As I said in the previous review, “Infest” was really popular in my group. It holds a lot of nostalgia throughout my high school years, and while the rest of the collective has decided to shit all over it, I still hold warm fuzzy feelings regarding… Most of it.
“Lovehatetragedy”, meanwhile, was a whole different story. Two years after my metal clique decided Papa Roach was hot shit in a glass, this album came out. Suddenly, P-Roach was cold diarrhea in a dixy cup. Even guys I wasn’t normally friends with at the time commented “Infest” was the better album. Apparently, even the fans thought this one left something to be desired.
Two singles were released for this album. “She Loves Me Not” had a decent run, considering this is Kansas City radio. “Time and Time Again”, meanwhile, disappeared immediately, and “She Loves Me Not” wasn’t too far behind afterward.
And of course, this would be the one Papa Roach album out of the entire collection I’ve never officially owned. Sue me, I was a lot more easily swayed by the opinions of others back then. Everybody in high school is. Yeah, I was a rebel in the sense I was the only one in my clique who actually liked Korn, but you can only push the envelope so far before the gang starts talking about kicking you out. And damn it, it took forever before I finally got into a clique, so you better believe I was going to hang on.
Once I got out of high school, and my opinion began mattering more than the collective’s, though, I still never got around to listening to it. Hell, I’ve only just now started listening to it as of this week. So yeah, I’m not sure what to expect from this review. I try not to do blind reviews anymore, but with the time table I’ve set up for myself, it’s kind of hard not to.
So let’s just log on to Music Unlimitted, and see what this album has to offer.
ALBUM ART: D-
Yeah, I’m starting to think album art isn’t one of P-Roach’s strongsuits. Good thing it only accounts for, like, one percent of the grade, or else we’d have a problem.
1. M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement)
Well, compared to the opening track of “Infest”, they’re at least to the point. The title is a bit of a clunker (you could probably take the stuff in ()s out and it’d work a lot better if you ask me), but the song is a pretty good way to start off the album. The melody of the lyrics sounds kind of like “Blood Brothers” on “Infest”, but only for a while.
2. Life is a Bullet
Hey, as long as it isn’t a bullet for my valentine. HA! Band name humor. I’m a riot. Unlike this song. I suppose it could be a lot worse, but yeah, I’ve heard better.
3. Time and Time Again
Did I just hear Jacoby howl at the beginning? Anyway, this is the closest thing to rap I’ve heard all album so far. It’s too bad this didn’t last very long on the radio, but I’ve been known to have bad taste in music. The two or three people who bitched me out over Halestorm this summer can tell you all about it. Whatever, I like this song.
4. Walking Through Barb Wire
Not bad. It catches my attention right at the beginning of the song. It’s far from complex, but if my fan of Korn has taught me anything, sometimes simplicity is a good thing. Plus this is a band from the day and age that considered guitar solos to be self-indulgent wastes of time, so I’m not exactly expecting Slash caliber riffs here.
5. Decompression Period
And just like that, I’m bored. I get that the song is trying and all, but compared to the previous, I feel like it’s not even trying. Next!
6. Born With Nothing, Die With Everything
It’s an interesting title, but that’s really all it’s got going for it. I suppose the corris is okay, but it’s really struggling to hold my attention.
7. She Loves Me Not
Ooh, putting track 7 as your single. That’s pretty ballsy, considering all the cool kids were putting their singles on track 2, 3, or 5 at the time. A few were even putting the single on track 1. Papa Roach was clearly feeling good about this decision. This isn’t the worst song on the album. In fact, it’s one of the few exceptionally good ones. But yeah, there were a couple I’d have probably picked before this one in terms of a single.
8. Singular Indestructible Droid
Wow, that is some serious Engrish right there. What the fuck does that even mean?
“Well maybe you should listen to the song, and then you’d know, dumbass faggot.”
Fine, I’ll listen!
Okay, I listened. Got to say, it’s really not doing much for me. Again, I can tell they’re trying, but I’m just not feeling it.
9. Black Clouds
Yeah, you knew this wasn’t going to be good when you read the title. Though I’ll admit, it could’ve been worse.
10. Code of Energy
All right! This is probably the best track I’ve heard all album! The title is kind of odd, but that’s nothing new. Things mellow out during the bridge, but but the rest of the song is pretty energetic and engaging.
Good effort, but “Code of Energy” is clearly the undisputed champion of this album. Frankly, I’m glad there isn’t a hidden track on this one. I’m not sure I could listen to this entire song and some minutes of silence to get there.
