Rebellious Rabble Radio Anthems and inspiration for the downtrodden. <![CDATA[ All Apologies? Good, Because One is Necessary]]>
We know, Kurt Cobain, believe you me, we KNOW. Over the years of Nirvana's dominance, you've made that abundantly fucking clear.

That little snippet is the opening line of "Serve the Servants," the first song from Nirvana's final album, In Utero. It really sums up a lot of Cobain's attitude. Nirvana's success got him a lot of nice things, but he thought the band had reached its creative peak, and the adulation he got was coming from an enormous audience he didn't particularly like. He made music all angsty on Nevermind, which sold a lot and made him a ton of money, but what next?

Well, if several songs on In Utero are any indication, apparently what came next was laying his anguished screaming in many layers of computer noise. Of course, it was the early 90's, when we were all fascinated by these cool little magic boxes, so this shouldn't be some kind of great shock. We used them a lot in movies, after all, and hell, every movie in the 90's had a tech-savvy computer wizard - morals optional - who could solve every problem from war to hunger by hacking into the right computer. So why not engage in a little sonic experimentation with com-poo-tohrs? This electronic screaming flat out destroys "Scentless Apprentice," which is a shame because the live version of "Scentless Apprentice" is so awesome. It can be heard on From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.

Cobain doesn't waste any time presenting us with the screaming broken guitar routine either. That sucker is dominant throughout In Utero, and it never has any twists or turns that are able to suddenly make it listenable. Well, In Utero was an album that Nirvana said was going to weed out the true fans from the posers or some such. In other words, it was made to alienate listeners. The Screaming Broken Guitar is definitely a step in the proper direction if that was the point. The first two songs ought to weed out plenty of listeners expecting a Nevermind rerun. "Serve the Servants" is a fairly decent song, but not what fans of Nevermind had come to expect from Nirvana. "Scentless Apprentice" is the perfect storm of awful, and includes all the hallmarks of the things that suck about Nirvana: High, screaming, broken guitars, electronically layered screaming, and many moments of quick off-noting. I think it's meant to give In Utero a rough feel, but it doesn't work, and it in fact feeds into my impression of Kurt Cobain being the world's earliest hipster; he paid attention to whatever was mainstream for the sole purpose of doing the opposite. The random breaks in "Scentless Apprentice" come off as a little too convenient to not be strategically placed.

"Heart-Shaped Box" is the first sign of competency and coherency on In Utero. If Nirvana were a hair band from the 80's, "Heart-Shaped Box" would be the power ballad they would have released in the second act of their flashpan superstardom. It's darker than the ballads of the 80's and more stripped down to bare basics, of course, and I have trouble believing it's even a love song. I can't figure out what it's about. What it is, though, is the first sign that there's going to be some real audial highs to come off the album. "Rape Me" follows through on the promise of "Heart-Shaped Box" and also brings back the Nevermind sound buyers of In Utero were presumably hoping to hear more of.

For all the prettiness delivered by In Utero, however, consistency is something Nirvana can never seem to get a real grasp of. Take "Pennyroyal Tea" for example. This is one of the most underrated songs Nirvana ever recorded, and one which earned a slot in the band's famous Unplugged in New York set. It's a great song, but it seems almost at war with itself, giving us acoustic verses and electric hooks. The extremes don't mesh well, and the band never really seems to settle on a direction it wants to take the song.

That describes the very contrasting experience of trying to listen to In Utero. There's a lot of amazing music on the album, but also a lot of unlistenable shit. Cobain complained that Nirvana's first album, Bleach, was choppy, but that album is at least streamlined in some odd way by its blandness. One minute you're listening to "All Apologies," arguably the very culmination of everything Nirvana was capable of doing. The next, you're listening to "tourette's," the longest 95 seconds of rhythmic screaming and electronic noises you could ever be subjected to. In Utero doesn't start trying to forge any real identity for itself until "Rape Me," which is the fourth song on the album, and even when it does, it seems to periodically jump and hiccup. "Milk It" is aggressively bad, for example, and it highlights everything bad I think about the band - incoherent mumbles, rhythmic screaming, no real musical chord. "Francis Farmer Wll Have Her Revenge on Seattle," in spite of the occasional high-sqealing guitar, has a hard hook, memorable vocals, and a great bassline.

I wouldn't have a problem with inconsistency if In Utero had more songs worth listening to. But a large chunk of In Utero sounds a little like it's trying to rip itself off to some point. "Scentless Apprentice," and "tourette's" seem to suffer from that weird AC/DC syndrome where they have a suspicious amount in common and you start to think the band got stuck for ideas. "Very Ape" sounds like one of Nirvana's older songs, "Breed." "Dumb" has the same problem; it comes off as more than a passing version of "Polly" from Nevermind. "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" is endless drowned vocals, broken guitars (if you're sensing my theme of hating the broken guitar, you've got me pegged), and general nonsensical and meandering instrumentals. While it does feature one of Dave Grohl's more emotive drum performances, it isn't nearly enough to rescue the song.

Nirvana wanted to go back to roots. They wanted to drive fans away and experiment. Musical experiments, however, don't necessarily mean forgetting how to play the damned instruments. It Utero has some powerful and poignant pieces, but it's not as streamlined as Bleach, the band's notoriously weird first album. It's certainly nowhere near the atmosphere Nevermind is lounging in. It constantly amazes me how rock critics are still lined up in an eternal contest to fawn the most over Nirvana and come up with the most creative justification for lionizing a band that gets more credit than it really deserves. It Utero gets a very reluctant recommendation for the sake of completing a Nirvana collection for its good moments. You won't miss much by passing on it, unless the electric version of "Pennyroyal Tea" is that important to you.]]> Sat, 9 Nov 2013 17:03:33 +0000
<![CDATA[John Lennon Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Mon, 5 Aug 2013 13:32:58 +0000 <![CDATA[Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Rage Against the Machine's follow-up to their 1992 debut (which wasn't anything great) dissapoints even more, and is a prime example as to why I think so many of the mainstream bands in the 90's are all fluff and no stuff.  While their debut at least had some good rock riffs and solos here and there, "Evil Empire" throws those away and trades them in for oddly-crafted riffs and solos that don't sound much like anything.

