Monday, August 29, 2011

No one would have believed

One last bit of music, for now. This time around, I'm just going to fill you in on the greatest album ever made. The album in question is Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. I'm mainly doing this because I can't fully connect with a generation that hasn't heard this musical masterpiece, even if I'm placed in that same one.
First things first. Just what is it? It's a 1978 progressive rock concept album that adapts the classic H G Wells novel. As a hopeful writer, I'd love to see my own work get the same alterations. It occasionally wobbles on the line between audio drama and musical piece. In fact, rather than have me explain, give the first track a go. I'll see you in 9 minutes.

Pretty damn impressive right. Don't you just wish Spielberg did this instead of the one he did make? In fact, by Saturday, I expect you all to have obtained and listened to the whole album. I find the perfect way is to completely turn the world off. I go to my room, close the door, turn off the light, put my headphones on/in and lie down and visit this new world. In fact last week, I repeated this ritual with a set of in-ear phones. They greatly improved the listening experience. Each cry of "Ulla" sent shivers all through me. The way it should.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Enter the metal world of doom

OK, yesterday was a bit crap, but it was just a warm up for a few music related posts. So this time I'm having my first shot at an album review. And so I start with "Steel", the debut album of Finnish heavy metal band Battle Beast.

Apparently they've been fighting since 2008, but they've only just (March 2011) put something to disc. There's nothing particularly new, with them being part of the 80's metal revival. But, fortunately they have a few songs that differentiate that just enough. While they may refer to themselves as the ugliest band in the world, singer Nitte Valo's voice is just as powerful as any of the other instruments. In some cases, specifically ballad "Savage and Saint", she well and truly denounces that claim of ugliness. I'd even go so far as to compare her to the great Rob Halford.
Admittedly, quite a few songs are written in the "Rock 'N' Roll All Nite" method. A couple of verses and repeat the chorus. A lot. Maybe even fit in a solo or two. But it just makes the more diverse all the better.

After listening to it a few times, something clicked. I realised why it sounded so familiar. They shared a few inspirations and such as Lordi. It really sunk in on the title track "Steel". This one could almost be passed off as a Lordi song. Then this thought sunk in throughout the whole album. Now, Lordi's latest album (don't say last, that means no more) "Babes For Breakfast" was pretty crap, so I can think of "Steel" as being the album Lordi should have made.

If you're a fellow metal warrior, this is worth a listen. If you're not, maybe give it a miss.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The savage beast

Many times I've rattled on about my taste in movies and the like. I say it's time we move to the other great source of entertainment: music.  I'm even more varied in that field. But again, I tend to stick closely to a particular genre. A very diverse genre at that. It is rock/metal. I tend to put them in the same basket, I mean there's sub genres for when I'm feeling extra picky, but on the whole, they're fairly close.
Apparently, I've been a headbanger since day one. Mum and Dad were doing some renovations with the musical accompaniment of AC/DC (my keyboard doesn't have a lightning bolt), and I remained peaceful. Then they changed over to the Beatles, to which I disapproved greatly. And the rain went torrential. (I know that doesn't make much sense, but I wanted to avoid some cliche about fire still burning, especially while talking about rock.)

I started like most, just raiding Dad's collection. So I grew up on Kiss, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Adam Ant and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few. Then as I got older, I started doing some discovering of my own. I found the rest of the world. It began when Lordi won Eurovision in 2006. They were followers of Kiss, so I checked them out and became a fan. Then I went on a quest to find more European stuff. Which led to Nightwish, which went on for even more fantasy symphonic/progressive metal.
In fact, that genre is great, because I don't just go for random songs. A lot of the time, I want to listen to a whole album. If there's time, I'll go for a whole discography. So when you get stuff that seems to have some kind of story to it, it's nice to sit back and turn off the world as the story unfolds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In brightest day, in blackest night.

Despite the frothing hatred of other critics, I decided to check out Green Lantern yesterday. I should probably start by mentioning that I'm a sci-fi nut and a fan of the comics. So, critics be damned, I was paying to see this one. It was worth it. It seems most of the critics found the simplest description of the plot to be ridiculous. Pilot gets a magic ring with the power of green to fight the evil of yellow. Any plot sounds stupid when simplified to that level. For instance; orphaned teen trains to be swashbuckling monk with psychic powers and teams up with a homeless drifter to destroy a super space laser. Yeah, I went there.

