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Amplifier Worship



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Emilie Autumn

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Feb 11 2015 · 63 views

Received my copy of Emilie Autumn's first album today, which means that I've completed my collection of her stuff:

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Here we have:

Enchant
Opheliac (The Deluxe Edition)
Laced/Unlaced
Fight Like a Girl

All sitting on top of a signed copy of her book.

There's a few EPs that I don't have which I may one day want to hunt down, but these are all four of the actual albums.
Well, technically I suppose she had an album before Enchant, called On a Day, which contained her performances of several classical pieces, but a remastered version of that album is included as the first half of Laced/Unlaced, so it's all good.


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Tim Skold

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Feb 09 2015 · 68 views

Recently finished my collection of albums by one of my favourite musicians - Tim Skold.
While there are a couple of things I'm missing, I have everything that I actually want.

So let's go through it:

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Terrible picture I know, but it's hard to fit everything in at a good resolution without the file size being too big.

Anyway, at the top left we have his solo project - Skold:
Skold
Anomie
Suck EP
Tonight EP

Top middle, we have the KMFDM albums with him as a member of the band:
Symbols
Adios
Attak

Top right, Shotgun Messiah, which was his first band:
Shotgun Messiah
Second Coming
Violent New Breed

Bottom left, we have the self-titled Skold vs KMFDM album which was a collaboration between the two a few years after Tim left KMFDM.

Bottom middle, the self titled album from the short-lived MDFMK. This was a project formed by Tim and two other members of KMFDM after they split up following Adios. However, MDFMK turned back into KMFDM just a couple of years later when the band officially reformed with Attak.

Bottom right, I Declare: Treason by Doctor Midnight & The Mercy Cult - an industrial metal supergroup with Tim on bass.

And finally, all the way off to the right side there, we have Infamous by Motionless in White, which was largely produced and engineered by Tim, although is otherwise a rather unremarkable album.

Obsessed? Maybe a little, but he definitely is a prolific artist.

The only things I'm missing are the three Marilyn Manson albums he was a member on which I honestly have no interest in, and the new Motionless in White album which he produced again, but apart from one song which was originally written by Tim and features him on vocals, that album is just kind of bad so I don't really intend on getting it.


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Massive Attack

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 15 2015 · 101 views

Completed my Massive Attack collection today:

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Left to right:

Blue Lines
Protection
Mezzanine
100th Window
Danny the Dog Soundtrack
Heligoland

Allegedly they've been working on a new album, so if that's true, I'm definitely looking forward to it. And also hoping that it's better than Heligoland...


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Boris

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 13 2015 · 79 views

Finally received my CD copy of one of my favourite albums, Boris at Last -Feedbacker- by Boris.
Took quite a while to find a copy at reasonable price, and it still wasn't cheap, but I am now very happy to finally own it.
An updated picture of my Boris collection:

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Amplifier Worship
Boris at Last -Feedbacker-
Pink
Smile (US Version)
New Album
Attention Please
Heavy Rocks (2011)
Noise

Which not counting collaborations, is still only eight out of nineteen. Twenty if the Japanese and US versions of Smile are counted as separate, which they should be.
So still a long way to go, but with most of the rest being Japan-only releases, I'm not getting my hopes up for getting anything else in the near future. The price for imports of some of their albums go up to the hundreds here.
Plus, some of those albums are vinyl only. Now, Japan-only CDs are really expensive as is. Japan-only vinyl is a different beast altogether.
For now I'm just hoping that some of their older albums get reissues with world-wide releases.


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My Top 15 Albums of 2014, Part 3 - The Return of the King

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 13 2015 · 70 views

5 - Longhena by Gridlink

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The final album by Gridlink is a ferocious technical grindcore goodbye with incredible musicianship.
Over the course of just 23 minutes Longhena delivers one of the most intense listens of the year. It's fast and brutal, yet filled with a sorrowful beauty.
Farewell, Gridlink.


4 - Noise by Boris

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The 19th Boris album has a rather deceptive title, as there is in fact pretty much no noise contained within.
What it does contain is a trip through several styles across eight tracks, and Boris doing what only Boris do.
Opening with a couple of incredibly catchy and enjoyable stoner rock tracks not too dissimilar form their 2011 Heavy Rocks album, it carries on into highly atmospheric ambient and post-rock, before hitting the listener with a J-pop song.
While all this sounds fantastic and is excellently written, the crown pieces here are without a doubt tracks 6 and 7 - Angel and Quicksilver.
Angel is a 19 minute epic of Boris' experimentation through melancholy and beauty, with both a fantastic build up and an incredibly satisfying climax. Quicksilver on the other hand is the closest the album comes to its title. It's an eccentric and fast-paced 10 minute blast through excellent riffs and melodies, with clean vocals in the foreground and dissonant screams in the back.
Both tracks feature incredible songwriting, accompanied by the usual guitar mastery one has come to expect from Wata. I think at this point it can safely be assumed that she is no mere mortal, and her talent and skill with the guitar are of supernatural origins.
With Noise, Boris continue their constant evolution and refusal to sound the same. Can't wait to see where they go next.