Zach's rapping got even more annoying and the songs sound even more like goofy, politically-charged noise.  Not even Timmy C.'s bass is any good here, since the "funk" tone in the previous album is totally absent here.

This is just another baseless slab of mainstream 90's MTV music, avoid.

]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 02:36:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ A favorite in my teenage years that hasn't aged well. 48%]]> If you traveled back into the late 90's and early 00's, and asked me what favorite band was, I'd quickly answer Rage Against the Machine. Especially around 2002 up to around 2004, I drank up the Kool-Aid and bought into their political views and thought their music was the epitome of metal music (little did I know that I was terribly mistaken into thinking that RATM was a metal band). I thought RATM's lyrics were the gospel of truth, and took up a textbook liberal agenda. I'm glad that around 2005 and '06 that I quit drinking the RATM Kool-Aid, started listening to REAL metal music, and have a more moderate political perspective. Anyway, on to the review.


To be fair, this album is one of the more tolerable rap-metal albums out there, certainly above the likes of Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Hollywood Undead, Papa Roach, Crazytown, and even Biohazard. Though even with that taken into account, this album is mediocre at best.




Zach de la Rocha is the weakest link on this album. His attempts at rapping are pretty laughable, as he's pretty nasally and melodramatic in his delivery. He was much better suited in the hardcore band Inside Out. I think Zach performs best when he's not trying to rap and calms down a little. I think some of his most annoying moments on this album are the last few minutes in “Killing in the Name,” most of “Bombtrack,” and most of “Fistful of Steel.” Zach actually does well in the song “Settle for Nothing,” as it shows that he can deliver angry yet competent vocals that actually vary in emotion.


The rhythm section is competent, and I especially like Timmy C.'s bass. I really dig the funky tone he brings to a lot of songs. Tim's best bass is on the songs “Take the Power Back” (which reminded me a bit of the Seinfeld theme) and the first minute or so of “Know Your Enemy.” It's a shame that Tim played in this band, because I think he'd be a good fit in a funk-jazz fusion band or even a well-done funk-rock band.


I have some mixed feelings about Tom Morello. He's fairly competent, but he's way, way overrated as a guitarist. Out of all his guitar performances in Rage Against the Machine's career, I'd have to say that he does his best in this album, since this was before he fully embraced his signature “whammy peddle/goofy sound effects” type of guitar solos and delivered more traditional solos that actually sound quite good. Yes, I know that Morello's brand of guitar solos is supposed to be “unique,” but unique doesn't always equal good. In songs like “Killing in the Name” and “Bullet in the Head” that have the “noise” solos, they just sound goofy. However, in songs like “Take the Power Back” and “Township Rebellion,” Morello shows that he can make some cool solos. There's been debate that the main riff in “Wake Up” is ripped from Led Zeppelin's “Kashmir,” and I'm inclined to believe that Morello was feeling lazy that day and decided to rip off the LZ song (though I can make a separate argument that Led Zeppelin ripped off a lot of old blues musicians, but that's another kettle of fish).


Brad Wilk's drumming is okay. He establishes a competent rhythm, though not many of his performances have struck out at me. Though I guess the end of “Killing in the Name” has a good delivery of aggressive beats.




The quality of the songs on this album is all over the place. “Settle for Nothing” is easily the best song on this album. It's actually reserved and shows good use of dynamics in emotion and tone. Not many RATM fans seem to like this song, but I quite like it. The band shifts from more quiet openings to exploding into some corrosive hard rock, that actually features a tuneful guitar solo in the last quarter of the song. It's also refreshing to hear Zach not rap. “Township Rebellion” is also pretty solid, as it's one of the stronger “aggressive” songs on here, and the solo in it is awesome.


“Take the Power Back” is a middle-ground song since the instrumental work is really solid in this one, but Zach's vocals kinda bring it down (though these are more tolerable than in some other songs).


The rest of the songs just seem mediocre. “Bombtrack,” “Killing in the Name,” “Bullet in the Head,” and “Know Your Enemy” are fan favorites, but these aren't terribly good. It's just too goofy to hear Zach rap “Yo, it's just another bombtrack!” and while I'm not the least bit offended by profanity, the last moments in “Killing in the Name” overuses the f-bomb to the point where it looses its punch pretty fast. “Know Your Enemy” is a pretty annoying song, especially with the guest vocals by Maynard James Keenan of Tool fame, and the fact that the riffs just seem phoned-in. “Bullet in the Head” is another song with bland riffage and annoying guitar screeches. “Fistful of Steel” has competent instrumental work, but this one has some of Zach's more obnoxious vocals in this one, though the solo is pretty cool. “Wake Up” is famous for being featured at the end of The Matrix (yuck), and it's probably my least favorite song on the album as it has clear riff plagiarism from Led Zeppelin's “Kashmir” and the instrumental work is annoying. “Freedom” is the album closer, and while being more varied in tone, it's just kinda so-so. The song is famous for the quiet sections of Zach saying “Anger is a gift.” Someone should have told him to use it wisely.




This album has a good production and sound quality to it. Everything comes in crystal clear, and the accent to Timmy C.'s slap bass helps to make the album tolerable in some points.




Keep in mind that I'm not adding or deducing points with the politics in this album, I'm just elaborating on the phoniness of them. I think it's funny that RATM has spent their career screaming their political agendas at the top of their lungs, claiming to be among those who are standing up to big corporations and the system, yet they were making money hand over fist with the help of big corporations and taking full advantage of the freedoms provided by the system. It also doesn't help that most of the people in the band (particularly Zach de la Rocha) came from pretty wealthy upbringings, making their messages about justice and oppression seem so phony.


Compare that to the fiery music and lyrics penned by Napalm Death circa 1985 and '86, when the band at the time consisted of three lower-middle class angry teenagers from Birmingham, England. To me, their politically-charged music and lyrics from early Napalm Death feel more authentic and genuine, while the politically-charged music from RATM feels fake in comparison.


I know that Tom Morello said in interviews that they signed to a major label to quickly get their message across to a wide audience, but even with that in account, if these guys really cared about their political agenda, they would have only kept enough of their earnings to live a middle class life, using the rest to fund organizations they believe in.



This is NOT the angry, politically-charged hard rock masterpiece Sony, MTV, and Rolling Stone magazine wants you to think it is. If you want politically-charged albums that are either more convincing in their political/social views or just makes much better music, invest your time and money on these instead.


