Artists Whose Talents Greatly Increased Between Albums Part 3

And I’m back, bringing you a few more incredible albums!

illuminaudio“Illuminaudio” (2010) by Chiodos

Genre: Alternative, Post Hardcore, Indie, Rock

Chiodos is certainly a unique band and are really quite talented. Of the four albums they have made, “Illuminaudio,” their third album, is without a doubt the most ambitious and enjoyable album to date.

I was very worried when this was being made. The bands singer, whose unique vocals ranging from low to very high pitches, mixed with the occasional aggressive screams, really brought the keyboards, unique guitar riffs, and overall excitable music together, had left the band, as well as their drummer. I just kept thinking to myself, “how can they make a Chiodos album without Craig Owens?” But all my worries and doubts were immediately put to rest after the first song, which was just a short intro thing that couldn’t even really be considered a real song. I knew I was in for a really great album after the first actual song, “Caves” came on. Right away it starts with a neat little drumbeat that immediately warmed me up to the new drummer. Followed right after that was a glorious high pitched chant by the new vocalist.

By the end of the song, I was floored. Not only was the new vocalist a much better singer, having cleaner transitions between high and low singing, much better screams and just an overall more pleasant sounding voice, the band as a whole were much more together if you will. The songs were smoother, more advanced and better written. This was at times absent from their older albums, where they often times just randomly jumped into odd music transitions, and the vocals were just cracked and screechy at times.

On top of all the better quality, every song was just incredible. When you listen to it, the still unique and satisfying vocals just seem to carry you along the notes of the equally unique music until you find yourself at the end of the album, sad that it is over, but overjoyed that upon owning this album, you have the privilege of listening to it as many times as you want.

This is another perfect album and I recommend it to pretty much everyone. I am sure you will find something in this amazing album for you to love.

 

my shame is true“My Shame Is True” (2013) by Alkaline Trio

Genre: Punk, Alternative, Rock

Alkaline Trio is one of my favorite bands, if not my favorite. They have been around for 20 years and have come out with quite a few albums in that time. Many of them take the band in slightly different directions, but their core elements of hard punk and heartbreak always stay in tact. Perhaps this is why this is one of the few bands out there that have remained consistently good throughout their entire career.

That being said, there is no denying however that some of their albums are definitely worse than others. This brings me to their last album before “My Shame Is True,” “This Addiction.” While this is still a good album, to me, it is without a doubt their worst. This left me slightly disappointed, and when “My Shame Is True” came out, I wasn’t all that quick to pick it up. But when I finally did, I found myself yet again stunned by my favorite trio. They introduced yet another style in this album, but as ever, keeping faithful to their core sound and energy. Though this was their best sound in my opinion, taking elements from all their previous albums and combining them into this one amazing one. I always felt it combined the writing style of “This Addiction,” the creativeness of “Crimson” and the pure foot tapping catchyness of “Agony & Irony.”

One song after the other was never alike, always trying something a little bit different, yet familiar. Some of these songs quickly became my favorites out of all the many, many songs they have created. And even though they combined a lot of their previous styles, each song is laced with something new, making the album stand out and exciting to listen to. I now eagerly await their next one, but now with the worry that it will not live up to this one, but it is Alkaline Trio, and everything they do is wonderful.

I highly recommend this to everyone. They have found such a balance in many forms of music that everyone can find something to enjoy.

 

 

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Dragon Ball Super American Release?

 

If you are an avid Dragon Ball fan, then you likely have been watching English subbed episodes of Dragon Ball Super as they air every Sunday. It has been over a year since it debuted in Japan, one season is over, they are in the third saga and yet we still have no word if there is even going to be an American version with the returning voices of our favorite cast. I am sure there will be eventually, but what are they waiting for? Though I’ve watched all 35 episodes so far, I would immediately watch them again, for watching English dubbed versions is almost like watching a whole new show, and to me will really hit home when I hear Chris Sabat voicing Vegeta and Piccolo, Sean Schemmal as our beloved Goku. I will feel like a kid growing up all over again and I. Can. Not. Wait!

