“Believe” was a game changer in just about every sense of the word. It polarized fans for a while I noticed, but by the time their follow-up album, “10,000 Fists” came out, the ones who were truly loyal fans had made their choice to stick with the band and see where things go from here, and the ingrates left.

“10,000 Fists”, while not as concept driven as “Believe”, does feature a lot of political themes. Which is a fancy way of saying some of the tracks are showing their age nowadays. Sure, some themes are timeless, but some of the tracks on this can be described as a wee bit on the topical side. Probably a good thing “Deify” wasn’t a single. 2005 was the point where Bush jokes and political commentary on the Bush administration were just then starting to get old. About a year later, the jokes and the commentaries became groan inducing. Almost as much as the administration itself, but I digress.

I absolutely loved “The Sickness”. “Believe” was pretty much love at first listen. “10,000 Fists”… Honestly, this one had to grow on me a little by comparison. I don’t know why. They still sounded like Disturbed, they were actually heavier in this than in anything they put out prior, and they were taking shots at George W. Bush: the man everyone hated, but reelected anyway. Probably because we wanted to keep complaining and making jokes while the cash cow had milk in her udders. That, or John Kerry was promising to eat orphans and kick puppies at his rallies. My memories of the 2004 election are kinda blurry anymore.

It had all that going for it… Yet it took a while before I could say I truly appreciated it. I guess I was too busy cutting my teeth on Avenged Sevenfold at the time to notice. Anything is possible.

So how do I feel about “10,000 Fists” now? Well only one way to find out. Let’s give it a listen!

ALBUM ART: B

the album art for Disturbed's "10,000 Fists"

The first album in Disturbed history to feature their official mascot: a guy creatively named “The Guy”. Not exactly a deathbat, or Eddie, or that starship thing Stratovarius was using for a while (they seem to have discontinued that fad), but I guess everybody needs a mascot.

TRACK LIST

1. 10,000 Fists
GRADE: A
This was actually the fifth, and final single to be released. Considering they went through an insane ad campaign that could easily be mistaken for a malware attack by today’s standards to get this song out there, I’m surprised they waited so long. That, and it’s an excellent intro for what we’re about to get.

2. Just stop
GRADE: A
This was the third single (I think) to be released off the album. This is probably where the politics are a bit on the timeless side. I’ve also seen people who are dumb enough to address trolls, or just bait Final Fantasy 7 fans into a flame war as background music. Because nothing drives your point home quite like someone else’s music.

3. Guarded
GRADE: A+
The first single, and probably the heaviest song on the entire album. On one hand, if it weren’t for Draiman, I’d wonder if this were even Disturbed. On the other hand, it’s still an awesome track. Well worth the listen.

4. Deify
GRADE: C
Like I said above, this is where the album’s political themes show its age. I’m not sure if you could call this a cashgrab, because Draiman doesn’t strike me as that kind of musician. More than I can say for those jerks in Nickelback, but I already ranted about that in SISOH. I get the sneaking suspicion Draiman might’ve been a disenchanted republican? Lines like “all my devotion betrayed. I was so blinded to see how much you’ve stolen from me.” kind of give me that impression. On his Facebook page, Draiman declared himself a libertarian, which seems to be the place to go when you’re a disenchanted republican, or a conservative-minded indivudal who thinks stuff like gay marriage or marijuana should be legal. I tried my hand at libertarianism, and I still agree with some of their philosophies, but at the same time, I believe that a government free of corruption is more important than a small government. Because a small government can still be corrupt.

I’m pretty sure I was talking about something else. Oh yeah, song. It’s showing it’s age with its anti-Bush politics, but it’s worth a listen if you wonder what we were like ten years ago I guess. Yeah, remember when the guy oppressing free speech, invading your privacy, trrkn rr jrrbs, and ultimately serving as the bane of our entire existence was a white republican? Good times.

5. Stricken
GRADE: B+
This was the second single from the album. Admittedly, it’s not the most remarkable track on the entire album, but it still sounds like Disturbed.

6. I’m Alive
GRADE: C+
I’m not going to lie, I’m not especially fond of this one. It’s a solid track by all means, but for some reason, this one just can’t hold my attention.

7 Sons of Plunder
GRADE: A+
It’s awesome because it’s true. And also because it’s got an awesome riff, and a grove that makes it well worth a listen. Even the chorus is a brainworm in its own right. All around a good track.

8. Overburdened
GRADE: B
Apparently, this song was written about the horrifying possibility of soldiers finding out that they went to hell after they died. It doesn’t specify which side of the war they were on, but it’s probably safe to say Operation: Iraqi Freedom, in all it’s pointlessness and stupidity, was the inspiration. It’s probably also safe to assume this is the closest thing to a ballad we’re going to get from this album. It’s a pretty heavy track, but more so with the tone than with the sound.

9. Decadence
GRADE: B+
Not going to lie, this is kind of where the album begins to decline for me. It’s not a dramatic decline, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that all my favorites are towards the beginning. That being said, you could do a lot worse than a B. And despite the decline, songs like this are still pretty catchy.

10. Forgiven
GRADE: A-
Okay, I forgot this track was even here. I sort of take back what I said about the slump. Sort of, because as memory serves, this is probably going to end up being the highlight.

11. Land of Confusion
GRADE: B+
I’d laugh about putting a Genesis cover on here, but this is the same band who covered Tears for Fears five years prior. So yeah, all is forgiven. It’s just too bad the video for this was a wee bit disappointing. I mean Genesis isn’t exactly my favorite band in the world, but their version of the song had muppets of Ronald Reagan. And the more I look into politics, the more I’m starting to see what a lot of people are saying when they insist that Reagan was the antichrist. Bush was terrible, but Reagan? WOOOO! Disturbed’s version of the song is good, but the video is pretty forgettable. But hey, it got “The Guy” some exposure, so I guess it all worked out for someone in the end.

12. Sacred Lie
GRADE: C+
It’s kind of overkill to put an anti-war song right next to a Genesis cover that criticized Neoconservative politics.

13. Pain redefined
GRADE: B
It’s definitely got a real brainworm quality to it, that’s for sure.

14. Avarice
GRADE: C+
In all honesty, it’s kind of a weak ending to an otherwise pretty good album. I don’t know, it feels kind of generic.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

Though the second half of the album kind of drags its feet, it’s still an excellent album with some very memorable tracks. Sure, not everything on here is gold, but I still can’t remember why I was a little more reluctant to welcome this album into my collection. Especially when you consider what came next. Contrary to the album name, I’d soon learn that Disturbed wasn’t, in fact, indestructible.

You know, I’ve talked about not being a particularly huge fantasy reader back in the olden days a lot here. That being said, when I look at the older stuff I’ve written, and give away to the glorious orange god of failure, it’s genuinely amazing to me how much of this could qualify as fantasy. I guess I was one of countless people who heard fantasy, and instantly thought of orcs and hobbits and shit. Turns out there’s a lot more involved than that. But I digress.

The Mage World Chronicles was a series I started working on, and never finished. I was planning on four stories, but only made it to two in the planning phase, and I only made it to about two-thirds of one in the writing phase. 2004 was a point where I was planning things out a lot better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good about seeing those plans to the end. Until about my mid twenties, I always fell into the bad habit of wanting to start a new idea, setting the old one aside, and never getting to the old one ever again. And by the time I remember it, a minimum of five years has gone by, my plans for it (assuming I even bothered planning it out in the first place) are gone or forgotten, and there’s nothing left to do but wonder what could’ve been.

