Monthly Archives: May 2016

Slipknot Tuesday

Hello and welcome to a Slipknot Tuesday. It’s my 3rd annual Slipknot post, outside of reviewing or retro reviewing one of their albums. This post is simply to comment on how one of my favourite metal bands is doing from 366 days ago. The following are my own opinions and I don’t give a shit what anybody else thinks.
Since the last post they have continued touring .5: The Gray Chapter and things seem to be going alright. It is also the 6th anniversary of the death of basest Paul Gray and if you think about it, the band hasn’t been the same since.
When Paul died there was some talk about whether Slipknot was to continue and thankfully, they have. However 3 years later, drummer Joey Jordison was fired from the band, for the bands reasons. Corey has said that they going about it the right way, in order to be able to talk about why he was kicked out of the band he co-founded, along with Paul Gray and Shawn Crahan, better known as Clown. I think that they should try to patch things up and grow up and reunite. You can’t really replace Paul Gray but Joey Jordison brings his drumming style to the table and nobody else can coppy it and make it sound like Slipknot.

Now that I’ve mentioned Joey no longer being in the band, I have changed my review of .5: The Gray Chapter too. I gave it 10 out of 10 for being a Slipknot album and now, it has dropped significantly. It sounds like Slipknot only because Corey Taylor is still the vocalist but other than that, most of the album sounds nothing like what Slipknot should sound like. For example: the song Lech sounds less metal and more punk. The track Custer sounds way too much fun to be a Slipknot song and fun is not what Slipknot is about. It is about letting out all your anger and going nuts without any regard for yourself or other people. This goes for the band and the fans and I think that has been toned down somewhat, even if it is inadvertently so.
Something else I have been thinking about for a while is the trend towards songs which have acoustic guitars or conventional song structure to them. When Slipknot released their debut album in 1999, this was not what the band was about musically. I think that the influences that have come from outside projects other members have been involved with have confused the sound and some rather uninformed fans. For example: The Devil And I was thought to sound like Corey Taylor’s other band Stone Sour and both Corey and myself agree that it doesn’t at all and is purely a Slipknot song. The difference is that there is less double kick drum in the songs Corey writes for Stone Sour then what he writes with Slipknot. The other thing is that the song is in the key of a, which is not a typical key signature for any Stone Sour song. The exception to this is the song Red City from House Of Golden Bone PT 2 but that is rare. I hope that at some point, Slipknot decides to drop the acoustic guitars and just concentrate on playing heavy, thrashing, angry and violent music. This slow trippy stuff is fine but I would rather hear stuff like Sic or Eyeless then a song like Killpop or Snuff. Not that those songs are bad, they just don’t fit into how Slipknot started and how they should stay, in my opinion. I have all their albums and I know what I’m talking about.
As for the members, well, Corey Taylor has released another book and his other band Stone Sour are continuing to release the Burbank Trilogy., I’m sure everyone else in the band has other things on the side and can go back to them, when Slipknot goes on hiatus again. As for Joey Jordison, I really hope that he and the band try to patch things up and get back together. Then maybe, we can get back to the next Slipknot album sounding more like Slipknot, the whole way through. don’t get me wrong, I like Jay Weinberg as a drummer but he is not Joey. There is a certain feel that Joey has when he is playing and it makes Slipknot sound like they have, before .5: The Gray Chapter. Jay is close and The Negative One is a great song but I would like to hear Joey playing the same beats and fills. I think he would make the song sound even more like what Slipknot should sound like and that’s that. As for Joey, I think he also has to be less of a creative force and allow more of the other people room to have their say on future material. Maybe they have but I hear too much Joey on a song like Dead Memories. It reminds me of a song like Tired And Lonely, which appeared on the Road Runner United compilation back in 2005. If you have bothe the compilation and All Hope Is Gone, just take a listen and you will understand what I’m talking about. However, I also think that Joey is a great song writer and has given us great songs like the aforementioned Dead Memories and others, which he had a hand in writing on the first 4 albums.
Well, that’s about it for this years Slipknot post, unless a new album comes out. I have heard that it may be a concept album and that is a bit worrisome because that may take Slipknot into a less metal direction and into a more arch rock for progressive rock direction. Again, not that it’s bad… It’s just not what I would like them to do. I’ve said what I would like them to do above and if they have other ideas, I’ll follow but I may not necessarily like them screwing around with their sound. Obviously it’s good to develop and expand but please don’t forget where you came from. Slipknot are a metal band, with other elements which make up the sound. They have had 3 albums under their belt, in which they have expanded on their original sound and it is time for them to go back and kick ass, on record as well as live. The only thing I hope they will do that is in any way a nodd to pop culture is to appear on The Simpsoons. for Bart. Hay, Lady GaGa did for Lisa, so why not Slipknot for the character who loves to be a pain in the ass to people who are in a position of power.