Ice Cube: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted

Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back

Living Colour: Vivid

Napalm Death: Scum

Fall of Because: Life is Easy

Discharge: Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

]]> Mon, 15 Oct 2012 05:09:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Aenima: A fraudulent, boring, and juvenille album. 17%]]>
Listening to this album as an adult, I can't help but get infuriated by it. This album infuriates me because aside from sounding so drab for being a “heavy” rock band, it totally reeks of dishonesty for the fact that it's marketed as an intelligent slab of music yet it tightly-clings to such juvenille aesthetics that don't gel at all with aesthetics that are supposed to be “higher class.” Even if the juvenille lyrics in some songs are supposed to be ironic humor, it didn't work because I'm not laughing.


While many of the musicians here have some instrumental talent by themselves, they don't win much points from me because they don't craft much music on this album that I actually like.

Maynard James Keenan is an extremely overrated singer. His vocalwork is one of the main reasons why I hate this album, since his vocals usually are either really bad “anguished” singing or pseudo-aggressive yelling, in which both styles would be right at home with your run-of-the-mill 90's nu-metal (or alternative metal for those who demand euphamisms) or Nine Inch Nails album (yuck).

His songwriting isn't impressive at all, either. So much of his lyrics on this album are like what you'd read from an angry high schooler's notebook who's in an introductory philosophy class, so it's like a mix of bad, angsty poetry and pseudo-intellectual ramblings. Some songs like “Fourty Six and Two” and “Third Eye” exemplify the pseudo-intellectual lyrics, while songs like “Hooker With a Penis” (brilliant song title) have lyrics as if they were yanked straight out of an angry 15 year-old's mouth.

Adam Jones is a guitarist that has skill (though is inferior to the likes of Chuck Schuldiner and Ron Jarzombek), but a lot of what he's made on this album is really flat and uninspired. The only song where any of his riffs and solos sound like there's some energy in them are in “Third Eye,” while it seems like the rest are just grunge/nu-metal riffs played in an “artsy” manner or flat, simplified progressive rock riffs with an occasional polyrhythm. Most of the solos aren't that good, either, since so many of them sound like half-baked, goofy “feedback” solos you'd hear from Tom Morello (another painfully overrated guitarist).

Justin Chancellor's bass is interesting in areas, though nothing that really grabbed my attention. If it counts for anything, at least his bass is more audible in this album than most rock albums out there.

Danny Carey is a drummer that's been showered with tons of praise. Now he is a skilled drummer, but skill with an instrument doesn't mean they automatically can make interesting songs. True, in a lot of the songs on this album, Carey does some neat, technical stuff with his skins, but they can't save the songs for the fact that so many of them are either boring or downright irritating.


The only song on this album I'd say is promising is “Third Eye.” In fact, I'd say that for the most part, it shows that when pressed, Tool's rhythm section can come up with dynamic, interesting music (especially since this one clocks in at 14 minutes). However, it gets ruined with Maynard's lousy vocalwork, especially when he screams out “Prying open my third eye!!”.

The “hit” songs like “Stinkfist” and “Aenima” are examples of the grunge/nu-metal songs with an “artsy” glaze applied to them, and boy do they sound annoying. They honestly don't sound much different (or much better) than the typical grunge/nu-metal gunk infesting the mainstream at the time this album came out.

Other songs like “Pushit” and “Eulogy” are examples of trying-too-hard-yet-flat progressive-rock with the occasional “heavy” moments on this album, and when I'm not chuckling at Maynard's attempts to come off as a deep thinker, I'm usually wallowing in boredom over how bloodless most of them feel.

There's filler tracks like “Message to Harry Manback,” “Intermission,” and “Die Eeir Von Satan” that add next to nothing in terms of musical quality, in that they only pad out the running length of the album.


The production quality on this album isn't bad, since all the vocals, guitars, bass, and drums come in rather clear. However, like with all music, good sound quality can't save lousy music.


Despite all the heavy marketing and hype from the likes of MTV and Tool fans, this album is NOT a progressive metal masterpiece that will stretch your mind and change your life.

If you're looking for some actual metal albums that have brilliant musicianship, innovative ideas, creativity, or thoughtful lyrics (or a combination of any), I strongly suggest you invest your time and money on these albums instead (and yes, I've listened to and own all of these):

Death: “Human”
Cynic: “Focus”
Pestilence: “Spheres”
Phantasmagory: “Odd Sounds”
Atheist: “Piece of Time”
Spastic Ink: “Ink Complete”
Blotted Science: “The Machinations of Dementia”
Gordian Knot: “S/T”
Bunkur: “Bludgeon”
Neurosis: “Souls at Zero”
Godflesh: “Pure”
Blut Aus Nord: “MoRT”
Pan.Thy.Monium: “Khaooohs”
Meshuggah: “Destroy Erase Improve”

Don't be surprised that if you get engrossed in any of the above albums and own a copy of Tool's “Aenima,” that you find yourself getting rid of said Tool album.

]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 07:40:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Faith No More Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
Now that isn't to say I hate Faith No More because they're not "true metal," it's that all the songs I've heard from them are cartoony, nasaly alternative metal with some "odd" musical quirks just to make themselves look "musically well-rounded."  These guys dabble into many forms of music, and nearly all of their attempts come out sounding like cheap shit.  It doesn't help that Mike Patton is an obnoxious, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing hack with a lousy voice.

Seriously, if I want to listen to music with funk (I can't say I've listened to much "traditional" funk music), I'll check out the prime material from Living Colour and Herbie Hancock's 70's output.  If I want to listen to avant garde metal, I'll listen to Sigh and Pan.Thy.Monium.

Faith No More isn't quite as abrasive as Iwrestledabearonce, but they're still really bad.]]> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 18:04:03 +0000
<![CDATA[Rage Against the Machine: Rage Against the Machine Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
I used to adore this album back in the late 90's and early 2000's since at the time, I thought it was the heaviest and most intense music out there.  I also gushed over the the political agenda behind the music as I used to be really far on the left (before then, I was far on the right, now I'm a moderate).  Then bands like Morbid Angel, Death, Nocturnus, Carcass, Godflesh, and Immortal came into my life and I haven't looked back at this album and this band again.

