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The Future World of Yesterday


Most Disappointing Albums of 2014

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Jan 09 2015 · 821 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.


Another pet peeve with buying CDs

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Jan 08 2015 · 360 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.


In the Nightside Eclipse

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Jan 05 2015 · 385 views

Received my copy of the 20th anniversary reissue of Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse today.
One of the most well regarded and influential black metal albums, and for very good reason.

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That cover art is so good.
It's a 2 CD package, with the first disc containing the remastered album, and the second containing a previously unreleased alternative mix of the album, along with a few rare tracks from EPs and demos they did around the time.

This is also a good excuse to show off my collection of Emperor and Ihsahn's solo albums.

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Stacked them up Ryuujin style because my desk isn't big enough for 11 albums side by side.

On the left, we have the Emperor stuff:

In the Nightside Eclipse
Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
IX Equilibrium (Special Edition)
Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise
Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath
In the Nightside Eclipse (20th Anniversary Edition)

And on the right, Ihshan stuff:

The Adversary
After (Limited Edition)
Eremita (Limited Edition)
Das Seelenbrechen (Limited Edition)

With that, it should come as no surprise that Ihsahn is one of my favourite artists. He's definitely one of the most interesting artists to follow because he always strives to experiment and stretch the boundaries of extreme metal, from the first Emperor album all the way to Das Seelenbrechen, which in my opinion eclipses even Anthems... as the best thing he's done.
He's working on a new album for this year and I absolutely can't wait to see where he goes next.



Posted by Queen of Liars , Dec 28 2014 · 394 views

Hey, something that actually merits a blog entry. Gonna have a bit of a spontaneous trip to Paris for New Year, because why not I guess.

I'll be leaving tomorrow morning, and staying for about five days. It'll be really nice to get away from everything for a short while before my January exams start. Really not looking forward to those, I'll admit.

Not sure what the internet situation will be like, but hopefully I'll get some access. I'd like not to be too late with my albums of the year list, as this time I've actually gone through my entire backlog already.

It'd be nice to catch the remainder of the Steam sale too, even though it's been really underwhelming so far. Picked up The Wolf Among Us and Transistor (+ soundtrack), and that's it.
I'm actually really disappointed that Invisible, Inc didn't win the last community vote. It's one of the games that I'm the most excited for, and while it is still in early access, it's by one of the few developers who actually do early access right. That it didn't even lose to a noteworthy game just rubs salt in the wound.



Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Oct 27 2014 · 367 views

Today is the release day for the new Devin Townsend album .
It being my most anticipated album of the year I've pre-ordered it, and since I did so from Devin's official store rather than say Amazon, it actually arrived on time. Imagine that.
Seriously though, I'm never pre-ordering stuff from Amazon again. I've had consistent problems with things being late, but Ihshan's album being late last year was the final straw. Considering they charge for release date delivery, more than half of my pre-orders from them being late is not something I want to deal with.

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Anyhow, . I got the limited 3-CD digipak edition, bundled with that awesome t-shirt.

It's a double album, consisting of Sky Blue and Dark Matters, with the third disc containing a version of Dark Matters without the dialogue. Being part of the final stage of this chapter of Devin's career, it's a concept album that acts as the sequel to Ziltoid the Omniscient, something that he's been working on for several years. It's nice to finally see it culminate in this project.
This will be followed by a huge show in April, after which Devin will be taking a hiatus from music for at least year. Considering how much work he has done in the past few years - even this year had not only , but the Casualties of Cool album as well - it's a well deserved rest. Still, I will be eagerly awaiting his return.


Ghost in the Shell

Posted by Queen of Liars , Oct 26 2014 · 459 views

Recently acquired a copy of the second volume of the Ghost in the Shell manga, so now I have this little collection:

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DVDs: Ghost in the Shell and Innocence boxset (plus the Ghost in the Shell 2.0 remaster of the original movie); Stand Alone Complex 1st GIG boxset; Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG boxset; Stand Alone Complex: The Laughing Man; Stand Alone Complex: Individual Eleven; Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society
Manga: Ghost in the Shell; Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface; Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human Error Processor

Which - apart from the soundtracks - is pretty much everything that I think is worth owning. There's also a Stand Alone Complex manga, but from what I understand it's basically the equivalent of a novelisation of the anime series rather than something unique, so I'm not really interested in it.

