the album art for Gloryhammer's "Tales from the Kingdom of Fife"

My god, how did I not hear about this band sooner!? Probably because I didn’t know about Alestorm at the time, either. Yeah, I said ALESTORM. Not to be confused with HALESTORM, whom I’ve officially lost any and all tolerance for as of that piece of shit “Appocalyptic”. And before I go into yet another rant that’ll generate more hatemail than I know what to do with, let’s just move away from that, and get back on topic, shall we?

Alestorm is described as “pirate metal”. I forget if that’s what the fans call them, or if the band themselves came up with that. Maybe a little fifty-fifty. Honestly, Alestorm is… Okay. Honestly, guys, I’m not really in to pirates. You’re talking to a guy who was approached with the age old pirates VS ninjas debate, and I picked vampires. Because fuck you, vampires are badass. Then Twilight came along and ruined it for everybody, but still…

When I heard about Gloryhammer, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. A Facebook group recently picked “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee” as their song of the week… And I was hooked ever since.

“Tales From the Kingdom of Fife” is an album that tells a story. Each track is a new chapter in the epic battle against a terrible dark wizard and his horde of undead unicorns. Whatever the wizard’s beef with the kingdom of Dundee is, I have no clue, but when it comes to albums, I rarely demand that level of detail. You can get some pretty far fetched stories when it comes to story albums, but as long as the music is good, you’d be amazed how much is forgiven in the end. Besides, if you include too many details, you get Rhapsody of Fire’s second saga. Seriously, I loved The Emerald Sword saga, but that second saga was really becoming an ordeal, what with having to buy EPs that continued where the actual god damn album left off.

You don’t get that with Gloryhammer, though. All you get is pure, consentrated badass in a disc. The story is easy to follow, the music both impresses me and reminds me of Mega Man X for some reason. Really, the only track that’s skippable in my opinion is “Beneath Cowdenbeath”, and that’s only because it’s an instrumental.

I ended up with a version of the album that includes a bonus track: “Wizards”. It contributes absolutely nothing to the story, but is a badass song in its own right.

The band has recently announced that they’re working on their next album. Their Facebook page will update with progress reports every now and then, which I appreciate. And if the new album ends up maintaining the status quo of awesome they’ve put into place, I think I may very well have a new favorite band ever.

Long live the Gloryhammer!

OVERALL GRADE: A+

We are Harlot is apparently the hot new thing to hit the rock scene. If what I read is correct, the founder of the band used to be in the band Asking Alexandria. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been real fifty-fifty on Asking Alexandria, and I ended up approaching the offshoot with caution.

I haven’t heard anything else by We Are Harlot yet, but I’m really hoping this is one of those cases of Stone Sour syndrome I always like to talk about: where the band ends up making the worst song on the album the single, and the rest is pretty badass.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve heard worse than “Dancing on Nails”. At the same time, though, I’ve heard better.

“You’ve got something worth exploring” is, in all honesty, not a very flattering statement. Not insulting, but not really flattering either. It’s like saying “Hey, what have I got to lose?”, or “Eh, I got nothing better going on tonight. Why not?” That, of course, is assuming it’s not some sort of “Texas Grin” caliber sexual metaphor.

Actually, I take that back. As noncommittal and defeatist as that line sounds, it’s still more subtle than “Texas Grin”. Yeah, I’m seriously still dwelling on that Sons of Texas review from this past Friday. It’s going to take some time, guys.

There’s really not much else I can say about these guys and their song. If anything, this song is just… Boring, I guess. Best case scenario, I feel like I’ve heard this a billion times already. For that matter, I feel like I’ve heard it from other bands who managed to make it sound better. There’s just nothing going on here that grabs my attention.

I’d complain about the airplay it’s been getting, but surprisingly, it’s more or less disappeared from the airwaves recently. It might be because 98.9 The Rock is still hyperfocused on that piece of shit Halestorm song “Appocalyptic” when they aren’t maintaining the status quo of jackhammering AC/DC into the ground. Whatever the reason is, it’s kind of surprising. Especially since We Are Harlot are on this year’s Rockfest bill. Yeah, they’re just one or two positions away from being the curtain jerker, but you’d think we’d want to promote something like a rockfest act.