There's traces of potential here and even Timmy C.'s bass is worth commending, but this album is one that hasn't aged well with me at all.  Most of Tom Morello's riffs and solos sound derivative, though the solos that don't fit his signature "goofy sound" solos actually sound rather good.  Brad Wilk's percussion is okay, though nothing special, and Zach de la Rocha's whiny, nasal rapping is what really drags this album down (Mike Patton from Faith No More is guilty of this trait as well).  If I had to pick "best" songs on here, it would probably be "Settle for Nothing" and "Fistful of Steel" as they show that when pressed, the band can convey more emotion than just leftist anger.  I think many of the "hit" songs like "Bombtrack" and "Killing in the Name" feel childish in hindsight.

You'd think with a Harvard graduate in the band, they'd at least have some brain power to realize that their politics feel like that of a 15 year-old's and would re-think their political views for ones more realistic.

Finally, it's worth noting that a band so focused on bashing "the system" and capitalism had a musical career where they reaped the full benefits of capitalism while enjoying the freedoms provided by "the system."  Talk about hypocrisy.]]> Thu, 31 May 2012 07:29:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Bob Dylan Quick Tip by TStocksl]]>
Now, go back in time 30 to 40 years before I was born, the 1920's and 1930's.  Are there performers, musicians, songwriters from then that I still listen to and love (some of)?  Not really.  Frank Sinatra is the only name that comes to mind as close, or maybe some of the classic musical theater names like Irving Berlin, but I have only marginal interest in them, or they are really from a later period.

So no, Dylan stands unique for his depth, breadth, and sustained influence.

Happy birthday, Bob.  You were so much older then.]]> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 21:21:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Living Colour Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Sat, 11 Feb 2012 04:15:36 +0000 <![CDATA[R.E.M. Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 00:57:55 +0000 <![CDATA[System of a Down Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]>
If you want "wacky" music, listen to Frank Zappa. If you want politically-driven music, check out Paul Robeson. If you want creative yet intense metal music, check out Coroner and Blotted Science]]> Tue, 22 Nov 2011 01:37:02 +0000
<![CDATA[Linkin Park Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Thu, 6 Oct 2011 03:27:58 +0000 <![CDATA[R.E.M. Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 18:24:23 +0000 <![CDATA[The Sex Pistols Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 15:18:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Nine Inch Nails Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Trent Reznor and company prove that music can be produced in a unique and collage-like manner by creating songs using sampling, live performance, pre-recorded elements, and multi-layering. In terms of atmosphere and mood, Nine Inch Nails is the epitome of the Goth Industrial band. Inventive, controversial, and undeniably one of the most influential bands of the past 25 years, NIN has shown that not only are they consistently brilliant, but they have the artistic and commercial staying power to keep evolving musically.

Their early work is legendary and definitely their most experimental.

Recommended CDs by Nine Inch Nails:
Pretty Hate Machine
The Downward Spiral
The Fragile
And All That Could Have Been
With Teeth
]]> Thu, 12 May 2011 13:36:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Bob Dylan Quick Tip by TStocksl]]>
Here's all you need to know:  No other artist, singer, songwriter, poet, philosopher, theologian, preacher, or prophet has ever written the full range of what it is to be human nearly as well as this. 

If you have an alphabetical playlist of Dylan on your iPod  and if you have all or most of his recorded output, you will hear this pair of songs back to back:

Every grain of sand
In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Everything is broken
Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.

Then you can hear this pair back to back

Shooting star
Seen a shooting star tonight
Slip Away.
Tomorrow will be another day.
Guess it's too late to say the things to you
That you needed to hear me say.
Seen a shooting star tonight
Slip away.

Shot of love
Don't need a shot of heroin to kill my disease,
Don't need a shot of turpentine, only bring me to my knees,
Don't need a shot of codeine to help me to repent,
Don't need a shot of whiskey, help me be president.

I need a shot of love, I need a shot of love.

Class dismissed.Just listen, and understand, and live like this.

Advanced class:  Dylan has written 100s of songs, and released 1000s of performances (most different from the record version).   

Extra credit:  I think we're going to need a bigger iPOD!]]> Mon, 4 Apr 2011 14:18:27 +0000
<![CDATA[ Linkin Park Invades Philadelphia on the A Thousand Suns Tour!]]> It has been quite a few years since I have seen a Linkin Park show, and yet again, the band has exceeded my expectations by delivering one of the best shows I have seen all year. The  A Thousand Suns tour was definitely not one to miss! The tour was promote the band's fourth album "A Thousand Suns" which has reached top placement on the Billboard Top 200, and continues to spawn out hit singles such as "Wretches and Kings" and "Waiting For The End" further cementing the band's legacy as one of the top bands in the world. Linkin Park knows no boundaries when it comes to their creative process, and they are fearless when it comes to pushing limits and experimenting with their music. The same can be said for their live show which was a no holds barred spectacular of lights and sound that engulfed the audience for start to finish. The visual effects with the lighting and back-drop screens were some of the best I have ever seen, and the stage design was innovative using a "V" shape that allowed the band to interact more closely with their fans and provided a much more open viewer of the stage no matter where you happened to be seated in the arena. The visuals that were playing on screens almost appeared to be coming alive, breathing even more life into the show and creating a truly trippy effect where the audience almost feels as if they are one with the music.

The band commented on how they have always loved Philadelphia, and based upon the reaction on the faces of the crowd at this show, I can without a doubt say that. love was returned  and then some!  Linkin Park has such an extensive catalog of music, I was almost wondering how they were going to decide what to play, but they did a wonderful job of sandwiching in new material between old favorites which made everyone happy, old fans and new!  From opening with "Faint" the band powered through their set never slowing down and the crowd was right there with them the whole way till the final notes of the band's encore "One Step Closer". 

Linkin Park appeared to be completely a home on the stage, and also spent a lot of time during their set connecting with the eager crowd, at some points even jumping down into the pit to become even more up close and personal with their fans which was incredible to witness. Another fact the secures the awesomeness of Linkin Park is the band's charitable efforts.  They have founded the charity Music For Relief and one dollar of every ticket sale from the A Thousand Suns tour was donated to the charity and to give back to the fans a text code was flashed on the jumbo-trons before the show so that fans could download a free copy of that nights performance to enjoy forever!

