Holy crap is it good.
I shouldn't be surprised, and I suppose I'm not. This book is revered as the best graphic novel ever by nearly everybody. The most outstanding aspect of it is the story itself; although mostly applicable during the Cold War, it still rings pretty true today, a sort of anti-war novel. It isn't a traditional one though. With all the main characters as masked vigilantes, genius pseudo-megalomaniacs and nuclear demigods battling themselves and each other over how (and whether) to protect humanity, it could hardly be traditional.
In a sort of documentary about Moore called The Mindscape of Alan Moore, the genius writer describes the inherent link between art and magic. What this man has wrought in Watchmen is a perfect example of magic by his definition, which is something that changes a person's perception of reality (I think that's what it was anyway, I'm paraphrasing). I will probably never look at comics the same way again, nor life in general. This is the sort of thing that makes people form opinions.
Okay. On to some music.
Diablo Swing Orchestra - The Butcher's Ballroom
I've heard these guys mentioned quite a few times before, but didn't bother checking them out until yesterday. I shouldn't have waited. DSO's style is an amalgam of metal, classical, and I guess some sort of bluegrass or something. This is their only full album so far, I haven't listened their EP. Seeing as I've only listened through this album once I can't give a very in depth review, but I definitely recommend it.
Ween - 12 Golden Country Greats
Ween is a peculiar band. I haven't heard a whole lot of their stuff an most of it hasn't really interested me. However, Devin Townsend likes them so that's enough for me. Also this is a great piece of work. It's in the musical style of country as the title suggests, but instead of the subject matter dealing with tractors and beer coupled with heartbreak, pictures are painted with sci-fi and satire. The parental advisory on the front shouldn't be ignored, as there are some pretty awesome lyrics. It's a fun album.
Samael - Solar Soul
Yet another black metal turned avant-garde band. These guys aren't quite as out there as Ulver or Manes, but they're definitely good. This music is more industrial metal than anything, sort of sounding like Rammstein (although I don't really listen to them at all, and this is much more complex). It has symphonic elements as well, hearkening back to their roots. It's even catchy. Again I've only heard this once so far, but it stuck out of the many titles I've been going through of late.
I'm listening to it again now, and I just noticed that the vocals kind of sound like those in Celtic Frost's latest release, Monotheist, which is an awesome album by the way.
Stam1na - Uudet Kymmenen Käskyä
Finland has recently come out of obscurity in the music world due to Lordi's almost miraculous entry and win in Eurovision a little while back. This oddly named group here has also ridden pretty high on the charts, and for good reason. This is some pretty darn catchy metal; a little similar to french act Scarve, and with a few elements close to Strapping Young Lad. They're a lot more catchy though, a little mainstream sounding with all the production; not nearly as brutal as those two bands. Still it's very very enjoyable stuff.
Now for the heavy stuff \m/
Pig Destroyer - Prowler in the Yard
Just from the name you can imagine the brutality contained in this music, never mind the cover art. Pig Destroyer is a grind-core band, a genre that came from a melding of hardcore punk and death metal. The songs are short and fast. Unrelentingly psyche-scratching. The intro is read to us by the ubiquitous "Bob" computer voice. He describes a scene with two women engaged in some form of off perversion watched by a group of people who have no idea what to do about it. Then the music begins, and only those desensitized to onslaughts of musical brutality will keep listening. I love it. The vocals are, as expected, incomprehensible, but I checked some out and found this section of verse:
Certain things fascinate me.I love that stuff like this can be so obscured by its presentation; I think it's beautiful. Beautiful brutality. The album ends with a return to Bob's monotone delivery of a conclusion to the weird tangle discussed in the intro. I won't describe it as it's quite graphic, and should only be beheld in its original form, if you're willing to try it.
First I went blind and then the sun went out.
The way you hold a match so steady.
How heaven is collapsing under so much joy.
I've listened to a ton of other stuff recently, but these were the standouts. Unfortunately much of what I try doesn't really get me at all, but I'll sometimes come back to it and see what I was missing. I think that's a common tale.