And another thing about this year’s Rockfest: how the hell did Tech9 end up on the bill? Because when I think of a show featuring guys like Rob Zombie, Volbeat, Motionless and White, new acts like We Are Harlot and Otherwise, highly over rated acts like Halestorm, and other names in the rock world, I think fucking Tech9, muthafukka! Not to take anything away from Tech9 or anything (I’m the last person on Earth who should be allowed to critique rap that doesn’t feature Jim Korthe or Fred Durst), but that right there just has bad idea written on it. I remember when Ozzfest invited Crazytown on the bill. Dudes got booed off the fucking stage like you wouldn’t believe, and it’s not hard to see why.

Yeah, I know I went off topic. I’m not wasting time and effort writing an entire rant on a concert I don’t even have money to go see.

So yeah, We Are Harlot. I am unimpressed. Sorry.

the album art for Son of Texas' "Baptized in the Rio Grande"

Ah, Sons of Texas. On one hand, the name doesn’t really sound all that inspired. Especially when you find out they’re actually from Texas. On the other hand… Let’s face it, saying that name out loud is just fun. Especially with a thick Texas accent. If you’re a dick like I am, you can probably add a “YEE-HAW!” at the end, but it’s all up to you.

As much as I’d love to pad this thing out with useless trivia, I’m afraid there isn’t a whole lot out there on these guys. And unlike bands like Thrust, or Brick Bath, or Among Thieves (IE, bands that time forgot), it’s understandable. After all, their first album, “Baptized in the Rio Grande”, came out earlier this year. I think. They showed up on Kansas City radio back in March, and they actually came here to play a little music before Johnny Dare gave away a jeep. Which was an interesting change of pace, considering he’s usually giving away a Harley, but I can’t fucking drive either way, and the police would throw a fucking fit if my one-eyed ass tried, so why even bother hyperfocusing? *sigh* God I hate not being able to drive. Seriously, bro, you have no idea.

So yeah, Sons-a-Texas!

Not really much to say soundwise. If you like your rock simplistic, loud, and southern, this is the band for you. I do like a lot of complex mathematical stuff like Meshuggah, but I’m not against keeping it simple. If Five Nights at Freddy’s has taught me absolutely nothing else, it’s taught me that there’s something to be said for the “less is more” philosophy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album… Up until about track 10.

“September” isn’t an especially bad song, but I honestly found it difficult to relate to. I know they’re really trying to get me to sympathize with the woman in the song, but I’m honestly having a difficult time with it. I know living most of your life with only one working eye probably doesn’t compare to being a heartbroken cutter with three kids to feed, but in my experience, heartache heals, and the less you dwell on the stupid bitch who’d rather move back in with her ex despite said ex being an asshole, the longer you’ll probably live. Also, the verse “I cut myself to sleep”… I don’t know why, but there’s a part of my brain that always wants to compare it to such textual gems as “I’ll kill you to death!”. I know she means “I cut myself in order to sleep”, but go figure, my brain just works like that.

Then there’s “Texas Grin”. Frankly, that song right there brought this whole fucking album down a letter grade, that’s how disappointed I was. For fuck sakes, guys, you were doing so good for ten solid tracks. Even if I personally couldn’t relate to “September”, I could see other people enjoying it. But this? I guess we decided to take the low road on this one.

Don’t get me wrong, internet, I’m not above muff-diving. But if you’re going to waste my time and your effort on writing a song about it, a song that any fucking thirteen-year-old could probably write in their sleep, then I clearly overestimated you guys.

But all that being said, nine out of eleven isn’t horrible. And really, if you can relate to “September”, then you can make it a ten out of eleven.

“Texas Grin” aside, this album is a blast. You really oughta check these guys out.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Marcy Playground was a one-shit-wonder from my high school years that I’m legitimately glad never went anywhere. It doesn’t get much radio play out here anymore, and I thank the various gods for their mercy.