Opening for Linkin Park were Pendulum and Does It Offend You, Yeah! and my interview with Pendulum can be found here!

I had the opportunity to chat with Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda on a press conference call a few weeks prior to the tour, check out what they had to say here!]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2011 01:03:24 +0000
<![CDATA[Alice in Chains Quick Tip by KristiSauer]]> Sat, 4 Dec 2010 21:27:49 +0000 <![CDATA[ Work hard for your art]]>
First of all, no I do not like it when we are not aloud to express ourselves.  That is what makes this country great.  I always remember hearing about people like Terry Rakolta trying to get Married With Children pulled because she didn't like the show and what it had on for kids to see or one of millions of people who wanted Howard Stern's radio show pulled for one reason or another.  I grew up seeing this all the time and all I could think of was "if you don't like it, change the channel."  Don't bring attention to something you don't like.

Years later I heard the term "Art from Adversity" and around the same time I learned just what had made the aforementioned Stern popular.  It's cause he WAS censored.  Yes, he gets to cuss and swear up a storm now with even more descriptive terms for sex then before in his jokes and routines, but what made his show better in the years before was that he had to WORK for his creativity.  His jokes were crafted better and were actually funnier before when he couldn't say the Seven Dirty Words, when he had to try and make jokes about something other then sex.  He worked harder to be funny and was rather then having everything out on a blank slate and just, well not being as funny.

It ties into what calls the "Precision F Strike" where you have the one character in a movie say that ONE profanity in the movie to get the reaction that it does, rather then in movies like Casino or Mallrats where the movie is NOTHING BUT F bombs and the word loses it's meaning.  YEah your uncensored but lets be real, less is more sometimes, and just because you CAN say something does it mean you should?  Is there a better way.

This was an odd review but one where it was a nice way of getting an idea out there.  Maybe a censorship topic wasn't the best place to put this idea out there but lets wrap it up like this.  Here on, a guideline is in place to try and keep your reviews clean for all to read (last I heard anyway) and there have been a number of reviews I've written where I would LOVE to cuss out the topic in regards to something that I hated.  Realizing that I can't do that, it forced me down another avenue to get my thoughts out and they turned out better for it and I as a result had a better piece that I wrote.  Yes censorship is bad, but it can make you a more creative person by working harder for that you love.]]> Sat, 25 Sep 2010 03:36:29 +0000
<![CDATA[Censorship Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Sat, 25 Sep 2010 03:17:14 +0000 <![CDATA[Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:54:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Linkin Park Quick Tip by yabookqueen]]> Sat, 14 Aug 2010 16:25:06 +0000 <![CDATA["Born To Be Wild" Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way

Yeah, darlin' gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racing with the wind
And the feeling that I'm under

Yeah, darlin' gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature's child
I was born, born to be wild
We can fly so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild"

Those lyrics are eternally etched in my mind. Kind of scary really that I had that memorized...
]]> Wed, 11 Aug 2010 00:14:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Tool: Lateralus Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Thu, 29 Jul 2010 05:42:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Hurricane Quick Tip by drifter51]]> Fri, 2 Jul 2010 11:43:16 +0000 <![CDATA[Clampdown Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Sun, 6 Jun 2010 23:56:07 +0000 <![CDATA[Censorship Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Fri, 4 Jun 2010 21:04:56 +0000 <![CDATA[Censorship Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Fri, 4 Jun 2010 21:03:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Imagine Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Sun, 2 May 2010 18:45:21 +0000 <![CDATA[ U.S. vs. John Lennon - 2006]]> Pros: interesting interviews, startling information

Cons: a bit long

The Bottom Line:
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

When I started watching U.S. vs. John Lennon I was taken back to some trying and difficult times. I’ll admit straight up I was no fan of the Beatles and I had a vague recollection of some hard times against Lennon, but I will also admit I never realized the depth of the trouble.

I come from a lower-middle-class family. Just a short hop above poor. We spent little time involving ourselves in things in the news and had it not been for my brothers delivering the newspaper, we probably wouldn’t have even had that in our house. I vaguely remember Eisenhower as president. We were just too busy working everyday, scratching out a living. Things involving someone named John Lennon had little consequence to me.

As I discovered in the documentary presented by writers/directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, there were evil forces at work that I should have been more aware of. I won’t go so far as to believe the white wash they gave Lennon on this film, I am sure he had some dirty little secrets. But I will applaud his concepts and the fact that he wasn’t afraid to do something most of us won’t do … speak out for our rights.

Even as interesting and informative as this documentary is, I found the snippets disclosed on the extras as a lot more telling. People speaking out like John Dean, Ron Kovic, George McGovern, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, just to name a few. A good deal of the film is archived footage, but a lot are live interviews, especially the pieces in the extras.

One must admit Lennon was a controversial figure but he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. For the most part his arguments were well grounded and he seemed to have been fairly knowledgeable about the workings of the government and the world in general.

Speakers included in the documentary [some through archive footage] included: John Lennon, Stew Albert, Tariq Ali, Carl Bernstein, Robin Blackburn, Chris Chrlesworth, Noam Chomsky, Walter Cronkite, Mario Cuomo, Angela Davis, John Dean, Felix Dennis, David Fenton, Bob Gruen, Ron Kovic, Paul Krassner, Yoko Ono, G. Gordon Liddy, George McGovern, Elliot Mintz, David Peel, Dan Richter, Geraldo Rivera, Jack Ryan, Bobby Seale, John Sinclair, Tom Smothers, M. Wesley Swearingen, Joe Treen, Gore Vidal, Jon Weiner, Leon Wildes, Dick Cavett, John Chancellor, Everett Dirksen, Mike Douglas, Gloria Emerson, H. R. Haldeman, Abbie Hoffman, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Sean Lennon, John Mitchell, Jerry Rubin, Richard Nixon, Strom Thurmond.

One of the most remarkable things I discovered about Lennon is that he never appeared publicly again for personal gain after the Beatles broke up. All his appearances were for benefits, he received no pay for any work he did in concert. I found this an outstanding testament of the type of man he was.

Naturally a good deal of his deeds were glossed over or completely left out. Then, again, this film was meant to make a statement about Lennon’s treatment at the hands of the Nixon era and all its minions. There were some disturbing truths revealed and, at times, some of the people seemed absolutely giddy in their remarks. Pleased, almost, at the lengths they went to in their investigations.

