Saturday, August 24, 2013

Metal music

I like to listen to a wide variety of music, including sometimes a healthy craving for metal. My cravings for metal come and go. I have such a craving at the moment. Some of the albums that I'm devouring are:
  • Amon Amarth' album Surtur Rising
  • Trivium's album Shogun
  • In Flames' album Come Clarity
  • Killswitch Engage's album Alive Or Just Breathing
  • Metallica's album ...And Justice For All
  • Machine Heads's album Through The Ashes Of Empires
  • Mastodon's album Crack The Skye
  • Atreyu's album A Death-Grip On Yesterday
  • Avenged Sevenfold's album Nightmare
  • Bring Me The Horizon's album There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret
  • Children Of Bodon's album Blooddrunk
  • Lamb Of God's album Ashes Of The Wake
  • Five Finger Death Punch's album War Is The Answer
  • Hatebreed's album The Rise Of Brutality
  • DevilDriver's album Pray For Villains
  • Cradle Of Filth's album Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder
  • Bleeding Through's album Declaration
  • Arch Enemy's album Doomsday Machine
  • Chimaira's album The Impossibility Of Reason
  • The Defiled's album Grave Times
  • Korn's album Korn III: Remember Who You Are
  • Megadeth's album Endgame
  • Opeth's album Watershed
  • Pantera's album Far Beyond Driven
  • Slayer's album World Painted Blood 
  • Slipknot's album All Hope Is Gone
  • Still Remain's album The Serpent
  • System Of A Down's album Mezmerise
  • Wolf's album The Black Flame
  • Walls Of Jericho's album The American Dream
There seem to be lots of sub-genres of metal, too many for me to attempt to spell out. Wikipedia (or Encyclopaedia Metallum) might be a good guide if you want to know more, I've just tried here to pull out the harder material I like. I have left out many bands whose music I like but who I feel are a lot softer than the lot above - that's not to say the bands above only put out hard and fast material, a lot of it is melodic and there are quieter moments in some of the albums above. I hate classifying metal into sub-genres anyway. My simple mind can't take it.

The Hobbit

Well I finally watched The Hobbit this evening, what a film! It was one of those rare times when a film is long but you don't feel that it was unnecessarily long. No point did I think it dragged on. It held my attention for the whole of the film. I hope the other two films in the series are similarly paced.
Whilst I haven't read The Lord of the Rings, I have read The Hobbit. I believe the story is fantastic, I enjoyed it when I read it for myself and I've enjoyed reading it to my children. It is often known as a children's bestseller but I think it's part of that slim collection of books that are equally enjoyable to children and adults. The book cover of the version I first read is depicted below. The version my children have is different, the second cover below is the one my brother had  - the first cover of the story I saw.
Back to the film, I liked it and thought the casting was as excellent as that of the LOFTR films. If you haven't seen the film, it is one I would recommend but I would say if you have no interest in any of the Tolkien stories then firstly why are you reading my blog and secondly you probably have no intention of seeing the film and I don't think it's for you. That said, for everyone else, I say it's a great film.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Football Season Starts 17 August

I like the start of sporting seasons, like the start of the Premiership football competition in England, which starts on Saturday. I don't know why I like the start of the season, it's not like I continue through the rest of the season. I tend to give up following teams by Christmas. I guess there is something comforting about the start of the new season. New players. A fresh beginning with the hope before us that this might be the year that my team actually does well. Actually, last year's season was a pretty good one for my team - probably the best year since some time during the seventies infact, so I shouldn't allow this year's expectations to run away with me. My team is West Brom and they face Southampton on Saturday at 3pm. I'm hoping for a win to start the season on good terms. Our great midfielder Zoltan Gera has been released from his contract, which is a big downer. For an upper we have Frenchman Nicolas Anelka playing for us, he played for Juventas recently and was top scorer in the 2008-9 season. He is 34 now, so lets hope he has the legs because it's not experience he lacks. Team page at the BBC.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reading comics again

Over the course of several months this year I've been getting in to a bit of comic reading. I've liked the X-Men for a while and have started reading a title called All New X-Men since issue 1. I've done the same for a sister title called Uncanny X-Men. They are both Marvel comics and the good thing with them is that you get a digital edition code so you can redeem a digital copy free from if you purchase the print version, I think this is a good deal because the digital version gives you a different perspective and sometimes you notice things you didn't spot in the print version. I've also started reading a DC Comics series called Superman Unchained from issue 1.

It's been years since I read any comics, I used to read quite a few in my youth but they were mostly British comics when circulations were very healthy. It's a shame that the circulation of British comics fell drastically. I found a few comics from the 1980s that I picked up at my mom and dad's house earlier this year, these were DC Comics but to be honest I don't think they're worth anything because I understand DC printed too many and weren't really recouping the money they needed. So I hope I'm contributing to a revival of the comic medium.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

August began in good form when I took my son to see the last Star Trek movie Into Darkness. We had watched the first movie a couple of days before and he enjoyed it (which was something of a relief as I had already bought the tickets). The new film didn't disappoint, it was really great that they had the same cast as crew members - it really helps us to understand why the characters like each other and empathise with them. The action was thick and fast and the special effects were amazing. I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it even to non-Star Trek fans.
It has been at big cinemas a while and is not new any more but our most local cinema is in a council run library/theatre building. So it is typically later when movies are shown locally and even then there are no guarantees that all the films I'd like to see are shown. But the cinema goers tend to be quieter and more mature than those going to multiplex ones, certainly for evening showings. I've got tickets to see Man of Steel next. 

Standby switch

I've been on holiday for two lovely weeks. I didn't do the blogging I thought I would or any catching up for work. It's like I've been on standby. It's what I've needed though, that's the point of holidays in my opinion. Just because I've been at home it doesn't mean I can't switch off. Well, it's not quite a total switch off. As my wife is a teacher, she has to use the time I'm at home to catch up with her work for the new term, instead of entertaining our kids. So I've watched films, played video games with the kids and done a fair amount of leisure reading. We didn't do the day trips thing, partially because of feeling a bit broke after ordering a new fridge for the kitchen and a new bed for my son but also the kids were happy just to potter about going swimming and stuff. Tomorrow my standby switch gets hit and I go back to work and the real world.


I stumbled upon this song this week and really enjoyed it, so thought it was worth sharing with you. I love Lindsay's violin, it really adds something special and the vocals by Pentatonix are just delicious. I believe it is a cover but don't know who the original artist was. This version is cool though.