It might just be my ear, but the vocalist of this band sounds like Matthew McConnahey. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s just me. I am the only guy on Earth who denies Family Guy is a Simpsons ripoff, and instead perpetuates that Family Guy is actually an All in the Family ripoff. Seriously, look at early Family Guy episodes, and I dare you to compare Peter Griffen to Archy Bunker. The comparison is uncanny.

Anyway, let’s assume my McConnahey theory is correct. All and all, that’s one reason to hate the band right there. I’ll have to consult IMDB or Wikipedia on this, but I honestly can’t remember the last time McConnahey was in anything good.

Oh, but we haven’t even covered the song yet.

Admittedly, this sort of thing was actually pretty par for the course back in the olden days of alternative. Back when it was actually an enjoyable genre. Back before the fucking skateboarders came along and ruined it for everybody.

I’ve heard the vocalist explain the origin of the song. Essentually, it’s the classic teacher invites a student over to her house to assist him in his studies, only to find that the only studying they’re actually going to do is in hardcore fuckology. Pardon me while I gag.

You know, this is another instance where I say gender swopping does nothing to improve things. Except we’re not talking about Watson and Moriarty being turned into women in Elementary because we’re out of ideas. We’re talking about a possible pedophilia case here! We have this weird double-standard in society where if an older man seduces a teenage girl, he’s a fucking gross pervert and should be castrated, but if it’s an older woman seducing a teenage boy, the boy is practically elevated to god status. South Park did a whole episode on the matter. I don’t care how fucking hot the teacher might be, it’s disgusting both ways, and should be treated as such.

I’m reminded of this double standard every time I hear this song. And frankly, I hate double standards. The idea of it being okay for some people, but not for others is stupid, and we have to stop it. Much like we need to stop punishing the entire population for the actions of one or two random fucktards. That’s probably a rant for a whole other day, because trust me, I have a rather nasty habit of going way off the beaten path anymore.

Add on the fact this song got overplayed into the fucking pavement, and it became one of my absolute most hated songs of all time. And this was one of those billboard top 10 deals that managed to transcend genre. I heard it on all the rock stations, all the alternative stations (which there were a lot more of when this song was new and relevant), and I even heard the resident pop station play it a couple times. Shit, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the then-only rap station played it! Probably needs about twenty more references to clubbing and buttcheeks, but I could see it fitting the demographic.

And then the hate comments came in.

One would think here in 2015, in a time when this song is a relic of its time at absolute best, I would eventually come to appreciate it. Lord knows I’ve come to realize a lot of the things I hated in music back during those times actually weren’t half bad. Especially when you consider the skateboarder shit that came afterward, and the Jack White wannabe hipster faggotry that dominates it right now. But no, this song still sucks, and I doubt anything will ever change that.

the album art for Flogging Molly's "Swagger"

This would probably qualify as part of the 1% of my album collection. Amidst a chaotic jumble of popular and European rock and metal, something like Flogging Molly manages to find its way into my collection.

I honestly don’t know a whole lot about Flogging Molly. Other than everybody on the fucking planet seems to mix them up with The Dropkick Murphies. True, they’ve got a similar style, what with the whole celtic punk rock fusion thing going on. However, The Dropkick Murphies will always be associated with The Departed: a movie remake that tried its best to cram an entire movie trilogy from Hong Cong (I think) into one really long, really stupid fucking movie that I honestly can’t believe I got dragged to. Actually, I take that back. I think Scorsese had something to do with that, and Scorsese is one of those guys film snobs beat off to every night before going to bed. So yeah, I was legitimately interested. Then I saw the movie, and found myself wanting my ten bucks back.

Flogging Molly, on the other hand, doesn’t have that sort of association. In fact, I actually found Flogging Molly first. It wasn’t until about a year ago when I started collecting albums, but I’d always known they existed.

I honestly tried a track-by-track review earlier, but found that I was pretty much giving everything the same grade. Which usually prompts me to do this style instead.