The film was nominated for one award and has a PG-13 rating for language, violent images and drug references. When I think of it, all of those images were shown on the news and people of all ages viewed it. But these were troubled times. The world was black and the news reeked of the daily body count. Why did we ever stand for that behavior?

DVD extras include [and worth the watch]:
10 deleted sections
Becoming John Lennon
Power to the People
Dissent vs. Disloyalty
Then & Now
Walter Cronkite Meets the Beatles
The Two Virgins Album Cover
Sometime in New York
The One to One Benefit Concert
Yoko Ono Lennon’s Letter to the Parole Board

Like Ron Kovic says, we could use John around again. The world has forgotten.


This is my submission to the captainD Good Movies Write-Off 3

Yes]]> Fri, 16 Apr 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ My 2 Cents, Communities on Lunch]]> I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for leadership positions. Which is why when I found out that Lunch was allowing their members to start and moderate their own communities, I was pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to have an online community/following of some sort, yet Facebook wasn’t really doing it for me. I have blogs, but it is so hard for my blog readers to really interact and tell their own opinions in the comment sections on my blog. Communities on Lunch completely solved these problems by being about to bring the social aspect in with the ability for everyone to share their thoughts in one place. Four communities later (The Bluff, WordPress, Yank’s Soccer, European Travel Tips) and I’m loving it!
What’s Great!
The overall experience of having your own community is relatively fun. The idea that you get to bring a group of people together to rate, review and share their thoughts and opinions on something that they are all passionate about it great! I must admit, my communities are on completely different sides of the spectrum, but I’ve realized as a community founder, each one is for a different purpose.
  • One is for me to share tons of great knowledge I have.
  • One is to help spread awareness.
  • One is to grow a passion.
  • One is mainly for me to learn about something I don’t know much about.

There are different dynamics that go into starting your own community and it’s great to figure out which one or which ones fit us best.
I guess the main struggles depend on what type of community we have. Some communities want tons of members, others are fine with just a handful. Trying to get lots and lots of members into your community can be tough at time, but there are ways to do it. angelodignacio wrote a great review on how to market your community, talk about using blogs, Facebook and Twitter. There is no reason to get overwhelmed, especially as the community founder, but the community is only as good as the people in it so I think it’s great to get community members to help join in to get more members in a community!
Outlook for the Future
For me and my communities, I want to make sure that each community I have gets a similar amount of attention. It can be easy to get caught up in just one and leave the others sitting. We need to find that balance of spreading our wealth of community founder knowledge across all of our community we moderate.
]]> Tue, 13 Apr 2010 18:17:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Communities on Lunch Quick Tip by coldsteel7]]> Tue, 13 Apr 2010 01:45:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ Feeding Your Curiosity One Community at a Time]]> Books, at another they're talking about Movies.  Oh, but it gets better.  Perhaps some are talking about Inspriations while others focus on just plain old Awesomeness.

The communities on Lunch allow you to, more or less, visit another section of Lunch.  You might think of them as smaller websites all under a larger website.  Whichever community (or communities) you choose to go to, you can start contributing.  Each community is run by a member of, and they are the ones in charge of their community.  They can say what goes there and what does not.  They can also send out updates and messages to all members of their community whenever they so choose.  It's pretty much like being in charge of your own website.  Once again, it gets better:  Just about anyone can create a community and start adding data points to that particular community.  Thanks to the fact that you can create Data Points as well, you get even more time to really shape just what it is your community is going to be about.  Those who connect and communicate with their members will see their communities change.  While there aren't any really large communities right now, there are already over 100 to choose from, and the communities feature has been running (as of this writing) only a month.

So what does it mean to run, organize and be a part of a community?  Simple: Each community is run by a member.  When you join a community, it has its own homepage.  It's still a part of the main website (if you want to go back to the default homepage) but it's important to realize it's still its own site.  It has it's own URL.  There is, for example: and then there is say... if you want to go directly to the community: To Belive or Not To Believe The Hype.  Once you join a community, there is a quick overview as to what the community stands for.  The interface is exactly as Lunch's own interface.  The difference between a community and the overall scope, however, is that there is someone actually in charge of the community.  And often he or she will be there to tell you exactly what they want from the community.  For example, your community manager might mention something like, "Be sure to mention _______" in your review.  It sounds complex, but if you're just a contributor, there's hardly anything complex about it.  For the most part, you'll be able to go about reviewing like you normally would.  The difference is that when you review each datapoint now, you have the option of dumping that review in any community you chose to be a part of.  Or, if that datapoint is already a part of that community, it goes there automatically.

There can sometimes be a bit of confusion.  For example if you're on the Main website... all the reviews will always show up under any datapoint.  If you are in one of the communities, however, then only the reviews from that community will actually show up under the datapoint.  Confused?  Well, it's not that confusing.  Let's take a look at two different communities.  First, there's Only WDWorld and let's continue using To Believe or Not to Believe The Hype.  Both of these communities contain the datapoint Alice in Wonderland.  Depending on which community you view this datapoint in will make a difference between how many reviews you see on the datapoint page.  The original link I gave you is nagivating to that datapoint WITHOUT actually being in any community. 

Here is what the Datapoint looks like from within the Only WDWorld community.

And here is what it looks like from the To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype community.

Notice the difference?  Allow me to point it out.  In the first example (Only WDWorld) the community has only one review of Alice in Wonderland.  In the second example (To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype) there are three. Likewise, there are eight total reviews.  If one is in a community and three are in the other... then that means four of those reviews aren't in a community at all.  My only point with this is to express that the reviews under each datapoint are sorted by community as well.  Exploring the Alice in Wonderland datapoint under one community will give you different results than exploring it in another.  Let's say someone creates a community for Tim Burton... well, Alice in Wonderland would have no reviews in that community yet until someone decides to place (or move) a review to that community should it ever exist.

