Classic Album Review :: After the Burial — Rareform

I usually take off the Christmas season because I do not want to bother everyone with depression and philosophical arguments for why life is both tragic and amazing, but I feel like writing something. In spirit of not doing what I normally do, I want to highlight probably the most technical, and brutal, album in my collection. No, it’s not death metal, and I am sure that someone would argue that I have heavier and more technical, but I still feel like this album needs more attention.

After the Burial have done a lot more than I have. I think they are kind of amazing, and I do not see enough love for this group. It is probably because they are in the “scene” part of music, somehow. i will never understand how that could be.

The first track is the most brilliant introduction for this band. Berzerker opens with a blistering dueling guitar riff that would make Van Halen’s jaw drop. From that point, it’s nothing but the most orchestrated chaos for the next 5:30.

I am proud to say that I figured out the drums in this song at the pique of my abilities, but that was after many hours of failing. I probably never figured them out perfectly, but even the version I had crafted was close enough to be nearly as impressive.

The song has an amazing ‘bop’ to it. Starting around the 2:50 mark, the swing being demonstrated will get even the most ardent haters of this band to tap a toe. That goes on for about 30 seconds, before the heaviest bits.

After a beautifully crafted flourish on guitar, a devastating breakdown that does not follow any conventional musical crafting. Then. a reprise of the first bit of the song before quite literal chaos reigns over the last minute.

Fuck, that’s only song one and I have already written that much. I will not be writing about the rest of the album, but that first track is a great example for the ear-bleedingly good time you are in for.

No, this album is not for everyone. It is a perfect example of what conventional metal can do. It is heavy. It is technical. It is brutal and loud. I never have to put my headphones too loud to enjoy the sounds. I mean, I DO crank the volume, but I don’t have to.

I don’t give enough attention to the bass, but this video gives an idea of the musicianship portrayed in this song. Please, watch and enjoy. (There are no vocals, so go this route if you do not wish someone screaming at you)

Before I started writing this, I had assumed that this band was a five-piece. The “dueling guitar” that I mentioned, is done by one guy. Fuck me, this band somehow got MORE amazing.

2020 in review

I am writing this restraining myself from just writing “HAHAHA YOU ARE ALMOST DONE” and leaving it at that.

In fact, I would argue that this year is one of the most important years in my life.

Yes, it was brought on by pain, but the BLM movement coupled with the worst pandemic in a very long time showed us the human strength. We saw an attempt of the rise of fascism* thwarted. We found a vaccine for the aforementioned pandemic developed in record times, though the long-term effects are still to be discovered.
*THIS IS MY OPINION

The main places that are going to be effected are the arts. There have been mass permanent closures of music venues, theaters are closing doors, and museums are vanishing (kind of). It is almost like an artistic reset. Some would argue that it was needed: the reset will force a change in industries that have dominated and destroyed avenues, resulting in a stifling of change. Most would agree that we will not see the change take hold until the future.

As of the time of writing this (December 17th), schools have been allowed to reopen in Ontario. I will not voice opinions on the matter: you can ask me directly on my FaceBook page if you are curious. Ontario has seen a spike in cases not seen since the first cases were identified on Western borders. Again, I will keep speculation out of this.

CyberPunk finally got released! I, personally, am not upset in regards to its performance on previous gen consoles, nor am I offended that we are still seeing issues almost a decade after its first announcement. The game is massive, complicated, and ground-breaking: issues should not be a surprise, and I have faith that CD Projekt Red will fix it eventually. Call me “the eternal optimist”, but fixing something as broken as it’s been reported would look amazing on them. Especially if they can do so without putting their employees through the dreaded “crunch” to complete it.

I did not explore many new releases this year, so I am not even going to pretend to do a rundown on new music that came out this year. I don’t even have a worthy opinion on new shows that came out, though I will probably release some sort of opinion regarding the new Archer season in the coming weeks.

Anyway, I will close with a “FUCK YOU, 2020!” because, even though I consider it a very important year, it still sucked. Here’s to the hope that 2021 is less abusive.

Holy Something Inappropriate!

I actually hit the mark I wanted to hit!