Some tracks are fast paced and fun, while others are slow and a little more serious. None of them are truly bad, or even skip worthy in my opinion. This is a very enjoyable album from start to finish, and I thoroughly recommend you give it a listen.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

Long time readers know exactly how I feel about Buckcherry. For newbies, and those in need of a refresher course and no desire to backtrack all the way back to, like, 2013 or whenever I posted the rant on “Crazy Bitch”, here’s a hint. BUCKCHERRY IS FUCKING HORRIBLE, AND YOU’RE ALL HORRIBLE FUCKING PEOPLE FOR LIKING THEM!!!

Though in a rather hilarious twist, this was apparently the Buckcherry song that even devoted Buckcherry fans hated. I almost never hear it on the radio anymore… And thank the gods above, below, and in between.

Really, guys? “Crazy Bitch” was acceptable, but this is the song that had you all revolt? But this is exactly what you wanted! You wanted a shit band from 1999 to come back after they’d already pissed you off before with “Time Bomb” two years later, and then you act surprised when this sort of audible garbage is the best they can come up with. I guess it’s hard to learn from your mistakes when your pass times include huffing paint and convincing yourself rock and roll died when Nirvana came along and reminded the world that hair metal was fucking gay as fuck, but still, it seems so obvious!

Seriously, though, I rip on you guys, but I’m just glad you all eventually learned your lesson. Between this song sucking on the air, and Josh Todd being a bit of an asshole to Johnny Dare apparently, we’re probably never going to hear any post “Crazy Bitch” era Buckcherry in this city anytime soon. Which is significantly less Buckcherry than I’d like to be removed from the air, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Good lord, I’ve written all this, and I haven’t even talked about the song itself yet. Though really, what the fucking fucker fuck is there to talk about? This is pretty standard Buckcherry from start to finish. Josh Todd at least tries to carry a tune in this one, for all the good it ends up doing, but that’s probably the only thing positive I have to say.

I’d say this song sucks, but that’d kind of be like saying the sky is blue, or watermelon juice is delicious at this point. So I guess I’ll end here for now. And for those of you who still have to put up with this song on your radio, I hope you got everything you were asking for. Because this is exactly what you wanted back in 2006, as you may recall.

NOTE: Appologies in advance for missing last week. My internet has been suffering from some technical difficulties. So much so that my provider had to replace the entire modem after giving up on all the possible ideas. But everything is back up and running, and now I’ll be able to continue not updating frequently.

I’ve complained constantly about this being the decade of nostalgia: the decade where it’s absolutely okay to take something that’s been dead for a minimum of fifteen years, dig up the corpse, and put on a puppet show for the new generation of kids while said puppeteer tries their best to relive the good days. The Transformers franchise, G.I. Joe, that piece of shit Robocop movie that came out last year even though my review of it says 2013 for some reason (my bad)… Hell, even My Little Pony made a comeback this decade, and for some reason, it’s okay for boys to watch it now. Even though it’s still girly, still intellectually insulting to anyone older than seven, and is severely lacking in Smooze. Yeah, I saw that old movie. Smooze was the only redeemable thing from that entire experience. It took a lot for my eight-year-old self to look at something, and say “wow, this is retarded.”

I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere with that rant. Let me backtrack. Oh yeah, nostalgia.

Another segment of this nostalgia-oriented culture is the nostalgia circuit: a segment of live music where bands that haven’t played together in a decade at absolute least all reunite, go on tour indefinitely, and in some cases, put out a new album.

Admittedly, of all the corpse puppet shows calling themselves entertainment nowadays, the nostalgia circuit is hands down the least worst. Probably because music is timeless, and a musician coming back from retirement isn’t nearly as embarrassing as resurrecting a cartoon from the 1970s from the dead and peppering it with 2010s slang.