OVERALL GRADE: C+
So yeah, maybe the gang was on to something when they were telling me this one wasn’t as good as “Infest”. I figured they were just pissed off about the fact there’s virtually no raprock this time around. Yeah, “Time and Time Again” has some, “She Loves Me Not” has some in the bridge, and maybe one other song, but that’s literally it. Shit, Kid Rock waited till his fourth album before he forgot what brought him to the dance and went country.
All and all, this album is just meh all around. It could’ve been a lot worse, but it could’ve been a lot better. Frankly, from what I heard about its sales, I’m amazed they were even given the chance to make a third album. But they did, and some serious changes to their style were made from that point onward. Find out what they were next week.
Papa Roach is an interesting band for me. Not because of their sound, but rather, because of the history I’ve had with these guys.
This band lit my old high school metal clique on fucking fire when they first came out. Which is weird, considering things like Slipknot, Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, and other, significantly heavier bands were usually the kind of stuff we liked. Then again, I remembered one of the gang proudly declaring he liked Staind, and as much shit as I got for it, I wore my Korn shirt with pride. So perhaps we were a little more eclectic than my memories give them credit. All I remember for sure is they hated Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park… But they liked Papa Roach. Hell, they loved Papa Roach. And I loved them along with those guys.
Thirteen years later, the gang has pretty much gone its seperate ways, and I’m finding that hindsight is a bit of a bitch.
I still don’t hate Papa Roach, but I really can’t say I’m as huge of a fan as I used to be. Mostly because as time goes on, P-Roach have proven to be a “play what’s popular” band. You know the kind: the band who listen to the radio, see what’s got everybody buzzing, and go out of their way to emulate that sound. The difference between them, and bands like Nickelback, though, is that they still manage to sound like Papa Roach at the end of the day. Yeah, they’re obviously copying fads, but at the same time, they still sound like themselves. Assuming that makes any sense.
In the beginning, Papa Roach was a raprock band in a long line of raprock bands. Depending on the song, the lyrics could be pretty insiteful, or really whiney. This is pretty much what led people to consider them as being among other precursers to the dreaded emo fad of the mid 2000s. And yet, unlike Linkin Park, and Evanessence, and maybe a couple others I can’t think of off the top of my head, I can’t bring myself to hate these guys.
“Infest” holds a bit of serious nostalgia in my heart. I used to listen to it while creating wrestlers and pay-per-views on Wrestlemania2000. My friends and I tried to form a band in high school, and “Last Resort” and “Between Angels and Insects” were two of the four songs we played (the other one being Godsmack’s “Awake”, and a generic blues song one of us wrote). I think we even managed to get the DJ at a school dance to play “Dead Cell” one time.
So yeah, this album and I go back. The only reason I have to look it up on Music Unlimitted anymore is because my old copy got scratched up, and wouldn’t play anymore. Yeah, between frequent listens, bringing it over to band practice, and just traveling with it in the days when diskmen were the gold standards, and MP3 players were the size of TV remotes and could only hold about ten songs max, that thing took quite a beating. I’ve given thought to replacing it one of these days, but for now, let’s just log on to Music Unlimitted, and see if hindsight doesn’t end up being a bitch.
ALBUM ART: D
I have to admit, even back then, I kind of thought this was lame. I suppose it could’ve been worse, but with a title like “Infest”, I figured they’d be doing a lot more than this.
Ah yes, I forgot Jacoby Shaddix used to go by “Coby Dick” back then. Other than that, this would appear to be your typical intro to a rap album. The lyrics can easily be summed up as “Hi there, I’m [ARTIST], and I’m going to spend this entire track talking about how badass I am.” Except in rock, it tends to be more believable, because I have yet to see a rocker clad from head to toe in gold chains, and talking about stupid looking rims and showing off equally stupid looking teeth. Also… Well, it’s Papa Roach. I think they’d spend more time talking about suicidal thoughts than kicking your ass in the longrun. As far as introduction songs go, though, you could do worse.
2. Last Resort
You know, there’s part of me that says that if they had made any other song on this album a single instead of this one, these guys would have a better reputation. Shit, even “Broken Home” isn’t as goofy as this is. I know he’s trying to convey some deep shit, but thirteen years later, this is about as goofy as hair metal. Actually, I take that back: hair metal is significantly goofier than this. But like I said earlier, I really can’t bring myself to hate this song. Memories, you know? That being said, there’s still far better material on this album than this.