Mage World, in a twist that’ll probably surprise absolutely nobody, was a world where everyone was a mage. Some had minor magic that was great for cooking food, or healing cuts, or encouraging a garden to grow, and so on. A lot of the story, however, focused on combat mages. Specifically, a mage in a filthy purple trenchcoat simply known as The Drifter. And yes, he was pretty heavily inspired by The Drifter character on G4TV’s Portal. Perhaps I mentioned at one point that was my favorite thing to watch on G4.

The Drifter… My Drifter, had a particular vendetta against four very powerful mages. They were powerful both in terms of magical ability, and in political standing. One of whom, the villain of the first book, was the sultan of a generic desert nation. Strangely, there was no religious allegory against Islam, or Iranian politics, or whatever. The nation, near as I can remember, was either purely agnostic, atheist, or a hodgepodge of various beliefs in fictional deities created specifically for the book series. The vendetta was purely a personal matter between a nomadic swordsman wielding lightning bolts and a bad attitude, and an angry sultan who could hulk out, and be nearly invulnerable to most forms of projectile magic in his “final form”.

No, the religious allegories were intended for the second book. By book 2, the characters were already established, and there was no need to explain The Drifter’s quest beyond recapping what was said in greater detail from the first book. This book was all about exposing a fake deity, and the leader of the region’s most popular religion, not to mention the second of the four, as a fony.

That, however, is as far as I ever got. I vaguely remember thinking the third of the books was going to feature a villain themed around tigers, and his magic was geared mostly towards making wildlife do his bidding or something like that. That’s all I can remember for sure.

I must admit, even as I was writing the first book in this series, I had little faith in this story being any good. It didn’t really rip off any anime specifically (that I can think of), but it was very anime esque in its presentation. Maybe not so much with the sweat drops, and the stating the obvious and calling it a joke, , or even narrating what they’re doing as they’re doing it. I mean yeah, I explained how the magic worked when I got the chance, and sometimes, characters explained how their magic worked. However, it was never like in anime, where they explain their attack as they’re performing their attack. I seriously have no idea how I used to put up with shit like that, because that really gets under my skin when they do that nowadays. It’s still not as bad as the shows where the opponent decides to explain his entire life’s story in the middle of a tournament fight. I’m supposed to assume the entire fucking audience at the chunin exam just sat there and patiently waited for Neji to explain to Naruto why he’s such a fucking asshole? Fuck that, man, I’d probably be among the many spectators who’d be throwing beer cans and demanding they quit standing around and fucking fight!

I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere with that last paragraph, but damn it if I can’t remember.

Basically, there were a lot of action anime tropes in this story. Beshounin, I think they call that. It probably wasn’t as bad as some of the shows currently gathering dust in my dreaded crate of shame in my mom’s basement somewhere, but looking back on it, it was easy to see what my influences were at the time.

I suppose the concept of Mage World isn’t horrible. However, I think I’m done with it. I leave it in your trusty hands, almighty failure god.

In 2000, Disturbed hit the scene with “The Sickness”. The world… Or at least my particular corner of the world, was absolutely spellbound. My metal clique and I rarely agreed on anything unanimously, but the awesomeness of “The Sickness”, and Disturbed as a whole was definitely one of the rare exceptions to the rule.

Then, in 2002, Disturbed came out with “Believe”. Suddenly, we weren’t as unanimous.

“Believe” was a concept album. Meaning that every song on the album, while not necessarily telling a story like some, at least had to do with a common theme. In the case of “Believe”, the concept was… Well… Belief. 2001-2002 was a very interesting time to be around. Between Dave Draiman’s personal life, and 9/11 changing everything, the entire fucking world as we knew it seemed to be on the verge of a paradigm shift. Suddenly, spirituality was a legit cause to declare war again, and arabs were suddenly no longer a bunch of bearded dudes riding magic carpets and wielding mystical lamps. We needed something to believe in. And for a few months at least, George W. Bush actually came pretty close to getting me to vote republican in my first election. Then he had to fuck everything up, make a hardcore right turn at derkaderkastan, and declare war on Iraq: a country that literally had nothing to do with anything relating to Osama Bin Laden. Hell, three years after we overthrew Saddam Hussein, and reduced Iraq to a nation-wide melee, we discovered that Hussein actually considered Bin Laden and The Tallaban a threat to his country!

Ugh, I probably ought to quit while I’m ahead before I start demanding Sarah Palin’s head on a pike or something. Trust me, I’d find a way to connect those two tangents.

As a result of these times, Draiman and friends decided to take a different direction. To this very day, I still enjoy “Believe”. Some of the guys in my old metal clique, though, refer to “Believe” as “the point Disturbed went christian.” I have no fucking clue where they get that. Okay, I can pick up on the concept of religion just fine, but going christian? Especially since Draiman is a loud and proud jew.

Then again, I distinctly remember one of the guys in the ol’ clique turning into a raging antisemite his senior year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was hiding behind that as an excuse to hate the jew for being a jew. Your guess is as good as mine as to how he ended up going down that path, but I digress.

On top of being a concept album with a bit of a polarizing concept, “Believe” also marked Disturbed’s departure from a lot of the “new metal” tropes most bands get shit for nowadays. The industrial aspect of their sound was all but missing completely, Draiman sang a lot more than he did in the previous album, and there was even a guitar solo here and there. We all noticed the changes in sound, but frankly, Disturbed weren’t the only ones abandoning things like hiphop elements and raprock like it were infested with the plague.

I could go on and on… Or we can listen to this album. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather listen to the album.

ALBUM ART: A

the album art for Disturbed's "Believe"

This right here predates the COEXIST bumper sticker by at least a decade. I could be wrong about that, but I’m sticking to it all the same.

TRACK LIST

1. Prayer
GRADE: B+
I’ll admit, when this debuted as the first single, I was a lot more enthusiastic about it. Probably because back then, Disturbed was one of those bands that could do no wrong. Trust me, I still love this song… But I know better than to believe that now. Heh, get it? Believe? Oh whatever.

2. Liberate
GRADE: A+
It may not’ve been the first single… In fact, I think it was the third. But track two still managed to end up as a single. That being said, this track was, and still is, the shit. Probably the closest thing to true industrial you’re going to hear on this album is right here on this track, so enjoy it while it’s there.

3. Awaken
GRADE: A-
If you love Draiman’s little vocal sound effects (IE, the “aw-wah-ah-ah-ah!” from “Down with the Sickness”), you’ll love this song. It’s got the majority of them for sure. It’s not quite as straight forward brutal as “Liberate”, but it’s got it’s own charm for going with the swing sorta beat.

4. Believe
GRADE: B-
I thought for sure this was a single, but as it turns out, there might’ve been a glitch between the label and the radio stations or something. Because I distinctly remember this being on the air for a while. I’m not going to lie, if I have to skip any track on this album, it’s usually this one. It’s a solid track, don’t get me wrong, but in terms of must-listens… Maybe it’s just my opinion, but I usually tend to skip this one.

5. Remember
GRADE: A
Why they didn’t name this one “Believe” is a mystery to me, but hey, that’s just how I’d have done things. This one seems to focus less on heavy, and more on epic in terms of sound. I hesitate to call it the ballad of the album (you’ll see why later), but it’s definitely a different sound from what we’ve gotten so far.

