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Monthly Archives: December 2011

I’m Still Alive!

Hey! Sorry for the lack of updates again, but exams and papers have taken over my life. Fortunately, I am free this Friday, and I will begin to write again in earnest, starting with finishing my edits for The Libel of Blood. Mr. Jacob G. Adams (blog here!) has also been kindly editing stories for Dark Aeons for me, and his comments have been insightful and very helpful! I have been surviving most of my time by playing Dr. Lunatic: Supreme With Cheese Nonstop and by reading short stories when I can, including recently a delightful novella entitled The Cowboys of Cthulhu by David Bain (site here!); well worth the read!

Until I can get back to writing, good luck with life and don’t die!

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Personal, Readings

 

Imaginaerum

In addition to being super-productive in terms of schoolwork (three papers down in about a week!), I managed to get my hands on a digital copy of the new Nightwish album Imaginaerum! Legally, of course; I preordered the 2-CD DigiPack T-Shirt Litho Sweepstakes bundle, and got a digital copy of the CD a month early.

I must say, I was initially skeptical about it, as it had a lot of untraditional metal songs. Then I remembered I had felt that way at first about “Storytime,” so I kept an open mind, and after a couple of listen-throughs, was pleased with most of the album. “Taikitalvi” was enjoyable, and the transition into the amazing hard metal “Storytime” was flawless. “Ghost River” brought out interesting dynamics, with Marco’s vocals contrasting well with the children’s choir, and was a very creepy and also well-done song.

“Slow, Low, Slow” I did not like. It is not a metal song, pure and simple. It is a ‘5o’s slow jazz piece, which is fine, but not so much in a metal album. It came as an unpleasant shock, and Anette’s voice in this song is husky, which was not a particularly enjoyable experience. This song just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album, either. “I Want My Tears Back” was great, with Marco’s vocals and Troy Donockley’s uillean pipes (which I always love) creating a great dynamic. The prominent role of the pipes also pleased me greatly. Additionally, Marco’s and Anette’s alternating vocals made the song a pleasing one.

“Scaretale” was a beautiful example of horror translated into music. I won’t say more here, but it was amazingly well-done, and you should listen to the song to understand exactly what I mean. I felt like I was in a horror movie. “Arabesque” – the album’s instrumental – is my favorite Nightwish instrumental so far, passing “Last of the Wilds” from Dark Passion Play.

“Turn Loose the Mermaids” was very unconventional, acoustic song that I am still trying to decide how  I feel about. It was very unconventional and critically good, but I am not sure whether or not I liked it. “Rest Calm” was also very good, again featuring both Marco and Anette. “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove” was another very good song, again integrating both vocalists, and letting Marco shine in a lower-key metal song. “Last Ride of the Day” was amazing as well, but “Song of Myself” – the thirteen-minute epic – was, unsurprisingly, the star of the album, blending vocal, symphonic, and metal elements perfectly. It was definitely my favorite. The album’s title song, “Imainaerum,” was a good conclusion to the album and incorporated themes from the other songs, but added little new itself.

Overall, I’d rate this album as Nightwish’s third best. Once is still my favorite of theirs, followed by Dark Passion Play. Maybe with more listens, this album will get even better, but I am glad that Nightwish did not suffer from the syndrome that made Sonata Arctica’s newest album The Days of Grays mediocre. Imaginaerum is a phenomenal album, though it might take some getting used to. At times, I felt that the band was experimenting a little too much, but in the end, it was very original and well-done. I also really liked how Marco played a very prominent vocal role, much more so than in the band’s previous albums. I highly recommend Imaginaerum to any symphonic metal fan!

P.S. If you like Tarot cards, please check out my whopping reading about the Occupy Wall Street Movement on EsoTarot here.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Personal

 

Thief of Time

Somehow, despite all of the work I need to do, I managed to finish reading another book –  a Terry Pratchett book, no less! Thief of Time was, by far, my favorite work of his that I have ever read. Death, while playing a less prominent role than in the other books in his cycle, was as deep and fascinating a character as ever, and the Death of Rats was up to his usual antics even more than usual. I enjoy the prevalence of the Death of Rats in the book, though his uncertain fate at the end made me slightly unhappy, but oh well. The changing personalities of the four/five horsemen of the apocalypse was also very well-done; who knew that War would get married and become a weak, submissive do-nothing? It was certainly an interesting examination on what changing currents in history can do to anthropomorphic personifications!

Susan Sto Helit was also, as always, amazing, and I particularly enjoyed her in her new schoolteacher role – Pratchett’s observations about life were, as always and as exemplified in this novel by Susan – dead-on. The depth given to the Auditors of Reality in this book was also pleasing, and their antics in the second half of the book had me smiling constantly, and almost identifying with them.

Almost.

However, the real star of the book was definitely Lu-Tze. With his many witticisms and observations about society and life, he made me laugh harder than I have reading any other book, while at the same time making me think ( “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” “Yeah, I know all about practicing procedures for emergencies,” said Lu-Tze. “And there’s always something missing. You always leave out the damn emergency.”). He is perhaps my favorite character from any book so far.

Lastly, I would be amiss without touching on Pratchett’s perception of Time, as the universe destroying and recreating itself very interesting. It was just fascinating and well-though-out – definitely the best of his books I’ve read yet.

Also, who would imagine chocolate could be so deadly?

P.S. If you like Tarot cards, please check out my whopping reading about the Occupy Wall Street Movement on EsoTarot here.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Readings