And here is where talking about communities actually becomes slightly painful.  If there's one thing I wish Lunch would allow its user to do, it would be to post the same review in two different communities.  Allow me to explain.  I run a community called The Gaming Hub while @Squintz runs a community called Nintendo Wii Games.  Our communities can share datapoints but they CAN'T share reviews.  So if I post a review about a Wii game in The Gaming Hub... that same review cannot be posted in Nintendo Wii Games... even though the datapoints are the same.  It can actually be frustrating because it has caused needless competition among certain communities.  I've yet to be asked to move a review from one community to another, but I've seen members ask other members to do so in an effort to make sure their community gets more hits than another.  It can actually be a little annoying from time to time to realize that you're a member of two communities, but can't contribute to them equally.  But more annoying than being unable to post two of the same review in two different communities is that certain members have turned it into competition.  I imagine Woopak must get more review requests than Jesus receives prayers these days.

Aside from that, however, the communities actually work out really nicely.  I talked about being a contributor... now let's talk about managing, because that is slightly different.

If you do not yet have a community of your own, take some time to consider what being a manager of your own community means. 

When you start your own community you'll be taken to a page where you can customize it.  There's a community name, which you are free to change any time you see fit, but you also can greet new members with a message, post pictures and allow for open access to your community, or request only.  Either one is good.  For my community it's a little broad for me to pick and choose who can and can't join.  Just remember that it is your community, though.  You are free to block members and remove them from the community.  Be careful, however:  With great power comes great responsibility.  If you block someone you best be prepared to explain why you did it.  This also means you are allowed to set the rules for your community, but you'll have to be able to manage it.  Much like when following a member or datapoint, you can receive alerts whenever someone posts a new review in your community, or whenever someone does something.  It's pretty helpful stuff if you're a manager. 

The review settings are by far the most unique thing managers get to do.  Using the review settings you can, quite literally, provide members with an outline of how their review could potentially go.  This is great if you've got new members who don't really know where to begin.  If someone is in the community and they decide to write the review, the outline you typed out for them automatically pops up into the text box.  From there it's as simple as filling in the blank.  You can also select which tags are appropriate for your community.  And if you're into to Twitter you can tweet.  You can also post widgits on your other pages if you so choose. 

Also, you are given the power to select which reviews can be featured and unfeatured in the community.  You also have the power to remove any review... for basically any reason you deem necessary.  So when you're being told by Lunch staff that you are running your own website, they really mean it.  There's the bigger picture--the overall Lunch website, but when it comes to the communities, you're being given the reins to lead it and to develop it as you see fit.

There's a lot for managers to do.  What may be the most important thing for managers, however, is the ability to message everyone in your community at once.  And there's no better way to get fellow members involved.  Not a week goes by when I don't get a message from To Believe or Not to Believe the Hype in which the founder will email us updates to the community as well as a list of featured reviews.  It allows for members to be in the loop on what's going on.  I know, I know, for those in The Gaming Hub I haven't done this lately, but these updates are to come within my community too.

So far the feature is great.  And while I may have issues with not being able to post reviews in more than one community, it is nice to see how the members have learned to connect through these communities.  As the feature becomes more refined and developed, and as more members become a part of Lunch, the communities feature may be one of the best things Lunch has done yet.]]> Sun, 11 Apr 2010 09:12:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Clash's breakthrough album]]>
Track listing

London Calling
Brand New Cadillac
Jimmy Jazzy
Rudie Can't Fail
Spanish Bombs
Right Profile
Lost in the Supoermarket
Guns of Brixton
Wrong 'em Boyo
Death or Glory
Koka Kola
The Card Cheat
Lover's Rock
The Four Horsemen
I'm not Down
Revolution Rock
Train in Vain

Joe Strummer (vocals, guitar) Mick Jones (guitar, vocals) Paul Simonon (bass, vocals on Guns of Brixton) Topper Headon (drums)

]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2009 17:38:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ Evolution of "Revolution"]]>
Once Lennon's background is established for his motives, the film shows the anatomy of his protests, but leads us to the conflict between himself and the U.S. government, especially over his immigration battle. Admittedly, some of it is speculative, but much of the information is compelling, leading us to understand the personal toll Lennon took for his protest against the Vietnam War. In some ways his high profile shielded him from some harm, however, for when we see John Sinclair put in jail for ten years on marijuana possession, we understand authorities had to tread on eggshells with him. The best evidence is when they reveal John Lennon's Immigration and Naturalization file. The INS had tabs on him that went all the way to the White House. Lennon is on tape talking about being followed and his premises bugged. Add to that tapes of President Nixon where he states that entertainers "...make a personal sacrifice..." for their viewpoints and his approbation of J. Edgar Hoover, then it all adds up. (Not that anyone would be surprised by wiretapping from the Nixon Administration.)

Another document about John Lennon is always welcome. This video completes the gamut with revealing thoughts by thoughtful people who reconstruct an important aspect of Lennon's life with great finesse. With more to reveal, there is much more to ponder by seeing the video for yourself.]]> Wed, 18 Apr 2007 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Worth watching.]]>
After about 2 minutes into it I knew something was quite different about this documentary. Either Leaf and Scheinfeld are amazingly crafty or Lionsgate hired some premium Avid Xpress editors, because they managed to make the stills from the 60s and 70s come alive. They moved you through the photographs by cutting them into pieces and flying the camera between the layers. Awesome!

As for the movie, I felt that it was a bit flat in story and had to be pumped up with the digital imagery, Beatles background story and some needless interviews with peripheral people of the day. The case against Lennon could be told in a half-hour commentary, but to make it a 99-minute movie they had to add a great deal. The ending was, of course, moving and still manages to pull at the heartstrings of the ones in the audience not sleeping. Good movie for any Lennon or 60s fan.]]> Wed, 25 Oct 2006 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Clash - THE CLASH [UK] (1977)]]> Mon, 28 Aug 2006 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Primal scream outpatient meets white-hot backing band. Rock 'n' roll results.]]>
While no doubt there will be those who disagree, in my view what makes this record is the band, not the singer: in Bombtrack, Killing in the Name..., Bullet in the Head, Settle for Nothing, you have some of the greatest heavy rock riffs committed to vinyl. Zack de la Rocha's vocal contribution, on the other hand, is fine as long as you don't listen to it as such, but treat it as some sort of additional percussive instrument. In some cases, this is easy to do (Killing in the Name... for example), since the words don't seem to make a great deal of sense anyway. But as the record wears on, de la Rocha's swearing for effect and continued complaining about school and the system begins to grate, and the listening experience accordingly palls - a pity, because the band becomes more explorational as the record goes on, too.