6. Intoxication
GRADE: A
Ooh, right back into it with a heavy-as-fuck tune. Hands down one of my favorites on the disk even today.

7. Rise
GRADE: A-
I’m not going to lie, I forgot about this one completely. I kind of wish I hadn’t: it’s another really good one. Catchy as hell from start to finish.

8. Mistress
GRADE: B
It’s not quite as catchy as previous tracks, but it’s still worth the listen. I don’t know, the riff in this song seems a little… Generic. I love what they ultimately do with it, but I feel like I’ve heard those notes in that sequence a few times before.

9. Breathe
GRADE: A
Boy you want to talk about a track that rose my eye brow and made me wonder what the fuck I was listening to, “Breathe” was it. For the longest time, this was probably the closest thing to mathematical music I had in my collection. It’s far from the likes of Meshuggah, or Tool, or what have you, but there is definitely some algebra involved in this instrumental.

10. Bound
GRADE: A-
You just know the moment you hear the first three seconds of this song that it’s going to kick your ass. The verses are a lot quieter than I was expecting the first time around, but never the less, it didn’t disappoint.

11. Devour
GRADE: C+
Interesting fact: several voreraphilia authors I had found during that minute and a half when I was looking into voreraphilia quoted this song’s chorus in a pretentious effort to make their poorly spelled erotica look more deep and meaningful than it truly was. And people say I miss the point entirely. Not going to lie, it’s probably the closest thing to a forgettable track on the entire album. And I came to that conclusion long before I discovered voreraphilia was a thing. Seriously, internet, WTF?

12. Darkness
GRADE: A+
Admittedly, ending your album with an acoustic ballady thing like this was a bit of a cliche for the early 2000s, but hey, if it works, it works. And holy fucking crackerjacks, this works. It’s a hauntingly beautiful way to end an album, and it’s probably one of my favorite acoustic songs ever.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

To this very day, “Believe” is one of my favorite albums from this band. Worst case scenario, it’s aged significantly better than most music from this era has. I’m looking at you, “American Idiot”.

I don’t have a clever pun or wordplay this week, so just tune in for the “10,000 Fists” review next week.

This really wasn’t a story per say. I suppose technically there was story telling, but in the long run, it wasn’t a story.

Some time during one of my two senior years (I had to repeat twelth grade, don’t get me started), I had an idea for a fighting game. Though I had my heart set on something 3D and cutting edge like Mortal Kombat Deception was at the time, I was willing to settle for 2D Sega Genesis caliber gaming like the home version of the very first Mortal Kombat. It was a fighting game simply known at the time as Turmoil.

My original plan was to take eleven of the twelve created wrestlers that were occupying the create-a-wrestler slots on my copy of WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It, and give them their very own fighting game. I say eleven, because the twelth slot was the expendable slot. I used it to try and create a cyborg woman. Then I deleted her and let one of my friends create one of his characters on there. Then I ended up deleting it, and experimented with the creation engine a little. Which was a fancy way of saying I wanted to see if it’d let me create a transvestite. Said transvestite got deleted because my parents made very sure I knew what shame was at an early age (all the reason why I never did that lame “skin-colored underwear = butt naked” experiment I’ve seen a guy or two on-line use on their divas), I ended up deleting him to create Manly Man: the world’s manliest scotsman. Then my friend got pissed because I deleted his creation, so I let him recreate it, and promised I wouldn’t do it again. Even though it’s my game, and I could technically do whatever the fuck I wanted, I decided to be nice, and let him occupy the twelth slot. I did eventually go back on my word, and recreated Manly Man: the world’s manliest scotsman, but by that time, Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth was the toast of the town, and the amount of create-a-wrestler slots in that game was fucking ridiculous by comparison.

I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere with that. Oh right, the other eleven characters!

Though slot number 12 fluctuated a lot, the other eleven characters remained with me from the moment I received Just Bring It as a christmas present, to the day I eventually exchanged it at a Gamestop. In fact, I pretty much used these guys more than any other character on the roster. I had long-since given up on maintaining an E-federation like I had with the characters from Wrestlemania2000, No Mercy, and even WWF Attitude in all it’s poorly aged glory, but I still loved these guys, and I still wanted to do stuff with them.

I might cover some of the other projects that failed or went nowhere that involved these guys, but for now, let’s focus on this project: a fighting game known simply as Turmoil.

The plot of Turmoil… Honestly, it had a real “stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but…” sort of quality to it. Guys from various dimensions come to the realm of Turmoil: an empty plain of existence where an epic melee is held once every generation. People from Earth, from hell, and even from other worlds unknown to us gather in the realm of turmoil, and do battle in hopes of being the last man standing. The one left alive will then be granted the chance to fight the grand champion. If the champion is beaten, you become the champion, and receive as your ultimate prize one wish. Anything your heart desires can, and will be yours, but only if you survive in turmoil.

In other words, Twisted Metal meets every fucking fighting game ever made. But hey, no one ever played fighting games for the story. Granted, by the time I was a senior in high school, plots longer than “me want to win tournament!” were becoming more commonplace, but by 2004-2005 standards, you could probably do worse.

The characters all had wishes of revenge, wishes for glory, wishes for peace, wishes to return to normal… One of my favorite characters from the blueprinting phase apparently wished for a burrito. Yeah, Smily was the gag character of the game. That, or he was my version of Sweet Tooth: “killing all those fuckers was my prize. I’ll just have a Pepsi, thanks.”

At one point, I had not one, not two, but three sequels in the works. And I was incorporating characters from the other wrestling games I had at the time into those as well. Though by the time I was on WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain, my enthusiasm for create-a-wrestler mode… Wasn’t dead, or even declining, but I was a lot more interested in making gag characters by that time. I wouldn’t be interested in create-a-wrestler mode until Smackdown VS Raw gave us create-a-story mode. But I digress.

Turmoil 1 was simply what you read above. Not fancy, but it establishes the universe.

Turmoil 2: something has gone horribly wrong. For the first time in millennia, Turmoil has ended in a draw. The grand champion is dead, but so is the man who earned the right to challenge him. As a result of the deadlock, the realm of Turmoil has become even more unstable, and is pulling in even more people in a vacant, mindless, and ultimately futile effort to resolve the glitch that the gods never foresaw.

A lot of the characters from this were my characters I had created in Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth. Though to be honest, I can’t remember who all I ended up choosing for that roster, because between myself, and my two friends whose houses I often brought this game to, there were a lot of characters. All I remember anymore was I definitely made it a point to filter out their guys in favor of my own creations for this game’s sake.

Turmoil 3 came next. In that one, the realm of Turmoil remains in a state of perpetual collapse. Except now, the people who have yet to die have discovered that this every man for themselves mentality is getting them nowhere, and that the only way to truly get anywhere is to unify. Unfortunately, the efforts to unify all the people has resulted in the formation of, and a power struggle between two factions: the demon faction, and the faction led by a mad scientist. Unfortunately, I could never decide on a good name for him.

This game held on to a handful of my Shut Your Mouth creations, while introducing my favorites from the next Wrestling WWE Game: Here Comes the Pain.