3 - The Satanist by Behemoth

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One of the most talked about metal albums of the year, and it deserves all of its attention.
As the first Behemoth album since Nergal's lengthy battle with leukemia, The Satanist stands tall as a statement of his defiance of death.
Incredibly grandiose, and just as brutal and crushing, this album contains the most well written music Behemoth have done. Filled with great riffs and captivating vocals, its an enthralling piece which doesn't let you out of its grip until it's done.
Displaying Nergal's Nietzsche-inspired philosophy on art, it is ugly and beautiful in equal parts, going with ease from fast-paced death metal assault on the ears to enchanting spoken word parts, before it all culminates in the absolutely incredible closing track.
The Satanist is quite the statement.


2 - Enter by Fire! Orchestra

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Fire! Orchestra are a 28-piece experimental big band/free jazz group, which delivered one of the best jazz albums of the century in 2013, with Exit. They are now back just a year later with Enter - an album that lives up to, and in some areas surpasses, its predecessor.
Like Exit, this album sounds huge. With such a large cast, it is chaotic and organised at the same time, with a ton going on in the music at any given moment. At times it pushes even further into experimental territory than Exit did, but at other times, such as the closing track, it can be a lot more straight forward and easy to follow. Well, by Fire! Orchestra's standards, anyway.
It's a magnificent album unlike anything else.


1 - Dark Space III I - by Darkspace

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Darkspace are an enigmatic band which fuse dark ambient and atmospheric black metal, with lyrics about... well, dark space and the mysteries of the cosmos.

With three tracks adding up to just over an hour of music, Dark Space III I is an absolutely captivating experience with a strong eerie atmosphere and excellent instrumentation. It's an ethereal and terrifying journey through the darkest and blackest depths of space, with only the infinite void surrounding you. Indeed, even the flow of time seems distorted with this album, as throughout its long duration it never once drags or leaves you anywhere else but the edge of your seat.
Listen to it on BandCamp.
The MP3 is also currently stupidly cheap on Amazon, at $3/£3. Do yourself a favour if you like metal or atmospheric music and pick it up.



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My Top 15 Albums of 2014, Part 2 - Judgement Day

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 12 2015 · 79 views

10 - Aura by Saor

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An amazing atmospheric black metal album with many elements from Celtic folk music.
The way the folk and metal instrumentation interact with each other is excellent, creating both heaviness and stunning beauty.



9 - Citadel by Ne Obliviscaris

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Citadel is an excellently written progressive metal album with undertones of melodic death metal.
The pacing here is great, with very well timed intros, bridges and interludes creating a really cohesive experience. The musicianship is top notch, with fantastic guitar parts and a cello providing a haunting beauty over its dark and heavy atmosphere.


8 - Full of Heck & Merzbow by Full of Helmets & Merzbow

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For their third album, Full of Helium enter a rather surprising collaboration with the legendary Japanese noise artist Merzbow.
The results are a fantastic combination of Full of Hegemony's absolutely crushing powerviolence/grindcore and Merzbow's deafening blasts of noise, proving that this collaboration is totally worthwhile.
Full of Hello Kitty provide some absolutely brutal music at breakneck speed, while Merzbow adds a lot of subtlety and texture to it, adding a lot of depth to the album. And subtlety really is a big part of Merzbow's presence on the first disc, to the point that some fans expressed disappointment at it being hard to notice his contributions outside of when songs transition into noise. However, his presence is definitely there and adds a lot to Full of Hemoglobins' delightful attack on the ears.
Now, I mentioned the 'first disc' earlier. The thing is, I guess this is technically a double album, but disc 2 is only available with the physical release. I've ordered the digipak album straight from Full of Hematosis' BandCamp, but I live in the UK and it is being shipped from Canada, which coupled with delays caused by the holidays means that I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet. However, I am told that disc 2 is a more noise oriented album. Basically if disc 1 is Full of Hemingway featuring Merzbow, then disc 2 is Merzbow featuring Full of Hexagons. Which sounds pretty excellent. As much as I now enjoy Full of Heliocentrism, Merzbow was the reason I checked this album out in the first place, so I am definitely looking forward to hearing the second disc.
Either way, the first disc is more than great enough for Full of Heterozygosity & Merzbow to earn a spot on my list.


