Archive for November, 2009

I’ll Do It All Again, With No Regrets…

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

No Regrets-era (Current) Dope

Once upon a time, there was a story. A story who’s main idea was centered around two songs – I can’t remember one of them. But the other? I’ll never forget it. That song was Take Your Best Shot, by Dope. I had no clue who this “Dope” fella was, but, honestly, when I first saw the name, I figured it was some bullshit rap artist. So, I go and take a look on for this song, and listened.

From that point on; I was hooked to metal. The gritty riffs, the intense drumming, and the sound of Edsel screaming the word “shot” at the top of his lungs, it entranced me. I was rude enough to have not worn headphones, and my dad overheard the loud, wailing noises emanating from my laptop. He turned, and said, “What the hell is that?” I looked up from the computer, and said, “I have no idea… but I like it.” The look on his face was priceless.

I can thank Dope for a lot of things, aside from bringing some of my favorite songs into this world. But, had I never discovered Dope, I might not be sitting here, writing this, my iPod may instead be filled with the likes of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears (The thought pains me). But, on the other hand, my pessimistic outlook on life may be different, but I don’t always consider that a curse. I suppose I’m rambling now. But, why the hell do I matter? This is a post about the band itself, not my own opinion on them… okay, that’s a lie. SHUDDUP! I’m just trying to think of a good way to lead into a biography type-thing!

Dope formed in 1997 by Edsel Dope (Born as Brian Ebejer), who took charge of lead vocals and song writing, his brother, Simon, who played keyboards, Preston Nash on drums, Tripp Eisen on bass, and Lanson Lang on guitar. The band quickly took over the New York club scene, and after a rather minimal amount of shows, they were signed into the label Epic Records. In 1999, their first record, Felons & Revolutionaries was released. It features twelve tracks, including the covers of “Fuck tha Police” by N.W.A., and “You Spin Me Right ‘Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive. The album has (To this day) sold approximately 236,000 copies. This debut album featured a very industrial album – no different than that of Nine Inch Nails. The cover of “You Spin Me Round” was released as a single, and placed the band on the #37 spot on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts, which gained the band a great deal of attention that, to quote Edsel, “We weren’t quite ready for that attention.”

After the release of Felons, Tripp – who had taken the guitarist position after Lanson left – was replaced with Virus, who is still in lead guitar spot. Preston was also replaced by Racci “Sketchy” Shay on drums. Finally; Sloane Jentry had taken the bass spot, leaving Edsel and Simon as the only two remaining members from the original band. After these changes, the band soon began work on the follow up to Felons, which would be entitled Life. The two singles, Now Or Never, and Slipping Away, hit the charts on #28 and #29 respectively. This brought an eventual success of the album, which hit #180 on the charts. After this album, Simon left to go into video game design. Edsel backed his brother’s decision to leave 100%. Edsel Dope is now the only remaining founding member of Dope.

Fun Fact!: The song “Die Mother Fucker Die” from Life was used by the U.S. Army as interrogation-music-type-stuff when interrogating P.O.Ws! Edsel claims this was one of the best points of his career.

Group Therapy-era Dope

After Life, Dope left Epic and joined Artemis Records, a New York-based independent label. Acey Slade (Who had played lead through Life), left the group, and Virus became the only guitar player. The band has since been a quartet. The band began work on Group Therapy, which was released in 2003, and featured the single I Am”. After putting out a shit-ton of videos for Group Therapy, the band started work on their fourth album – this time without any member-changes! What a shock! American Apathy brought the band back to their Industrial-metal roots, and included a cover of Depeche Mode‘s “People Are People”. The album hit #1 in the ‘Top Heatseekers’ chart, a first for the band.

Fun Fact!: After American Apathy, Edsel got rid of the dred-locks he had throughout the band’s entire career up to that point.

Four years later, all we have is a song entitled Nothing For Me Here on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as a bonus track. Dope continued touring, and recording. We knew the groups’ fifth album would be entitled No Regrets, we just had no clue when it would come out. The single “Violence” appeared in late 2008, and the release date for No Regrets finally appeared soon after. On March 10th, 2009, this fifth album from Dope appeared on the stands. It charted at #88 on the charts, and sold over 6,200 copies in the first week. This makes ‘No Regrets’ the group’s most successful album to date, and lemme tell ya, it deserves that. Without question, ‘No Regrets’ is the best work from the quartet, and even Virus agrees!

