Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Carnivore and Retaliation (A Review)

If Type O Negative can best be described as four Brooklyn Vampires performing stand-up on occasion then Carnivore can best be described as three guys who like to play fast metal and piss people off. The only member the two bands had in common was Peter Steele and that means that fans of Type O might not be into Carnivore because the musical direction was a bit different. Carnivore is more straight-up thrash with a  punk attitude than anything else. Type O Negative's Slow, Deep and Hard was largely made from Carnivore material and I suppose that album can best be used as a guide as to whether or not Carnivore is your bag of chips. If Type O songs like Der Untermensch or Xero Tolerance don't piss you off then I guess this music might be for you.

So again, let me stress that Carnivore music is not for everyone.

Carnivore (1985) - Think vulgar and incendiary lyrics about the apocalypse, fast tempos, and a complete absence of melody. The first song Predator is a great example of what I'm talking about. You probably don't want to listen to it while eating if you are squeamish. Lyrics like eyes plucked from sockets, gaping holes through which picking brains, phlebophilia love of blood, life spills from the veins, I detect the scent of prey by her menstruation, you have been chosen the main course, congratulations! might not exactly be pleasing to the ole gag reflex, right? Male Supremacy is a song with a Judas Priest-style riff and lyrics that would probably be arrested by the P.C. police. The first half of the song deals with how the narrator is detailing all of the women he's raped and the men he's scalped while at war while the second half of the song has the narrator coming home from war, being comforted his woman, and making sweet love to her. It's the perfect song for Valentine's Day. Okay, maybe not. The ten-minute epic dealing with World Wars III & IV, World Wars III & IV is the centerpiece of this album. Probably stating the obvious on that one, aren't I?

This album could easily be the soundtrack to Stephen King's The Stand or Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song or the actual apocalypse at the end of 2012. So buy it before then and enjoy while you can.

2001 reissue cover
Predator (4:33)
Carnivore (3:22)
Male Supremacy (7:31)
Armageddon (4:14)
Legion of Doom (3:31)
God Is Dead (4:13)
Thermonuclear Warrior (5:38)
World Wars III and IV (10:13)
USA for USA (demo) [reissue only] (3:32) 
S.M.D. (demo) [reissue only] (2:17) 
Sex and Violence (demo) [reissue only] (5:19)

Line-up: Peter Steel, Keith Alexander, Louie Beato

Retaliation (1987) - Less of a straight-forward thrash album and more of a bridge to Slow, Deep and Hard, Retaliation still manages to push the pissed off button in all the right (or wrong) places. The first track is a joke track... sort of. It's more gross than funny, but the track is the sound of someone (possibly Peter Steele) throwing up after having Jack Daniel's and Pizza for dinner. The second track is called Angry Neurotic Catholics and it deals with a kid who commits suicide while listening to Black Sabbath because he is mad at the world and rejects his Catholic upbringing. But the delivery is funnier than my description would suggest. I believe the song is about Peter Steele to a certain extent since he was raised Catholic. Race War deals with the touchy subject of race war. But you probably gathered that by the name of the song. I'm great at stating the obvious today. 

Jesus Hitler is a ridiculously funny song with a riff and a guitar solo strongly reminiscent of Black Sabbath. The song describes Adolph Hitler and Jesus Christ being reincarnated in the same body with the resulting unfortunate person not knowing what to do with his life. Does he try to save the world or destroy it? But more than posing a blasphemous situational question, the song perfectly shows how hard it is to tell if a religious leader or a political leader is genuine or hiding a darker agenda. Ground Zero Brooklyn and U.S.A. for U.S.A. remind me of 9/11 as I'm sure they do for anyone who has heard the songs. After 9/11 pretty much every American took on a "don't fuck with the eagle" attitude and a sense of blind patriotism. Manic Depression is a heavy cover of the Jimi Henrdix song.

2001 reissue cover
Jack Daniel's and Pizza (0:55)
Angry Neurotic Catholics (2:48)
S.M.D. (2:27)
Ground Zero Brooklyn (4:40)
Race War (5:56)
Inner Conflict (5:03)
Jesus Hitler (5:17)
Technophobia (3:56)
Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix) (3:07)
USA for USA (3:21)
Five Billion Dead (3:02)
Sex and Violence (3:51)
World Wars III and IV (demo) [reissue only] (7:42) 
Carnivore (demo) [reissue only] (3:41)
The Subhuman (demo) [reissue only] (11:09) 

Line-up: Peter Steele, Marc Piovanetti, Louie Beato

Monday, February 20, 2012

Type O Negative from Worst to Least Worst

On April 14, 2010, the world lost Peter Steele. Of course, I did not know that until a good three months after it happened because I didn't have internet connection at that freaking time. Obviously, Peter Steele's death wasn't shown on the news. A big deal was not made about it because he wasn't that famous. People probably remember him more for posing in Playgirl than his actual songs (and saying that might or might not be an insult depending on your sense of humor).

