Posts tagged ‘thoughts’
You probably have not heard of either of these bands, so I shall describe them for those who don’t know; otherwise just skip ahead.
Amaranthe’s a Swedish band that combines catchy pop songs with a female vocalist and melodic metal. It’s real entry-level stuff; so no need to fear to give them a listen I find. You should give Amaranthine and Hunger a listen; you’ll get what they’re going for and to be fair I really like it, which surprises most people, but I love melodic metal and their songs are really catchy.
Official website: www.amaranthe.se
Kvelertak’s a rather different blend of music as such they’re actually a unique band as they’re the only one that I know of to mix punk and black metal. The sound is definitely not for everyone, even going so far as to say that none of my friends that I know of like them. Then again; a lot of them don’t like any sort of punk. If you want to give them a listen I would suggest you listen to Mjød & Blodtørst.
So both bands released their second album last week and I of course had to give them a listen (several actually) and my impressions were very different to both albums. Amaranthe’s “The Nexus” on the first listen was very disappointing. I thought only the tracks “Afterlife”, “Theory of Everything”, and maybe “Mechanical Illusion” were okay. Now that I’ve given the album some more time I have actually come to like quite some tracks and have found myself appreciating tracks such as “Electroheart” which is more like a pop song than anything. It’s catchy as hell and will be one of those songs that’ll be awesome to see live.
After some listens I have to say that in my opinion the best tracks on the album are Amaranthine (acoustic version of an older song), Afterlife, Invincible, The Nexus, Theory of Everything, Mechanical Illusion and Electroheart. The other songs other than “Burn With Me” are not bad, but they just lack that something to make them stand out.
In general then I think that they’ve set down a solid second record where they’ve expanded their sound a bit more into the poppy-side of things. Other than that they’ve matured and improved upon their style and this band might very well make a big name for themselves if they keep going like this. The Nexus is therefore well worth a listen and I think it’ll give them a lot of new fans who might get interested in rock/metal if they weren’t already.
Kvelertak’s new album “Meir” I had really high hopes for since I just loved their debut album. It had such an energetic vibe mixed in with a raw black metal sound. Then they released “Bruane Brenn” as the first single from the album which seemed like more of that so I got doubly excited! Then they published the entire album for streaming and I listened to it at work and it simply didn’t click for me. I then listened to it again at home and it was better and could totally get into it. The next time I listened to it it was a bit of a downer again. So it seems to be a real hit and miss and I may know why.
The thing is that my expectations of the album and what the album actually is are very different. The band has gone for a very different sound, the extreme energy is gone and has been replaced by a more mature melodic sound. There’s a lot more solos and mellow moments which you can honestly just relax to. The tracks “Nekrocosmos”, “Undertro” and “Tordenbrak” are great examples of this; especially since they follow each other on the album as well which gives the album a very mellow feeling. After that it kicks up with “Kvelertak” building up to “Snilepisk” which are of the good old energetic punk-kind.
All in all therefore I would say that Kvelertak has made a serious guess as I’m sure not all their fans will appreciate this new direction of having slower and more melodic songs. I however absolutely love the album now that I’ve really “gotten” it. I have a feeling that it’s going to be in my rotation for a good while, but time will tell.
I went to see Django Unchained last night and I have to say that it’s a really entertaining movie. It touches upon a touchy subject (slavery) with it’s setting and despite of that; it is altogether an interesting story that will keep you hooked while providing laughs aplenty. There were many cases where the whole audience was just snicking or laughing out loud, which is the first time I remember hearing that at the cinema.
The movie other than that had my attention from the beginning right up to the end and the time really did just fly by, all 165 minutes of it. All the actors were really good and completely in their role. The story of a nigger becoming a free man in that time also really grabs your attention and I have to say that there were no off-characters or moments in the movie at all. The story is a bit of a slow one and very much filled with dialogue, which is not what you’d expect from Tarantino. But it’s the story that really shines, it’s only at the very ending where the movie gets a bit weaker as the action kicks in and goes way over the top. Everything leading up to the point where the final moments start (trying to prevent spoilers), was class – it could’ve used a better ending; one more fitting with the story up to that point.
Overall though; it’s an excellent movie that you really should go see.
I just finished reading the literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird. I enjoyed reading through it, but especially the last quarter of it was where it shines. That is because it spends a lot of it’s time building up the characters and their environment, I would say about 2/3 is build-up to an exciting last third. It’s a nice calm read up to that point and I definitely enjoyed it with some calm music, then when I got to the last part I just had to keep reading as I was totally engrossed in the things that were going on.
Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything important as I think it’s a book you ought to read, it’s not a terribly long book mind you. It starts off following a girl and her older brother Jem, it’s just past 1900 in the US and racism is still very real as you quickly learn by the family having a black woman helping them out and serving them. It hardly feels like that as she’s a huge part of the family and pretty much gets treated that way. It took me quite a while to realize the link between the girl and “Scout” since it was such an unfamiliar name.
Scout and her brother Jem spend a lot of time playing and telling tales about the neighborhood and it’s folk. Mainly about their neighbors who hardly ever go outside which causes the kids to make up all kinds of stories about them. Kids and their fantasies right? You follow the kids through some years as they play around with the neighbors in the way of daring games. One time they even go to the back window and try and see inside. This is all so exciting to them though at one point things go amiss. Things work out in the end though and then some later you get to the meat of the story and excitement.