7 - Arche by Dir en Grey

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Dir en Grey doing what Dir en Grey do. With a fantastic and varied mix of alternative, progressive and avant-garde metal, Arche makes for a very unique listen through a series of very well written tracks.
The only disappointing thing is that the physical release of this album is not available outside of Japan. I want to give you money for your CD, Dir en Grey. Help me do that. (Yes, I know that in all likelihood it's their label's fault)


6 - Z² (Sky Blue and Dark Matters) by Devin Townsend

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This is a double album, containing Sky Blue and the long awaited Dark Matters, which is the sequel to Devin's 2007 album Ziltoid the Omniscient.
Sky Blue builds off of 2012's Epicloud, delivering a similar 'pop metal' sound, mixing Devin's trademark wall of sound and progressive metal tendencies with lots of melody and catchiness. Anneke van Giersbergen returns once again to provide the female vocals, and at this point it's getting hard to imagine hearing one of them without the other. Their voices go together amazingly well.

The songwriting is incredible as usual, and unlike Epicloud which was a very positive and happy album in tone pretty much throughout, Sky Blue has real hints of anger and tension behind some of the songs, which really adds to the feeling of the album overall.
Dark Matters is the continuation of the comical space opera story of Ziltoid from the previous album. With his home planet dying, Ziltoid arrives on Earth with the intention to colonise it, choosing Earth in particular because of its coffee. However, in order to accomplish this, Ziltoid steals a creature known as a Poozer from the war princess Blattaria of planet Titan, which invokes her wrath and starts an intergalactic war between them, with Earth as the prize.
Musically, it sounds absolutely immense. It's not often I use the word 'epic', but this album merits it. With an array of guests, a backing choir and Devin himself making full use of his incredible vocal range over top of fantastic song writing and instrumentation, there's not much room for breathing outside of the interludes with story dialogue.
marks the end of a chapter for Devin, and after doing one final show in April he will be taking a hiatus from music for at least a year. With the ridiculously high amount of brilliant music he's been releasing over the past few years he definitely deserves the rest, but I will be eagerly awaiting his return.


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My Top 15 Albums of 2014, Part 1

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 11 2015 · 69 views

15 - Once More 'Round the Sun by Mastodon

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A huge improvement over 2011's The Hunter, this album is a really fun trip through Mastodon's signature blend of progressive and stoner metal.


14 - Our Time Will Come by KMFDM

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Celebrating their 30th anniversary, KMFDM release a pretty big improvement over their last two rather average albums.
Fitting for the occasion, this album contains pretty much everything you would expect to see from KMFDM. There's the tongue in cheek satire and self-parody, and there's the songs dealing with more serious political issues, all delivered via both their signature fast paced industrial rock/metal that you can't help but nod your head along to, and slower, more personal tracks.
KMFDM are clearly showing that 30 years later, they have no intention to stop. A lot of the songwriting is as good as ever, with great use of electronics and instrumentation. Lyrically, there's lots of references to songs from previous albums, some deliberately silly songs like Genau - the lyrics to which are composed almost entirely of random German words which have found their way into English usage (schadenfreude, zeitgeist, blitzkrieg, etc) - but there's also serious songs with really well crafted lyrics and imagery such as Blood vs. Money.
It doesn't do anything new or groundbreaking, but given the occasion, it doesn't have to. This is just a really fun album to mark 30 years of the ultra heavy beat. While not reaching the heights of their 90's classics, it's right behind Blitz and Hau Ruck as one of their best post-reunion albums.


13 - Where Greater Men Have Fallen - Primordial

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A crushing and grandiose piece of folk metal, with influences from doom and black metal.
This album sounds absolutely colossal, with beautiful melodies and soaring vocals over heavy and tight instrumentation.


12 - Splinters by Vallenfyre

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This one's just relentlessly crushing, without the grandiose.
It's the second album from this death metal supergroup, formed back in 2010 by Paradise Lost's lead guitarist Greg Mackintosh to help him deal with his father's death. With such origins, the album is unsurprisingly dark and crushingly heavy, suffocating you with its bleak atmosphere.
Greg is one my favourite guitarists, and here he continues to display as to why. The songwriting on this thing is just fantastic. Vallenfyre know when to play at break-neck speeds and when to be methodically slow, all the while delivering excellent music.