Peter Steele was 48 (and 48 is the new 27). He died of heart failure after enjoying a long period of sobriety. He'd even managed to find religion in the last years of his life. Considering that "Fuck you, God" is the chorus to one of his songs, I guess it proves that even the most ardent of atheists can convert.

And that's enough of the Behind the Music shtick.

I figured this would be the perfect time for a Type O-style "Worst to First" list because the anniversary of Pete's death is coming up in two months and I'll probably be too grief-stricken to post then. Or maybe I won't be. But you're probably tired of hearing about Whitney Houston and you might want to read about cooler dead people right now. Good thing I didn't wait two months to post this, right?

Type O Negative released a total of seven studio albums (one of them a fake live album), a live DVD called Symphony for the Devil, and one official greatest hits collection called the The Least Worst of Type O Negative. There might be a few other minor releases, but I'm much to lazy to look it all up.

The band was comprised of four members before Peter Steele died and the band broke up: Peter Steele (vox/bass), Kenny Hickey (guitarist/vox), Josh Silver (keyboards/organ/vox), and Johnny Kelly (drums). But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the original drummer Sal Abruscato who played on the band's first three albums.

The flag of Vinnland: Peter Steele's fake country's flag
They also have their own website here.
It's where I got my idea to start my fake country of
Jacobia years ago, but I still don't have a flag design yet!
For the purposes of the list I'm going to exclude the band's fake life album The Origin of the Feces in the ranking, but I will give a brief a explanation about it once I'm through with the actual list. I will also talk about their aptly named greatest hits collection after I talk about the fake live album. So you get two freebies with my list!

In another post I'll talk about and review the two albums released by Peter Steele's pre-Type O Negative band, Carnivore. So if you see any references to a band called Carnivore in this post... that's what I'm referring to.

6. World Coming Down (1999) - Your average Type O Negative album is morbid, humorous, and heavy. Well, this album largely skips the humor and takes the morbid factor up a notch. Written during a difficult time in Peter Steele's life, the lyrics show it a little more than he might have wanted. The first song on the album is an attempt at humor called Skip It and it is designed to make you think there is something wrong with your CD. At the end of the eleven second song guitarist Kenny Hickey shouts "sucker!" because you probably thought your CD really was skipping. Then the real album begins with a song about cocaine abuse called White Slavery. True to Type O style, White Slavery sounds like the soundtrack to a funeral. Hopefully, it's not yours. It is very heavy, slow, and thoroughly depressing. The epic title track follows the same path while including an almost Gregorian chant-style breakdown in the middle of the song. The most accessible songs on here are Everything Dies and Everyone I Love is Dead and they are about dealing with the loss of loved ones. Everything Dies is a bit of a ballad with a strangely soothing effect while Everyone I Love is Dead is an angry depression rocker. Both are good songs in their own ways, but don't listen to them if you are easily prone to suicidal thoughts. There are three "soundscapes" (each about a minute in running time) on the album that represent the ways that the band members would would most likely die: Liver is about death by alcohol abuse, Lung is about death by smoking, and Sinus is about death by cocaine abuse. The album ends on an almost happy note with a cover of three Beatles songs arranged in a medley format.

Don't take this album so seriously or else this album will probably be the soundtrack to your depression.

Skip It (0:11)
White Slavery (8:21)
Sinus (0:53)
Everyone I Love Is Dead (6:11)
Who Will Save the Sane? (6:41)
Liver (1:42)
World Coming Down (11:10)
Creepy Green Light (6:56
Everything Dies (7:43)
Lung (1:36)
Pyretta Blaze (6:57)
All Hallows Eve (8:35)
Day Tripper (medley) [featuring: a. Day Tripper, b. If I Needed Someone, c. Day Tripper (revisited), d. I Want You (She's So Heavy)] (7:02)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