Turmoil 4… Wasn’t as planned out, but I distinctly remember the story line was a ripoff of Mortal Kombat Deception. Of course, the new super badass not-Onaga villain didn’t kill any gods, he still manipulated a newcomer to Turmoil into taking out a few participants from Turmoil 2 and 3, ultimately explaining why they never returned. Once Not-Onaga is restored to his glory (I never figured out how he’d get there), the remainder of the two factions become very aware that this new guy is a much greater threat than anyone on the other side of the line, band together, and vow to take out the common enemy. Or they’d be aligning with the new villain, abandoning their previous faction(s) entirely. Either way, it preserved the two teams dynamic from the third, but royally shuffled up the leadership and membership of both.

If there were plans for a Turmoil 5, odds are the survivors of Turmoil 4 would be spending that game trying to kill each other, but I never got that far.

The creation of this, and other game ideas I had in mind, was one of the big reasons I wanted to get into programming back when I was in high school. If I learned how to program, I could then learn how to design, or at least put together games. Then, I could head the team that’d put together the first game, and if it succeeded, we’d put together the sequel games. I had a game plan, and for a few semesters, it was working out.

Then I began taking the advanced classes. Good god, you want to talk about getting your ass kicked. It also didn’t help that the professor who taught the advanced classes also taught programming fundamentals: the very first programming class you’ll take before entering C++ or JAVA or whatever language you want to learn. And that guy… I don’t want to say he was horrible, but the fact I even made it through fundamentals with a C was nothing short of a fucking miracle. I ended up getting more out of C++ tutorials on the web than I ever did out of that guy’s class. Beginner C++ had a different professor, and if he, or anyone else taught advanced C++… Well, I’d probably still be getting my ass kicked, but at least I wouldn’t dread going to class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two months before I finally gave up and dropped in a futile attempt to save my already sad GPA.

I give this project over to the failure god, but trust me when I say that I’m very reluctant to do so.

Maybe my plan was misguided in spots. Especially nowadays with Clickteam fusion making things as easy as putting together .gif files and drag-and-dropping everything into place. But back then, this was the only way I knew of to make games. The day I had to drop out of advanced C++, flunked database programming, and hit delete on that particular .doc file in my projects folder was one of the hardest days of my life. It was bad enough I had to be held back a year before I could go out and accomplish a goal I’ve had since about tenth or eleventh grade or so. flunking out of multiple programming oriented classes despite my best efforts on top of that… Was rather crushing to my self esteem. And lord knows 2006 and 2007 did a lot to crush my self esteem as it was.

For years, I still entertained the idea that I could maybe find some guys on Newgrounds, or some indie gamer studio looking for ideas, or fuck, even some dude on Craigslist to program the games for me while I supplied the story and the characters and junk. Sadly, I’ve grown very disenchanted with Craigslist, Newgrounds.com’s message board (at least the time I looked it over) didn’t seem to be very welcoming of newcomers looking for assistance with… Well, anything really. And the fact there are no indie studios like that in KC, I ultimately gave up on the idea of a fighting game.

I’ve since gone with plan B a few years later, and tried giving my favorites among the roster their own non-fighting game stories, or even just cameos in fight-oriented stories, or wherever I think they’d fit in best. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, none of those characters found their way into Jade Blade Legacy. Well okay, maybe one or two found their way into the sanshou pits in book 2… You know what, I’ve already said too much.

As for the fighting game, I’ve finally decided to cut my losses, and give this project to the glorious god of failure. May he bury it somewhere nice. Preferably near some daisies.

So yeah, this whole fucking week has been consisting mostly of people talking about the grammies for me. I don’t know about you, but it seems like something grammies related keeps finding its way on my Facebook feed, or somebody made a meme inspired by something that happened… Normally, when it comes to awards shows, it’s mathematically impossible for me to give any amount of a fuck. The oscars, the emmies, the golden globes (then again, nobody seems to give a shit about those if all the Futurama jokes are anything to go by), etc.

Award shows in general just come off as two-hour circle-jerks anymore. It’s nothing but the film industry, or the music industry, or the television industry, or… Whatever the golden globes is supposed to be celebrating, all patting each other on the back, high fiving over how awesome they are, then circling around to finish off the whole thing by jerking it. And I don’t care how fucking hot the chick in the middle is, bukkake is fucking gay. Seriously, you’re clicking that video just to watch a minimum of five guys jack off. The fact there’s a girl in the center is the producer’s way of saying “No no, it’s not gay! See? There’s a chick with giant knockers right there!”

Wow, that went way off topic.

So yeah, not a huge fan of award shows. That being said, the talk from the rock community has got me feeling like addressing this year’s show despite all that.

Let’s just ignore the fact Kanye West decided to be an asshole again. Because it’s Kanye West. The word Kanye might as well be rapper slang for obnoxious fucktard. Bitching about Kanye for doing something stupid is like bitching about winter: it sucks, but it comes every year, and you only have yourself to blame for not seeing it coming.

No, the thing that’s got me interested in talking is the absolute backlash that seems to be taking place over Tenacious D receiving a grammy for best metal performance. Because apparently, being a comedy act should disqualify you from competing in that category. Or the people in charge of the grammies are fucking idiots who don’t know what “real metal” is. Or Tenacious D isn’t metal. I honestly have no idea why we’re angry about it, but apparently, we are. I’m a fan of Tenacious D, so honestly, the fact they were even nominated for something came as a surprise.

People are also throwing fits over the fact that during the “tribute to those who we’ve lost” montage, Dave Brocky and Wayne Static weren’t mentioned. I can agree with that one honestly. Love them or hate them, Gwar and Static-X are/were big names, and deserve a little recognition at the biggest fucking music award show ever.

Then again, it’s the grammies. These people have pretty much single handedly phased out every other music genre to the point where rap, and the electronic garbage calling itself pop music now are the only two genres of music out there. Let alone the only two that are deserving of awards in their opinion. Yeah, Metallica, or AC/fucking/DC (don’t get me started) appear on the show, but really, the fact they even got invited just feels like a phone-in. “Okay, we better invite someone from the metal crowd, or else those long-haired headbanger assholes are going to get all bitchy.” What they fail to realize is that we’re metalheads: it is fucking impossible to please us, because we’re all nihilistic bastards who fucking hate everybody. Including other metalheads!

Of course I go on these rants, knowing full well that it’s all pointless. Not because the grammies are the pop and rap show, but because I’m pretty sure this exact rant is why The Golden God awards were put together in the first place. The fact there’s a whole other award show for us tells me that even if I was in to award shows, the grammies aren’t worth bitching about. Yeah, Katie Perry won artist of the year or whatever. Fart, not interested. What’s going on over at The Gods? Ooh, Lamb of God got nominated for album of the year? This could be interesting!

As far as the grammies are concerned, our genre is dead. And as far as we should be concerned, the grammies are dead. Let us turn our backs, thoroughly moon the pop genre, then head on over to our own little circle jerk to jerk the night away. And since it’s the metal genre, it’ll no doubt be the most violent jerk in history.

Just in case you didn’t pick up the hint from last week, I decided to dedicate the entirety of February to Disturbed: a band that I’ve loved for as long as I can remember.

You read that opening line, and you probably want to remind me rather viciously that I said “Asylum” was probably the worst album of 2010. That doesn’t sound like something someone would say about an all-time favorite, you probably say. Well honestly, we’ll get to that a little later. For now, let’s start from the beginning.