Today, Dope continues touring, rocking, and being badass. Even if Edsel got rid of his dreds. But, I owe a lot to these guys, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

Whoohoo… first post on WordPress!
Categories: Dope, Feature, Metal

A Little Something For Shits And Giggles

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Somethin’ silly I found on College Humor – One of the greatest comedy sites EVAR.

Viens, m’enculer! The video is too large for the post’s physical size, so! Here’s a direct link;

Cruel as this is, it’s very true. How ironic is it that the song parodied is Octopus’ Garden, one of the few songs Ringo wrote? Well, with a bit of assistance from George. Well, you know what, College Humor? I think Ringo was cool! So, there!

…anyways… I’ll make a real post eventually. Just… not right now. I’m on break for five days, so one or two posts may show up in that time. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Review – Black Sails At Midnight

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Alestorm is what could only be described as Pastafarian holy music – I.E., it’s Pirate Metal. Yes, you read that right, Pirate Metal. It does exist, and these guys are the biggest name in this practically non-existent subgenre. Originally going by the name of Battleheart, Alestorm has toured the world, conquering the lands with their pirate-themed lyrics and instrumentals, and definitely enjoying a bottle of rum-or-eighty along the way. Black Sails At Midnight is the second record these Heavy Metal pirates have put out, and while it isn’t quite everything that Captain Morgan’s Revenge was, it’s still a fun album and quite the hearty adventure.

To start off; the first thing you’ll notice about these sea-dogs is the raspy, clichĂ© pirate vocals. Christopher Bowes (Who also rocks the keytar) has one of the greatest pirate impressions ever, and while his vocals aren’t exactly qualified as “singing”, it’s still epic… Oh, who am I kidding? It’s awful. But, dear God, man, it’s PIRATE METAL! There’s nothing more awesome! While this sounds silly; he gets the points on vocals just because he can make himself sound like a pirate. He also does some amazing work with that keytar, some of the solos he rips are just badass.

Unfortunately; in both Bowes’ lyrics, and the instrumentals, the songs start to sound rather similar before long. One can only talk about the life of a pirate for so long before he starts rambling on and on. Sadly, that’s exactly what happens here, though. Although they pick it back up with the song Weiber Und Wein, which, as the title suggests, is sung completely in German. Perhaps an unintentional reference to The Beatles? Who re-recorded several of their songs into German? Who knows? Who really cares, either? It’s still awesome.

But, while the songs start to blend a bit, one cannot deny just how fun this music is. I’ll say it again; it’s freaking PIRATE METAL. You have to be truly awful to fuck up something as awesome as that. If you’re ever in need of a good, hearty laugh, turn on the Alestorm, ’cause they’ll make you laugh. Sadly; there were a few moments where it stopped being funny, and just made me go WTF. To The End Of Our Days is a prime example. The chorus features all of the members chanting about sitting on the bottom decks of their ships waiting to die, and it just all goes in such a way that makes you think “Please, don’t let these guys be serious…” I’m not sure if they’re being serious at all through this, but that song makes you think it, and it’s painful.

For another act of disappointment, do me a favor. Go find the song No Quarter off of this album and listen to it, mainly focusing on the guitar part.. Now, go listen to the main theme from Pirates Of The Caribbean. They sound disturbingly similar. I was quite saddened by this display of sheer laziness, and what some would call plagiarism. The song Black Sails At Midnight also sounds a lot like a song from their previous album, entitled Set Sail, And Conquer!

But, if you’re able to shake off these few flops, Black Sails At Midnight is a fun, silly album that is sure to put you in a good mood. And, remember, it’s freakin’ PIRATE METAL!!!!!!!!!! What could possibly be more awesome than that!?

Final Score; 6/10

Categories: Uncategorized

Review – Ocean Eyes

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Pop is a genre that I’ve never really enjoyed – with the exception of Michael Jackson – especially as we’ve delved into this more modern age of the genre. Auto-tune, generic synthesizer sounds, and a mainly sex-focused lyrical style has really made this previously glorious genre fall flat on it’s face into a bed of spikes.