3. Broken Home
Again, I can’t bring myself to hate something that’s just so ungodly whiney. Not so much for nostalgia’s sake, but really because I was going through something similar to this that year. I’ll save you the sob story, and just say it wasn’t a pleasant time in my family’s history. So yeah, heavy-ass stuff. Of course I was pretty sure my father cared, but yeah.
4. Dead Cell
All right! This is more like it! It’s heavy, it’s got a beat, and it’s got some good ol’ mindless moshpit quality to it. We were seriously needing something a little more mosh-worthy than this, the way we were going.
5. Between Angels and Insects
Hands down my favorite song on the entire album. The guitar part is awesome in its simplicity, the corris is catchy (though you wouldn’t think it when you heard it), and the message is something I’ve embraced for most of my life. Yeah, money is awesome, but I’m just as happy as a truck monkey earning an average week’s pay as I would be as a multi-million dollar author.
NOTE: Depending on which version of the album you get, you get a different track 6.
6A. Blood Brothers
If you have the uneditted version, you get this one. It’s got an interesting guitar part, but it’s honestly not enough to get it into A-country.
If you get the editted version, you get this one instead. Frankly, it puzzles me that a song that has to bleep out an F-bomb and the mentioning of the phrase “suck my dick” is okay, but a song about killing being part of our nature with no swears was an absolute no-no. The only thing I find stranger than that is the fact I honestly like the replacement track better. I don’t know what to say.
“We met with a girl! Abused with forks, knives, and razorblades!” Again, I’m really trying to take it seriously, but the way that verse is presented just makes it hard. The guitar during the verses is probably the most interesting thing about this track.
This is honestly a pretty forgettable track. It’s not bad, but it’s not very good either. At worst, I consider this to be filler.
9. Never Enough
I literally forgot this was even on the album in the first place. And after listening, there’s probably a good reason for why that is.
Seriously, it really has been a while since I’ve listened to this. I forgot how much filler came after “Blood Brothers”. I suppose this one’s half a step up from what we’ve had thus far, but at the same time, it’s not one of the better tracks on here.
11. Thrown Away
Somehow, this feels less like filler, and more like the band decided to end on a strong note. The rap really makes this stand out from the tracks we’ve had previously, and the heavier instrumental holds my attention a lot better.
HIDDEN TRACK: Tightrope
Ah yes, the hidden track. A trope of the late 1990s early 2000s I don’t miss in the slightest. Especially when the hidden track ends up being nothing but the studio musicians providing stuff like panflute or tribal drums having a jam session for five straight minutes.
Fortunately, Papa Roach decided to give us the ballad of the album for a hidden track instead. Another trope of this era was that the ending track was usually the ballad, or at least something acoustic. P-Roach doesn’t disappoint on the occasion, giving us a sort of reggae sounding tune. I like it, and I wish I didn’t have to fast forward through a whole other track just to get there. Oh well.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
I won’t deny that I might be listening to this album through rose-colored earbuds, so you could probably take it down a letter grade if you like. All I know is that I know I should hate this album, but I don’t. I think I’ll get it replaced when I get the opportunity.
Coming up next, “Lovehatetragedy”. No, my space bar didn’t suddenly stop working. And unlike “Infest”, I’m going into this album… More or less completely blind. More when I get to it. Stay tuned.
My swords and sorcery kick started in 2010 when I rediscovered audio books. My original goal was to get through every single god damn Wheel of Time book I could get my hands on: a goal that I fell significantly short of for various reasons. Specifically, I made it up to book 8, got a third of the way into that one, and got annoyed with everything. Perhaps if I hadn’t started with New Spring, the Wheel of Time book that even Wheel of Time fans didn’t like, maybe I’d have had the energy to finish book 8, but fuck it. Besides, I’ve decided early on that I’m more of a Song of Ice and Fire guy anyway.
A lot of my writing, from 2010 to the time this was written, has been fantasy as a result. Maybe not swords and sorcery, or at least not the conventional definition, but there’s definite fantasy elements in my writing nowadays.
Back when I wrote this idea out, though, a swords and sorcery story was actually a bit of a strange occurance. As I’ve said before, I was more of a science fiction nerd in my youth. I actually hated the Lord of the Rings books, and every fantasy book I knew of at the time seemed to flat out rip off Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I had always viewed fantasy as nothing but elves, dwarves, and orks, and magic always struck me as a bullshit quick-fix mechanism that explained away continuety errors in the author’s own writing. I was always more interested in the physics of light sabers, outer space, and devices that could open portals to alternate Earths.