Disturbed’s debut album, “The Sickness” was released in 2000. This album right here, ladies and gentlemen, took the metal world by storm. Or at least it took my little high school metal clique by storm, and trust me, if it wasn’t Slipknot, at least half of them hated it by default. I couldn’t explain it then, and I can’t explain it now: all I know is I was hooked. Thank god for Cradle of Filth, or else this thing would’ve never left the CD player! Instead, I ended up juggling the two for the better part of a year. It kinda helped Cradle of Filth’s follow-up to “Midian” was a collection of B-sides and rewrites to older material, but that’s a rant for a different review.

Here in 2015, I’d be lying if I said the novelty hasn’t worn off a little. Friends I’ve known since high school who were absolutely obsessed with this album are nowadays insisting “The Sickness” is a product of its day. I can see what they’re talking about, but at the same time, I enjoy it now because of that. Seriously, music sucks lately. I’m probably becoming one of those old-ass curmudgeons who’s all like “Meh! You call that Buckcherry shit music? I remember the old days. Back then, we had Nirvana. Back then, we had Faith No More! And The Red Hot Chili Peppers! Now that was music. None of this Bad Girlfriend Crazy Bitch bable. MEH!”

The thing that stood out about Disturbed wasn’t its heavy use of industrial sounds, because as a fan of Rob Zombie, I’d heard all that before. It wasn’t the simplistic, guitar-solo-free sound commonly found in what was insultingly referred to as “new metal”, because they’d start incorporating guitar solos later on, and I still followed them. I think the thing that stood out to me the most was Dave Draiman’s vocal stylings. Every time someone asks me to describe Disturbed and their sound, I give them two simple words: reggae metal.

I’m not going to lie, I have very little if any experience with the reggae genre. Most of the songs I’ve heard that’d qualify as reggae were either Bob Marley, or songs dedicated to parodying the supposed stoner demographic. But with what little I know of the genre, I did pick up on Draiman’s vocal styles, and it didn’t take me especially long to put two and two together.

And yes, Draiman also went “AW-WAH-AH-AH-AH!” that one time. Seriously, it takes balls to do something that not-metal in the metal genre back then.

Even today, I enjoy listening to “The Sickness”. About nine-tenths of the entire track list are on my MP3 player at this very moment. In theory, I wouldn’t even have to put the disc on, but I’ll do it anyway. Because like I said, I’m an old-ass curmudgeon, and I’m afraid my MP3 player will eat me. Or something.

ALBUM ART: A

the album art for Disturbed's "The Sickness"

To this very day, that is the most… Interesting, picture I’ve ever seen. One of my old high school friends insists it looks like someone’s head is popping out of someone else’s ass. I’ll have to take his word for it.

TRACK LIST

1. Voices
GRADE: A
The second single off the album, and an excellent intro. There was debate in my clique over whether the guy was saying “SWORD!”, “SOI!” or just making a nonsense sound before asking “Are you breathing?”. Either way, it remains one of my all time favorite tracks. Even if I’m pretty sure the mumbling during the bridge is trying to convince me to kill Ronald Reagan.

2. The Game
GRADE: A-
This was the forth single off the album… And up till recently, I’d have guessed it was the only single that tanked. Then the local radio station started playing it a lot more often. I’m kind of glad they did: it’s another of my favorites. If it weren’t for the profanity at the end, I’d have probably used it as the background music in a lipsync exercise in high school drama. Sometimes I regret settling for Fear Factory that day.

3. Stupify
GRADE: A+
The first single. That’s right: in a day and age where everybody and their fucking mother was putting their first single on either track 2 or track 5, Disturbed were being super ballsy, and putting theirs on track 3! This was the song that put them on the map. It was also the song that turned my dad off of the band for years, but that was a lot easier to do then you’d think back then. Like I said, this was the song that took the world by storm. This song right here told us that a new player has joined the game, and this new player’s style is one to be reckoned with. And thankfully, it’s not that asshole who always plays as Mileena and takes advantage of her unintentional infinite combo move. GOD I HATE THAT GUY!

4. Down With the Sickness
GRADE: C
The third single. On one hand, it’s easy to see why they sort of named the album after this song. It’s hands down the most memorable… All be it for all the wrong reasons. Of course, I have to address the elephant in the room, and point out the complete and total meltdown Draiman has during the bridge. Seriously, bro, shit like that made it to where I either had to hide the album from my folks completely, or at least make the effort to skip this one if I was listening to it and they happened to be home. Believe me, if iPODs existed, or at least if MP3 players weren’t gigantic devices that could only hold about ten songs max without a memory card, this wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Nowadays, it’s no big deal. It pisses my roommate off, but we’re frankly at a point where we piss each other off no matter what happens. And unfortunately, that meltdown, and all the childhood paranoia of having to hide it from my folks in order to keep my super awesome shiny thing is really what impacts my enjoyment of this thing even now. Especially since they editted out the meltdown in the radio edit, leading me to wonder if it was even necessary in the first place! But I guess if you can look past that detail, you can bump it up by a letter and a half.

Oh, and if anyone was at all curious, my mom did eventually discover it was there. Turns out Queen of the Damned is one of her all time favorite movies (no accounting for taste), and the uncensored version of this track is on the soundtrack. Which she bought. Yeah, that was a fun conversation that weekend I happened to be home. :)

5. Violence Fetish
GRADE: B-
We’ve officially left the realm of excellence, and entered the realm of pretty good. Pretty good is still pretty good, but if I’m interested in all my favorites, I usually end up skipping this one to get to the next track.

6. Fear
GRADE: A
To this very day, this song remains one of my favorite tracks on the album. Not sure if it’s the haunted house riff at the very beginning, or the fact that it’s just flat out catchy as hell. I don’t know what else to say other than give it a listen.

7. Numb
GRADE: B+
I’m guessing this is the ballad of the album? Or at least the closest we’re going to get. The bouncy reggae vocals are pretty much null here, say for the very end. It had to grow on me, but it didn’t take especially long for it to grow on me. Nowadays, it’s yet another of my favorites.

8. Want
GRADE: C-
Not going to lie, this is probably the only skip worthy track on the entire disk. I don’t know why, but this one always struggles to hold my attention. It’s no different from the other songs. It sounds different enough to be its own song, but it sounds like something Disturbed would write. At the same time, though, I just can’t get into it. Oh well, I guess they all can’t be gold.

9. Conflict
GRADE: A+
I don’t know why I thought this was called “Nemesis”. Probably because it was a funnier song title, considering how many times the word enemy finds itself in the lyrics. Either way, this song is insane. I’m amazed they never made this one a single. It’s hands down the most fun one on the album. It does slow down significantly towards the end, but for most of it, it’s just all over the place.

10. Shout
GRADE: A-
They covered Tears for Fears. Fifteen years ago, that blew my mind. Especially considering the widely held belief of my clique that Tears for Fears fucking sucked, and a band as awesome as Disturbed chose to cover them. I myself have grown a little more tolerant of Tears for Fears. They’re still far from my favorite band ever, but eh, they’re okay. This cover, though, is loads better. In fact, the cover is probably what changed my mind about the source material.

11. Droppin’ Plates
GRADE: B+
I can’t decide if I’m disappointed or grateful the term “droppin’ plates” never took off in the clique. Near as I can tell, it’s the metal equivalent of “bustin’ a cap”, assuming the kiddies still say that one. Fuck it, I quit paying attention to slang when words like “Craycray” and “toats mah goats” became popular. This is probably the part of the album where I agree with the term “product of their time” the most. It’s not quite rap metal, but it’s pretty close. It appears to be Disturbed themselves badmouthing the indie critics who said they’d never amount to anything. Even if it is ultimately a 2000’s song, it’s one of the better ones from that era.

