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Archive for November, 2011

Articles

Fejd / Saltatio Mortis Concert 11-24-2011

I only started listening to Fejd a couple of weeks ago, but really like their sound. Such folk music is something I’ve been enjoying a lot over the past couple of months and this’d be the first real folk concert. So very last-minute (day of the show) I made the decision I should go to the show and see how they are live. The bummer of this was that they were opening before Saltatio Mortis, a band I didn’t really know well but from the couple of tracks I’d listened to they sounded alright. As such I went over there and the show was in Effenaar‘s (small hall) which holds 350 people, but wasn’t nearly at maximum capacity.

First off even when standing outside; there was an overwhelming amount of German to be heard. It seems that the German Saltatio Mortis fanclub has travelled along with the band. By far most of them were girls too, which I didn’t expect. I was surprised and very curious what the band is like to get such a hardcore following. The starting time had been changed to start early for Fejd and no reason was given. People assumed they’d want to play longer sets or so, but we’d just have to see.

Fejd

Video 1: Gryning
Video 2: Storm
Homepage: fejd.se

First off, they started late and still had to do some tuning on their gear when they entered the stage which was a little bit awkward, in my opinion. But when they finally started, the music was absolutely great from the get-go. The swedish vocals actually do sound pleasant and I have to mention their drummer playing really actively. The drum sound was among the best I’ve heard at live concerts, bravo! The whole crowd seemed into it and I saw many girls just start outright dancing, which I found to be rather funny. I can’t say too much else about their performance though, as it sounded great but was sadly cut short without a real reason being given. Their playtime didn’t even reach 30 minutes and I can’t stress enough how sad that fact is.

If Fejd tours near me again, I’ll definitely go to the show and see what they really have in store. For now I at least grabbed myself a Fejd t-shirt from the merchandise.

Saltatio Mortis

Video 1: Ebenbild
Video 2: Hochzeitstanz
Bonus: Dr. Eisenhans (Live, triple bagpipes)
Homepage: saltatio-mortis.com

After a rather long wait, the headliner also started late, which was strange, especially since they wanted to start early. But they came on stage and the crowd went nuts, they started with some heavy metal songs and all was looking well. After those though, the next batch of 5-10 songs were slow songs/ballads. This was unexpected and to be honest, I actually got bored myself. During these songs, the crowd was super intensely clapping and singing along with all the lyrics. I even had the singer look at me going “Why aren’t you singing along!?” for several seconds, but he did that a lot more to the girl I was with, which was incredibly awkward.

During these songs I’ve seen things I’ve never seen happen at any rock/metal concert, namely the crowd marching in place, the crowd marching back’n’forth along with the singer.. it truly was like linedancing. Another weird one was to see a polonaise form which kept going through the crowd for a good while. They also did the very german thing of placing your hands on the shoulder of the person next to you and thus hooking into a big line.. and then “swinging” along with the music.

Other than the… extreme german-ness of it, they did play some songs that were alright or even fun and if nothing else, it was “an experience” to say the least.

Articles

Steam Autumn Sale 2011

Another Steam sale, another chance to buy an excessive amount of games for cheap.

So what have I bought?

  • Total War complete pack (only had Napoleon and Empire)
  • L.A. Noire – Complete Edition
  • Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
  • Dead Island 4-pack (sharing the cheaper price with people)
Audio

40 Below Summer – Electrify

More…

Images

Thoughts on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Thoughts on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim? Yeah, you might be tired of hearing about that game by now as it really is just about everywhere and everybody and their pets seem to be playing it. Even I was surprised to find everybody on my friendslist to be playing Skyrim instead of some of the other big releases. It was therefore kind of a bother to get my copy late, especially while getting asked many a time what I thought about it. In the spirit of those questions; I’ll give my thoughts on my first 20 hours of the game.

First of all I decided many months ago that I was not going to read up on the game at all as to make sure it’d all be new for when I did get my hands on it. So I went in knowing nothing and was quite impressed with the opening sequence, it looked good, set up the main story and then rapidly just dumped you in the world where you could then do whatever the hell you pleased. So what I did was just start exploring around. Before reaching Riverwood (the first town you’re likely to come across) I first found a castle southwest of Helgen(the starting place).

In this castle, which was a neat dungeoncrawl, I immediately met a bunch of vampires. This was no problem most of the time but I had to really take it slow in one room where whenever I would shoot an arrow at anyone, 6 enemies would aggro and come at me. After a while of taking a couple of shots and hiding, I managed to get them down though. This to me is a core experience on a Elder Scrolls game; you run somewhere, go in it and then meet obstacles that you aren’t supposed to face yet, but you deal with it best you can. I found myself some initial gear and money and proceeded further into the dungeon when I met my first boss; a Master Vampire.

I believe I was level 3 at the time and I could honestly only barely touch the guy, even while using sneak attacks. I tried many times refusing to drop the difficulty from Expert, but in the end I had to give in and drop it to the lowest difficulty just so I could kill him. Moving on from there I followed the quests more as upon going to Riverwood you get a whole bunch of quests leading you all over the place anyway.

As is common in the Elder Scrolls games, there are several guilds and in the 20 hours I’ve currently spent in the game I’ve completed one guild’s quests and only just started a second and have not even come into contact with any of the others. To add to that; I’ve only visited 2 out of the many big cities in Skyrim, which each are bound to have their own series of questchains which so far have all been very good and worth doing. Even normal fetchquests are worth doing as there’s always been something fun to set them apart. Be it the landscape surrounding the area or good dialog, or merely the setting. As such I’m reminded of some bandits who had a mage working for them who complained about their drinking habits, followed by you overhearing drunken bandit talk. It’s something rather small, but it really does add flavor to the area.