I have 200 WordPress followers!

Yes: a good portion of those are probably bots or spam, I am well aware of that. Some of them are actual people! Some of them are fantastic people!

Some of them I should really converse more with; alas, I’m a shy bastard.

ANYWAY!

Thank you thank you thank you!!!

almost there…

I’m not going to lie: this post is kind of being written to push my numbers over an edge. If I get 60ish people to read this, I have had my best year since 2016!

I must say, I am super proud of what I have done here. In five years, I have written over 176 thousand words, and have had over 18 thousand views. I started writing this to get my story out, and have let the posts evolve into a self-gratifying mess that people still enjoy reading for some reason. I have written two and-a-half books, and am working on the next one. I have 197 wordpress followers, and hope to hit 200 by the new year. I have 170 followers on my FaceBook page, and 12 on my YouTube channel (that I have only started posting to with some regularity).

My point being that this decade has sucked, brutally, when it comes to my being. The major plus side is that it has been amazing to grow in other ways. I hope that the next decade could be even marginally better, though I have plans to make my next year better than this decade was, and nothing you say or do can stop me from trying.

As mentioned, I have a new book being written, and my plan is to have it done by mid next year. I have tried the independent release thing, and I was not successful at it. I’m not regretting the release of You’re Not Dead, but it really did not even break even. AS I type this, I received a notification that I was charged for pressing renewal, and in spite of being doubled in length, it did not even break even with last years renewal.

I have been kind of writing the next podcast. I have to backtrack and further explain some things, but I think it will be worth the confusion. I am going to link the last two together in a more cohesive structure.

Anyway, I plan on making this my last update for the year. So Happy Holidays! I love you all! Tell your friends to come say hi! Depress someone, buy my book! I will write to you again in the new year!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside : OPINION

This is just conjecture. I need to make that clear before people rip me apart for voicing my opinion on the song asking for studies or facts around what I say.

People always seem to point out that this song is promoting rape and rape culture. Then, out come the ravenous defenders of “classic” holiday songs to proclaim how the song was never intended to reflect that sentiment.

Am I here to say that either side is right or wrong? Well, I am neither educated enough or vested in the battle to say either way. I do have a point that I am going to dive into, but I am not going to say either side is correct or wrong.

The song was intended as an innocent exclamation of feelings. It is meant to be “cute”, and is not intended to support an abhorrent behavior type.

HOWEVER:

To state that someone should not feel that way about the lyrical content about that song is a bit deaf to their opinion.

Let me explain in harsh terms. Trigger warning, by the way. I am going to talk about sexual exploitation and taking advantage of gender-roles.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The song talks about a woman being trapped in a house by the weather, and a man trying to convince her that it is way too hazardous to venture into the cold. If taken on face value, it can already be disseminated into two camps: either the man is actually caring and stating that IN HER BEST INTEREST, she should stick around until it is safe for her to go into the night. OR: the man is trying to coax the woman into staying because she wants to sleep with him (in his mind).

The issue, as I see it, is that it sounds patriarchal. It sounds almost creepy and forceful. He speaks, at length, how it’s dangerous. Being the listener, the only side you hear is his. One would be forgiven in thinking that he is exaggerating the state of the weather for nefarious means.

The other way to see it is that he actually has the woman’s interest at heart. He does not want anything bad to happen to her and, therefore, very much intends to keep her safe.

To shoot down either interpretation someone displays assumes history. Maybe, the person crying rape is someone who has actually been through something similar. Maybe, they are just projecting. Projecting does not make their feelings surrounding the song less important to consider. All because someone does not agree with your perspective does not make them wrong.

If a song or situation makes someone uncomfortable, do whatever is in your power (or whatever is needed of you) to fix it. If you do not have any control, listen with a compassionate ear.

On the other side of things, if you think the song is about unsavoury things, do not be a dick about it. If you’re in a store and it comes on the speaker, the employee helping you probably has no way of changing the music. Your friends have no way of doing anything about it. Hell, in big-box store like Walmart, even the managers have no way of changing it.

