I come crawling back, thinking this time they’ve learned their lesson, and BAM! Backhand straight to the face, followed by the age old command of “shut up and make me a sammich, bitch!”. Nobody learned anything, everybody keeps telling me I’m better off, but for some reason, I just keep coming back.

I’d thought for sure after watching Wrestlemania30 that WWE had finally learned their lesson. Daniel Bryan finally got his spot in the main event after exceptionally vocal backlash convinced WWE that nobody wanted to see Dave Batista as the only challenger for the title, Brock Lesnar had the always awesome Paul Haymen (I can never remember how that’s spelled) speaking on his behalf, and John Cena was finally bumped down to the mid card. Yeah, he’s still there, still overcoming the odds in predictable fashion, but somehow, it’s not as insufferable and annoying when it’s the midcard. Also, he was feuding with Bray Wyatt, head of the totally not satanic cult known as The Wyatt Family. I could listen to that guy read the phonebook.

Sure, Daniel Bryan got injured a month later, was out of action for a year, and Cena ended up becoming the place holder champion till Brock Lesnar eventually suplexed him to death, like, a month later, but I figured once Bryan got off the injured list, things would be back to normal. Yeah, no, Bryan got demoted down to intercontinental status, and had to take part in that seven-way clusterfuck of an intercontinental title match. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns, a man nobody wanted to see win the royal rumble, went on to fight Brock Lesnar. And because the WWE loves their underdog stories apparently, Roman Reigns, a six-foot-six tank of a man, was supposed to be this guy who had to defy the odds and overcome adversity. And frankly, he was really lucky Brock Lesnar was his opponent, or else it’d be even less believable than it already was. Lesnar is a beast, pure and simple. This guy dug a tunnel straight to hell simply by punching the ground, and when he got there, he walked right up to Satan, and declared, “Get off my throne, bitch!”. But even then, he could only be so imposing compared to a guy that was about the same size, the same build, and with more hair.

I didn’t even bother ordering Wrestlemania31. 30 was such a great show, only for the WrestleMania the very next year to showcase how WWE creative learned absolutely nothing from last time. It’s actually quite infuriating, because I know for a fact that sometime in January, I’m going to start watching the show again to see what sort of trainwreck is waiting for me at 32. It’s especially sucky because there’s no alternative to WWE anymore. Not with my cable service anyway. TNA is still out there, but apparently, my cable service doesn’t carry that channel anymore. Although I heard something about them losing, like, a third of their talent last year due to either budget cuts, or idiotic handling of their contracts. Maybe both?

So yeah, guess it’s back to Fire Pro Wrestling till January or something. I’ll get to see all those old characters I’ve been trying to re-recreate now that I have a PS3 copy, but it’s worth it when I get around to it.

Seeing all those old creations reminds me of the stories I’d tried to write about those characters. About the short story anthology I mentioned in this series about two years ago that unfortunately got deleted before I could proofread it. It reminds me of a few other stories I’ve written since featuring some of those characters I tried to get published, and had no luck in. And it reminds me of other attempts I’ve made in the past.

Back around 1999-2000, wrestlers were putting out autobiographies like EA was putting out sports games. Mick Foley had gotten the ball rolling with his book, and it was… Well, I wouldn’t say chaos, but suddenly, all the top guys were writing books. I talked about that LXW anthology like it was my first attempt, but in truth, it wasn’t. I’d attempted to write wrestling stories in the past long before that point. It’s just that compared to now, my skills have improved tremendously.

The first time, I tried writing from the perspective of a guy by the name of Tony. He wasn’t very remarkable in hindsight, and I ended up writing more about his friends and their goings on than I ever did about him. That right there was probably why I pulled the plug on that project. It’s always bad when side characters have a more interesting story than the main character. Go ahead and make them interesting, but don’t distract from the main plot.

Somewhere around 2002-2003 (I think), I ended up picking the idea of a wrestler autobiography back up. Except this time, I focused on one of the women.

