“Matriarch” by Veil of Maya Album Review


 

Veil-of-Maya-Matriarch-artwork-600x600So here I am, chilling in my philosophy class before the professor shows up. I whip out my iPod and check out the channels I am subscribed too. I mostly use YouTube for finding new music and cool skate videos. Browsing through the videos, I noticed that Sumerian Records put out the whole new Veil of Maya album “Matriarch” and I about exploded. I had to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes anticipating the awesomeness of VoM. Luckily, I only stayed in class for about twenty minutes because class today was an optional Final Exam Study session. Who needs to study for finals anyways? I’ll just wait until the day before my finals.

So I had already heard a few songs from the Album and had already been in love. The rest of the album was fantastic as well. I did not even need to listen to the entirety of each song before clicking to the next and welcoming in frission (where you get goosebumps from good music). There was the usual VoM stuff; technical math-core (complicated song structure), drop tuned guitars, and ominous background sound effects. VoM threw in some new stuff such as clean vocals (in comparison to the low gutturals from the “Common Man’s Collapse” Album), guitar melodies in the higher registry, and an overall album theme, hence the name “Matriarch”. Before the album was released, my favorite of the leaked songs was Mikasa, which also had a music video. There was heavy breakdowns, awesome never-before heard clean vocals, and an overall empowering feeling brought forth by the entire band.

Looking at the track listing, each song is named after Matriarchs or powerful women, both fictional and non-fictional. In one of the YouTube comments, someone even mentioned that one of the song names is a very threatening character from an action anime. I took the Youtuber’s word and moved on to the music. I will have to say that my favorite song, other than the leaked ones, would have to be “Daenerys”. I have no idea where the name Daenerys comes from, but it did not spell check me on Microsoft Word, so it is legit. Anyways, the song starts out really light with some nice moving around on the guitar. It then goes into a two-measure guitar solo before the vocalist pops in and the song takes a more serious turn. With some power chords blasting right into a heavy breakdown, Veil of Maya shows off what they are known for. Right after are some clean vocals from their new vocals, which were pretty impressive by the way. The chorus is repeated throughout with some technical instrumentals in the background, before closing the song with a guitar solo build up to more cleans and a mini breakdown. Finally, a guitar playing a riff in the higher register ends out the song.

Most of the time I listen to music on YouTube except for when I really like a whole album, which I purchase to support the band. Veil of Maya, I’m going to support you and buy your new album “Matriarch” when I get home tonight.

Thanks for reading everyone!

I may or may not have a show during finals week due to, well, finals. However, check out www.kssu.com and listen to other DJs do their stuff!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

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Zelda Over Finals


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The best way to prepare for finals is not at all.

Just kidding.

That’s terrible.

I only have two “real” finals. “Real” meaning using scantrons, studying from a study guide, and bringing in a notecard. The real finals are for philosophy and geography, so it is probably a good idea to study and bring in notecards. However, I work two jobs, so studying does not really seem like a good idea when I could be sleeping or getting music for my show or even playing Zelda, because Zelda: Skyward Sword is taking too long to finish. I will probably study an hour before my classes and put some chicken scratch writing on a tiny index card. Seems like the best option.

For my other two classes, Music and Theatre, we have “different” assignments. “Different” meaning not using notecards, scantrons, or formal study guides. In theatre, we all passed around papers, writing one entry on a paper about a given dialogue. You cannot write your name, and you have to write about whatever the professor says. For example, he says write a name and greeting and you write “What’s up, my name is Gregorio.” You can make it normal or comedic. We did this for ten entries, then opened up the paper. There are a bunch of ridiculous things written, but for our final we have to tie in all ten entries and turn it into a monologue that makes sense. We then perform the monologue in front of the whole class. Good thing I have some experience acting, or else I would die. As for Music class, we have a choice of playing a solo or a duet. The duet has two options: two moderate songs or on hard song. The solo is just a choice of three hard songs.

So yeah, my finals are not going to be too hectic. I just have to make sure I beat Zelda before finals week so I can focus. If not, I will be tracing and retracing my steps trying to find the next dragon in my mind while I’m sitting in class.

Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans and random subjects to talk about (along with some great music) listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com every Tuesday morning at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Dissecting The Plot In You


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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, A Smashing Good Time


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I know the game has been out for a while, but I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. The older Smash Bros. fans will shout “Super Smash Bros. Melee was the best and will always be the best”, but what Nintendo did for SSB for Wii U has taken this series to another level. Enhanced graphics, new characters, different combo options, even more dangerous maps, and 8-player mode all come with the new and improved Super Smash Bros. Also, a player can still use regular Wii remotes on the Wii U, so this makes it easier for lazy people (like me) who do not wish to adapt to the new Wii U controller, which has a screen in the middle of it in case you wanted to use the bathroom without interrupting the game for everyone else.

A list of the new characters include: Mega Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Animal Crossing Villager, Rosalina & Luma, Little Mac, Greninja, Customizable Mii Fighters, Palutena, Robin, Shulk, Lucina, Pac-Man, Dark Pit, Bowser Jr. (with all other koopa kids), and the duck and dog from duck hunt. Also, Zero Suit Samus is available as a starting character as opposed to Regular Samus from SSB Brawl, where you would need to hit a “special ball” in order to become zero suit samus. As for DLC characters, there is only one: Mewtwo. Mewtwo from Melee and Lucario from Brawl had very, very similar attacks so I hope that this new Mewtwo comes with new attacks or other surprises. I personally only got to play as Palutena, Little Mac, Bowser Jr. and Shulk. Palutena you have to get used too. Little Mac is HIGHLY powerful and if you can hone in on timing his attacks, you will be unstoppable. I played as a Bowser Jr. who had a cannon and could also detach himself from his little vehicle thing to place a bomb inside it before returning, which killed my friend about eight times. Shulk is a swordsman character, but his “B” move allows you to use a sort of perk with choices of speed, power, or defense. Trust me, they really do help.

This is pretty much the extent of my knowledge because I just spent thirty minutes in a GameStop doing a trial run of the game and now I wish i wasn’t a broke student so I could purchase a Wii U just for this game. If you live a life without regrets, buy this game and you will not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading! To hear some awesome music and more shenanigans coming straight from my pie-hole, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesdays at 8am only on http://www.kssu.com!!!

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

Hands Down for Impending Doom


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Hands down, my favorite band of all time is Impending Doom. Not only have they been around for a while, they were one of the first bands that got me into metal. Their first album “Nailed. Dead. Risen.” is a classic Deathcore album with a little twist, they are Christian. The took something evil and made it into something good, and it does not sound terrible! The song though that started it out for me was “My Nemesis” which basically describes destroying evil in the world and stomping on Satan. It sounds cheesy that way, but trust me, it is brutal. Impending Doom has gotten progressively lighter over the years. They went from grindcore/death metal to beat down/metal core music today. Less blast beats, more structure, more discernible lyrics, but still bringing the heavy. Impending Doom has stayed fantastic throughout the years and I cannot wait to hear more from them. With Five full length albums out, the latest being “Death Will Reign”, I do not see impending Doom breaking up anytime soon. In fact, they are writing new material as I sit here typing, and that makes me sweat… sweat for joy. I thought about writing lengthy paragraphs on why I love this band, but i felt numerical points would be sufficient.

  1. They call themselves “Gorship” which is a mixture between Gore Music (Guttural screams, blast beats, super drop tuned guitars, fast tempo, etc.) and worship, which is pretty dang tight.
  2. They are amazing live. The first time I saw them live was in Walnut Creek in a small venue called “The Red House”. It was pretty cramped, but it did not matter because my feelings of discord were replaced by feelings of euphoria filled my heart and frission overtook my body. Then on the very last breakdown of the very last song “There Will Be Conquerors” I got sucker punched by a drunk man in the back of my head. Even that punch could not keep me from being in the front of the crowd and devastating the floor with stomps as Impending Doom broke down the stage.
  3. They are very friendly and very humble. Meeting them afterwards was like talking to a close friend. Not only that, they knew some of the guys I used to jam with and gave me free clothes!
  4. They invented the “Repentagram”, a symbol of Repentance and casts out evil. The Repentagram is a 9 pointed star which forms an “X” over a pentagram. I have a giant one on the back of my windbreaker.
  5. Last but not least, they are consistent with their music and beliefs. All their newer songs are carefully and beautifully written and they can actually back up their lyrics. Some metal music talks about killing and death and revenge on ex girlfriends, but none of them even seem capable of such. Brooke Reeves, front-man of Impending Doom, is also a preacher along with the other members of the band. These guys have credibility.