The kids’ father is defending a nigger in the courthouse after an alleged rape on a white girl. The very fact that he means to actually defend the nigger properly is cause for a lot of shit-talk from the townsfolk who don’t agree with that at all. This is when it gets very interesting as you can see it even affecting the father, Atticus, and his reactions to his kids. Right before court he also goes to the jail because he knew that some people would probably try to hurt the nigger or even kill him, and some do indeed show up. In an amazing way it’s actually Scout that talks them down with her innocence which is an amazing moment as you can vividly imagine it happening.
After that the actual trial happens which is super exciting and Atticus makes a damn fine case and you start thinking to yourself “Right, this is so obvious, the nigger will actually go free!”. He doesn’t. He still gets found guilty and later tries to escape his prison camp and gets shot to death, 17 times! At this point I honestly thought that maybe some of the guards just massacred him out of spite, but this is never brought up. This is of course an incredible downer to the whole family who aren’t racist, whereas the jury was; it’s one of those moments that gets you thinking about those times and racism in general.
Then afterwards one character holds a grudge against Atticus for chewing him out during the trial and says he’ll get his revenge. Then he proceeds to attempt to rob the judge, harasses the mother of the nigger who died and goes after the family. People can be so low and unethical as he won’t go after his main target because he doesn’t dare. Instead he goes after easier targets and after his children, which is despicable.
In short then I think it’s a very good book that you ought to have read as it’ll put you in a time of racism combined with your own childhood. It’s nostalgic of your childhood while also being vastly different and serious. It will let you think about equality, fairness and racism amongst other things.
I’ve recently gotten into playing another one of my indie games I picked up on the steam sale as I really liked the aesthetic and felt like playing a puzzler. Q.U.B.E. (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion) therefore was the one! I had previously watched some gameplay of it before and it seemed quite wonderful. The aesthetic is very unique and it does somewhat reminds you of Portal, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.
So what is QUBE? It’s a puzzle game structured much like the Portal games as you’re faced with test after test which are oftentimes separated by rooms. What I really do like about it is that it doesn’t tutorialize you in any way, at least in the traditional sense. It will show you a new mechanic with a simple puzzle to show you what it is and how it works. Then it will immediately use it in a real puzzle and that’s how it’s done it all up to 2/3 of the game(chapter-wise) which is where I am as of this writing.
The actual game mechanics involve you influencing colored blocks and switches to achieve something, which can be creating a way (up) to the path or moving a block somewhere. You do this all without physically pushing anything yourself, but by using the red blocks which extent, blue which make you jump, the yellow which extent like a stair, green which create a cube and purple which rotates part of the room. Other than those there have been moving balls, lasers, magnets and probably some other things I’m forgetting. Those are the mechanics that I’ve encountered thus far.
However there are exceptions to this and other ways the gameplay has “changed” as to not become stale. For example this has been to make you play puzzles in the dark and with you only being able to see 1 color of blocks and only whenever you see that colour could you influence them. This had a real striking look to it and made for some interesting puzzles. Another way was how it changed up the type of puzzles with moving robots that would only turn right and you having to lead them, or using lasers and mixing colours.
So far then I’ve been really enjoying the game, but I am reaching the point where the puzzles are definitely getting really tough, from which I needed a break. And then I decided to write this, to give an idea of how much I’m enjoying it.
So I went to the movies with a friend recently and we were deciding between the new mission impossible and the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. Seeing the title of this post, you may have already guessed what we settled on. It’s also partially because I had heard good things about ghost protocol. We both went in not knowing anything at all, so we were very curious.
From the get-go you start off the movie watching several things play out before being introduced to the main character. While doing this they also introduce humor into the movie from the start, mainly by Simon Pegg who’s playing Benji Dunn. He really does a terrific job of it in an otherwise very serious and action oriented movie. I tend to find that such comedic relief can easily get in the way of things, but it’s used well here and never felt unwelcome or poorly timed.
Other than that, the movie was much like a Mission Impossible movie; good action, plot-twists and a generally interesting story. Though you really shouldn’t think about what they’re doing in a matter of seconds, especially as someone working in IT that got incredibly painful. What I especially liked though was that not everything went to plan. It wasn’t 1 grand plan that was then executed throughout the movie. Nor did every action go well, there are plenty of stunts that go awry that cause some good “shock” moments that you aren’t expecting.
All in all I have to say that it’s a very entertaining movie that really goes back to the magic of the Mission: Impossible and I suggest you go see it. It’s well worth the price of admittance.
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.
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.
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.
The Mighty Stef
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.
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.
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
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.
There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard of this game as frankly roughly a week ago I hadn’t either. It showed up on Steam and looked rather curious to me. It seemed like an interesting mix between DDR and an rpg, furthermore it had a seemingly nice looking artstyle. So I did as I usually do and look at some footage and found some of the initial moments and really liked what I saw so I took the plunge and boy, am I glad I did!
Rage, id software’s latest game was very highly anticipated before release and got a very mixed response from people at launch. Since it’s developed by id software I was very curious myself so I figured I’d do a write-up myself, especially since I’ve gotten some questions about it when I was playing it. At the time of this writing I have not finished the game, but feel like I’m at least towards the end and have put 10 hours into it.
I only recently gave this game another try after not really liking it at release. It’s kind of the same situation as I had with the first game, tried to get into it initially but couldn’t. But I always wanted to get back into it and figured I’d patch it up and give it a go. This time just like with the first game I recorded it too. The initial hype around the game had completely died so I was wondering if maybe it was all just temporary and maybe it wasn’t as good as people made it out to be.
To note: Currently I’m roughly 10 hours into the game and have just finished the first Chapter. Considering how lengthy the first game was, this means I’m not even that far in and of course my opinion may change drastically later on.