What I’m about to write probably sounds like some tame-ass creepypasta caliber story, but I swear to god, this happened. In fact, it literally happened just half an hour ago.

I’d just gotten home from a get together with the guys. Suddenly, as I’m putting my wallet and junk away, I get not one, not two, but four text messages all at the same time. The first notification I figure it’s a friend of mine. Second notification, I figured he was either cutting his txt in half, or it resent the same message. By the time it got to four, I got a little cautious.

I turned Talkback on, and examined my new messages. The first message was about five seconds of audio. However, those five seconds mostly consisted of dead silence. Message 2 and message 3 were pictures. I couldn’t make out any details, but they were both really red. The first picture was a lot lighter than the other one, but they were both red. And finally, there was the fourth message. The fourth message was a single line of text reading “I need your help.” That was it.

I looked at who was sending me all these messages. My room mate’s name came up on all four, but when I woke her up at 11:30 at night and asked her about these messages, she had no clue. She checked her cell phone… But according to her phone, she hadn’t sent anything. She sent no texts, she didn’t have any audio recorded on her phone, and out of all the photos she had on her phone (most of which were of the cat), none of them matched what she sent me. The only thing on her messages tab was a notification from Verizon that let her know her bill was coming due.

“Well maybe someone else named [UNDISCLOSED] tried texting someone something and got the wrong number,” she theorized. “I mean you have any idea how many people are named [UNDISCLOSED] in this state alone?”

Not a bad theory, except she’s in my contact list. Anyone outside my connection list wouldn’t display a name: it would display their phone number. The fact the From field had her name in it only assures me it came from her number. Except everything that was sent wasn’t on her phone.

I also know for sure this isn’t a prank. The texts came to me at 11:13 PM, and my roomy was asleep when I came home tonight. Also… God bless her, she has no idea how to text. Texting was something I did a lot more of back when phones had buttons, and before Android upgraded to the Lollipop OS. Boy oh boy, don’t even get me started on Lollipop. That right there needs its own article, it’s so maddening.

So yeah, this is the situation. I received puzzling texts from my room mate’s cell phone, the photos in said roomy’s messages aren’t on her cell, and I’ve officially proven that this isn’t a prank. And if it is a prank, my roomy’s not involved. I have no idea what to make of this, and frankly, I’m a little freaked out.

It’s especially freaky, because at my friend’s place, we were looking up all sorts of creepypastas, and Five Nights at Freddy’s videos. Coincidence?

I’m going to tell you right now, I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe there’s a logical explanation for everything. That being said, I’m slowly but surely beginning to think about reconsidering that stance. I’m pretty sure this is the premise of a Stephen King novel. One of the more recent Stephen King novels. Possibly before the Bill Hodges series, but after that monumental piece of shit Dreamcatcher.

More realistically, though, I’m not ruling out the possibility of a phone hacking. It’s kind of weird that of all the things they could do with her number, they’d fuck with some random number on her contact list. However, I was involved in the programming culture for a while. You’d be amazed at the fact a lot of the greatest feats in hacking were done just to prove to somebody else that it could be done. Pretty sure that was the story of Conficker, but don’t quote me on that.

To make a long story 2short, that security system my roomy has been talking about uninstalling for months now is suddenly being activated. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all this, but it never hurts to be extra safe.

And hey, if you have some theories, by all means, feel free to drop them in the comment box. Till then, stay tuned for another poorly edited article on how much I hate 5 Finger Death Punch or something.

the album art for Godsmack's "1000hp"

I honestly never thought I’d live to see the day a Godsmack album would suck. On the other hand, I also never thought I’d see the day WWE sucked, or the day anime became more tedious than anything else, or even the day Android pissed me off enough to make me actually consider the fucking iPhone. I guess in a world where something like Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell can get a second season, anything is possible.

Believe me, guys, I love Godsmack. I really wanted to like this album. I really did. However, there is just so much going against it to the point where I just can’t enjoy it.

Out of the entire album, “Something Different” is probably the only thing I’d rate higher than a C. The first single, and the title track of the album… I can see what they’re going for, but it’s a really long, uninspired way of saying “Wow, has it really been twenty years?” I wouldn’t say everything on this album sucks so much as I’d say I feel like I’ve been through this ride already.