So when I started coming up with Earth 6666, I was definitely having to leave my comfort zone. True, I didn’t know nearly as much about technology as I thought I did when writing scifi, but fantasy, to my fifteen-year-old brain, required me to think under the “because shut up” mindset.
Earth 6666 had a simple premise. In short, the bible was actually right about everything, the rapture had occured six years ago, and demons were warring with angels while the ones left behind went into hiding and waited for everything to end. The angels, however, had a secret weapon: a demon who had foresaken his creater, and fighting for the side of heaven instead.
In other words, we had what I like to call a classic “vampire who hunts other vampires” story. Hellsing is the best example of this sort of thing I can think of.
In Hellsing, Alucard (AKA: not Dracula) has been recruted by the Hellsing family to hunt other vampires who are reeking havic on society. They never explain why Alucard joined the side of humans, they never go into why Alucard is so eager to commit genocide against his own people, we’re just expected to sit down, shut up, and enjoy the fucking show. And if it were any other show but Hellsing, I’d be bitching a lot louder.
Yeah, I admit it: I’m a fan of Hellsing. To this very day, I still can’t figure out why. It’s stupid, loud, borderline pointless, Seras Victoria’s the only character with any development… And I fucking love it.
Earth 6666, in short, was Hellsing with demons and angels instead of vampires and people. I can’t remember what they’re called anymore, but the demon who chose to help humanity was basically a werecoyote. I want to say something like Yeneldluchi? All I remember for sure was he wielded a black iron sword that was dipped in holy water, thus it could cut through weaker demons like they were made of butter.
I also remember that his nemesis, the one demon who gave him more trouble than Satan himself, was Grendal. Or at least something I called Grendal. I can’t even remember why I picked him out of all of mythology’s most dangerous demons. But I did. All I remember off the top of my head was that Grendal was the only demon who could take a blow from the werecoyote’s sacred sword, and act like it was nothing but a stubbed toe at absolute most.
I also think there was some sort of romance angle between the werecoyote and an angel, but I don’t think I made it that far in the book before I called it quits.
I’m sure with a little retooling, this would probably make a better manga than a novel. Frankly, though, I’m happier just giving this entire stupid idea to the great god of failure to take to his infinite filing cabinet of suck.
Lately, I’ve been noticing more and more casheers at the grocery store, or the nearby 711, and even at Target among other places have decided not to give out pennies when making change anymore. When they give me change, they round to the nearest nickel. What the hell do you have against pennies anyway?
Look, it’s not like I don’t get the penny hate. Unlike the fanbase of My Little Pony consisting of thirty-year-old men, I can see why a lot of people suddenly hate pennies. Hell, I’ve made my share of jokes regarding pennies all throughout my life, and I’ll probably continue to do so.
The penny, in short, is the least valuable coin in all of American currency. It’s tiny, it’s made of copper, and you need a hundred of them to make one American dollar. They’re so useless, novelty coin makers use pennies to make their little novelty coins. A popular activity at the railroads is apparently leaving pennies on the train tracks, and picking up the flat little slugs that get left behind. People even throw them in fountains and “wishing wells”, telling their kids that their wish will come true. In truth, though, they probably just tell them that to teach them that pennies are worthless, and you should throw them away.
I get the feeling that nowadays, the old saying of “find a penny, pick it up, and for a day, you’ll have good luck” isn’t one parents are teaching their kids anymore. Assuming they’re the type of parents that actually give a shit about their kids, and take time out of their busy schedule of looking important in front of their fellow trophy wives to teach them stuff, and don’t depend on cable TV or the Xbox to babysit for them. All I know is I’ve been seeing more and more people drop pennies, and then ignore them when they realize it’s just pennies. Nickels and dimes, and it’s a travesty that must be remedied immediately, but pennies? Fuck that noise.
I’ve even heard of some states talking about making the penny invalid, and forcing retailers to round up change to the nearest nickel. I think one state even had that in place back in the 1990s, but it’s possible they repealed that law.
Long story short, the penny is considered useless. Honestly, I disagree: I think the penny is worth plenty. I’m not about to start a fan club, or build a fanpage devoted entirely to the penny, but I feel like there are other coins out there that are far more useless than the penny.
Case in point, the dollar coin. Yeah, you only need one to make an American dollar, but every time they’ve tried to introduce them, nobody goes for it. My generation had the Sacagawea coin, my mom’s generation apparently had the Susan B. Anthony coin, my grandparents had the “Peace dollar”… Apparently, they’ve been trying to make the dollar coin a thing sense the early 1800s, and so far, nothing has stuck.