Enter Primus: a band that broke up in 2000, and then reunited around 2010 or so. After Les Claypool played in other bands, took part in “Nativity in Black 2″ (A Black Sabbath tribute album), wrote a book that Audible.com seemingly refuses to include an audio copy of in their library despite my constant harassing, and a mockumentary film I’ve really been meaning to find (among other projects), he finally gave in, and reunited with Primus. Sort of. Much like The Smashing Pumpkins reunion, it’s been said Claypool’s the only original member of the band left. That being said, Primus always struck me as The Les Claypool Show. As long as Claypool’s still in the band, it’s still Primus.

On one hand, when I heard they’d released a new album in 2011, I was less than optimistic. On the other hand, I didn’t officially get into Primus till 2013, so maybe I have no right to talk. I’d always known they existed (they wrote the theme for South Park after all), but it wasn’t until I looked them up on Music Unlimitted almost two years ago before I could say I liked them.

So when I started building my Primus collection, I decided to pick up their reunion album, “Green Naugahyde”, and see where things went from there. Is it a glorious second coming? Is it a monumental waste of time and effort? Let’s pop it in and see!

ALBUM ART: B+

the album art for Primus' "Green Naugahyde"

Yip, that’s definitely… Green.

TRACK LIST

1. Prelude to a Crawl
2. Hennepin Crawler
GRADE: B+
These two might as well be the same track, so I combine them like this. This is definitely a Primus song. I can’t help but notice how fuzzy the mic is on Claypool. Whether it’s a stylistic choice made specifically for this song, or if we have another “Battle Maximus” scenario where the crap mic is the norm throughout the entire album is up in the air at this point, but compared to “Battle Maximus”, it’s a lot more tolerable. I don’t always understand what he’s saying, but then again, I’m not always laser-focused on listening, so there. That aside, it’s an interesting start.

3. Last Salmon Man (Fisherman’s Chronicles part 4)
GRADE: A
Okay, the fuzzy mic has carried over to this tune. I guess this is going to be the norm. Whatever. This is part 4 of the legendary Fisherman’s Chronicles. It’s always fascinating to see what he’s up to. I wonder why the albums between “Pork Soda” and this went without Fisherman stories? I love those tracks. I guess we needed to make room for Wynonna and her big brown beaver, huh?

4. Eternal Consumption Engine
GRADE: A+
Well I guess even Primus is allowed to make a “fuck you, 1%!” song. And of course, they do it in a very… Primus, sort of way. This may very well be the single strangest track on the entire album, and I love it. Partly because I’m a proud subscriber of The Justice Party, and partly because the song is just so weird.

5. Tragedy’s a Comin’
GRADE: B+
Surprisingly upbeat for a song about the inevitability of death and tragedy.

6. Eyes of the Squirrel
GRADE: C
Not going to lie, this song is somewhere between a Led Zeppolin acid trip, and an endurance test to see how long you can last before hitting the next track. Maybe I’m making the fatal mistake of listening to this sober. All I know is for a song called “The Eyes of the Squirrel”, I’m a little disappointed with what I got.

7. Jilly’s on Smack
GRADE: A
Boy things got dark in a hurry. I’m not sure if this Jilly is a real person, or if it’s just an alias, or even just a metaphor for someone we’ve all known at least once in our lives, but it’s a tragic story set to a pretty haunting instrumental. I think this is where the acid trip from the previous trip goes absolutely south. It’s a pretty long track, but believe me, it’s six and a half minutes of time well spent.

8. Lee Van Cleef
GRADE: A+
Then we go to this hilariously upbeat track about the great Lee Van Cleef. The only thing I knew about this guy before hearing the song was that one of his movies ended up on Mystery Science Theater. I absolutely love this song. I can’t explain why, either. Maybe it’s because of the goofy instrumental, it’s probably because this sounds like something I’d write about one of my favorite actors (too bad Psychostick beat me to Bruce Campbell), or maybe it’s just the fun factor. Either way, I love this song. This was actually my ringtone for the longest time, too.

9. Moron TV
GRADE: A-
I’m not going to assume right out the gate they’re talking about MTV. Especially since a lot of TV lately is grade-A moronic. That being said, if that’s the case, it gets an A by default. It helps the tune is catchy is hell.