5. October Rust (1996) - An incredibly polished and keyboard-soaked effort, October Rust is probably Type O's most user-friendly album. There's nothing too abrasive about it or anything too dark. Relatively speaking, of course. The album starts with a thirty second joke intro called Bad Ground that is supposed to make you think there is something wrong with your speakers while the second track is a humorous spoken word introduction given by the band. The first actual song on the album is the third track, the gothic ballad Love You to Death. In fact, most of the songs on this album are gothic ballads. That isn't too say that it is not without its heavy moments. Haunted, the song that ends the album, is the typical slow funeral dirge-like song that anyone could expect from Type O Negative. Red Water (Christmas Mourning) (a song written about the death of Peter's father) is another of the slow songs on here. But the problem is that the keyboards really take the edge off the band's songs. Even the really slow ones. The closet thing to a real rocker on here is the ultra-heavy cover of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl. The album ends on a spoken word joke outro that cuts off too soon. A few other songs on here feel like they cut off too soon and that is one of the album's running gags.

The bottom line is that this is an enjoyable album, but it's far from edgy.

Bad Ground (0:38)
Untitled (0:21)
Love You to Death (7:08)
Be My Druidess (5:25)
Green Man (5:47)
Red Water (Christmas Mourning) (6:48)
My Girlfriend's Girlfriend (3:46)
Die With Me (7:12)
Burnt Flowers Fallen (6:09)
In Praise of Bacchus (7:36)
Cinnamon Girl [Neil Young cover] (4:00)
The Glorious Liberation of the People's Technocratic Republic of Vinnland by the Combined Forces of the United Territories of Europa (1:07)
Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia) (6:37)
Haunted (10:07)
Untitled (0:08)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

4. Life is Killing Me (2003) - Lighter in tone and content than World Coming Down but not as polished as October Rust, Life is Killing Me is both a more accessible and more rounded record. There are fast songs like I Don't Wanna Be Me, Angry Inch (from the Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and I Like Goils. The latter two songs are so damn funny that they never cease to leave me giggling. There are mid-tempo songs like Nettie and the eighties-mocking (We were) Electrocute. Then there are the slow songs like ...A Dish Best Served Coldly and IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That). Each song on here shows what Type O were best at: rocking hard, making you laugh, and sort of getting you depressed but not so depressed that you'd stop listening or buying their records. I think this might have been the second T.O.N. album I ever got and it maintains a favorite of mine.

Thir13teen (1:07)
I Don't Wanna be Me (5:08)
Less than Zero (<0) (5:25)
Todd's Ship Gods (Above All Things) (4:10)
I Like Goils (2:35)
...A Dish Best Served Coldly (7:13)
How Could She? (7:35)
Life is Killing Me (6:35)
Nettie (4:46)
(We Were) Electrocute (6:38)
IYDKMIGTHTKY (Gimme That) (6:20)
Angry Inch (3:39)
Anesthesia (6:41)
Drunk in Paris (1:27)
The Dream is Dead (5:07)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

3. Dead Again (2007) - Unfortunately, this is the last album Type O Negative will ever have. But at least it is a fitting swan song. It's a hell of a lot better than Led Zeppelin's final album or the original Sabbath's final album. This album sounds like a band going back to its roots. It's their heaviest since World Coming Down (and without the overwhelming sense of depression) and their most straight-forward since their debut album. Ten songs without any instrumentals or soundscapes. No filler at all. With only three songs under the five minute mark the majority of the songs seem like worlds unto themselves. These Three Things is the heart of the album and it's a heart that could beat too hard for some. Remember that Peter Steele found religion late in his life and he went back to his Roman Catholic roots. The song deals with the book of revelations, the sin of abortion, and Israel. But if that song is too much for the average listener then there is always Halloween in Heaven and the title track, a campy song about drug addiction. The Profit of Doom has one of the best riffs in T.O.N. history and the dark subject matter about possible extinction by an asteroid named Aphophis is a perfect fit for it. An Ode to Locksmiths returns to religious subject matter, but it would seem that Peter Steele is using his new found Christian outlook to poke fun at Christianity. It's one of the funnest songs on the albums no matter what the subject content, though. September Sun is a tremendous ballad in the vein of October Rust and the second half of the song is especially grand even though I have know idea what Peter Steele is singing. The first half of the song is largely sung in English, but the second is mostly sung in an operatic Russian. At least, Russian is the most logical assumption I can make. She Burned Me Down, although not a ballad, is largely styled the same way as September Sun.

So... the bottom line is that this is great album regardless of religious undertones. 