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Happy Belated Birthday

Hi friends. It’s better late than never to wish a happy belated b-day to Trent Reznor, who basically is Nine Inch Nails. He has been one of my favourite artists since 1994. He showed me that electronic music doesn’t have to be all bouncy drip, drip, drip. You can make it harder by distorting vocals and other sounds can be added, like the electric guitar.
I first heard Nine Inch Nails during a radio spot for a show with them on a bill with Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson. The first snippets of songs I heard was from March Of The Pigs and Head Like A Hole, highlighting the heavier parts of both songs. I went out and bought The Downward Spiral in December of that year and apart from the music, the packaging made me stand up and take notice. It was packaged in a Jewel case fit for a CD single, with the booklet in a cardboard package. Everything else I had bought, with the exception of Pretty Hate Machine, Further Down The Spiral and Things Falling Apart were packaged in anything but a Jewel case.
Now, the music is something else to talk about altogether. I mentioned earlier that he has added distorted vocals to the mix but he has used distortion in general as a creative tool, to enhance the mood of The music. He has even used instruments that wouldn’t be normally heard on a Nine Inch Nails album like: slide guitar and strings. The Great Below, which appears on the 1999 album The Fragile is interesting in that the singing is still Trent’s usual style but it is more melodic and the instrumentation reflects it.
When he writes instrumentals he likes to use out of tune melodies and notes, probably to enhance the mood of the music or for his own, or the listeners amusement. The all instrumental album Ghosts I-IV has loads of examples of this. It drives me crazy to hear that but I can let it go with Trent because if you think about it, it does add a rather strange element to the song, not to mention a peculiar dissonance to it. 
As a singer, Trent can sing a decent pop song if he wants but he doesn’t have to and he doesn’t. The closest he has come so far to singing normally is the song Find My Way from his 2013 album Hesitation Marks. He even goes into an almost bluesy vocal at times, which doesn’t bother me at all. I grew up on classic rock and Trent has covered such bands as Garry Newman and  Queen and sampled Queen a couple of times.
Speaking of sampling, I don’t hear that many obvious samples in Nine Inch Nails music, with the exception of the funky drum sample used in Perfect Drug, in the form of the Amen Break and his remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans by David Bowie. The only other obvious samples I can hear are from David Bowie in two remixes for Mr. Self Distruct and at the end of a remix of Head Like A Whole, where he samples Body Language by Queen. Oh, he even covers Get Down Make Love by Queen too, in a style more in step with where Nine Inch Nails was going musically. He even sampled both the song itself and the ending guitar of We Will Rock You at the end of the song, which I thought was kinda cool.
As for the remixes and remix albums he has released, I don’t have any problem with them. I’m actually more interested in remixes he has done for other artists. I have 2 from David Bowie: I’m Afraid Of Americans (NIN V.1 Mix) and The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Trent Reznor Alternative Mix). I like the remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans better than the original and the remix of The Hearts Filthy Lesson brings out more of the vocals in spots. If you know the song, you know what I’m talking about. You can find the original and the remix on David Bowie’s 1. Outside (Expanded Adition). You can find the original and remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans on the expanded Adition of David Bowie’s Earthling album and also on the iTunes version of the album, as a bonus track. However it isn’t listed as such on the normal Adition of the album.
As for his production credits, I haven’t actually bought that many of the albums he has produced over the years. The one that stands out for me, despite not being a big cellar and remembered by many people is the album by Two called Voyeurs with former Judas Priest and Fight vocalist at the time Rob Halford was pretty cool too. It’s a shame that it didn’t do as well as it should have but unfortunately, it didn’t have any Classic Halford operatic high-pitched vocals on it and the vocal style and dialect was unlike what Rob Halford would use normally. He actually stayed for the most part in a baritone range.  That may have been both the band and albums Achilles’ heel but I thought it was coo, bringing both the Trent Reznor production, together with the classic voice of Rob Halford. I think it should be rereleased on iTunes worldwide, just because. 
My favourite albums by Nine Inch Nails are a bit hard to pin down because they all have their moments of glory for me. However, if I had to pick 3 I would have to pick: Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile, with honourable mention going to Year 0. I would have loved to have listed Broken as an album but it is only an EP but is still great in its own right.
As for books on Nine Inch Nails, my favourite and only comprehensive look at the band and Trent Reznor outside of Wikipedia  is done by Canadian radio host  Alan Cross. Just look up either Alan Cross or Nine Inch Nails on iTunes and you may find the audiobook. I learned more about Trent than I ever did with Wikipedia or hearing about Nine Inch Nails on the radio.
Well, that’s all I can say about Trent Reznor at the moment. For my Simpsons fans, check out my new Simpsons blog Simpsons Sunday at https://simsonssunday.wordpress.com/ and I did mention Trent last year during one of my Simpsons Sunday posts in this blog too. In fact, I published it when Trent turned 50.
Anyway, I hope that Trent had a great birthday on Tuesday and the wife and kids are doing great too.