Surprise surprise, the next record the band released (Evil Empire) was as silly as it sounded, and after a third go the band realised what the problem was: De la Rocha was booted out (I mean, "quit, citing artistic differences") and replaced (sub nom AudioSlave) by the outstanding Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, and the band renounced explicit left-wing whining for just getting on and making music. Good move, all round. De la Rocha, who hasn't renounced left-wing whining, is currently residing with Spinal Tap in the "where are they now" file, AudioSlave has its third album due out later this year.

Olly Buxton]]> Sun, 18 Jun 2006 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Divine.]]> Tue, 20 May 2003 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Consistently Good But Not Revered]]> Most of the arrangements are pretty clever. I was certainly surprised to hear some spunky regaae beats and creative horn arrangements behind the guitar, bass, and drums on such as tracks as Jimmy Jazz and Rudy Can't Fail. Some good keyboard passages exist as well particularly on The Card Cheat. Interesting vocal stylings exists as well. Love the harmonies on Death or Glory. And how about Joey Strummers delivery on the title track.

Certainly a likeable recording. Definitely consistent as the worst songs rate as decent and certainly listenable while the best ones are very good but not quite spectacular. This disc falls short of the classic category as as vocalists these guys are technically a bit weak. Also no one will every mistake the guitar sounds to be anywhere near the level of Eric Clapton, Mark Knophler, or even George Thorogood. However, the catchy arrangements make this release a positive listening experience. I can only hope that the die hard fans can respect my middle of the road views.

]]> Tue, 7 Jan 2003 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Pull me under.]]> At face value, Undertow seems simple and heavy, pulled down because of a muddy mix that never seems to raise the guitars above a buzz or Maynard James Keenan's voice to the heights where it should soar. It's more song-oriented than the multifaceted epics of Lateralus and even ::whoa!:: catchy at times. I love the rapid, quick-fingered picking of the infectious main riff for "Bottom". Heavy stuff can have hooks too, right?

At face value...

Undertow, however, is a pretty rich heavy metal album. Only traces of the alternative/grunge sound hover around Undertow's edges -- mainly the production style and some of the riffs. But in most respects, this is very much a metal record. Intellectually, however, Tool steps well beyond most metal bands with innovative musical intricacies and astute lyrics. Keenan is one of the most powerful vocalists in rock/metal, and his delivery is perfectly dramatic on songs like "Sober" (with its powerful ending) and "Crawl Away", where he whispers and roars. Adam Jones is a very unique guitarist, not playing conventional solos, and usually basing his playing on just a few chords per song. However, Tool is more about band interplay than individual playing: Danny Carey's exact and meticulous drumming; Paul d'Amour's gritty, growling bass; Jones' scratching guitar sounds, silent nuance, or earsplitting power chords. The title track is the most dynamic musically, with clever riffs and awesome vocals. "4 Degrees" shows the band's interest in Middle Eastern influences (which would inform parts of Lateralus). I recommend getting the lyrics from Tool's site and following along as you listen. It really gives the songs more impact.

And, of course, we expect a Tool album to have something weird on it. The trippy 16-minute "Disgustipated" finishes off the album, starting on track 10 and ending on track 69. Tracks 10-68 are just blank, 1-second bits. Then, on track 69, things start to happen. There's some dialogue, some sounds, some singing, and a *bit* of music. Listen closely to the words and think about it...interesting stuff. It's amusingly weird and cool.

Explore one of the best bands out there.

]]> Sat, 2 Feb 2002 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A modern milestone.]]> Aenima is full of surprises and ingenious, progressive songcraft. It explores progressive rock territory with a tone that sometimes evokes King Crimson, but never sounding like them. AEnima is all very fresh. The hard-hitting opener "Stinkfist" pulls the listener in with a collection of hard rock trappings: mammoth, distorted riffs, devastating drums, and fierce vocals. But the band throws you off when they change gears with "Eulogy," an eight-minute piece blending monstrous heaviness with some compelling, wistfully dreamy textures (that beginning!). The musical sojourn continues with some other difficult tracks, like "Pushit" and the mesmerizing "Third Eye." Contrary to popular opinion, I actually enjoy the "pointless" interludes and think the album is so much more with them included. I find that they add to sense of suspense before a real song rolls in. "Useful Idiot" -- nothing more than 40 seconds of static -- is stupid on its own, but as a precursor to "Forty-Six & Two" it serves as an interesting segue that teases you, leaving you almost begging for a song to start, as it grows louder and stronger, sort of creating a sense of tension with the listener. Especially teasing is the playful organ jam "Intermission" and the spooky "(-) Ions," which slides smoothly into "Third Eye," one of Aenima's most important songs.

Just as the interludes create a sense of expectancy, the songs themselves also possess that quality. "Forty-Six & Two" is a gripping progression of texture, essentially relying on one big riff but gradually upping the intensity by stacking the arrangement with denser sonics as it goes. "Third Eye," lasting more than 13 minutes and spanning enough musical ideas to fill an entire record, similarly summons a sense of tension with surprising tempo changes and long washes of instrumentation. Lengthy, explorative instrumental passages speckle the album thickly, but Tool's impossibly tight instrumental interplay, sense of detail, and precision keeps it from being boring, although it may take a serious listener to really pay attention to depth of each segment.

I must confess I was not initially impressed by the album's lyrical content, being turned off by reams of profanity and what was ostensibly punk-ish vitriol and juvenilia. But, as Keenan writes in "AEnema," "Try and read between the lines," I found that careful attention revealed that Tool possesses as much lyrical intuitivism as musical insight. Some interesting themes include genetics and false martyrs. There are also shades of philosophy that set the tone for Tool's next album Lateralus, where Keenan gets into Eastern philosophies in a big way. Even the lyric in "Hooker with..." is whimsical in its irony (though the song's real merit is just rocking out). Even better than the lyrics is Keenan's incredible voice. It's not his singing ability that impresses me, but his voice possesses such a gamut of qualities that it makes him unforgettable. He can sound broken and weak, ferocious and violent, or anything in between.

I'm new to Tool, but I can tell this is an album that offers enough depth that I'll still be listening regularly in five years...maybe longer. Are you not yet a Tool fan? Buy this and Lateralus and prepare to be blown away.

]]> Tue, 31 Jul 2001 12:00:00 +0000