Dead Again (4:15)
Tripping a Blind Man (7:04)
The Profit of Doom (10:47)
September Sun (9:46)
Halloween in Heaven (4:50)
These Three Things (14:21)
She Burned Me Down (7:54)
Some Stupid Tomorrow (4:20)
An Ode to Locksmiths (5:15)
Hail and Farewell to Britain (8:55) 

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Johnny Kelly, Josh Silver

2. Slow, Deep and Hard (1991) - What do you get when you take four Brooklyn guys inspired by Sabbath and The Beatles, a dark sense of humor, and an abrasive "politically incorrect" persona? You get Type O Negative's first album. It is certainly the most Carnivore-sounding album in T.O.N.'s canon, but Slow, Deep and Hard laid the blueprint for what would later be perfected into the signature Type O sound. The album starts off with the twelve minute epic Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity. It's one of the angriest songs I've ever heard and it's the perfect soundtrack for the angry guy with a broken heart. Prelude to Agony features a Hole in the Sky-type riff, the term "jackhammerape," and the most brutal ending to a song I've ever heard (including what sounds like a jackhammer and a woman screaming). Again, another perfect song for the angry guy with the broken heart. Der Untermensch generated controversy because of its German title (notably used by Nazis) and the fact that it calls out people cheating welfare and drug dealers, referring to them as "waste of life," "socioparasite," and "(sub)human scum." This is the song that most clearly feels like a Carnivore song because of its punk attitude. Because of the song the members of Type O Negative were called Nazis. The band thought it was a bit ironic because keyboardist Josh Silver was Jewish. The album features one soundscape called Glass Walls of Limbo (Dance Mix) and a joke track called The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences. The former being a six minute track of chanting and what sounds like chains being thrown on the floor while the latter is just a minute of tape hissing.

So if you like your heavy metal with a side of attitude and if you like it slow, deep and hard then this is the album for you.
The album cover is actually an extreme close-up of sexual penetration.  Despite all of the controversy surrounding the album, I guess no one really cared that some random guy's schlong is staring them in the face. Josh Silver said he ripped  it from a porno mag, but he has no idea to whom the schlong belongs. Which means somewhere in the world some guy is looking at this album cover wondering, "Is this my penis?" 
Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity (12:39)
Der Untermensch (8:54)
Xero Tolerance (includes samples from J.S. Bach) (7:45)
Prelude to Agony (12:14)
Glass Walls of Limbo (Dance Mix) (6:41)
The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (1:04)
Gravitational Constant: G = 6.67 x 10^-8 cm^-3 gm^-1 sec^-2 (9:14)
Hey Pete (Pete's Ego Trip Version) [bonus track] (5:19)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver

1. Bloody Kisses (1993) - Released just after the band's fake live album The Origin of the Feces, Bloody Kisses is the band's true second album and the one with which they perfected their "Drab Four" sound. The album begins with another joke intro called Machine Screw and it sounds like a woman having an orgasm with metallic sounds going on in the background. There are three soundscape tracks called Fay Wray Come Out and Play, Dark Side of the Womb, and 3.0.I.F. On an alternate version of this album the three soundscape tracks have been removed because they are considered unnecessary filler by the members of the band. But with or without the filler this album is killer. Christian Woman created controversy when it was released because it blurred the lines between sex and religion. The song is essentially about a woman having sex with Jesus and/or God, but it could be considered as more of a criticism on over-religious people.  Of course, the inside sleeve depicting Peter Steele placing a cross in a peculiar location near a scantily clad woman's body could prove me wrong. Black No.1, a song poking fun at and paying paying tribute to the gothic subculture, is one of those songs that must be learned by bassists everywhere because of its signature riff. Kill All the White People and We Hate Everyone (both stylistically different than the rest of the material on this album and more in the vein of Slow, Deep and Hard) are the band's way of responding to accusations of racism and sexism. On the alternate version of this album those two songs have been deleted because of how different they are from the rest of the album. Perhaps the most peculiar track on this album is the ultra-slow and heavy version of the Seals and Crofts song Summer Breeze.