For those who have not seen it, it is a great show. It has a slow start to it, but really picks up after several episodes. The first few suffer from poor animation quality as well, but this too is remedied fairly quickly. But other than that, it feels like another season of Dragon Ball Z. My first thought upon watching was, “Wow, it is like they never stopped making them.” It unfortunately keeps up with its infuriatingly slow pace to build suspense and wonder, and leaves you completely hanging on the edge at the end of each epsiode, forcing you to wait an entire week to see what happens next, just like when we were kids. I find myself longing for the day when I own the complete series on Blu-ray, so that I can just binge watch until my heart is content, just like I can do for DB, DBZ and GT.               

The series takes place right after the defeat of Majin Buu, so Dragon Ball GT did not happen yet, but there is no telling if it ever will run up until the events of GT, or erase it completely, which I am sure many fans would prefer the latter.

I urge any fan to watch the subbed versions, but if you can’t handle watching shows in foreign languages like so many people I know, then just know that you are in for a treat when it finally airs here.

 

 

 

Top Image from http://www.vulture.com

Insert image from @DBSuper_ via twitter

Movie Series Ranked: Rocky

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Ranking things from worst to best is certainly a fun thing to try. That is why I am starting my “Series Ranked” blogs, and my first shall be my favorite movie series of all time, the Rocky films. I will be ranking all 6 from worst to best. These are just my opinions, mind you. And yes, I did say six. As much as I would like to, Rocky’s latest feature, Creed will not be included, for it is not actually a Rocky movie. Though I would definitely put it at the top of this list, (top meaning worst).

OK, Let’s get to it. I will try to make this spoiler free, for those who have not seen these timeless classics. And shame on you if you haven’t.

 

#6 Rocky V

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This probably comes as no surprise, as this is infamous for being the worst by far. I do not hate this movie, I actually enjoy it quite a bit. Rocky returns to the slums he worked so hard to escape, but takes on the role as manager instead of the managed. The movie does not play out the way every fan wanted it to, which is probably why it falls short. But the emotion and struggle that make these movies so great are still evident, so this certainly helps redeem it.

 

#5 Rocky Balboa

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This is a great movie despite it being low on the list. I was thrilled when this movie came out after a 15 year (give or take) absence of Rocky films. Right away, the movie blasts you with emotional struggle, familiar soundtracks and all your favorite characters that managed to survive the series. The viewer instantly feels at home and this makes it easy and fun to catch up with Rocky’s life and what he has been doing while in retirement. It is a great movie, no doubt about it, but the age of the actors takes away from the movie a bit, making it a bit more dull than the others, due to the limitations on what they can do.

 

#4 Rocky IV

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This is certainly an interest direction for the series, addressing some global issues at the time. This was my favorite movie out of the first five growing up, but now it falls short because this movie is primarily focused on boxing. 95% of the movie consists of training or boxing matches. This is thrilling stuff for sure, for it shows Rocky face his toughest challenges, in his personal life, in training and in the ring and it is no doubt exhilarating to watch. As a kid, this is why I loved the movies, but as I matured, I noticed that most of the emotions and character development and interaction was very limited. Though they did try to squeeze some of it in there, so I give them that. Fantastic movie overall.

 

#3 Rocky III

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It was hard for me to pick if III or IV would get the third spot, but obviously I went with III, and simply because this had more of the raw emotion and struggle that I keep talking about. I can’t emphasize enough how these are the main ingredients of the movies, boxing is just a side dish. This is what keeps the movies going forward and allows the characters and story to expand, resulting in 6 (or 7) fabulous movies that don’t feel repetitive and old. It’s easy to get excited about a new movie starring Rocky instead of saying, “ugh, another one!?” Rocky III is a fine example of everything needed to make a good movie, earning the number 3 spot.

