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Category Archives: Music

Looking Forward To: 2013

2013 might already be 1/12 the way done, but if Gangster Squad is the best we’ve been treated to thus far, then the good has yet to come.  Okay, so the recent Star Wars announcement was pretty sweet and, in all honesty, I now have no reservations about it.

But whether we’re talking film-related stuff or not, there are some things which the current year has me trembling to get.  So here we go, some of the things I’m curious to see what 2013 holds.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I’m still kicking myself over not catching The Hobbit in IMAX so I could catch the Star Trek Into Darkness prologue.  At the very least, this ties for my most hotly anticipated film of 2013.  To my surprise, 2009’s Star Trek was something I instantly fell in love with, and the first two trailers for Into Darkness had no trouble selling me.  Like a kid who first saw Harry Potter, I’m driving myself mad wanting to see what this sequel will actually provide.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Some might say Limitless was Bradley Cooper’s initial attempt to be taken seriously, but it wasn’t after Silver Linings Playbook that he actually had me convinced.  Now we have The Place Beyond the Pines, where he shares the screen with Ryan Gosling, Ray Liotta and Eva Mendes.  After seeing the trailer, I really wish I had the chance to go to TIFF last year.  Thankfully, the film isn’t far away from its wide release and it’s already looking like a Top 5 contender for me.  Hopefully it will deliver a similar effect to something like Mystic River did in its accomplishment at giving your mentality a true cage beating.

Catching Fire

I (finally) read The Hunger Games around the turn of the new year, and in a nutshell, I though the first 310 pages were solid, but those last 60 pages…I felt strangled.  If there’s anything Suzanne Collins is an expert at, it’s leaving you wanting more.  The book ended in such a way that it rattles me apart to not pick up and read Catching Fire before the film comes out, much less the first teaser.  Unfortunately, I already know how the book ends (thanks a lot, Cracked and Amazon), but I’m also interested to see how this ending will be led up to.  And the pain of not (further) ruining the movie for myself proves tougher and tougher every day.

Evan Williams CInnamon Reserve

In the status update for my blog, I showed interest in covering and reviewing alcoholic beverages.  Specifically, I’d be talking about spirits and cordials.  One company that’s recently caught my attention is the generally affordable Evan Williams.  I’ve already tried their “spiced” eggnog, which felt a tad harsh was while still being tasty, as well as their Honey Reserve, which is a surprisingly decent option.  And wouldn’t you know it?  While browsing for recipes to use my bottle on, I found they’re releasing a Cinnamon Reserve variant, which will make for a trio of Reserves thanks to Cherry Reserve (that’s a lot of Reserves).

Saivon Lapsi by Eternal Tears of Sorrow

Set aside the name and Eternal Tears of Sorrow are a fairly conventional, yet enjoyable, group.  Though they’ve slipped since the excellent A Virgin and a Whore, there’s still some symphonic/melodic fun to be had with their sound.  The released music video for their new album is definitely more akin to their 2010 release which, though not bad, isn’t nearly as inspired as I’d like them to be.  Still, they tend to deliver some good material amidst less inspired parts, so hopefully Saivon Lapsi won’t skimp out too much.

Ethera by VIsions of Atlantis

Congratulations, Visions of Atlantis, you’re finally getting a second album out with the same lead singer!  When I brought up this group to the heavy metal club at my college, our president immediately compared them to Lacuna Coil.  I see a bit more Nightwish, but hey, to each their own.  Either way, the band gives us some very cheesy stuff; though to be fair, that’s to be expected with power and symphonic acts.  I thought Trinity and Delta were both fun works in spite of these inherit shortcomings, so hopefully we’ll get plenty of the energy much of Delta offered up.

Circle by Amorphis

I seem to fall back on bands who, though I definitely like, have trouble releasing truly great material as of recent.  Amorphis slipped after the excellent Silent Waters on Skyforger, and The Beginning of Times left little to no lasting impression.  The band’s core sound does still work, but it seems like many of the times they experiment it produces very mixed and forced results, at best.  Hopefully Circle will harken back to Silent Waters and maybe a bit of Eclipse, which I’d compare to Dream Theater’s Images and Words.  Why?  Because it’s metal while being relaxing, two things that normally shouldn’t go hand-in-hand, but somehow both groups pulled it off.