Anyway, this is Type O Negative's least worst album. I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much.
And the cover beats the crap out of a close-up of a penis any day of the week. 
Machine Screw (0:40)
Christian Woman (8:58)
Black No.1 (Little Miss Scare-All) (11:15)
Fay Wray Come Out and Play (1:04)
Kill all the White People (3:23)
Summer Breeze (4:47)
Set Me on Fire (3:29)
Dark Side of the Womb (0:26)
We Hate Everyone (6:50)
Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family) (10:52)
3.0.I.F. (2:06)
Too Late: Frozen (7:49)
Blood & Fire (5:30)
Can't Lose You (6:05)
Suspended in Dusk [alternative track] (8:36)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver

***Bonus Materials***

The Origin of the Feces (1992) - This is the band's fake live album and it is partly based on all the resistance they met in Europe. Before the first song even starts the audience is chanting "You suck!" and Peter answers this with "You paid fifteen American dollars to get in here. We're getting paid for this. So who's the real asshole here?" There are songs being interrupted by the band members (possibly deliberately) screwing up and forgetting song parts. There is also a bomb threat where all of the members of the audience have to leave the building. And at the end of the set, Peter screams, "This is going to be our last song!" and the audience cheers like they'll be glad to see Type O Negative leave. Once the last song is played in its entirety all that can be heard are crickets because no one is clapping. Not even a few scattered rounds of applause. It's like the audience left before the last song was even finished. 

The majority of the songs on here appeared in a different version on Slow, Deep and Hard under a different name. The only new songs on here are a brief song entitled Are You Afraid, a cover of Hey Joe with reworked lyrics to make it about an ax-murderer named Peter, and a slow cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid that is not a faked live recording but an actual studio recording. 
The original album artwork was a close-up of a guy's anus (believed to be Peter Steele's). Hence the title of the album. I'm sure you don't want to see that so I'm not posting it here. Instead I'm only posting the alternate cover.
I Know You're Fucking Someone Else (15:02)
Are You Afraid (2:13)
Gravity (7:13)
Pain (4:41)
Kill You Tonight (2:17)
Hey Pete (5:10)
Kill You Tonight (reprise) (7:08)
Paranoid [bonus track] (7:20)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver, Johnny Kelly

The Least Worst Of (2000) - Greatest hits collections don't really thrill me. In fact, they typically bum me out because all the material on the album has already been released. Any time a band releases one these days they normally have a few new songs thrown in or a shitty cover song. Well, I don't like getting a bunch of stuff I already have just to get a few things I don't. But this is one of the greatest hits releases that I really like because it's not really a greatest hits release at all. It feels more like The Origin of the Feces than anything else. The majority of the songs on here are alternate versions and previously unreleased original songs. The only thing that isn't original to this release and that most Type O fans already have is Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity as it can be found on Slow, Deep and Hard. The album starts off with a version of The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (the joke being that the band's best work is silence) and then heads into an unreleased edit of Everyone I Love is Dead. There is a "studio" version of Hey Pete that was later re-released as a bonus track on Slow, Deep and Hard but it was original to this collection. There are alternate versions of Black No.1, Christian Woman, Love You to Death, and Cinnamon Girl. There are four new songs on this album, too. It's Never Enough (remember the song I mentioned that had "Fuck You, God" in the chorus?), Stay Out of My Dreams, 12 Black Rainbows, and Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective). Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective) is a cover of Black Sabbath with the lyrics changed to see things from Satan's perspective. Stay Out of My Dreams is a song about finding true love in someone that Peter learns to be his long lost twin sister. It's a joke, of course. Although I've heard a rumor that the song is really about Tara Vanflower, but I have no idea if that's true. It's Never Enough is a song that would've gone perfectly on World Coming Down and it was recorded in the process of making that album. The song is about watching his mother on her deathbed, I believe. 12 Black Rainbows was also taken from the recording sessions of World Coming Down and it would have been a perfect fit for that album, too. I've always been curious why they never made the cut.

Anyway, this is a perfect introduction to Type O Negative and a mandatory inclusion in the Type O Negative canon because it really does highlight what the band was all about without giving you the same exact things over again.

The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences (Wombs and Tombs Mix) [previously unreleased remix] (0:39)
Everyone I Love is Dead [previously unreleased edit] (4:39)
Black No.1 [previously unreleased edit] (4:34)
It's Never Enough [previously unreleased] (8:15)
Love You to Death [edit] (4:47)
Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective) [previously unreleased] (7:44)
Christian Woman [edit] (4:25)
12 Black Rainbows [previously unreleased] (5:10)
My Girlfriend's Girlfriend (Cheese Organ Mix) [previously unreleased alternate mix] (3:43)
Hey Pete (Pete's Ego Trip Version) [previously unreleased "studio" version] (5:19)
Everything Dies [edit] (4:33)
Cinnamon Girl (Depressed Mode Mix) [alternate version] (3:50)
Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity (12:29)
Stay Out of My Dreams [previously unreleased] (8:15)

Line-up: Peter Steele, Kenny Hickey, Sal Abruscato, Josh Silver, Johnny Kelly

Stay Negative

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

A lot of sports fans don't view NASCAR as a sport. There are times where I even say it's not a sport even though I know better. Driving a car at 160 miles per hour through a space that's slightly smaller than parking spot and doing the same thing for 400 miles while dressed in a full fire suit and possibly losing four pounds in the process because you might not be able to hydrate yourself properly is an effort. Especially when you consider that these cars aren't exactly designed for comfort, but for speed and safety. NASCAR is an endurance sport if not a brute-force sport.