10. Green Ranger
GRADE: C+
Sadly, it’s not about Tommy Oliver. Tommy Oliver: AKA, Jason David Frank:, AKA, the dude who might as well have been a reflection of my future. True, I didn’t fight monsters, get to wear green spandex with a motorcycle helmet, and the closest thing to a dagger flute I’ve played is a chanter that drove my dog insane, but… What was I talking about again?

11. HOINFODAMAN
GRADE: B+
I have no idea what’s going on here. Story of my Primus experience altogether thus far, I’m sure, but I am so confused right now.

12. Extinction Burst
GRADE: B+
It holds my attention, that’s for sure. Not really sure what to say about it, though. Saying it’s strange would be kind of like saying the sky is blue at this point.

13. Salmon Men
GRADE: N/A
Basically an outro that resumes where episode 4 of The Fisherman’s Chronicles left off. A bizarre choice for an ending, but hey, that’s just me.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

This is one of the rare moments where the epic reunion album isn’t an ironic term. The comeback has been genuinely awesome, and I’ve been waiting for the day they come to my neck of the woods to experience it live. Not every reunited band on Earth can hold my attention quite like that.

The other day, I heard through the ol’ grapevine that Terry Pratchet, creater of Discworld, has passed away. Looking back on a lot of these In Memorium posts, I can’t help but notice that March is when all my heroes end up dying. I wonder why that is?

I’ll admit, I know little about Terry Pratchet himself. I know he wrote the various Discworld novels, and I know a couple years ago, he was diagnosed with alzheimers. That’s pretty much all I know about the guy.

His Discworld novels, however, are a pretty big part of my life. I still remember listening to the audio books back in the day. Back when four-sided cassette tapes were the gold standard. Yes, I said four-sided.

Basically, you had a standard cassette tape, but somehow, you had a switch on the cassette player that flipped from A to B. So you’d have side 1A, then you’d have to flip over to side 2A, then you’d have to flip back over to side 1 but flip a switch to get side 1B… And you thought regular cassettes were a pain in the ass. Seriously, why are we bringing these back? Because some fucktard from that Guardians of the Galaxy movie was using a tape player to listen to his mixtape? Or because the Portlandia crowd decided that old shit is cool, no matter how inconvenient it is compared to the new shit. I don’t care what anybody says, Cassette tapes are shit, vinal is shit, and VHS is a terrible, space consuming format that I’m glad went the way of the dinosaur. Old stuff dies for a reason.

But while the formats sucked ass, the stories presented to me through said formats were great. I always loved Granny Weatherwax the most. In more recent years, I’ve found myself enjoying The Wee Free Men as well, if only because the concept of Scottish smurfs amuses me. I also enjoyed the stories with Constable Carrot, and Moist Von Lipwig. However, Granny Weatherwax was always my favorite.

Literature has lost one of its greatest minds, and there’ll never be another one quite like him. May he rest in peace.

When I first heard Volbeat, I was enchanted. Admittedly, my opinion of rockabilly was fairly low, and while I acknowledge Elvis is the king, I still say Metallica are gods. Even if Lars is a little prick, “St. Anger” was fucking terrible, and it’s been years since they put anything new out. And yet I ended up liking Volbeat anyway. Because if the internet has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me that metal is the most flexible, versatile art out there. I’ve heard The Children of Bodom do a Britney Spears cover, and it actually worked! I’ve heard The Ten Masked Men, and they are badass. I’ve even heard Steel Panther do a cover of the fucking Backstreet Boys, and it was good!

Long story short, Volbeat captured my imagination, and became an instant favorite.

Four years later, though… They’re still good and all, but I think it’s safe to say the novelty’s worn off. It doesn’t help that they’re a part of this year’s Rockfest out here, and the radio is prone to overplaying artists whenever they come to town. Regardless of what genre, station, or band it is.

The loss of novelty, in the longrun, has taken an awesome band, and simply made them good. And there’s nothing wrong with good. If anything, that comment is just a warning that my grade might not be the same as yours.

in 2013, Volbeat put out “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies”. The only real thing I really have to say about the album title is that if I were on the naming committee, I’d have flipped it around. “Shady Ladies and Outlaw Gentlemen” just has a better ring to me. But hey, that’s just me.