Bioshock Infinite

The last time I could really game passionately was my first two years of college, back when financial stability was some sort of a reality for me.  But between game prices, an all around overemphasis on (online) multiplayer and generally stagnant progress, gaming has essentially been kept on my back-burner.  But Bioshock Infinite just might be the next new release I purchase, the last one being Halo 4.  I’m a huge fan of the first Bioshock and the second, though I haven’t finished and not as good for what I’ve played, is still solid.  The previews for Infinite look terrific and hopefully the elevated location won’t compromise a lack of linearity for eye candy.

Grand Theft Auto V

Just going to come out and say it: I’m not a GTA fan.  I really like Saints Row, but GTA has never honestly struck that chord I wish it would.  The GTA games have always been games more of curiosity than complete and utter enjoyment to me.  So yes, the trailers and announcements for GTA V have me interested, but I want to know just how FUN the game will actually be.  GTA IV played and handled so sluggishly that it made entertainment more scarce than it needed to be.  I honestly got more fun out of seeing my character fly out of vehicles and get splatter than I did actually playing any of the missions.  Hopefully GTA V will have a more refined feel as opposed to being, well, GTA IV.

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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Alcohol, Blog, Film, Movies, Music, videogames

 

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Kamelot: Silverthorn (2012) Review

Note: Review originally posted on Sputnikmusic: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/53053/Kamelot-Silverthorn/

Being a heavy metal musician probably isn’t the easiest job to deal with. While pop drivel dumpsters like Green Day get the psychotic pre-teen girls and bucks blazing everywhere, metalheads get stuck with gothic high school rejects and the occasional fund for a small supply of Jager or Budweiser. Take a few years of that into account and we can begin to see why Roy Khan took it easy and ditched his companions.

But Khanaholics can rest easy, for Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder) is here to provide an imitation which goes beyond a merely earnest effort. To the less discerning Kamelot fan–which is probably none of you–his performance on the new album, Silverthorn, could almost be called indistinguishable. Take “Sacrimony,” a prim and proper opener which builds to a combination of vocals with Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz. As you can imagine, this does more than simply leave your ears hungry for more.

If sweat hasn’t begun building around your palms yet, then the news that Silverthorn is a bit of a return to form should do the trick. While no one was about to walk the plank after the transition from The Black Halo to Ghost Opera, the reassurance we finally have another fun Kamelot album should help quell your apprehensions. In fact, those are the exact two Kamelot albums to stick this one in-between to get a gist of its sound. “Torn” is an ideal case-in-point, featuring a catchy chorus that will have your whistling and humming tendencies on repeat in no time.

Wholesome and pleasing to the senses, Silverthorn certainly seems like the perfect alternative to one’s drug of choice. Alas, much like Jada Pinkett Smith’s career, not everything is up to par here. Stretches of the album (see “Ashes to Ashes”) encompass a few filler tendencies and prove to be less memorable than Gingerbread Oreos. Meanwhile, the beginning of “My Confession” sounds creepily akin to one of those terrible techno songs you download after trying ecstasy. At least the song is easier to pass up on than some foreign substance. It’s also odd to hear the otherwise great “Veritas” end in such a way that you might as well transition from Kamelot to Alestorm. Just think about that for one moment.

What’s more is we don’t get any true classics here. Unfortunately, this has to be tossed in the group recently headlined by Time I; it’s comprised of enjoyable material that just can’t quite hit that “oh, hell yeah” vibe, even with a great epic track. Underwhelming reality aside, the key word to remember here is “enjoyable.” This is hardly a remarkable record, aside from Tommy’s eargasm performance. But it’d be cruel to put this in the “bad” category since the album does a lot of things right, most of which are even more essential for a Kamelot release.

Silverthorn might not get your gears going at first, but it’s one you can return to again and again while nodding and smiling most of the time. The ultimate highs of its greater predecessors aren’t matched, but it at least mimics the returnable, feel-good effect you’re looking to experience. You know, just like that certain friend who didn’t quite make the magazine call but still puts the moves on you in bed.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in Album Review, Blog, Music, Review

 

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