If you guys want to hear some more music like Impending Doom, check out my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesday mornings at 8 o’clock on http://www.kssu.com! Thanks for reading!

DJGingerbeard

Album Review: “Lost Isles” by Oceans Ate Alaska


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is a metal-core band the United Kingdom with a unique taste. Some flavors of Djent, Thrash, Death, Pop Punk, and even Electronica float around in this UK Combo. When I first listened to Oceans Ate Alaska, they were a scene/emo kid band performing the class “screamo” music with open note breakdowns. This album “Lost Isles” has been a metamorphosis for Oceans. They started out as puny, long-haired caterpillars and evolved into fire-breathing dragons. Here’s my take on “Lost Isles”.

The intro, “Four Thirty Two” is an instrumental with some radio and television broadcasts on natural disasters playing in the background. Great work done in this song, piece and also in the instrumental interlude. The pure talent and raw sound during these pieces show how the band has progressed in accordance to music theory. Tempo changes, experimental tuning, drum variety, all sorts of vocals (both clean and screamed), and of course some master guitar shredding amplify this bands talent ten-fold. You can tell how much work they put into this album just by these pieces alone.

But wait! It gets even better. Oceans Ate Alaska released three tracks before the actually full length release date, which was February 24th. These songs are “Blood Brothers” (Lyric video), “Floorboards” (Lyric Video), and “Vultures And Sharks” (Music Video). One thing you will notice is how thick the accent is coming out of the front-man. It works really well because with the knowledge of where these guys came from, you can match up the style with the accent. With technical drops, crazy good melodies, and use of techno in the background (but not overdone) made me so excited for the release of the full length. Maybe a little too excited because I listened to “Blood Brothers” about five times a day for a week.

Other songs worth mentioning are “High Horse”,”Linger”, “Entity”, and the debut hit “Lost Isles”. “High Horse” is heavy as frick and is similar to Attila’s lyric style. Basically, we are better than you and will hurt you if you try to take us down. With a little bit of Djent influences, this song made me sweaty and flexed out while just sitting in class, which probably made it uncomfortable for the shy girl next to me. “Linger” and “Entity” cannot be fully appreciated without deciphering the lyrics. I will not ruin the surprise, but your mind will be blown. Also, “Linger” as both clean and distorted guitar throughout, which is strange for metal, but it worked out fantastic! Last but certainly not least is “Lost Isles” which is pretty much everything I have just written, but precisely placed together in one masterpiece. I feel like this should have been on the last song on the album just to give listeners those last tears of joy and bliss before popping the album out their car radio.

To hear some new stuff from Oceans Ate Alaska and a variety of other bands, go listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on http://www.kssu.com Tuesdays at 8 o’clock!

Thanks for reading, DJGingerbeard out.

An Easy Class Is Not Always the Best Class


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Here I am, drinking a homemade mocha, thinking about which class I should write for as my “Favorite Class” this semester. I have some pretty laid-back classes due to either a fantastic professor or easy material. However, there is one class that is quite strict and has a lot of work. A class that students take just for a GE requirement. A class that people either laugh or dread at (unless you major in it of course). This class is THEA 9: Appreciation of Acting.

I took Drama/Theatre all throughout high school. I enjoyed it, but never pursued it into college. In this class, we cover the basics of acting while also studying up on well-known productions, techniques, and actors. From the first day we were required to stand in front of everyone and “state our business” (name, major, favorite food, etc.). From then on we signed a contract that says if we are caught using our electronic devices in class, we will receive an automatic “F” for the whole course. At first I died a little bit in my heart, but then quickly realized that Brazo, our Professor, is doing this so we actually stay focused and participate in class. This is good because some of the material we zoom quickly through and we also get participation points in class. Another “strict” policy Brazo enforces is that if we are over ten minutes late, we are marked absent. After 3 absences, we are dropped from the course. The lesson is pretty obvious do not be late.