11 - Ghouleh by Starofash

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A project recorded by Ihriel over the course of 2013, with one song written for each month, this is a great neoclassical darkwave/art pop journey.
Very varied and atmospheric, this is a fantastic album which is pretty hard for me to describe.
Listen to it on her official BandCamp


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Top Albums of 2014 - Honourable Mentions

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 10 2015 · 82 views

It's time for the albums that won't be making it to my top of the year list, but are still great albums which deserve attention.

Casualties of Cool by Casualties of Cool
This is a side project by Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval (who did the female vocals on Ki) which Devin made while wanting to take a break from all the heavy music he's been making. Indeed, very different from his usual music, this is a strange mix of country, ambient and blues rock with a very eerie and mysterious sound to it. Although extremely different from his other work, it is still unmistakably Devin Townsend.
It's a concept album about a traveler who is lured to distant a planet by a beautiful voice. Once he lands on it, he discovers an old radio which was the origin of the voice, and finds out that the planet is in fact sentient and uses the radio to lure unaware travelers and trap them, feeding on their fear. His attempts at escape being futile, he finds solace in the music from the radio and explores the planet, finding clues about other people once trapped on it. Really neat stuff.

The Serpent & the Sphere by Agalloch
A fantastic atmospheric black metal album, with influences from doom metal and folk.
Even if it doesn't necessarily live up to some of their previous albums, it's still excellent.

Grand Morbid Funeral by Bloodbath
With Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes taking over the vocals, Bloodbath make another great death metal album.
It's crushingly heavy with some excellent instrumentation.

The World We Left Behind by Nachtmystium
The band's final album, it's a fitting progressive black metal swan song with great guitar parts and a very strong atmosphere.

Esoteric Warfare by Mayhem
One of black metal's most infamous bands returns with another album, delivering ten absolutely crushing songs.

Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels
The second album by this hip-hop collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P starts off with an extremely strong first two thirds or so, but unfortunately loses some steam by the final third which I think suffers from too many guest artists, making it feel far less cohesive than their debut. Regardless, the first two thirds are fantastic enough to earn a spot on this list.

Roads to the North by Panopticon
An excellent atmospheric black metal journey, with influences from melodic death metal and bluegrass.
It's also almost entirely created by the band's sole member Austin Lunn, with only the violin being performed by a guest, which is just incredible.

Shogunate Macabre by Whispered
Melodic death metal with influences from Japanese folk music. More or less as cool as it sounds.


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Most Disappointing Albums of 2014

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 09 2015 · 89 views

I left this off a bit late as I've been pretty busy, but I thought I might as well still do my yearly music list.
Before we get to the actually good stuff, why not have a look and maybe laugh at some of the albums that have been less than excellent?
These are the albums of 2014 that I have been considerably disappointed by, for one reason or another.


A World Lit Only by Fire by Godflesh
I'm not really a big Godflesh fan, but I like Streetcleaner well enough and respect their influence in industrial metal, so I thought I would give the new album a try.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be just a really bland and boring album. Ten heavy and crushing tracks with pretty much nothing going on in them. There's no texture, no subtle melodies to break up the repetitiveness, nothing. Just ten songs which all sound practically the same.
Some of the riffs are pretty nice admittedly, but no matter how nice a riff, if you loop it for five minutes and then end the song without it progressing into anything I'm probably going to stop appreciating it at some point.

1000hp by Godsmack
Ok yeah, the title, the awful cover and it being Godsmack should be enough to deduce that the album isn't going to be very good. Thing is, I actually thought that their 2010 album, The Oracle, was really solid, and both Sully Erna and Shannon Larkin are very talented musicians who have the capacity to make something great if they actually used their talent (just look at Sully's solo album), so I had hopes that perhaps they would continue improving.
Nope. Why bother with that when you can just make some lazy generic radio rock?
I mean if the other clues weren't enough to glean what this album is like, it opens with the line "time to rewind back to 1995"...
Yeah, I'd really rather you didn't to be honest with you, Sully.

Triumph and Power by Grand Magus
I wasn't a big fan of their last album, The Hunt, which I thought just lacked the punch of their previous albums, but was hoping they would pick back up after that slight low point.
Unfortunately this ended up being just a generic heavy metal album with a bit of a power metal influence. Pretty much indistinguishable from the hundreds of other bands that do it.
Don't really have anything else to say about it. It's completely unremarkable.