What you can do is voice your opinion calmly. Yes, the song has become more and more problematic. Ideally, it would just be stricken from playlists and be left to vanish in the annals of history. Yes, you are aloud to be upset about it. However, if you are sitting on your social media of choice and someone mentions to someone who isn’t you how they like that song, let them be. They are allowed to their opinion as much as you are yours. People like things other people don’t all of the time, it’s not going to make rape or sexual exploitation okay all because that song exists.

If you are assuming that this is justification for your actions, you’re a parasite on this realm.

Unfortunately, we cannot punish the past for their exploitative actions. We live in a world where the horrible things of the past are almost celebrated in today’s day-to-day. All we can do is try to survive, and try to make everything as palatable for those around us.

Words to live by — Don’t be a dick. Love other people.

Reality

I have the strangest bit of writer’s block.

Well, to call it “writer’s block” is a bit of a misnomer. It is more of a crippling wall that I find myself behind.

Okay, let me backup a bit:

I am a fan of writing parts out of order. If I find myself stuck at an important part, I leave it alone for a bit, and move forward. I then go back to the part that I find myself stuck behind and hope that what I have done moving forward has either answered what I am stuck on, or given me an out.

The story I am writing right now involves a bit of physics that does not exist. It involves movement faster than light, which is empirically impossible (as of the writing of this journal) and shows no possibility of being conquered. So, in usual fashion, I started writing further into the story to fill out other ideas.

I wrote over 10,000 words when I hit another wall showing me that I need to, at least, fudge the concept into some kind of in-universe reality. The part that makes it so hard is that I am trying to keep the world that I have built at least KIND OF realistic. It involves science that does not exist: it involves science that we want to exist. This means that I have a lot of information that would not work, and what makes it MORE frustrating is that if I try to use the thing that doesn’t work, people will quickly debunk it and the story becomes tainted.

I know that I am putting too much faith into the reading community. I should just write something and stop worrying if it makes sense. I should just ‘yadda yadda’ the movement thing when it comes up in the future. I should have written something easier.

I is not that brite an’ is no gud at riting.

Unfortunately for me, and my back account, I am an arrogant fucker who wants to create something that warrants respect. I am sick of being the “guy who helps do stuff” and I want to become someone worth a damn.

Speaking of being worth a damn, did you want to be in the thank-you section of the book that I just spent the top portion of this post bitching about? Donate as little as a dollar to my Patreon a month, and that will happen! It also helps me keep this blog going for another year. I mean, it will anyway: the monetary gain just makes it worth it.

Time

Time is a fiddly bitch. Even when I start to think I have a grasp on events, I soon realize or remember that thing that does not matter in the slightest, but changes context around the future.

What am I on about?

As people who follow me on Instagram are aware, I have charted out most of my music career. Mostly, I am content with how it all has come together. Mostly, I have an idea of the flow of things.

As I think harder about things after I have my notes “complete”, I remember little things that have no bearing. I start questioning when big events happened. Sure, I have dates for recordings and CD releases, but should I actually ignore that big showcase we did? If I do choose to talk about it, do I actually remember when it happened?

For example, I played with The Dillinger Escape Plan moderately early in The Twin’s career. Part of me wants to say that it was our fifth show, part of me just wants to refer to it as the first show in Guelph, Ontario, and yet another part of me wants to glaze over it and make it a “not a big deal” moment.

I am having a very hard time not five years. One would assume that five years is nothing in the grand scheme of things: and you would be correct in thinking so. Unfortunately, The Twin performed close to 600 shows in that span. We released 2 EPs and 2 singles. We played about 20 different venues, and that does not include doubling up on certain places.

That also ignores any additional work that I did in music over that time period. I performed on Eudimonia by Livestalk & the Bodies, did a couple shows the wind up All Cut Up, an that was all on top of going to college, dropping out of college, becoming full-time (then manager) of a local store, and still trying to maintain some semblance of a personal life.

At one point, I was doing damn near 80 hours a week trying to keep up with everything. I am not bragging, not even a humble-brag, when I say that. I was stretched so thin and I was so tired: no wonder I died!