12. Get Psycho
GRADE: A-
The perfect ending to an album like this. The bridge is probably the most impressive part of it, considering the speed he goes at. What more can I say? Great track, great finish, great album.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Good times. And trust me, they’re not over with just yet. Join me next week, and I’ll make you believe.

Sometimes, I have to retire songs from my SISOH list. In the case of older songs, it’s usually because time has passed by, and you’d genuinely be amazed what five to ten years does to your opinion of a song. In the case of newer, current songs… Well what can I say? Sometimes, a song just grows on you.

Today, I just don’t have it in me to be negative. Mostly because I spent the majority of my negativity on shouting at that idiot from The Seahawks who thought it’d be a good idea to pass when they were inches from the fucking goal, then got into a fist fight with the Patriots over their own retarded decision making. Yeah, I ended up contradicting myself from a couple weeks ago, and caught the superbowl. Long story short, I was invited to a party, and because they’re my friends, I decided to go along with it. Stuff happens, man.

Anyway, instead of bitching my ass off about one song, I decided to pay tribute to the ones that just barely managed to avoid the list, or eventually managed to find their way off my list for whatever reason I may have. Enjoy.



Seether’s “Same Damn Life”

Yeah, I gave this song shit in a previous review. However, the review wasn’t specifically aimed at Seether. I’ve probably said this before, but Seether as an uncanny habit of bouncing off and on this list a lot. I’ve only ever legitimately covered one song on here, and it was mostly because it was a cover tune.

As far as “Same Damn Life” goes… I’m not going to lie, reader, this one had to grow on me. “Isolate and Medicate” has had to grow on me at the rate these singles are going. I don’t know what’s going on over there in Seether Land, but it’s been an interesting ride. I seriously thought this was Rise Against, or some new band when I first heard it, but then I found out it was Seether. And there was much confusion.

It ended up finding is way off the list because despite it being a rather odd departure from the norm, it’s ridiculously catchy. I’ve found myself whistling the tune at work an awful lot over the last few months, and I don’t see that changing.


Halestorm’s “Freak Like Me”

In all honesty, I should probably hate this song. Setting aside everything I’ve already said about Halestorm for the eighty-billionth time, this particular song was probably a lot better back when it was called “Born this Way”, and that one-woman-circus Lady Gaga performed it.

I should hate this… But honestly, despite some ridiculous overplay in the beginning, I’ve heard worse. I’ve heard worse from this band, I’ve heard worse from this “feel good about yourself! Say no to bullies!” fad that’s unfortunately made up the majority of the 2010s thus far, and I’ve heard worse in general.

I’m not exactly sure why Lzzy Hale is British in this one, but whatever.


The Pretty Reckless’ “Follow Me Down”

I never hated The Pretty Reckless. Annoying pet pieves about her singing voice, and imagery choices aside, I’ve heard worse. These guys, when they want to be, are actually pretty good.

And they finally made one of the good songs on the album a single! You ask me personally, “Messed Up World” shouldn’t have even been bothered with, and this should’ve been released a lot sooner. I’m probably going to need a refresher course on the album, but I remember this one being one of the catchier tunes for sure.

True, I pretty much need a lyric sheet to understand half the things she’s saying in this one, but that detail never really ruins my enjoyment of the song. Hell, Cradle of Filth was my religion at one point, and I could barely understand a word Danni was saying half the time. It’s fortunate that this is a lyric video, huh?


Trapt’s “Still Frame”

As far as I know, Trapt are still out there, still putting out albums, and still reminding the world that they exist on occasion. Unfortunately, as far as Kansas City is concerned, and maybe the rest of the world for all I know and care, Trapt will unfortunately be a two-hit-wonder at best. The other hit, “Headstrong” has also bounced off and on the ol’ SISOH list, but honestly, I like this one better.

I guess the worst thing I can say about Trapt, aside from giving them shit over the whole “poor literacy is kule” mindset, is that they were a product of their time. They sounded like everyone else did at the time, and when they disappeared from the spotlight, nobody really noticed. This is where being a blue shirt in a sea of blue shirts doesn’t benefit you. At least 3 Days Grace had the benefit of being a red shirt.

Still, “Still Frame” was always my favorite of their two hits. The only thing I really hated about it, in hindsight, was the absurd amount of airplay it got. Even “Headstrong” didn’t get that much airplay. In the beginning. But nowadays, this song is a casual reminder of my high school years. They weren’t all good times, but the soundtrack at least kept me entertained.


3 Doors Down’s “Here Without You”

Hey there, 3 Doors Down. Speaking of two-hit-wonders from my high school years. The difference being that I was pretty neutral on Trapt. Meanwhile, I fucking hated 3 Doors Down. “Kryptonite”… Or maybe it was “Cryptonite”? Either way, that song still pisses me off. Also, I’ve been meaning to induct “Loser” in this thing, too, but for some reason, I never got around to it.

This song came from 3DD’s second album: an album that I’m guessing tanked. “Love Me When I’m Gone” and the subject of this section, “Here Without You” were here, then suddenly, they weren’t. Back in the day, I couldn’t have been happier. As far as “Love Me When I’m Gone” goes, I still am. This, however, is a different story.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s more relatable, or if it’s because WWE made it the soundtrack to every Eddie Guererro memory in my head when he passed away in 2005, but man, it’s really hard to hate this song.

Fifteen years later, I guarantee you I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have something positive to say about a 3DD song. How time makes fools of us all, I guess.


Foo Fighters’ “Rope

I love The Fo Fighters. I don’t own anything by them, mind you, but I still love it when they come on the radio.

When this song came out, though… Well, at least in Kansas City, there was some backlash. For a couple months, this band had earned the nickname “The Rush Fighters” for a while. I’m not sure if this change in sound was really that puzzling, or if the 98.9 The Rock crowd just used it as an excuse to give the management more shit for liking Rush. Frankly, I’m at a point where I wouldn’t mind a little more Rush. Hell, we’ve already run AC/DC into the fucking pavement thanks to Johnny Dare, and we’re officially at a point where I’m officially convinced 5 Finger Death Punch, Halestorm, and Pop Evil are the only rock bands in the entire fucking world putting anything new out.

Okay, I won’t go into that rant again. Still, this song wasn’t without controversy. Years later, I can’t say I see it. I mean yeah, it’s different, but it still sounds like The Foo Fighters. Go ahead and experiment all you want: just don’t make the swop to electronica and we’ll be fine.


And there you have it. The latest batch of songs retired from my SISOH list. Maybe next week, I’ll have something legit to bitch about.

If you’ve never heard of LostProphets… Yeah, you aren’t missing much. I remember when these guys first hit the scene back in 2000. The critical reaction varied, but I remember words like derivative, uninspired, adequate, pollished turd, and incubus ripoff floating around a lot. Sad to say, around fifteen years later, I can safely say that I get where they got that. Especially as far as the one and only LostProphets album I’ve ever owned comes in.