That is, until Adam Young had some awful insomnia.

Owl City is now another artist I can add to my very small list of exceptions that I can make for pop. It’s a rare occasion that I set aside my hatred for this genre because one particular artist struck my ears the right way. But, Adam Young and his Owl City deserves it even more than the King of Pop himself. Ocean Eyes is the second album produced by Young, and while it is not without it’s drawbacks, it is definitely one to hear.

One thing that I noticed that was completely impossible to not notice would be just how goddamn perky this music is, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. The instrumentals are very high and cheerful, dancing about your ear drums in some of the most pleasurable manners imaginable. And the lyrics can only be described as fantastical, singing on and on about a trip to the dentist, or being taught how to dance by ten-million fireflies. It is made clear very early into the album that Adam Young has one of the most active imaginations in the world. Ocean Eyes is going in my list of albums to listen to whenever I’m in a bad mood, and it should find it’s way there in your library as well.

Another thing that completely blew me away was the inclusion of auto-tune. Why did this blow me away? I just said that pop was being plagued by this tool of the devil, so why would it surprise me so that it was used? Well, it wasn’t the fact that it was used that surprised me; it was the fact that this is the only time I’ve ever heard auto-tune and enjoyed it. Adam Young’s voice is the only one I’ve ever heard that fits with the sound of auto-tuning. And, honestly, it’s kind of hard to notice at points. I often forgot that the tool was even being used in the first place. So, either Adam is already in tune most of the time, or he really didn’t use it all that much. Either way; it sounded amazing.

Unfortunately, Ocean Eyes, like any good album, must have it’s downsides. Fortunately, there’s only one. By the fifth or sixth track, you’re really going to start wondering why all of these songs sound so similar. I often lost track of which song I was listening to, simply because I couldn’t even tell that the last one had ended. One could say that this isn’t exactly a bad thing; because they’re all beautiful songs, but I was left wanting a little more variety in the sound. The lyrics definitely differ greatly though. There’s some bonus points in here simply for the song Dental Care, which is, as the title suggests, about going to the dentist.

Overall, Ocean Eyes is definitely a success. Anyone who heard and enjoyed the single Fireflies needs to give this entire album a listen, as you’ll likely enjoy it as much as the single. While the similarity of the songs is a bit discouraging, the creativity, perky-ness, and musical massage you receive from listening to this album are all worth that one minor drawback. Give Ocean Eyes a listen, whether you like pop or not.

     TL;DR Version:
The Good:

  • Perky, fun sound.
  • Only artist to ever make auto-tune sound good.
  • Very creative lyrics that keep you interested.
The Bad:
  • It doesn’t take long for the songs to start sounding the same.
Final Score: 9/10
Categories: Uncategorized

I’m Giddy

November 10, 2009 Leave a comment

First of all; I apologize for the minimal post count recently. I’m looking for some time to get a few posts in. I’ll list what those are at the end of this one. This is just a short little post to explain why I be giddy.

If you saw my recent feature on local band Violetta, you would know that their EP, Are We There Yet? is fucking awesome. Well, a few days ago, I came across this tweet from vocalist Brooke Weirick. That’s totally my review she’s linking too. Commence nerdgasm.
Well, today, after seeing an announcement in the form of a MySpace name change that Violetta was working on a FULL-LENGTH ALBUM (Commence 2nd fangasm), I went to look at their blog about. Guess what I, once again, found a link to? My goddamn review. I’m in a complete state of euphoria over this. I’m absolutely, completely and utterly geeking out right now. I’m just… ohmahgawd… If you were in my shoes, you’d be doing the same, trust me. This is so awesome, knowing that an artist read a review by a blogger with a fanbase of twelve people’s review of them. It’s just… GAWD I LOVE IT!
Ah… okay. Fangasming over now. ANYWAYS… for the list of upcoming (Hopefully) posts:
  • Review of Arch Enemy’s The Root Of All Evil
  • Review of Muse’s The Resistance
  • Review of Owl City’s Ocean Eyes
  • Review of Cage The Elephant’s self-titled debut album.
  • Feature on The Beatles
  • Feature on Dope
  • Local Flare feature on Though She Wrote.
See you all later! Rock on.
Categories: Uncategorized