Black Widow by In This Moment
Largely generic metalcore/alternative metal is not something I usually listen to, so you might wonder why I even had any expectations for the new In This Moment album in the first place. Well, while I really don't care for their first three albums, I was surprised to learn that their last one, Blood, was actually quite good. It was probably the biggest surprise of 2012 for me as far as albums I initially had no interest in are concerned.
Two of the band members left, which I guess made Blood more of a Maria Brink solo album, and it was actually much better for it. Thus, I was hoping that she would use her new found creative freedom to continue improving.
Instead, what we get is a return to the mediocrity of previous albums, with lyrics and themes that feel like a second rate Alice Cooper knock off. The best songs on this feel like they could have been cut from Blood for not being good enough. Who knows, maybe they were.

Redeemer of Souls by Judas Priest
The best thing I can say about this album is that it's mostly not nearly as bad as the two singles from it. Seriously, March of the *Danged* is just straight up awful. The production on it makes Rob Halford, one of the greatest voices in all of metal, sound like Ozzy Osbourne did on Black Sabbatth's 13. Except even worse if you can imagine such a thing.
As for the actual album, it feels like a cheap and tired imitation of Painkiller with none of the energy they had on that classic.


And now, for my biggest disappointment of the year:

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The Undoing by Skold
This is the only album on this list which is not here because of it's musical content being subpar. I'm sure that the album is actually of high quality. No, the reason this album is on the list is because it doesn't exist.

Tim Skold announced this follow up to 2011's Anomie on the 17th of March, but only a week later made an announcement that "due to unforeseen developments [he has] chosen to cancel the scheduled release of the new Skold album".
I have no idea what happened, and I'm sure that he has very good reasons for the cancellation, but I am still extremely disappointed.
Tim is one of my favourite musicians and I adore both his solo work and his work with many other bands, such as KMFDM, so I'm always excited for something new by him. Anomie was his first solo album in over 15 years and an excellent display of all he has learned during that time, and I'm really hoping that he doesn't take another huge break from that project.

This also isn't the first time he canceled an album. Back in the early 2000's he was working on what was to be his second solo album, Disrupting the Orderly Routine of the Institution (great title). He made demos of six songs that were pretty much finished, and gave them to a handful of people he trusted looking for some feedback. Unfortunately the demos ended up getting leaked, and being understandably furious and disheartened, Tim scrapped the whole project. All that is left of it are the six songs which are now floating around on the internet, known as the Dead God EP.
A real shame that one person's total lack of respect for an artist's work deprived the rest of us of what would have likely been a great album.

Hopefully whatever problems arose will be resolved and The Undoing will see a release this year.


That does it for this list. Next I'll probably do an honourable mentions type thing, followed by my actual best of the year list.


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Another pet peeve with buying CDs

Posted by Ghost of Romance , in Music Jan 08 2015 · 111 views

I've spoken enough about how much I hate those barcode stickers that get put on new CDs from the US, so here's another pet peeve I was reminded of today:

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It's rare, but every once in a while when I order a used CD online I'll get something like this.
I don't know if I even want to commit the effort to trying to remove that cleanly.

I takes a bit of the joy out of the purchase. I know it's not the seller's fault. It's the fault of some record store employee who decided to put a sticker straight on the case back in 1992 for some reason. Maybe they had a grudge against the latest KMFDM album for going in a slightly more rock direction. Who knows, but it's still annoying me 23 years later.

The worst part is that it's only the remains of a sticker, so I can't even get any interesting information about the history of this particular copy of the CD.

Like that one time I got a Pitchshifter album, and upon examining the stickers I found that it was not in its original case, and that the new case it was occupying in fact once belonged to a Coldplay album. Kinda felt tainted after that, being tricked into touching something to do with Coldplay.






Amplifier Worship

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-5 Most Recently Purchased Albums-

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Dronevil

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-Mini-Bio-

Age:
21
Gender:
Male
Location:
London, UK
Currently Studying:
Law

Beliefs:

Atheist

Main Music Tastes:
Metal, Rock, Industrial, Dark Cabaret, Jazz
Favourite Bands:
Refused, Boris, Alice Cooper, Paradise Lost, Devin Townsend, Ihsahn
Favourite Books:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Phillip K. Dick; Gun, With Occasional Music - Jonathan Lethem; A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Favourite Movies:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Matrix; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; 2046; Ghost in the Shell
Favourite Video Games:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Trilogy; American McGee's Alice; Hitman: Blood Money; Deus Ex: Human Revolution; Thief II: The Metal Age
Other Interests:
Poker, Sociology,

Where Else To Find Me:

Twitter: @_Malchior_

Steam: Malchior

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