Aside from that one tiny little nitpick, this album is everything we’ve come to know and love about the band. And today, we’re going to give it a listen.

ALBUM ART: B+

the album art for Volbeat's "Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies"

TRACK LIST

1. Let’s Shake Some Dust
GRADE: A
An excellent intro track that lets you know exactly where you’re heading. And that direction you’re heading is the wild west. Hopefully the kickass Quick and the Dead wild west, or even the bizarre schlocky Brisco County west. Never the sucky Will Smith Wild West!

2. Pearl Hart
GRADE: A-
Here’s where the rock actually kicks in. The first track seems like a lead-in to this track, but the two sound so unconnected that I might as well count track 1 as a separate entity.

3. The Nameless One
GRADE: C+
Weirdly enough, I thought this was the other half of “Pearl Hart” when I was listening to it the first time. I wasn’t really paying close attention I guess. It’s not especially ear grabbing, but I suppose it gets the job done.

4. Dead But Rising
GRADE: B
Admittedly, I’m giving this the grade I’m giving it because it’s actually among the most overplayed on the radio right now, and I’m experiencing a wee bit of burn out. If you take the burn out factor out of it, you can probably bump it up a letter grade. It KINDA sounds like “A Warrior’s Call” back over on “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven”, but that’s probably because both songs are really D-chord centric. Keep in mind, I’m going by keyboard chords when I say that, too (I’m not especially good at guitar). That aside, it’s a pretty catchy tune. Even if the term “Dead But Rising” is a bit on the Engrish side for me.

5. Cape of Our Hero
GRADE: A+
Hands down one of, if not my absolute favorite track on the entire album. True story: I used the opening bars of this song as my ringtone for the longest time. Of course, that was back when I had audacity on my computer, and could edit my own ringtones out of my music collection to get the bits I wanted for free as opposed to gamble on the ringtone store. Whatever, I own the fucking CD, I oughta be able to do something like that if I want. And no, I’m not selling my recordings. I’m an entitled prick, but I’m not that stupid. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, “Cape of Our Hero”. Hands down my favorite track on the album. Well worth the listen.

6. Room 24
GRADE: C
You know, you think I’d love a song that’s this heavy. Shit, it even has King fucking Diamond on vocals! Instead, I find myself feeling… Bored. It’s too bad, because this pairing has the potential to be something pretty badass.

7. The Hangman’s Body Count
GRADE: A
This was the first single off the album. Admittedly, this was a song that had to grow on me. I didn’t hate it, but considering “Cape of Our Hero”, I was genuinely surprised they went with this one. I mean hell, it’s ot even track 2 or track 5! Although I suppose we’re done with that cliché by the time we get to 2015, but still! All I know is that once you get used to it, it’s a great track.

8. My Body
GRADE: B
Apparently this is a cover tune. I’ve never heard of Sameer Gadhia, but yeah, apparently this is a cover of… His? Theirs? Whatever. It’s actually not that bad. I’m going to have to find the original one of these days to compare and contrast, but right about now, the Volbeat version’s pretty good.

9. Lola Montez
GRADE: B+
I honestly have no idea who Lola Montez is, but my knowledge of the wild west is pretty limited. I know a lot of the obvious ones like Billy the Kid, Black Bart, Wild Bill Hicock, and what have you, but more obscure ones like this one go over my head. But I guess the song is all about her, so it works out in the end. I hesitate to call it a ballad, but it’s definitely one of the more upbeat songs I’ve heard these guys put out. Considering the lyrics, I’m wondering if that’s ironic, or just coincidential.

10. Black Bart
GRADE: A
Hey, I was just talking about this guy! Unsprurisingly he gets a real badass track. The last one was bouncy and peppy, but this one is straight forward metal. Much like Black Bart himself, no doubt.