You know, I try to stay open-minded, and generally neutral in the beginning. However, the more I listen to this relic from my teen years, the more I have to question my teenage self’s taste in music. Sure, I’m aware of the fact raprock, or at least rock with a lot of hiphop elements incorporated into it was the popular sound of the late 90s early 00s. Hell, I own up to liking a lot of bands from that era even today. LostProphets… Isn’t one of them. In fact, I’m officially wondering how the fucking fucker fuck this even ended up in my collection in the first place.

Incubus, whether they were aware of it or not, were a sort of trendsetter in the early 2000s. The trend didn’t last very long, mind you, but for a couple years, if you wanted to be popular, imitating Incubus seemed to be the way to go. And this was the path LostProphets took with their debut album, “Thefakesoundofprogress”. Also, those guys really needed to learn what a fucking space bar was. That, or they were extremely ahead of their time, and predicted hashtags in a day and age where Geocities both still existed, and served as the gold standard for vanity pages.

I found this relic of my teen years somewhere around November, and have been listening to it off and on since. Partly because I was going to include it in a video version of this series that ultimately never panned out, but mostly because I was in disbelief that I’d ever own something like this willingly. Part of me is still convinced I borrowed this from a friend in high school, never returned it, and probably never will return on the count I severed my ties to about ninety percent of my old high school clique.

And now, I’ll listen to it one last time to provide material for a review series enjoyed by absolutely no one. Because I’m bored as hell.

ALBUM ART: C

the album art for LostProphets' "Thefakesoundofprogress"

TRACK LIST

(NOTE: the wikipedia article I would normally reference for stuff like this seems to believe that there are interludes in certain spots. Either I own a version that stuck them on the end of other tracks, or I’m not seeing it. So this list doesn’t include them.)

1. Shinobi VS Dragon Ninja
GRADE: C+
This was the single from the album. One thing I’m going to spoil for you is this: get used to the idea of halfway decent, all be it simplistic riffs, being completely undercut by the mediocrity of everyone else. The opening guitar riffs, combined with the rythm get me hooked, but then the lead singer shows up, and I’ve suddenly lost interest.

2. The Fake Sound of Progress
GRADE: C+
Oh what the fuck, man? You remembered the space bar here, but not on the title? Well either way, it’s among the better tracks on the album. Considering the trend of albums from this era, I’m surprised they didn’t make this the single. It is, after all, track 2. They also named the album after it, so it’s got to be something worth while, right? It better be. According to the track list, it’s just a little over six minutes long.

3. Five is a Four Letter Word
GRADE: B-
I can’t remember if they made this a single, or if they just played this one on Music Choice’s rock channel a couple times back in the day. Either way, it’s probably my favorite off this album. And even then, it barely registers as a B on the scale. Not really sure what the title has to do with anything… Then again, I have no idea why the single on track 1 is called “Shinobi VS Dragon Ninja”. Get the feeling these guys just pick clever titles for the sake of sounding clever.

4. And She Told Me to Leave
GRADE: F
Songs like this are exactly the thing guys like me will end up referencing when we accuse these guys of being Incubus ripoffs. Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound like any specific Incubus song, but it totally sounds like something they would write. Right up till the chorus, which then just sounds like something anybody from this era would’ve come up with. I am so bored with this song, and I’ve got three minutes and thirty more seconds to go!

5. Kobrakai
GRADE: D+
Once again, it has an excellent start, but then we actually get into the song. Pretty soon, I realize we’re going to be flipping between two completely different songs. And I dislike it when bands do that. There’s mathematical precision, and then there’s stapling two songs together in a haphazardous mangle, hoping to god it fits together. Maybe I’m not listening to the words very closely, but I fail to see how the villains from the original Karate Kid factor into this.

6. The Handsome Life of Swing
GRADE: C
The vocalist spends the majority of this song screaming his ass off… And yet, it’s still more appealing than listening to him attempt to sing. Again, it sounds like a product of its day, but I rarely consider that a bad thing all by itself.

7. A Thousand Apologies
GRADE: C-
Imagine my disappointment when I heard this beat, and then heard the lead vocalist decided to sing on this one. This would’ve been the perfect opportunity to bust a rhyme, yo! Oh well, what could’ve been, I guess.

8. Still Laughing
GRADE: F+
You may be still laughing, but man, I am so fucking bored right now. I literally went upstairs during the rest of this song to see what my little Russian blue mix is up to, and when I came down, I found out I still had one minute thirty seconds to go. Fuck this song.

9. For Sure
GRADE: F+
I don’t know if my patience for this album has officially hit rock bottom, or if this guy’s voice is at it’s most irritating in this song. All I know is I friggin’ hate this song.

10. Awkward
GRADE: C-
Boy you want to talk awkward? This sounds very suspiciously like “Shinobi VS Dragon Ninja” in the beginning. I guess that’s why I gave it so much slack. Ugh, and there’s a whole other track on here I have to sit through. Why did I think this was a good idea?

11. Ode to Summer
GRADE: D
Yeah, I take back what I said a couple tracks ago: this is where his voice is the most irritating. I love summer as much as the next guy, if not maybe a little more, but holy fucking hell I can’t wait for this album to be done!

OVERALL GRADE: D-

So that was the debut of LostProphets. I don’t recommend it. At all.

LostProphets would ultimately end up being a one-hit-wonder here in The States, but apparently, they were a lot more popular in their native Wales. Then the lead singer got a little…Molesty. Scratch that, he got ridiculously molesty. That, or Wales is a little more hardcore in their sentencing. All I know is a couple years ago, the guy was sentenced to THIRTY YEARS in prison for what he did. Either way, that ended up spelling the end of LostProphets.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review as you listened along with me. Lord knows listening to the entire album was a real fucking chore. Next week… No, next MONTH, I think I’m going to be talking about a band I love. The month of February, let’s just say I’ll be showing you how down with the sickness I truly am.

So yeah, how about them Patriots? Can you believe they’re cheating again? First there were those spy tactics, now they’re deflating footballs.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you, anything I have to say on the matter is going to have a bit of bias towards it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Jets fan or anything like that. I just really, really, REALLY don’t like The New England Patriots. “Spygate”, and now “Deflategate” are good supplimentary material, but mostly, I was just annoyed with the fact they seemed to make it to the superbowl every fucking year, and win against everyone who didn’t happen to be The New York Giants for a while. And usually, the times they couldn’t make it were due to the fact the fucking Steelers did. I was looking forward to the day I’d see this era of Patriots and Steelers making it to the superbowl… Then I learned they’re in the same conference, so that’d be impossible. Still…

I’d talk about boycotting this year’s superbowl, but frankly, I’m just not that invested this year in the first place. Yeah, I know I said The Broncos were going to fucking molest The Seahawks last year, and the opposite ended up being true. Perhaps the same will happen this year. Still, I just don’t have a whole lot of desire to see another Patriots superbowl. Even if it’s been, like, four years or so since they’ve been.

Really, my interests in football right now are on my boys, The Chiefs. For instance, I heard we might be giving Duane Bowe the ol’ heave-ho this year. If that’s true… Well honestly, I’d be lying if I said I’d end up missing the guy. True, he’s not the most obnoxious player the red and gold have had to work with (Larry “”I be cakin” Johnson still holds that distinction), but I’ve heard about him playing lawyerball during the spring once or twice. Also, the dude seems to end up in jail at least once a year for possession of marijuana. Guess he can’t wait till he gets to Colorado to light up.