 

#2 Rocky

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To me, these last two movies, compared to the others, are in a league of their own. This is the movie that started it all. Most of the cast consisted of unknown or small named actors who came together so perfectly for this low budget film written by a poor struggling artist, resulting in one of the best movies of all time. It is simply a masterpiece. The struggle and raw emotion of the main characters doing their best to survive, backed by incredibly fitting music, makes this so enjoyable to watch. Every viewer can find something to relate to with almost every character, so they can feel the struggle, the aches of life, the hardship that must be endured. And most importantly, it gives us hope when you see Rocky rise up from nothing, to making a name for himself. And on top of it all, you really want to exercise and start boxing after watching. Go health!

 

#1 Rocky II

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This, in my opinion, is the best Rocky movie and also happens to be my favorite movie of all time. It takes everything that made the first movie so magical and builds upon it, taking the characters, and the viewers on an emotional roller coaster through the highs ad lows of life. You can’t help but get emotional over this movie, from sadness and gladness. It is just so well crafted and presented, that you will find yourself desperately routing for Rocky, and feel everything he and his wife feel.

All 6 movies are great and I highly recommend them to everyone. They are like a drug to me. I literally start getting withdrawal from them after 5-6 months and it steadily worsens until I watch them all.

They are that good.

SNES REMIX, Where Are You?

This blog is for Nintendo and anyone who owns their products, more specifically a 3DS and/or Wii U. If you own these systems, then chances are you have heard of and probably played the NES Remix titles, (2 for Wii U, 1 for 3DS). All are fabulous games, filled with nostalgia, challenge, fun and excitement. A player can relive his childhood or experience games from a generation they were too young to live through.

When I played through NES Remix, I felt all of these things with the games I was familiar, and even found a game or two I have not played before. After beating most of it I found that the game would be very easy if it weren’t for the god awful controls and handling all games back then seemed to possess. What’s worse, most of the challenges took advantage of the poor handling and forced you to overcome it to beat the challenges within the shortest amount of time possible. To me, this isn’t very fun, all it seemed to do was remind me of why I hated gaming back then and that gamers only suffered through it because it was new and the best thing available at the time. In other words, we didn’t know any better. We didn’t realize we were suffering. But I still remember playing Super Mario Bros at the ripe age of three or four and wishing the controls were better. And the worst part is, those are some of the best controls on the system (for the earlier games anyway). But the game was fun nonetheless, and I wanted more, so I powered on through.

Though after all the nostalgia wears off and the hours of gameplay rack up and you find yourself struggling through some challenges over and over again to get those three stars, you start to realize why you were glad to leave these old games behind when something new came along. That something being the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

I dreamed more of this game actually being in existence over focusing on what I was playing. The SNES has arguably one of the best libraries of games for any console to date, and showcased some of Nintendo’s finest ideas that helped shape the gaming industry as it is today. One of the things refined the most between each system was the controls. With some exceptions, the controls and handling for all the games were phenomenal, the 16 bit graphics were gorgeous on the system and again, great games.

Imagine games such as Super Mario World, Super MarioKart, Super Metroid, A Link To The Past, all crammed into one game filled with challenges and other new exciting surprises Nintendo would be sure to add. It would truly be a wonder to behold. Holding a copy of these game in my hands would make me truly feel like a kid again.

This game would be amazing enough with just Nintendo games, but what if they expanded to third party games as well. Bam! Super Castlevania, Illusion of Gaia (if only) Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 3 (6?)…heck pretty much any game off this system would be a welcome addition.

So come on Nintendo! Fulfill my dreams, as well as thousands, dare I say millions others who I am sure share this dream. I for one would be eternally grateful. Not that I am not already, for giving me wonderful memories from my childhood with the SNES, but now it would be nice to have all those memories reinvented and brought forth with new light and a modern day twist.