28 December 2007

Welcome to Procrastination Theater!

Well, it's that time again. Projects loom and the spirit withers, and yet I continue to distract myself instead of facing the problem. So. Enjoy my brief summaries.

I finished up Half-Life: Source the other day, it didn't take me long. Pretty fun. Dated, but fun. Definitely not up to the standards of HL2 and its episodic content, but it was a stepping stone whose success allowed for greater things.

I'm listening to Stolen Babies - There Be Squabbles Ahead right now. It's excellent. Very much in the same vein as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but perhaps slightly less insane, not quite as dismal. It features a female vocalist prominently, who unlike that of SGM performs some screaming vocals. I think I will be enjoying this album for quite some time. Have a look at the video:

I also grabbed a self-titled album by the oddly named The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza today. Pretty much a less-varied Dillinger Escape Plan. Enjoyable but not particularly remarkable.

On recommendation from a soon-to-be relative, I looked into Buckethead again. I have previously enjoyed his collaborative effort with Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Buckethead & Friends - Enter The Chicken, a great mix of genres and vocalists coupled with excellent quirky musicianship. I was later turned off by Population Override, a sort of neo-jazz album that I found rather boring. This last foray into his work got me The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell and Kaleidoscalp. The former is mainly a metal album. I like it a lot; the bucket-man has created a wonderful thing here. Kaleidoscalp is also great but a bit less accessible perhaps. It shall require more listens.

This has been a ploy to prolong my own suffering. Thank you for listening.

24 December 2007

Half-Life 2: Episode 2

Well. That took long enough.

Most people finish this game in about 3 days or so, some in less than a day. It took me a few months. Granted, most of that time was spent gearing up for yet another failure in the finale. It was HARD. I finally reduced the difficulty from Normal to Easy and killed the last two walkers without much ado.

Frustration just isn't my thing.

Anyway, it was a great game. I wish my system were a bit higher-end so I could appreciate it to its fullest, but even with what I have it was quite an experience (what I can remember). The sand-lion caves were very cool.

Here's to Episode 3.

Oh, and Happy Jingle-Day.

18 December 2007

Scott Walker - The Drift (2006)

All I have to say about this album right now is that anything that can make the Donald Duck voice depressing is completely awesome.


This is one of the weirdest things I've ever heard. The guy sounds like a big-band era jazz singer crooning repetitively over a collection of electronic and analog sounds including a fist pounding a slab of meat. The sounds themselves are amazing, much more clearly defined than most other things I listen to. The lyrical themes are dark, brooding and cryptic. Overall quite depressing and edgy.


I checked this album out because Mikael Åkerfeldt mentioned that it had a heavy influence on Opeth's as yet untitled upcoming album, expected sometime in 2008. It should be killer.


16 December 2007

I Am Legend


That pretty much sums it up. 2007's I Am Legend is basically a remake of 1971's The Omega Man with Charlton Heston, which was a piece of crap in my opinion. I Am Legend isn't nearly as crappy, but still retains Hollywood's penchant for raping good books.

My first major complaint with the film was the fact that the vampires were completely CG (I think). They could have been much more believable had they been actors ala 28 Days Later, another film at least partially based off of the original book. Richard Matheson's book is the basis for all zombie movies after all. Anyway, the worst part of the CGI was the lead vampire's awful dislocated-jaw-roar. So cheesy.

My second complaint was the ending. It was the biggest copy-over from The Omega Man. Of course, I admit that the ending in the book is hundreds of times more depressing than what was used and therefore not acceptable to Hollywood, but still, I wish they could have stayed true to the source material. At least that had a message, although I'm not entirely sure what it was.

A cool tidbit: Mike Patton, the prolific musician who fronted Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, Peeping Tom, Tomahawk, and a million other groups, as well as performing the voice of The Darkness in the recent video game, did the vampire noises in this film. That dude is just too dang cool.

15 December 2007

Heaven Shall Burn

I think I found another one. The sound this band has is exactly what I'm looking for in music right now; pounding aggression, harsh encompassing vocals, and at least some instrumental virtuosity. I have yet to hear an album, but this video has me excited.

Heaven Shall Burn - Counterweight

UPDATE: Listening to their latest album Iconoclast right now. It actually hasn't been released yet.

So far it's not quite as intense as Anaal Nathrakh, but not much is; I've heard that there is a band called Stalaggh that beats them in the destruction of souls department, but I haven't found any of their material yet.

Anyway, this is a good album. Possibly more melodic than I expected, which is far from a bad thing as long as they keep the intensity intact.

Heh, the first paragraph on their wikipedia page is pretty cool:
Heaven Shall Burn is a melodic death metal band from Saalfeld, Germany. They combine an aggressive metal sound with lyrics that show a militant support of anti-racism and fighting social injustice. Four of the five members are vegan.
Kinda like Gojira's subject matter all involving environmentalist themes. This was unexpected and pleasing.

After a couple listens-through, I can say that it did not live up to my hopes, but it was still a good album. Probably the heaviest melodeath I've heard so far.

11 December 2007


Have you ever had a moment where you realize the utter pointlessness of existence and the doom that overshadows everything? I just had a flash of it. A sort of clenching in my abdomen coupled with a pinch of fear and loathing... all while reading the comments of this blog post.

I think it could just be because I'm back in extreme procrastination mode. That never has good effects on my psyche.

10 December 2007

Dexter and stuff

Well. Long time no post.

I just finished up the second season of Dexter, the best show on television. To sum it up in one sentence, it's a black comedy with a serial killer protagonist who [claims to have][has] no emotions. Other than that it is pure genius. The first season was (as far as I know) a pretty close adaptation of the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. The second one has very little relation to the book's sequels. I think I need to read the first one, because season 1 was damn good; as was season 2, but not to quite the same extent.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I recently watched a lot of material by David Lynch, the nightmare filmer. Seriously. This guy can't seem to make anything that isn't torn from the dark recesses of a tormented sleeper. Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Elephant Man, Eraserhead (which I have not yet seen, I'm a bit scared), all of them are darkened blurs of dread mixed with a healthy dose of insanity. Only Twin Peaks, which he did not have complete directorial control over, had any hint of humor. I enjoyed all of them though. All of them, that is, except for the blithering mistake that was Dune. I wasn't able to make it through the first 20 minutes of that debacle. Lynch himself has disowned it.

In the music scene, I've been exposed to a few more decent bands. I'm listening to Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris right now, and it's better than I expected from my very limited knowledge of the band. Just the other day I found a band called Hacride with a similar sound to Meshuggah (my favorite band ever for the last couple years), who on one track of their sophomore release Amoeba bring in a sort of indescribable latin-sound that just bursts with originality. Another album I got today is Ocassus by The Amenta, a death metal outfit with the jackhammer sound similar to the band I posted about earlier, Anaal Nathrakh. According to their Wikipedia page, their goal is to abolish "useless morality," such as religion. I don't entirely agree with or support this aim, but the music is enjoyable at least. On the progressive front, we have Ephel Duath. Their album The Painter's Palette is a somewhat chaotic amalgam of hardcore, jazz, and myriad extreme metal sub-genres. It didn't really sink in though. Lastly, the instrumental death metal super-group Blotted Science has put out a very enjoyable album in The Machinations of Dementia. It's much better than Behold... The Arctopus's output, in my opinion. Behold... is another instrumental metal band who shares a member with Blotted Science.

Here's a video by Hacride from Amoeba. It's the first track, called Perturbed. The video itself reminds me a lot of Tool.

So there you go.