Women’s wrestling in America… In all honesty, it’s a travesty. Especially now. The days of Jacquoline, Lita, post-Test and Albert managing Trish Stratus, and Chyna are gone, and now we have to suffer through The Bella Twins, Alicia Fox, and god only knows who’s left. Paige can only do so much on her own, I’m afraid. TNA had the better roster in terms of talented women. Yeah, last I checked, they had Brooke Tessmacher on the roster, but no team is perfect. Plus she got better in time. Yeah, she was basically there to rub her butt in people’s faces, but she was still better at wrestling than Kelly Kelly. Worst case scenario, unlike Kelly, Brooke actually had an ass to rub in people’s faces in the first place.

I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere with this before now. Oh right!

Version two of the autobiography focused on a female wrestler. Women’s wrestling may be somewhere between a joke and cheap fan service over here in America (especially now), but back then, I set out to make a wrestler that could hang with the best of them. She even held the tag team titles at one point, and wrestled men! Sure she spent most of the match getting absolutely crushed before tagging in her partner, but it had less to do with women being weaker or inferior or whatever, and a lot more to do with the fact that’s how a lot of tag team matches work. The shorter, skinnier, perceivably weaker member gets absolutely stomped for the majority before the other guy gets tagged in, turns the momentum in their favor, and they do their team finisher. She would take a beating every match she was in, but the very next week, she’d be back for more. She certainly wouldn’t show up the next week with taped ribs after a male wrestler fucking scoop slammed her the previous week like that time Victoria had to go up against Carlito. That was fucking embarrassing.

I actually ended up finishing the story. Back in 2002-2003, that was an accomplishment worth bragging about. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, the more I proofread it, the more disenchanted I grew with the project. I hung on to the characters, and recreated them on newer wrestling games over the years, but the story I’d written for them at that point eventually found its way into the recycle bin. For the most part, the only thing I remember about it being bad was that it was obvious that a high schooler who’d never been to Japan or England had written this story. Of course, that’s what I remember of it.

I’ve thought about rewriting the story. Here and now with women’s wrestling being a real shame, we could probably use a story about women wrestlers who could actually do stuff besides fan servicy moves and scream “LET’S GO NIKKI!” unconvincingly. Sadly, I just don’t feel the motivation for it anymore. Aside from becoming extremely disenchanted with mainstream pro-wrestling anymore, I really have no reason for why.

I’ve sense given these characters other stories that, at the rate I’m going, are probably never going to see anything beyond the vanity press. Still, it’s fun to look back on how they got their start. And to exorcise some fairly recent demons.

Sorry guys, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to do WITCP this week. I’m not going to lie, this week has been the picture perfect definition of hectic. I’ve been playing phone tag with three different groups regarding three different things. One of them is more frivolous than the other two, but it’s still something I want to look into. The other two are pretty high priority things.

One of which has been an on-line class I was going to be taking, but unfortunately got locked out of because the financial department of the college hosting these classes are a bunch of fucking mongos who have no clue what they’re doing, forwarding me to this number and that number, making me leave messages that don’t get there till a day later, and then that person has no idea how to handle the situation… I really hate phone tag. I only ever leave voice mail if it’s not especially important and can wait. And I send text messages if it’s esoteric and doesn’t require a response. Otherwise, you better answer that fucking phone, or I’m just going to keep ringing you up. Is it obnoxious? Oh for sure. But god damn it, I want my questions answered, and I’m not leaving a voice mail so you can just delte it and forget about me. You’re answering my question RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

The other matter… Without going into too much detail, it reminds me of how much I hate being on social security. Especially where the savings cap, and Sammy Boy’s latest attempts at restricting what you can buy with disability pay are concerned. I can only say “May Kansas receive everything it voted for” so many times. Seriously, what do you fucking idiots see in Brownback?

So yeah, long story short, I’m far too busy, and/or far too annoyed to talk music right now. I might do a double feature next week, or I might just do one tomorrow. We’ll see.

EDIT: Corrected an error I probably would’ve caught immediately if I actually read these unimportant update type things. Seriously, this is why I don’t write angry anymore.