I’d also put down the fifty-cent piece as a more useless coin than the penny, but if my trips to Nebraska for Anime Nebraskon taught me anything, the fifty-cent piece is apparently still useful up there. A dealer even told me he had a couple two-dollar bills in his drawer if you can believe that.
Can you believe we used to have two dollar bills? Those things were a terrible idea from the getgo. Five-dollar bills, ten-dollar bills, and so on make perfect sense. It’s when you get into the weird numbers like thirteen, or fourty-nine, or sixty-seven when bills or coins start sounding stupid. And the two-dollar bill was pretty ridiculous. As memory serves, I ended up having to give all of mine to mom, who in turn took them into the bank to get ones, because towards the end, nobody was taking them.
So yeah, there are far dumber forms of currency than the penny. Sure it’s tiny, it seems useless, and it might even seem like an insult to the president that got stuck with being the heads side, but hey, at least it’s not a Sacagawea dollar.
First and foremost, I’d like to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving.
Second, I’d like to point out that there isn’t going to be a WITCP this upcoming Friday. I’m going to be out of town. I have a laptop now, but only a demo version of my screen reader software. Meaning that it only works for fourty minutes, then demands I either reboot my laptop, or enter in an access code I clearly don’t have yet to activate the full version. The demo version is good for quick stuff like checking Tennessee Titans’ scores, and a few writing projects that don’t require spellchecking, but not for much else I’m afraid. Plus my mom is going to end up rooming with me, and while she stopped giving a fuck what music I spend my money on around age sixteen, she still hates about ninety percent of the shrieking lunacy I call music. So yeah, no review Friday.
In December, I plan on doing another themed month of reviews. And because Christmas’ good cheer and candy-coded joyfulness gives me diabetes, I decided to review the most emo thing I have in my collection. That thing, for the record, is Papa Roach.
I’ll save my opinions for the reviews, but I’ll get this much out of the way: Papa Roach is kind of a double-edged sword. I feel like they get a bum wrap from everybody, but at the same time, I can see why. Especially their early material. Then again, I’ve just now dug out the copies of their albums that I own, and plan on using Music Unlimitted to cover “Metamorphosis” (which I realize now I spelled wrong in my last SISOH article).
I’m probably going to have to do some double features in order to fit all six albums into one month. I’m fixing to be done with a writing project of mine before the end of the week, and I’m still got Jade Blade Legacy on the shelf, so I don’t see this being a huge problem. For now.
And no, I swear I’m not going to do more half-assed reviews like I did for Finntroll. Unless “Metamorphosis” pisses me off as much as it did when I bought it in 2009. Then I promise nothing.
In hindsight, that Finntroll review wasn’t my best review. If I predicted my job was going to change the start time to a ridiculously early time out of the blue like that, I’d have probably done another track-by-track review. While Black Friday is coming, and the next week is probably going to be hell on Earth for us at the hub, I do plan on providing those reviews.
So those are my plans. Will Papa Roach be an under rated gem from the 2000s? Will they be victims of hindsight? Tune in to Papa Roach month next Friday, and find out! Till then, I bid you good day.
Folk metal. Believe it or not, this actually exists. If you had told me this a decade ago, I would’ve laughed. Or I would’ve assumed it was some sort of comedy act like Dethklok or something. But believe it or not, this stuff was popular for a time in the Scandenavian parts of Europe. It might still be, for all I know and care.
I must confess, I don’t know a whole lot about Finntroll. I couldn’t tell you if they’re the founders of the subgenre, or if they’re just the biggest name in it. All I know is I was introduced to these guys during my first year of college. I ended up with a copy of their album “Natfodd”, which was their most recent album at the time, and… Unfortunately, it’s the only album of theirs I own as of this writing.
Finntroll is also labeled as a black metal act. However, I don’t speak Swedish. It’s cool to have a band sing in their native tongue (even though technically they’re from Finland), but at the same time, it means I have no idea what they’re singing about without a copy of their lyrics, and Google translator handy. And lord knows the translation will be a bit on the literal side if I did that. So yeah, I’m probably just going to have to take their word for it.