I’ve heard all the criticisms of Godsmack basically being very AC/DC esque in the way they’ve managed to stretch two songs throughout six albums. I’m not saying Godsmack isn’t a one-trick-pony, but I’m saying for the longest time, that was a pretty fucking amazing trick.

Sadly, with “1,000 Horsepower”, I think the trick might be starting to get old. “Oracle” had its share of bullshit (mostly with the handling of “Whiskey Hangover”), but even that was a good album. Maybe not great, but definitely good. This? I was genuinely disappointed in how this one turned out.

It’s possible that having bands like Gloryhammer and Ghost in my absolute favorite band slot has really had an impact on what I expect from bands. Maybe, as I head up to the ripe old age of thirty, this relic from my high school years just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Maybe Sully should’ve focused more on his solo work, and less on trying to bury Another Animal (supposedly). All I know is this album was a monumental disappointment.

OVERALL GRADE: D+

Somewhere a month or two ago (I think), I heard that 5 Finger Death Punch, the bane of my metal enjoying existence, had an epic melt down on stage. I could quote several articles I’d read on the topic… Or I could just show you someone’s camera phone caliber video. Which is frankly the only way you can get something like this, so I can forgive a lot honestly.

Following that show, there was talk of 5DP calling it quits. If not that, I personally was convinced somebody was getting their ass fired from the band. Maybe the singer, maybe the drummer… Hell, maybe even both of them. Either way, it was looking like a paradigm shift was taking place.

However, the band has spoken up on the issue. The abridged version is basically that Moody was living up to his last name, having a really bad day, and something the drummer did earlier had started the whole rollercoaster. Or something. Dude, I fucking hate 5 Finger Death Punch anymore.

Also, they came out with a new single for their new album fairly recently.

Now this may come as an absolute shock to long time readers, but I fucking hate this song. I know, right? SHOCKING!

The official music video… Honestly, the video is pretty funny. I believe the term “tongue and cheek” applies. It’s almost enough to make me reconsider talking about this song here in the first place.
Except there’s one tiny little detail I can’t help but notice right off the bat. This song sounds suspiciously like a song by The Butthole Surfers.

I’ve shown this song to a couple people, just to make sure this wasn’t my imagination, and they can confirm this suspicion. Good god, the verse structure is the same!

I know I get shit for making assumptions like this ever since I complained about Halestorm’s “I Miss the Misery” sounding suspiciously like that Sick Puppies song that came a year before. Unlike that situation, though, I suppose in the long run, this song can hide behind Jim Cornette’s legendary “seven years rule” .

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

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

Bottom line: this song sucks. I’ve given up on 5DP a long-ass time ago, and frankly, I don’t see that changing any time soon. Another thing I don’t see changing anytime soon would be the radio playing this fucking thing into the pavement. People have been requesting this song constantly! Heh, no accounting for taste, I suppose. KC is the town that

NOTE: If you’re wondering why this is being posted on a Saturday… Yeah, I apparently clicked SAVE when I meant to click PUBLISH. My bad.

The album art for Ghost B.C.'s "Opus Eponimus"

I discovered Ghost (known in the states as Ghost B.C.) about a year ago, and I’ve been a fan ever since. With their new album coming out some time this upcoming August, I figured I might want to take a look back at how the band got its start, and listen to their debut album.

Their 2013 album, “Infestissimum” is probably the most amazing thing I’d ever heard that year. This 2010 debut… Is also good, but it’s pretty safe to say it wasn’t quite as ambitious.

If it has one thing going against it, it’s that it’s not really as diverse as later work. The songs sound different enough from each other, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound quite as ambitious. Considering it’s their first album, I suppose that’s easy enough to overlook, but it’s still pretty noticeable.

That aside, it’s still a very enjoyable album, and I have a pretty generous handful of favorite songs from it. If you want to hear how Ghost B.C. got its start, then this is the album to pick up.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

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

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

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

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

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

ALBUM ART: B

the album art for Beartooth's "Disgusting"

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

TRACK LIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OVERALL GRADE: A-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OVERALL GRADE: B-

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBUM ART: B+

the album art for Sabaton's "Heroes"

TRACK LIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OVERALL GRADE: B+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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