I say all of that because the typical assumption is that NASCAR is just a bunch of good ole boys driving around. Well, it's not. Maybe it used to be (and maybe part of it still is), but it's a bit more complicated now.

Any time Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the lead at Talladega you can hear it. Fans cheer like crazy. You'd think that Dale Jr. was born in Alabama. You'd think he was the mayor, governor, and president all rolled into one.

But Dale Earnhardt Jr. is an enigma. His popularity among NASCAR fans trumps Tim Tebow's popularity in the NFL. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won NASCAR's most popular driver award nine consecutive times despite only winning one race in the last five years. And he has never won a championship. So he's kind of like the Cleveland Browns of NASCAR. He had his best years from 2000 to 2006 and then another decent season in 2008. I guess you could even call 2011 a bit of a decent season because he did manage to get more top five and top ten finishes since scoring his most recent victory in 2008.

Unlike football or basketball or any other major American sport, there are no "franchises." The only thing that comes close to a franchise in NASCAR is a crew chief, a car owner, and a sponsor. If Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't win a championship there won't be another Dale Earnhardt Jr. along the line. That's it. There will not be someone else who will step into Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s uniform and win one for him.

Now I know that "Tebowing" is popular now, but that is just a fad. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is so immensely popular that when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in second place and about to pass Jeff Gordon with four laps to go when a caution came out in the 2004 Aaron's 499 at Talladega (also known as "Junior Nation" because of how popular he is down here), a rule was changed to ensure that no race can end under a caution unless the white flag has already been taken. Fans threw stuff at Jeff Gordon because he won while Dale Jr. was essentially robbed of the win. So NASCAR invented overtime (or "overdrive") because of that little situation.

So... why would a driver with so little success on the track be considered NASCAR's favorite driver? Well, part of it is because of his father. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s father was a seven-time NASCAR champion. The only other person to win seven championships is the King, Richard Petty. That is the best company anyone can share.

But anyone with a brain should know that Dale Jr. will only win a championship if something miraculous happens. Hell, the most anyone can ask for is for him win one freaking race.

I really don't know why I root for him half the time.

Ah, hell. All I can say is go Dale Earnhardt Jr. Get us a win.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dethklok - The Dethalbum (A Review)

A brief introduction to my review by Skwisgaar Skwigelf (the guitarist for Metalocalypse's Dethklok):

Dethklok is the most metals band in the universe. I shoulds know because I writes all the songs. We haves the record for highest charting death metals album ever on the Billboards 200. And we've held the record twice after taking it froms ourselves. Of course that list is dildos, but us beings there made it less dildos. It's why we'res on hiatus because we're still trying to get the stench of the dildos offs us. If our dildo fans will stop buying our stuff so much we'll records more. 

- Skwisgaar Skwigelf

P.S. - Toki's guitar playing is dildos so I record all his parts again with me playing. 

From left to right: William Murderface (bass), Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar),
Nathan Explosion (vocals), Pickles (drums), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar)
Metalocalypse is my favorite cartoon about metal. In fact, it's the only cartoon about metal. That's why it's my favorite. Anyway, for the uninitiated, Dethklok is the fictional band on which the show focuses on. They are incredibly popular. I believe they are the seventh largest economy in the world. Their fictional albums are so metal that they can kill mere mortals after one listen. Their fans are so intense and crazy that they'd die for the band in the most brutal ways possible. And despite being a completely fictional band, they make some of the most metal music ever made. Because the true talent behind Dethklok is Brendon Small. Brendon Small voices Nathan, Skwisgaar, and Pickles on the show, but he also plays guitar, bass, vocals and keyboards in real life on The Dethalbum (2007). The drumming is provided for by Gene Hoglan. Whenever Dethklok tour in the real world bassist Bryan Beller and guitarist Mike Keneally join Brendon and Gene on the stage. So while the band is fake on the show... it doesn't mean that there isn't a Dethklok in real life or that the music isn't real.