Apartment Life Out Of My Control

hello friends. Do you live in an apartment? Are you living in an apartment with renovations going on which you had not asked for? Well if so, this post will resonate with you. Why? Because, I’m living in an apartment with renovations going on and I am suffering for it.
first of all, I should mention again that I am blind and this will become more clear why I mention it as you read this post. Right now, I’m living in an apartment with no heat and a whole in my carpet of my bedroom floor. I will explain all of this in the next paragraph.
Last summer I published a post about what was going to be taking place, as far as the renovations are concerned. I have lived here for 16 years and have gone through this before but this is probably my worst. The management of Toronto Comunity Housing Corporation have finally decided to put in new heating and cooling systems because currently, we can’t control the heat in our units. Obviously this is a great idea but there are many bumps along the road, which could have been avoided if this was looked into much more in depth before hand. For example: the wiring in the floor should’ve been considered and where the wiring was placed. In my case, The work on my unit was partially started back in February, when contractors came in here and try to do some coring. This means they were trying to cut out a piece of the floor so they could later on instal a new heating and cooling system in my bedroom. what someone did not check into was that there was some electrical wiring inside the floor of my bedroom, long before I moved in here even. So, I have no heat and I’m sleeping in a cold bedroom and living in a cold apartment. this is because the heat was turned off because it is now a month of May, which is usually much warmer than it is right now in Canada. However, it has been a rather cool spring so far and we even had Snow pellets a couple days ago, when we should’ve been basking in sunshine and warmer temperatures. So, as you can guess, I and some others are suffering for it and it feels like it would if it was the middle of winter inside our units. What I mean is that the temperature is as cool indoors as it would be if it was much more winter like outside.
Something else that has been a part of this is that when you try to tell someone something they interpreted something else completely. For example: when I was asked about the work that I had previously mentioned I had told them it was electrical issues that had stalled it. Someone decided that it had to do with plumming and in their infinite wisdom, took off the end of my kitchen sink faucet. There was no need for this however, the water just comes out faster, filling up the sink quicker. I can wash dishes in less time but this does not change the fact that the work to instal the new heating and cooling system in my apartment hasn’t been completed yet. Also, the last time I checked, plumbing and electrical are spelled differently and one has to do with electricity and the other has to do with water. As I see it, if you are a contractor you have to have some sort of education, requiring you to be able to spellelectrical and plumbing and to distinguish between the two. To my knowledge, they are completely different words and are connected to different parts of the hydro line… one is for electricity and the other is for water. Is that so hard to comprehend?
Something else that is a part of this is getting around the building and going outside. The last couple of times I have gone through this a fence had been put up to guard against falling objects or something or other. I don’t know for sure so I’m not going to comment too much on that. However, it has been a bitch trying to get in and out of the building without running into an obstacle course. However, so far it hasn’t been as bad as it has been in the past. Back in 2009 it was much worse in that I had to go out on the street to get to the bus stop just outside the apartment. But, I will say that I’ve been lucky so far and it has been relatively easy to get around this time. It’s still doesn’t change the fact that work has yet to be completed on my unit.
One more thing to complain about and this is how notices have been delivered to me. When I had heard about the work that was starting back in July of last year, I had asked to be emailed when people would come in to do any work on my apartment. I was also promised that I would receive such emails to this affect. However, I have not and there is no excuse for it. The buildings management has my information on file, including my email address because when I renew my lease my email is one of the things I make sure is included, along with other contact information. I think that emails should be mandatory as notices in this day and age and everyone who has anything that allows for the reading and sending of emails should ask their apartments management to send out emails as notices, for anything to do with where you live. This will also cut down on paper notices and will result in killing less trees, in order to send out the latest information on what is happening in our dwelling unit or in the apartment block itself. All relevant information should be accessible to all, whether they can read print or not and I am one of those who cannot but do use email regularly.
The other reason I have requested this is because I may not always be here when things are scheduled to be done the next day, after a notice is sent. I have other things on the go, like this blog and other things that require me to be out of the building. So, my life does not and should not revolve around where I live. As far as I’m concerned, I only live, eat and sleep here and do not wish to get involved with other people’s problems in my apartment. However, other people are helpfull when I need something read out to me, which is in print. But I otherwise wish to be left alone and keep to myself as much As I can. I also mentioned that when I was told about the renovations initially and they seem to understand that. However, now I think differently about that because of everything I said above. Is it me or am I starting to sound like Louis black? we both are irritated by stupidity and unfortunately, stupidity has ruled the roost with this round of renovations. I’m not alone complaining about the lack of work being done because I’ve heard other people complain about it, while I’ve been on the bus on the way home from doing something. They’ve said the work has been shoddy so far and I won’t go that far but I will say that the work is been started but not finished. Hopefully, this will be finished sooner rather than later and we can get back to living our normal lives.