Back to Green Lantern, it isn't like other heroes. It was the first series to work on a mythos and continuity. In a Superman comic, Lois gets kidnapped, Jimmy says "Gee willikers", Lex gets punched in the face. Then they'd do it all over again in a month. Green Lantern changed that around so that there was character development. Then they went into the galactic stuff, and things got pretty expansive. That was the problem of making a Green Lantern movie. Just how much of the sixty years of history do you provide for a two hour movie? Unfortunately, the film makers went for a little too much info. Aside from that, it served as a pretty good adaptation. It's just not as good as the animated flick Green Lantern: First Flight.

On the note of adaptation, I don't understand why superhero movies get held up to others, rather than their source material. For example; the Fantastic Four movie. It was unlucky enough to come out about the same time as Batman Begins. So of course people called Fantastic Four a steaming pile because it wasn't Batman Begins. That's because Batman and the Fantastic Four are two different heroes. Both of them fit in perfectly with the mythos of their respective franchises.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What you doing?

The last time I gave you all some kind of insight into my life story, I brought you all to tears about my dead cat. I'd say it's about time we did it again. Don't worry, it'll be happy this time, I'll even put on happy music while I type (when I'm done with the Suspiria theme). OK, gone for Bond. That's the classical crossover string quartet, not a spoken word album by Timothy Dalton, yeah, you heard right, Timothy Dalton.

Now then, I mentioned I'd have six weeks of FREEDOM! after my first semester of Uni, so I'd probably post more regularly. I kind of didn't. Surely, I was off doing great and exciting things as only that could keep me from loyal, possibly imagined, followers. Well, um, er, uh, I kind of didn't really do anything. Except get horribly addicted to the book of faces. I also got the bloody cold for two freaking weeks. The worst part, Mum called dibs on the telly for most of that fortnight. Today Show, Mornings with Kerri-Ann, The Circle, Dr. Phil, Oprah and Ready Steady Cook. Monday to Friday. It's a miracle I didn't make it onto the 6 o'clock news.

I'm now back at the house of learning and am just a little bit annoyed. Went and made all those awesome friends in the first semester, and now have to start all over again. Pantsing Agadoo! But, they cannot defeat me, for I am the Zex-Kwivian Warrior of Wonder and I will not be silenced! In other words, I have been meeting other new friends. Even found someone looking at the same field of journalism as myself. Woo Hoo, got some competition. It's only three weeks in and the semester's looking to be good one, even if there is a two hour lecture in there. I know it seems to go by relatively quickly, but still, two hours.

This last week in particular was a bit of a mess. On Tuesday morning, I had to give an oral presentation based on a pain-in-the-arse reading. So I got up at 5 so I could have extra time to make it look like I knew what I was talking about. It could have gone better, but I don't think the teacher noticed. For some strange reason, I chose this same wake-up time on Wednesday. As a result, I was getting pretty knackered and got tired at 10. Then Thursday was looking pretty good, slept in til 7 and had a pretty good morning. Then I started to drop at 4. In the end, I went to bed at 9:30. That hasn't been my bedtime since I was 15. Here's hoping things improve in later times.

Unless I find something shiny, or my competitor finds a way to get rid of me, I shall return, eventually.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Whingers Rise

You may be aware of a little flick out next year by the name of The Dark Knight Rises. You may have also seen some of the slowly leaked promotional material such as a sub par teaser which was most likely put together just so they could have something to show off now. Then there's the official pictures of the villains. This is where the fans start going nuts. Bane's mask doesn't look right, Catwoman doesn't have cat ears, the suit isn't black enough, etc. Then you have the people who reckon it'll be incredibly bad, simply because all other third movies in superhero series haven't been that great. Plus, there are those who simply want to have sex with Christopher Nolan by reminding us that he hasn't made a bad movie. Now, I can't really comment on that as I've only seen his previous two Batman movies. However, I can disagree as I didn't like The Dark Knight. This dislike comes from the same thing that makes everyone else love it; by holding it up to it's predecessor. Batman Begins was brilliant. It took the caped crusader back to a place he hadn't been (film/TV wise) since Batman: The Animated Series, an intellectual, rather than just punching the evil out of people. He was the World's Greatest Detective once more, and given a villain that challenged that intellect in the form of both Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul. Then, once the inevitable sequel revealed itself, they threw that out the window. OK, the "Joker" claimed he had planned for all that stuff to happen but there was so much left to chance. Why have I put "Joker" in quotation marks? Because, in my eyes, that wasn't the Joker.
To tell you the truth, the minimal, slow marketing actually gives me hope. The Dark Knight had a huge viral campaign that went on for months. So why aren't they doing it this time? Maybe The Dark Knight was simply a lead up to this one. The breaking of the signal was just Marty being handed the hundred year old letter.