After getting homework every class, mandatory performances, and presentation projects this early in the semester, I realized that this is probably my favorite class. Maybe my brain turned backwards, but I think all this work and focus in the classroom is actually helping us students become living breathing people who can us critical thinking as opposed to sitting in others classrooms like zombies and regurgitating material we have memorized onto a test that we will not remember three weeks later. THEA 9 is turning out to be a challenging course, but in an entertaining sort of way. Like Brazo says every class, “I do not just give out A’s. You have to work for them.”

Thanks for reading my post! If you want to hear a variety of metal/loud-rock/punk/pop-punk/djent music on my show, tune into http://www.kssu.com Tuesdays mornings at 8 o’clock!!!

Signing off, DJGingerbeard

Theatre Is Not Lame… Sometimes


Cole Theater smallAs a mandatory requirement for my Theater 9 course, I had to attend an acting showcase last night in the University Theater. This showcase was put on by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (or KCACTF) where nominees from Sacramento State show off their talents with about six minutes of material and one song. The nominees put on two skits, a monologue, then later on sang a song. Also, they were able to choose anyone they wanted as an acting partner for the two skits. All I have to say is, this showcase re-ignited an old passion for theater inside of me. Here’s how my day went.

I work at a burrito joint in Vacaville where I roll burritos. Simple enough, except for that day we were slammed (and I mean SLAMMED) with orders. I get off around 2:30pm, roll myself a tasty burrito for the road, and go to pick up my girlfriend who volunteered as tribute to go with me to the showcase. After a minor argument as to why she needs to hurry and why I am a “Butt” we were on the road. The line was long, but it went by fast and we quickly got seats towards the back or in Actor’s Terms, Upstage House Left.

Honestly, I had no idea what the showcase was about until half-way through the performance. However, I did not need to know what it was about because I was already captivated by some of the performances. These actors knew their stuff and could range from comedy to tragedy in under six minutes. There were some memorable performances.

One of these worth mentioning was a skit called “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged]” performed Cole Winslow and Steven Amaral. It was a Shakespeare satire that had me laughing the entire time along with the rest of the audience. One line, Steven said “Call me but love and…” he continued on with mushy gushy words about passion, where Cole replied “Fine, I shall call you ‘Butt Love’.”

Another performance that I found to be quite strong and at a moment shocking was “Ruined” performed by Taylor Vaughn and Tiffanie Mack. This piece was about an African woman telling a story to a friend about how soldiers beat her and molested her in front of her daughter Beatrice, who was then stomped to death by a soldier. The sadness and vividness on Taylor’s face hit me right in the heart.

The only critique I would have is that some of the acting partners were better than the nominees themselves. There was a duo who I thought the partner WAS the nominee, until the actual nominee came out later and sang for the audience.

When I was taking drama in high school, we did a lot of older plays and musicals which put a distaste in my mouth for Theater. After watching some Modern Day performances and material at the showcase last night, I am glad to say that Theater is not lame… sometimes.

Thank You for reading! Check out my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesday mornings at 8 only on http://www.kssu.com!

DJGingerbeard

Album Review: “The Night God Slept” by Silent Planet


SP.CoverThe very first song I heard from Silent Planet was “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir) off their EP titled “Lastsleep (1944-1946)” was love at first listen. I thought, “Gee, these guys already sound experienced and professional.” Turns out, they have only released a demo CD and one self-recorded EP. The album that just came out titled “The Night God Slept” is their first album- ever. Silent Planet is a Christian Metalcore band from Los Angeles. Although they are christian, they do not like to have labels on them and during an interview, their guitar player claimed that they do not want to play in churches, “but we want to play for the broken.” The link to the interview is at the bottom. With this new album, Silent Planet has been signed to Solid State Records and already have some recognition. Bands like For Today and August Burns Red are backing up the release of this new album and on eight of the eleven tracks there are featured christian artists. Silent Planet is coming into 2015 hot with no signs of braking.

Let’s break this album down real quick. First off, the lyrics are amazing. All the lyrics are direct quotes, paraphrases, or interpretations by the vocalist of other sources. These sources include philosophical books, historical events, the Bible, and many more other things. Not only that, but the lyrics all flow together around a central main idea while also remaining connected to all listeners. All instruments at one point do show their max amount of talent, but they remain humble when needed. The instruments are not focused on being the heaviest or most technical, but they are very talented and get crazy at times. The keep the song entertaining while also complementing the vocalist. Also, one of the guitar players sings to bring in that “clean” aspect to the Metalcore genre. By the way, it is good singing not like a girly man kind of singing either.