11. The Lone Rider
GRADE: A
This song features Sarah Blackwood as a guest vocalist. I have no fucking clue who that is, but either way, this song is… Interesting. Interesting in the way that only Volbeat could possibly get away with it. It almost sounds like a country song! Right up until they get to the chorus, at which point he rock kicks in. This song has to be listened to to be believed. Even if you end up hating it, you got to admit that it’s… Interesting.

12. The Sinner is You
GRADE: C+
The Sinner is You. It sounds less like Enrrish, and more like an internet meme. It’s just too bad such an eye catching title is so dull. I know they’re trying, but I just can’t get into this song to save my life.

13. Doc Holiday
GRADE: B
Again, I grade it the way I do because I’m getting a little burned out on the radio playing it. I’m also seriously bummed out the radio bersion edited out the intro that features the banjo. Volbeat is one of very few bands on Earth who can make a fucking banjo metal. Fintroll is the only other one I can think of off the top of my head, but I can’t guarantee they’ve aff

14. Our Loved Ones
GRADE: B+
I seriously thought it wasn’t going to be as slow as it ended up being based on the intro, but once you get past the sudden slow down from said intro, it’s actually pretty good. Slow tracks like this do tend to make for good closing tracks, and this one doesn’t stray from the beaten path in this regard.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Really, what can I say about Volbeat that I haven’t said in previous album reviews. “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” is, if nothing else, another bulletpoint on the chart of reasons why this is one of my favorite bands. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth having in your collection.

Dystopia is popular anymore. It’s a popular sore point with my mom whenever we get to talking about books, but it can’t be denied. I honestly have no specific problems with the genre, and considering this is the generation of The War on Terror, the great recession, and a government so fucking polarized that fourty-seven senators willingly performed an act of treason that’s been illegal since the U.S. constitution was put into effect but is apparently perfectly justifiable on the basis “Obamr’s a heathen devil liberal sombitch, and we needs to send us a message to Obamr to fuck off with his socialtyism!”… Yeah, dystopia works right about now.

As a native Kansan, The Wizard of Oz is pretty much the bane of my existence. We’ve had to put up with San Fransissies and New York guidos making fun of us for being backward hicks who raise corn for a living. The depressing thing is that the only part of that I can legitimately debate is that we don’t grow corn. Kansas grows wheat, Nebraska grows corn. Sadly, everything else seems to apply. Especially when you live out west. It doesn’t get any republicanner than the west side. *sigh*

All the more reason when I heard about Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die, I knew I had to read this. And apparently, it’s a pretty popular book.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not all great. It tends to drag on at points, and I feel like we’re trying a wee bit too hard to make this story longer than it needs to be. Believe me, I’ve been there. Trying to meet 80,000 wrds bare minimum isn’t easy. 60,000-79,999 seems to be easier, but it’s still a challenge, and I’ve grown to dislike this young adult fad anymore.

The audible.com version has a reader who I swear is dragging it out as long as humanly possible. Either she genuinely reads that slowly, or she’s getting paid by the hour, and she’s trying to make this shit last. In the case of the former, I won’t judge. In the case of the latter, fuck you.

Despite a few spots of obvious padding, and the sequel bait at the end, though, I liked this book. I love how The Scarecrow is now a mad scientist, and how the once Cowardly Lion is now dismembering people and consuming their fear. I love how something as innocent as The Wizard of Oz has been transformed into this cartoony Game of Thrones minus the incest, the constant fucking, and about fifty gallons of the hundred gallons a season of blood.

I haven’t done a whole lot of looking into this just yet, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that the CW is apparently in talks to make this a TV series. So basically, get ready for another series of hour-long episodes containing fourty minutes of comercials, and twenty minutes of actual show. Seriously, I want to like the shows on that network, but that really fucking irritates me to no end. And honestly, comercials don’t bug me all that much. This generation of DVR and Netflix has no idea just how good they have it. Us 90s folks had to learn the zen art of actually talking to each other during the comercials.

Sorry, my inner curmudgeon interrupted me again.

I strongly recommend you pick up this book. Paperback, hardback, e-book, whatever. This has to be read to be believed.