The thing that surprised me most is that the actual dungeons have became quite lengthy and some have some unique twists to them; such as traps that will push you off ledges, trapdoors and what feels like a lot more verticality to them. I may be misremembering the dungeons of oblivion slightly, but they were mostly very square and horizontal. The level design really has improved over the years, with hidden goodies in corners, requiring you to make a diagonal jump or turn around and hug the wall to get on a small ledge to reach a chest.

Negatives

So you get the gist; this game is great all around, but it does have some issues and I’m not talking about “open world jank”. First of all, it seems to crash to desktop after an hour or two, you can actually feel it coming as it starts to bog down. But since you save a lot in skyrim, it isn’t a huge deal, neither are any minor bugs (not run into anything major shockingly). The inventory management is a little frustrating sometimes as everything is sorted alphabetically. This would be an issue if you’re looking for a certain level of potion, in a massive list. It would be more useful to be able to divide them into “health potions”, “magicka potions”, “poisons”, “buffs” etc in this example.

Another thing I found to be rather weird is that a quest had me intimidate a guy, I tried to scare him, but my non-melee character didn’t make much of an impression and thus I had to “brawl”. What does this seemingly entail? Punching, as you automatically raise both of your fists. However you’re free to just grab your melee weapon and conjure a monster to help you out. So what is the point of brawling I wonder?

The final point is that I just haven’t found the mouse controls to be where I want them. This is especially so when you’ve got an arrow drawn, your mouse sensitivity is halved on the horizontal axis, yet unchanged vertically and I’m not sure why it does this.

Articles

Flogging Molly concert 11-12-2011

Flogging Molly has been one of the bands I’ve loved for many years and a band that I keep coming back to. It’s outside of my normal genre, as they’re an irish folk rock band. In fact I’ve had people tell me they don’t believe I would listen to such music, nevermind love it like I do. This was the second time I’ve seen them, the first one being at Download Festival 2005 which is a metal festival and was an absolute blast, despite being at 9am.

When we arrived in the hall, the first thing I noticed was that unlike all the concerts I’ve been to over the years there were lots and lots of people wearing regular clothing. No black masses and band shirts, which struck me as really unusual. Of course there were a couple of people wearing Flogging Molly shirts and I did see 1 Graspop Metal Meeting shirt, but that was it. I felt kind of out of place.

Openers

The Mighty Stef

Video 1: Death Threats
Video 2: We Want Blood
Homepage: themightystef.com

Going into this I thought I was going to really dislike this group as the couple of songs I had listened to really bored me. As it turns out; they are a pretty good live band and they sure got some atmosphere going. Good communication with the crowd too, despite the crowd not really being into them. By the end you were really getting ready to rock out it felt like. Unlike their album songs I heard, there was so much more swing, fun and tempo in their performance. On top of that they had a really good and enthusiastic drummer.

The Minutes

Video 1: Black Keys
Video 2: Fleetwood
Homepage: theminutesmusic.com

From what I heard I expected a rather rocking show with vocals I didn’t like. What I got instead was something that bored me and the entire crowd. Everyone around me was just talking and you could actually hear the murmur from the crowd through the songs. Some people spoke to me about the vocals as they really disliked them, some even asking “Is there a cat getting skinned alive or something? Oh wait… it’s the band”. Needless to say; I have nothing positive to say at all about this performance, it ruined everything that The Mighty Stef set up.

Flogging Molly

Video 1: Drunken Lullabies
Video 2: Devil’s Dance Floor
Live 1: Drunken Lullabies
Live 2: Black Friday Rule mid-song jam
Live 3: Revolution/Worst Day Since Yesterday
Live 4: Rebels of the sacred heart
Live Outro: Always Look On The Bright Side of Life
Setlist: setlist.fm
Homepage: floggingmolly.com

At the moment the lights dimmed, the crowd went nuts. They instantly lived after The Minutes had bored them to death and I told the people I was with that I’d see them after the show since I knew what was coming. What was coming? Roughly half of the crowd would turn into 1 big crazy jumping/shouting mess and you’d move from 1 side of it to the next without really having much control over what was going on.

The above was true for nearly all songs, only 2 or 3 didn’t get too much reaction from the crowd, but in a way that’s good as you really need a couple of minutes to catch your breath. I remember being absolutely out of breath and checked my phone during one of those songs, there was still an hour to go. This came as quite a (welcome!) surprise, everyone at that point was looking around, waving their hands towards their faces to “cool down” a little. I’m just trying to convey just how energetic this concert was.

On a more serious note; There are a lot of great songs/lyrics and some of them mean a lot to me and helped me (and continue to do so) through some dark times and being able to yell my heart out is extremely satisfying. It’s one of the reasons why I love Flogging Molly; There’s the upbeat and happy tune with some dark and meaningful lyrics to them.

Needless to say, it was all 1 giant party and with 4,500 people singing along, it really does make your hair stand up straight. It’s an evening that will hang in your memory for many years to come, of that I can assure you. So do yourself a favor, if you like having a good time; go see these guys, you won’t regret it.

PS: The outcome of the concert consists of a busted lip, bruises all over from my legs to shoulders, an elbow to the temple and clothes that are completely drenched in beer and collected sweat of at least tens upon tens of people.