The folk metal portion of their sound, however, is obvious to anyone who isn’t deaf, or has no idea what folk music sounds like. On top of shrieker vocals, fast paced double bass drum kicks, and guitar riffs that could probably tear holes into stone, there’s also accordians, flutes, woodblocks, and other instruments more commonly found in folk music. While I can’t understand a word of what the guy is saying, it’s things like this that really hold my attention, and have me marveling at how amazing this hybridized sound… Uh… Sounds.
I imagine that this isn’t for everybody. If you love metal, but hate folk music, you probably won’t enjoy this all that much. Reverse the like and hate, and I imagine you’ll get the same result. I myself don’t hate folk music, but it’s not something I listen to on a regular basis. However, I rather enjoy the combination here very much.
I can guarantee that not every track on this album is pure gold, but I can guarantee that this is definitely one of the more interesting sounds I’ve covered here.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
I’m honestly amazed that I forgot all about this song. Back when it first came out, which I’m pretty sure was somewhere around 2010, it was one of the most overplayed songs in Kansas City radio. And given the kind of shit that gets overplayed around here, I can’t say I’m shocked. Here in 2013, heading into 2014, however, it’s completely M.I.A. And thank god.
I still say “Something in Your Mouth” is probably the single worst thing Nickelback has ever written in their entire careers. This, however, is probably an immediate second place. Come to think of it, the top ten worst Nickelback songs ever list in my head features about two thirds of the track list for “Darkhorse” at absolute least.
Clearly, they hadn’t gotten enough milage out of the whole “let’s write about the sluttiest woman ever” fad of 2006-2009, because this is yet another entry. And it’s from the same CD. And this single came out after “Something in Your Mouth”: a song that not only showcases Nickelback’s lack of originality, but the fact they manage to both rip off a song and miss the point of the original entirely.
I’m not even going to get into the whole ripping off Theory of a Deadman tangent again, so that’s a whole paragraph of crap you’ve already read dozens of times you don’t have to worry about. But yeah, they’re clearly following in their footsteps.
Compared to “Something in Your Mouth”, this one is more of a southerny twang kind of thing to it. Which I suppose is a novel concept for all of three seconds. Then the lyrics kick in. Suddenly, I feel like I’ve heard this song before.
I’d say that Nickelback decided to take the “Hollywood Whore” approach instead of the “Bad Girlfriend” approach here, but Papa Roach’s “Hollywood Whore”, the only good song on “Metamorphasis”, hadn’t been released yet as a single. Plus Nickelback’s “Darkhorse” and Papa Roach’s “Metamorphasis” came out around the same time as memory serves, so unless the band were skiping ideas to one another during the recording process, I doubt highly that this was what was going on.
Also, “Hollywood Whore” sounds like a Papa Roach song, mean spiritted as it is. “Shakin’ Hands”… I get the feeling they were going for a country singer’s style when they wrote this, but I couldn’t tell you who, since I don’t listen to country. I’m sure Canada has its equivalent of Nashville, which I’m assured is the worst country on the planet, so it’s probably one of them.
I will admit, though, “She didn’t make it this far by just shakin’ hands” is a better line than “You look so much cuter with something in your mouth”. It’s still a song about a complete and total slut, but at least it’s got that going for it.
And that’s pretty much where my positivity comes to a screeching halt. This song sucks. Nickelback sucks. And the fact they have a following as huge as they do sucks most of all.
For a while, I’ve been noticing more and more women are entering the realm of heavy metal. I’ve also noticed that these bands have been around a lot longer than I think upon discovering them. And much like male vocalists, it’s the ultimate definition of mixed bag: some are fantastic, others… Not so much.
With Otep on her way out and into the world of graphic novels, I’m in the market for a new metal goddess. And sadly, as far as Kansas City radio is concerned, my only choices are Lzzy “I miss domestic abuse” Hale , or… Whatever the fucking hell the chick from In This Moment is bitching about. I suppose I could’ve stuck with my original gameplan of sticking with Lacuna Coil, but then I found a band fresh out of Quebec. You know, that part of Canada that didn’t want to be part of Canada anymore for some reason?
I don’t want to be that guy who makes jokes about Canada in an attempt to get heel-heat, but let’s face it, a lot of the stuff that’s popular in Canada… Well… It kinda sucks. Nickelback came from Canada, after all. My Darkest Days apparently comes from Canada too. Rush comes from Canada. I know three bands aren’t exactly definitive proof, but it’s not looking very good for the country. But I guess a lot of the good Canadian stuff comes from Quebec, because I’m really liking The Agonist.