A part of me misses aspects of being that strained. I was rarely bored. Yes, I was behind months on things that I loved, but I barely had enough time to be bothered. Now, I spend most days mapping out projects that may-or-may-not get done, writing (then deleting) my next book, and starting helplessly as my family and dogs lose their minds. All said, I probably spend 80 hours a week working on things that you will never see, now.

Fuck-knows that my bank account doesn’t feel accomplished.

Listen to the PodCast
Checkout All Cut Up
Checkout The Twin
Checkout Livestalk & the Bodies
Support me on Patreon

Dehumanization

First off, I’d like to point out how awesome of a word that is. It almost looks like a death metal band name.

What do I mean by “dehumanization”, I pretend to hear you ask. I simply mean the actions of other reducing your self-esteem, whether that be by accident or on purpose. To be clear, I don’t mean reducing self-esteem like “I’m no pretty”, I am referring to no longer feeling worthy of any sort of human interaction. I mean the kind of state that makes someone no even ask for basic human needs because they don’t feel worth it. I mean locking yourself from the world because you feel like it would be better without you. And, before you ask, I am not talking about how depression and mental state could render that possible. I am talking about physical actions taken to reduce someone to a shell of a human, even if the actions are meant as an innocent gesture of goodwill.

Let’s start with an example: I use a commode. What is a commode? it is basically an indoor outhouse, which I realise how stupid that is to read. We are in the process of building a main floor bathroom, and I use that because I cannot make it to the second floor bathroom.

In order to maintain any semblance of cleanliness, my parents empty it into a traditional toilet. They insist, and continue to insist, that they don’t mind doing so. In fact: they insist that they are completely happy that I continue to do so, and constantly remind me that it is a temporary measure. When I implied one day that it is completely (yay! A proper use of the word of the day!) dehumanizing, they scolded me for being so proud.

Okay, so here is my issue with it. I have to announce when the commode has anything in it, regardless of whether or not there is a meal there. Regardless of whether or not someone is busy. Regardless or not if there is company over.

THERE IS NO NEGATIVE REPERCUSSION BROUGHT ON BY MY FAMILY.

It is a mandatory step that is temporary. I know this, but it does not change the fact that I hate it.

That’s right: I have taken away the burden from those around me and have internalized the shame. I am well aware that they are completely okay with the situation. I am well aware that this is temporary. I am well aware that the shame I feel is only because of my own pride.

It does not change the fact that I find it horrible.

That is one, and maybe the most extreme explanation I could use. I will now make things more general.

Let’s say that a group of friends are going to a festival. Jimmy is hesitant because the loud noise of the crowd, let alone the music, will set off his PTSD, and his reaction could ruin everyone’s time. His friends understand, and decide to not go. They are sympathetic, and kind to him. They constantly reassure him that it is not a big deal.

Nice story, right? Did you see where it went wrong?

Jimmy’s friends should not reassure him after the first time. He knows that he could not go, and he never intended for his friends not to go on his behalf. There constant reassurance makes things worse because he eventually would have just moved on, but now he is being told over and over again how “it’s fine” and that “he should not worry.” Now, he is left with the sinking feeling that it is far from fine. Even though they keep saying it, and they may actually mean it. He might just be running in his head for no reason.

Now, I am not saying that placating someone once, or twice, is not necessary. Quite the opposite, saying something is fine, and reassuring someone that everything is fine, can help. Just know when to move on.

I know that I use a strong example, siting PTSD as the cause for the mental anguish. This can be related to depression, physical limitation, or any other limiter in someone’s life. The best way to deal with it is to initially placate, then only mention things when brought up by the party affected.

Also: know the person. I am saying all of this in a general way, but it does all apply to people who think like me. I am not implying that it would be the same for everyone. I feel as though some over placate, which can be worse than anything.

NEW!!!

Hey, I have started harassing people on my other socials about how I have a site, RSS feed, and all that good stuff for my PodCast now!

It’s available here!

Come hear me talk about things. I have two episodes out so far, and I have started to “script” a third. I’m still going to upload them to my YouTube account, but this site is just a nice way to keep everything sorted! (Plus, the player is better. That’s a secret, though! Don’t tell anyone!)