Now the lyrics on the songs are silly because the show makes fun of metal heads, metal musicians, and just about everything else. But the silly lyrics are the most metal silly lyrics ever. And the lyrics are balanced out by the insane drumming and guitar playing. So while this may be considered "novelty" music... it's incredibly good novelty music and a must-have for anyone remotely interested in metal. Believe it or not, The Dethalbum held the record for the highest charting death metal album ever on the Billboard 200 chart. It held it until The Dethalbum II later surpassed it in 2009.

And no, I'm not joking.

So now let's go into the actual material...

Murmaider 3:24
Go into the Water 4:20
Awaken 3:37
Bloodrocuted 2:18
Go Forth and Die 4:22
Fansong 2:53
Better Metal Snake 3:27
The Lost Vikings 4:26
Thunderhorse 2:46
Briefcase Full of Guts 2:44
Birthday Dethday 2:48
Hatredcopter 2:56
Castratikron 2:57
Face Fisted 4:17
Dethharmonic 4:31
Deththeme (hidden track) 0:34
Alternate Version

Alternate Version Bonus Tracks:

Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle 1:15
Blood Ocean 2:50
Murdertrain a Comin' 3:33
Pickles Intro 0:34
Kill You 3:41
Hatredy 4:17
Dethklok Gets in Tune 3:27 

Perhaps the most well-known song is Thunderhorse, largely an instrumental catapulted to fame by Guitar Hero. An intricate little tune that will twist your fingers into knots if you try to play it, Thunderhorse is easily the best Guitar Hero song of all time. Eat your heart out, Dragonforce!

The subjects covered by each of the songs is that of a wide variety. We have songs about coffee, worthless fans, krakens, an extreme unwillingness to pay taxes, birthdays, graduations, vikings who never made to the battle because the got lost, and the murder of mermaids. Each song is fitted with a riff that would make Dimebag Darrell proud and a guitar solo that would make Yngwie Malmsteen jealous. Honestly, there isn't one bad song among the bunch. There's even a song for all the softies that like ballads. It's called Kill You.

The only unfortunate aspect of the album is the fact that it didn't include Crush My Opponent's Balls. And it isn't on The Dethalbum II either. :(

Now I should say that most people cannot live through listening to the entire album without his or her brain exploding with such fierceness that a small black hole forms and everything within a five mile radius gets sucked in. But those people that can live through The Dethalbum are encouraged to seek out and buy The Dethalbum II.

And now I'll leave you with an actual song from the album. Remember that Brendon Small is singing in character.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Win List