I first heard of The Agonist through their involvement with a game by the name of Karmaflow. As of this writing, the game is still in development. Maybe it’ll be fucking amazing, or maybe it’ll be the biggest disappointment since Girl Fight. All I know is Danni Filth of Cradle of Filth, The Agonist, and that dude from Dragonforce (one of the most over-rated bands in power metal in my humble opinion) are involved.
As of this writing, I’ve only purchased one album from the gang, and I’ve heard the rest of their modest catalogue through Music Unlimitted (which I reinstalled this month). Alisa White-Gluz, despite being one of those women who apparently has to hyphenate their last name for no explainable reason, has impressed me the most with her ability to alternate between beautiful singing and impressive shrieker vocals. The instrumental isn’t without its influences, but unlike a certain misery-missing bipolar wreck here in America, the influence is subtle, and tweeked enough to sound like it’s own thing. And not like you ripped off 3 Days Grace, or The Sick Puppies, or Lamb of God… Damn it, I said I wasn’t going to go on a rant!
Let’s just not dwell on that, and instead, let’s focus on The Agonist. And the best way to do that is to put it in the stereo, and play it.
ALBUM ART: B-
1. You’re Coming With Me
Wooo! That’s probably the third most jarring start to an album I’ve ever encountered. At least they entertain the possibility of a slow start with a few seconds of acoustic guitar before the metal pops up and punches you square in the face. Once you adapt to the shock, which shouldn’t take too long if you’re a metal veteran like me, it becomes a very enjoyable listen, and a good start to an album.
2. The Escape
This is probably my favorite track on the entire album. Yeah, I know, track two as your favorite, lor the radio single has been a cliche since 2001. Whatever, I still love this song. The singing at the beginning is almost haunting, and the rest of the song is a pretty intense high-speed ride from start to finish. Frankly, if you pick nothing else up from this review, I strongly insist you check this song out.
3. Predator and Prayer
Hur hur hur, I gets it. Hmm, I wonder if they can hear me? For that matter, I wonder if they care? Okay, all joking around aside, this one’s another favorite of mine. Compared to the last couple tracks, it’s got a little more swing to it. It’s still heavier than a piano full of concrete, but it’s got a little swing. I get a little Lamb of God vibe from it, though I can’t guarantee that was what they were going for.
4. Anxious Darwinian
Is an anxious Darwinian in the same vein as a spiteful urinator by chance? I don’t even remember why that question comes to mind anymore, I just found it an intriguing title. The awesome factor has kind of slowed down at this point, but it’s still a good track for what it’s worth. Really good.
This was actually the first song I’d ever heard from The Agonist. It took more than one listen before I could say I liked it. Maybe it’s a ridiculous claim, but I got vibes of Shadows Fall when I heard it the first time. I still can’t explain why, but I hate Shadows Fall with a passion. Somehow, after a couple listens, this song had worked its way into my brain, and before I knew what was going on, it was one of my favorites. It’s amazing how stuff like that works.
It’s not a bad song… Far from it, it’s actually pretty entertaining. But a fair warning, it’s a little above eight minutes long. If you have a problem with that sort of thing, it might not hold your attention. Compared to previous material… Well, I still like it, but it does kind of struggle.
7. Lonely Solipsis
Holy hell! This thing just reached out of the stereo, grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, and demanded I wake up, listen, then go make it a sammich. The rest of the song isn’t quite as jarring as the beginning, but it’s among some of the best the album has to offer at this point. And if eight minute tracks piss you off, then you’ll be glad to know this one’s just a bit short of hitting the four minute mark. So yeah, short but sweet.
8. Dead Ocean
I know they’re trying, but this is pretty much the only thing close to skip-worthy on the entire disk. I know they’re trying, but this song really just drags on. I don’t know if it’s the pacing, or the fact they hover around what I think is the F-chord, or what, but this really doesn’t hold my attention. Oh well: they all can’t be gold.
9. The Mass of the Earth
Okay, this is more of what I’m talking about. If nothing else, it’s about two steps up from “Dead Ocean”.
10. Everybody Wants You Dead
Really? Everybody? Last I checked, only a couple Halestorm fans, and maybe that one asshole who thought Moonrise Kingdom was god’s gift to cinema were the only ones wanting me dead. Wow, I don’t know how I’m going to live with that information. Other than enjoy the hell out of this song by the same name. Yeah yeah, nobody thinks I’m funny. I know. Can’t blame a guy for trying. Seriously, though, this one ended up becoming another favorite of mine pretty quickly. I guess I just have a thing for songs that swing, I guess. That little bit in the bridge where the instrumental becomes nothing but bass, drums, and whistling may’ve given me some “Use Your Illusion” flashbacks, but the rest of thesong is all kinds of kickass.