My favorite songs (in order of appearance) are XX (City Grave), Native Blood, Tiny Hands (Au Revoir), and Wasteland. “XX (City Grave) talks about the objectification of women as sexual beings instead of equals to men and how that is wrong. The song explains how we should treat all women as sisters and abolish pornography, regardless of profit being lost or desires that men have. “Native Blood” is about how Native Americans were kicked out their land by people who claimed to be Servants of God. Silent Planet retaliated against the idea of the settlers being servants by explaining what it really is to be a Servant. They then compare the idea of False Servant-hood to most preachers today. “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir)” is a Holocaust survival story about a Jewish woman who escaped a Synagogue being burned by Nazis by jumping out a giant window into a garden. There are also topics such as the Garden of Eden and the existence of both forces of Good and Evil. Finally, the song “Wasteland”. This song is about the rise of Joseph Stalin and his attempt to abolish God completely, making himself the new supreme figurehead that everyone are supposed to worship. The song also looks at the lives of the soldiers under Stalin who were dying unnecessary deaths after losing their faith on the battle field, hence the name “Wasteland”.

I can go on and on, but you should go check it out for yourself. I highly recommend that you check out the album playlist on youtube (which I have provided a link) and read the lyrics while the songs are playing. I promise you will not regret it and your mind will be blown.

Thanks for reading! If you want to hear more music like Silent Planet and other great artists, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesdays at 8am on http://www.kssu.com

Much Love, DJGingerbeard

Links:

Playlist= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d9HHQqtguY&list=PLCslpjrb7cYjhht_4wASD6IGoivkLfD-z&index=10

interview= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi_VYGnuHl8

Christmas, Cheese Balls, and the Crayon Incident


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Every Christmas season is pretty much the same for me. One side of the family gets together at one location on Christmas Eve, and the other side gets together somewhere else on Christmas day. Both sides love each other, but come on, there are a lot of us and most of them are old. Here are a few iconic holiday things that cease to disappear every year.

The infamous Cheese Ball. I have no idea what Grandma Sonja puts in it, but as soon as she whips that bad boy out with some Ritz crackers, all Hell breaks loose. Most relatives attack it head on, trying to make small talk to distract their adversaries from the heavenly cheese sphere. Me, I wait, because after they have their fill, I can indulge calmly and take my time with the ball of cheese.

Wii Sports. Again, most of my relatives are older and they want to connect with us young folk. One thing they always do when they visit is challenge us to games in Wii Sports games. My Grandma (same one who plants the deadly cheese ball) claims she used to be a professional bowler. She wins most of the time on the Wii, but as soon as someone gets ahead of her, the old “this dang remote is acting up on me” excuse flies out her mouth. Grandma is great.

Christmas Eve Skate Session. Every year, my father and I head out to a skate park and rip it up on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we have a lot of people, sometimes it is just us. This year we will be chillin’ and killin’ out in Cordelia with about fifteen other skaters. What better way to celebrate the holiday you love by doing what you love?

The Crayon Incident. This only happened once, but it gets reminded every year. So here I was, sitting across the cards table from my Uncle Dan. The table is in the middle of the living room with chairs and couches around the bottom of it so people not playing cards can watch TV. Behind my Uncle is kitchen which is open to the living room. He and I were sitting watching TV because the other seats were taken up. I’m just relaxing, and I hear somebody rip one, like a long one. Every one instantly blames me because I was a teenage boy who leaked like a gas line, BUT it wasn’t me, it was my Uncle. He got red-faced and started busting up laughing and in an attempt to waft the fart away with a  box of crayons, the whole box opened up. We got methane in the air, crayons flying everywhere, people on their knees laughing, my cousin gasping for air as she laughs with cheese ball in her mouth, and I am in the middle of the chaos. The Crayon Incident.

Thanks for reading, check out my last show of the semester this Thursday at 9 am on kssu.com!

Happy Holidays, DJGingerbeard