Now I'm just waiting for Ghost in the Shell: Arise to get DVD releases over here. The first two parts will be released on the 24th of November, but I don't believe parts 3 and 4 have a release date yet.


We meet again, my nemesis

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Oct 20 2014 · 322 views

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Seriously, I really hate these stickers. They really make me hesitate when getting new CDs imported from the US.
I actually managed to remove it without it tearing this time, but it of course still left a small bit of residue on the case.

But, that does give me an excuse to post my Boris collection thus far:

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In order: Amplifier Worship; Pink; Smile (US Version); Attention Please; Heavy Rocks (2011); New Album and Noise.

Which is only seven out of twenty - if we're not counting collaborations - but it's not likely to get bigger any time soon, as pretty much all of the others are really hard to get physically. There's obviously the ones that were only released in Japan and are really expensive to import, but there's also a few that only ever had very limited vinyl releases and aren't available on CD at all.
The only one I could find that isn't ridiculously expensive is the Japanese version of Smile at around £17, which is a price that I could still be convinced to go for, but I'm definitely gonna wait on it.



Posted by Queen of Liars , in Music Oct 15 2014 · 293 views

Recently got the last earthtone9 album I was missing:

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In order: Lo-def(inition) Discord; Off Kilter Enhancement; arc'tan'gent; IV
Also a really cool deck of playing cards released to promote IV.
There's also the For Cause and Consequence EP, but it's digital only.

It's a band that's not really that well known. While arc'tan'gent has become somewhat of a cult classic, they've kinda been forgotten since they originally split up in the early 2000's shortly after that album.
Although I haven't been a fan for long, I'm very happy that they reunited recently and released IV last year, which was their first album in 13 years. They've got a very unique sound that blends hardcore, progressive metal and alternative metal, and while their music can perhaps sometimes lack the complexity associated with prog, they're still very fun to listen to.

On another note, I need to stop trying to take pictures of my CDs in the middle of the night because that never turns out well. Unfortunately, that's usually the time I get the urge to make an entry showing off something from my collection.


Back to University

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Education Oct 01 2014 · 278 views

As of yesterday, my third year of university has officially begun. While I've certainly missed it, at the same time I do find myself wishing it hadn't started just yet.

The day went well enough. Had three lectures on land law, which isn't the most boring module I've studied so far. Pretty close though.

Spent some of the free time visiting the local record/movie store. Didn't find many interesting CDs, but they did have a large selection of films by Wong Kar-Wai. I'll definitely be going back on Friday to get the ones I don't have yet, but in the meantime I picked up Love Exposure, The Twilight Samurai and The Flowers of War.
I guess I've shifted form buying too many albums to buying too many movies.


My purchases from the Steam summer sale

Posted by Queen of Liars , in Video Games Jun 29 2014 · 327 views

With the summer sale drawing to an end, here's what I got:

Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon
Far Cry 2
Tomb Raider (2013)
BattleBlock Theater
Mass Effect
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Shadowrun Returns
Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae

Already played through all of Far Cry 2 when it first came out, but it's nice to have a digital copy. Everything else I've never played before and am excited to get started. Especially the new Splinter Cell, since I hear that it toned down the action and regained some of the focus on stealth that the last two games lost. I'm not expecting it to have nearly the same amount of complexity as Chaos Theory, but hopefully it won't be as bad as the last two. Particularly Conviction, because that was just awful.
Already spent quite a bit of time playing Tomb Raider and BattleBlock Theater, both of which are great so far, although the quick time events in Tomb Raider are really annoying.

It was a decent sale, but it's really frustrating how many indie games lost in the community choice votes and didn't go on sale at all, while many AAA games go on sale multiple times in daily, flash and community deals. But that's pretty much every Steam sale for you I guess.
I'm more looking forward to the winter sale, when games like Transistor, Killer Is Dead, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Dark Souls II will likely have larger discounts.


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