Also, I hear Peytin Manning might be on his way out. Peytin fans are bummed out, but as a Chiefs fan, I’m actually glad to hear we might actually stand a fucking chance against Denver next year. Assuming that rumor is true, of course. Yes, we’ve been known to make Denver work for those victories over us. Usually. However, Manning Smash! is just too much of a force for the likes of Alex Smith and Jamal Charles. And five bucks says Manning’s presence is the only reason The Broncos have been as good as they have. I still remember when they were 3-13 on a good day, you know.

Bottom line: yeah, deflategate sucks, but I got a lot more interesting shit to look forward to maybe. And of course, you’re more than welcome to prove any of these rumor wrong with whatever materials you may find.

Nothing More is an industrial alternative metal act from Texas. Much like Mushroomhead, this isn’t actually their debut album: they’d been releasing other albums through what I can only assume was an indie label. The album in question is probably their first mainstream album ever.

That’s pretty much all I got in terms of background information. Seriously, I know little about these guys, and the internet has been little to no help. Judging by some of the songs here, I can guarantee you that they’re definitely anti-establishment. Whether or not it’s because they’ve always been that way, or because Occupy Wallstreet made anti-establishmentism really popular and they’re jumping on the band wagon for instant notoriety… Well, I hate to instantly assume the latter, but I’m not ruling it out.

It’s great to hear some halfway decent industrial for a change. The closest thing to successful industrial we have right now is Papa Roach’s latest identity crisis. And yeah, if you don’t read SISOH, “Face Everything and Rise” is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for my fandom of that band. The messages they preach, though stuff I can’t say I haven’t heard a billion times from other places, are messages I can get behind. The vocalist can hit some pretty insane high notes, and his singing voice overall leads me to believe that the Miles Kennedy style is becoming more and more popular with time.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a track-by-track review. Hopefully, it’s like riding a bicycle, and you never truly forget how. Or maybe it’s like riding a bicycle on the freeway: one of the dumbest things you could possibly do. Especially where I’m from: where Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth is viewed as liberal hogwash, and bicyclists are free game for pedestrian polo. I guess there’s only one way to find out. Let’s pop in Nothing More’s self-titled album, and give it a spin!

ALBUM ART: B-

the album art for Nothing More's self-titled album.

Is it weird that that little symbol reminds me of the MacDonalds arch’s horribly disfigured cousin? Also wondering if that comparison is supposed to happen, or if that’s just my brain being my brain. Whatever.

ALBUM CASING: B
Cardboard casing seems to be the new standard. Fortunately, it isn’t one of those fucking envelope cases, so it doesn’t throw off the distribution of my CD wrack at all.

TRACK LIST

1. Ocean Floor
2. This is the Time (Ballast)
GRADE: A
I count these two tracks as the same song. Especially since the insanely distorted vocals on track 1 are basically the first verse of track 2. Regardless of if you agree with this decision or not, it is what it is. First track = first single always strikes me as lazy, or unimaginative at absolute least. That being said, I can still see why they went this route. This song is insanely catchy. It’s a good introduction to what you’re about to hear for the rest of the album, and in my case, it got me looking forward to the rest. Well worth the listen.

Oh yeah, and if you know where to look, you can find an acoustic version of this song. That ought to be interesting.

3. Christ Copyright
GRADE: A
This track is loads more brutal. Both in lyrical content, and in the precision of the instrumental. It’s heavy, it’s mathematical (all be it on a fairly easy level compared to some of the stuff I listen to), and I’m pretty ure there’s a slam on the tea party in there somewhere. What’s not to like!?

4. Mr. MTV
GRADE: A+
Admittedly, the message of this song is nothing new. I’ve been an MTV hater since Jackass was the gold standard, and aside from the season-long Beavis and Butthead revival, I don’t see that changing any time soon. Even if 16 and Pregnant ended up aiding in the reduction in teen pregnancies, it still doesn’t excuse all the other intellect-eating skullfuckery called programming. Plus didn’t they used to play music? Or was that before the M in MTV was changed to moron?

Oh yeah, and this song is insanely addictive. I love the “I want my MTV” at the beginning. Apparently, the radio edit removed that first five seconds, but they remedied it by having him sing it at the end as they’re building up to the ending. If you get nothing else from this band, I recommend you get this song.

5. First Punch
GRADE: C+
It’s hard to follow up pure ownage like “Mr. MTV”. Still, this sounds kind of… Generic, by comparison.

6. Gyre
GRADE: B+
Acoustic instrumental type thing! Honestly, it’s pretty good. I get the feeling it’s building up to the next track more than anything else, but still, it’s pretty good.

7. The Matthew Effect
GRADE: A-
I’m going to take a wild guess, and assume this Matthew guy was someone the vocalist, or someone else in the band knew personally. Or maybe it’s a punk-ass reality star or something. Either way, the concept of “The Matthew Effect” seems to be that one guy who had everything handed to him, never worked a day in his life, and expects the whole fucking planet to kiss his fat white ass. These are all just guesses. One thing I can guarantee is that this song is awesome.

8. I’ll Be Okay
GRADE: B
Clearly, this is the ballad of the album. In turns of ballads, you could do a lot worse. In fact, even the ballad has a little kick to it. Although they wait till the second go-around with the chorus to get there.

9. Here’s to the Heartache
GRADE: B+
The title implies that this was going to be the ballad… And there’s probably some ballady type stuff in here, but I’m pretty sure the previous track is going to earn that title. This track is pretty good. It’s not quite as intense as previous tracks, but I guess they felt like we needed a breather from all the social commentary.

10. If I Were
GRADE: B+
This song doesn’t remind me of any specific song right out. Rather, I feel like I’ve heard this verse structure used in other songs before. It has a bit of pop flavor to it, I suppose. But hey, sometimes cliches just work. Plus despite the fact this sounds like a “Getting Away With Murder” era Papa Roach song, it’s still pretty good. Plus “Getting Away With Murder” was probably one of the last great P-Roach things ever released.

Yeah, I seem to be dwelling on “Face Everything and Rise” a lot today. Not sure why.

11. Friendly Fire
GRADE: B+
I’m not sure if there even is such a thing as an “honest liar”. Unless you count trickster spirits like Loki or Puk: creatures who have a reputation for deceit, and are even honest about it themselves. I rather enjoy this song, honestly.

12. Sex and Lies
GRADE: A
You know this one’s going to be heavy when you hear the guitar can’t even wait for the phone call in the intro to be done before playing. The chorus is a real brainworm of a thing, and even if I can’t exactly remember the words all the time, I’ve found myself humming the general melody while unloading trucks at my job. In terms of an angry breakup song, it’s good.

13. Jenny
GRADE: B-
It’s got a slow start, but once the rest of the band kicks in, it gets better. For some reason, I get a serious Jane’s Addiction vibe from this song. No clue why, I just do.

14. God Went North
GRADE: C-
God may’ve gone north, but this is pretty much the point the album goes south. Heh, see what I did there? Seriously, though, I was less than impressed with this track. I suppose once the song actually gets started, it’s not so bad, but for the most part, it just doesn’t hold my attention.

(There’s a track 15, but there seems to be some disbute between the Wikipedia article I usually use, the Amazon track list I use when one isn’t available on Wikipedia, and my PS3 over what it’s called. I don’t know what it’s called, but for the record, it sucks.)

OVERALL GRADE: B+

It’s a pretty good album. Maybe not great but definitely worth a listen.