  • 2006 AFC Championship Game vs. Pats - Nearing the end of the second quarter the Colts were down by a score of 21-3. Then the Colts managed to march 80 yards down the field to make the game 21-6 with 11 seconds left before halftime. After living through two playoff losses to the Pats in 2003 and 2004... I really can't say how high my hopes were that the Colts could mount a comeback. But they did. Maybe that eighty yard drive before the half is what did it. Before I knew it the Colts were closing the gap. Then they tied the game at 21-21 with four minutes to go in the third quarter. From then on Pats would take a lead only to have the Colts would match the score. This kept happening until the Colts were down 34-31 with a minute to go. The Colts were three yards away from the end zone and Joseph Addai punched the ball in to the end zone to give the Colts their first and only lead of the game. The Patriots had a minute to put together a winning drive. It was the typical Tom Brady situation that had haunted me ever since the Pats beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. I prayed to the gods of football and my prayers were answered. Brady was intercepted with twenty seconds left in the game! The Colts had finally ousted the Pats in the postseason and made it to the Super Bowl! Final score: 38-34 
  • 2009 Week 10 vs. Pats - With 4:14 to go in the football game, the Indianapolis Colts were down 34-21. It was up to Manning to mount another comeback against the Pats. With 2:23 left on the clock the Colts got in the end zone on a Joseph Addai run to make it a six point game. The Colts had all of their time outs and the Pats had only two. It was up to the Colts defense to stop Tom Brady to give Manning a shot at winning the game. Well, the Colts defense gets a stop. It's 4 & 2 and the Pats are at their own twenty-eight yard line. The Pats are going to punt the ball, right? Wrong! Belichick sends his offense back on the field! And then they don't get convert! With two minutes to go the Colts have the ball on the Patriots twenty-nine and Manning makes Belichick and the Pats pay. A throw to Reggie Wayne ties the game with thirteen seconds left and then the extra point wins it. Thanks for the help, Bill! Final score: 35-34
  • Super Bowl XLII (Giants/Pats) - The Pats were 18-0. Perfection was within their grasp when Eli Manning came of age in the final minutes of the game. On 3 & 5 with 1:15 to go in the game, Eli Manning evaded what should have been a sack and hurled the ball down the field where David Tyree made one the most legendary catches in Super Bowl history. The touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress to win the game is almost a mere footnote by comparison. Final score: 17-14 
  • Super Bowl XLI (Colts/Bears) - To be honest, I thought that the 2006 AFC Championship game was the real Super Bowl. There isn't much I remember from this game, but what happened at the end is why this game is on the list. I remember Devin Hester returning the opening kickoff for a TD. I remember it raining. I also remember the Colts being down 14-6 at the end of the first quarter. But after that the Bears were outscored 23-3 and Peyton Manning was left hoisting his first and only Lombardi trophy into the air. Maybe not the most exciting Super Bowl ever, but it was one that gave the Colts their first Super Bowl victory since Super Bowl V. It also cemented Peyton Manning's status as one of the all-time greats. Final score: 29-17
  • Super Bowl XLVI (Giants/Pats) - After going 5-5 in the final 10 games of the regular season and ending up with a record of 9-7, the Giants became the new hot team all the way to a Super Bowl rematch with the Pats. This sequel was not as good as the first one. I'd say it wasn't even as good as the 2011 week 9 game between the two teams, but this game was the Super Bowl and the week 9 game wasn't. After allowing the Pats to score 17 unanswered points, the Giants scored 12 unanswered points and won the game on Ahmad Bradshaw's peculiar ass-first touchdown. Eli gets his second ring in Peyton's house and Tom Brady's shot at a fourth ring gets taken away by the same team twice. It may not be 2007 again, but it would be tough to tell that to the New York Giants or the New England Patriots. Final score: 21-17   
NOTE: I chose not to include the 2011 Week 9 match-up between the Giants and Pats because there are already too many Pats games on this list. Damn Pats. 

It would appear that there have been some stadium renovations
in Baton Rouge.
  • 2012 BCS National Championship Game - You should never piss off Nick Saban. You know why? Because he is great in revenge games. LSU got thoroughly trounced 21-0 on their own turf with 15 of those points coming from the kicking game. Of course that kicking game had been the biggest punchline in college football after Alabama lost their regular season match-up because of missed field goals. Ironic, right? The touchdown scored by Trent Richardson was icing on the cake. LSU only passed the fifty yard line once the entire game. Roll tide. Final score: 21-0
  • Iron Bowl 2011- A year after watching the dreadful "Comeback" by $cam Newton, Alabama settled the score with the "Never Again" game. It began with eerie shades of 2010, but that soon vanished and Alabama blew out the Tigers for the second time in four years. Final score: 42-14
  • 2009 SEC Championship Game - After losing the previous year in the 2008 SEC Championship game to Florida, Nick Saban and the Tide were out for blood. Tim Tebow and the Gators didn't have a prayer in this rematch because Saban doesn't lose revenge games. At the end of the game Tim Tebow was reduced to tears and I was jumping for joy. Sports is a cruel thing, but if Tebow couldn't take the pain of losing then he wouldn't be in the NFL right now. Because he'll be doing a lot more losing if he doesn't learn how to throw the ball with better accuracy. Final score: 32-13
  • Iron Bowl 2009 - This game was a dogfight. Auburn scored 14 unanswered points in the first quarter followed by Alabama scoring 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. Auburn answered the call with a TD in the third quarter to put them up 21-14. After settling for two field goals, Alabama trimmed Auburn's lead to just one point. With 8:27 left in the game, the Tide got the ball at their own 21 yard line and went on a drive that would stun the Auburn crowd. Alabama ended the drive when they finally punched the ball into the end zone with 1:24 left to go in the game. Saban decided to go for two to make it a one score game, but the conversion failed. Auburn got the ball back and managed to march from their own 25 to Alabama's 37 and then the ball was spiked with just under ten seconds to go in the game. The Iron Bowl outcome would come down to one last throw. Chris Todd's last pass of the game was incomplete and the game was over. Final score: 26-21
  • Iron Bowl 2008 - This game was a blow out. It marked the first time that Alabama had gotten a win over the Tigers after losing six consecutive Iron Bowls. Final score: 34-0