11. Revenge of the Dadaists
I’m not going to lie: with a title like “Revenge of the Dadaists”, I was expecting something a little more avant gard. While far from a bad song, it ultimately becomes more of the same after the little introduction. I hear dada, and in the case of music, I usually think of something horrid like Dillinger Escape Plan, or at least interesting like Meshuggah or The HAARP Machine. But all things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse. It’s still a great way to end the album.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Yeah, I think I’m going to be happy with this band. I’ve definitely got some backtracking to do, and it’ll occupy my time in between releases.
For a while, I was a writer of horror fiction. Pretty much from the age of sixteen all the way up till I was about twenty-two to be specific. There really isn’t much to talk about there in terms of crappy ideas or crappy writing, though.
For starters, I was pretty much done making rookie mistakes at that point. I was editting my stuff a lot more thoroughly, and I was actually researching things in order to know what the hell I was talking about. Assuming, of course, it wasn’t something I was making up in my head. Then I resorted to the ol’ bullshit machine. I was also deleting a lot of the stupidder ideas before they could get anywhere past chapter four. A lot of the ideas I had that I actually finished… Well, I suppose whether they’re good or bad are subject to opinion, but even now, I look back at them, and entertain the possibility of rewriting them. Even if the writing in their original incarnation showed obvious signs of being the work of a pretentious asshole demanding you ask me what every attempt at forced symbolism for the sake of having symbolism was. Yeah, I went through that phase too, but I digress.
However, I recalled one idea that was so horrible, I can’t believe I came up with it. Enter The Manbot: a creation of mine from my horror writing years that made Jason Voorhees look like a Michaelangelo painting by comparison.
The story was a bit of a hodgepodge. As I’ve said in the past, this was a point where if I was referencing my inspirations, I was doing a better job of making said influences less obvious. Never the less, I’m pretty sure I was borrowing bits and pieces from the boss encounters of Resident Evil 2. Come to think of it, I borrowed from Resident Evil 2 a lot in those days. What can I say: I really loved Resident Evil back then. Especially before CAPCOM forgot how to write decent horror, and turned the whole thing into an over-the-shoulder action shooter. Go ahead and complain about tank turret controls (lord knows I still do), bad voice acting, and nonsensical puzzles all you want: that’s the Resident Evil I know and love. Not this stupid crap they’re putting out now.
And then the hatemail came.
Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure I was talking about something else. I drift off topic like this a lot, I notice. Must be that whole stream of consciousness thing. Well, I haven’t heard anybody complain yet. Plus I got to work off this Monster Ultra Blue somehow, so…
OH RIGHT! Manbot. Ugh.
The Manbot, in short, was a lot like the Weapon X project in Wolverine’s storyline. Except there was less fusing faux-metal to one’s bones, and a lot more cybernetics involved. Essentually, the cyborg, or manbot, went haywire, and started to rampage through the town. Thus, it was up to the police force to stop it. Even though something this dangerous would probably require SWAT, or the ATF, or the army, or even the marine core.
I don’t remember a lot about this story, but I do remember that the manbot could reproduce by injecting a human patient with some sort of metal spider that collected DNA, created an embryo that would age rapidly into adulthood, and ultimately destroy the host body in the process. And I’m pretty sure this was only the tip of the iceberg.
This was one of those stories that was so stupid that I myself was amazed I wrote it. There was part of me that wanted to do a little reworking, and maybe turn it into a horror parody. Something like that show Darkplace: where the featured presentations are horrible on purpose. Unfortunately, that side had yet to learn about things like The Room, or Manos: The Hands of Fate: movies that manage to have fans despite being criminally horrendous. Seriously, people, what the fuck? Have a little pride.
Sadly, for people who like the criminally horrendous and the unintentionally hilarious, I went out of my way to delete the story myself. All that’s left is a memory of what used to be. And thank god.
I had a lot of bad ideas in middle school, and maybe even fifth or sixth grade. As memory serves, I was about seventeen when I wrote this one. Or at least sixteen heading up to seventeen, anyway. I was pretty sure all the bad ideas were either out of my system, or being saved for a fanfiction page I had on Geocities back in the day. Do not miss that site one bit in hindsight, but I digress.
I hereby feed this idea to the failure god and his infinite orangeness. May it burn, and burn fast.