Jan 302018
 

Generally I post these lists at other places but I thought to myself, why not here as well? So I’m going to publish this list here too. Original list is below:

 

To me 2017 was a year of challenging listens. Many albums took several listens to fully enjoy. When making this list I thought it would be hard to fill out, but then I had a challenging time chipping down a top 10!

Special Awards

 

Best Songs I wish Were the Rest of the album: Butcher Babies (Burn the Straw Man / Lilith)
This is similar to an award I had last year. The first two tracks of this album sounds like a chick Meshuggah (Well Burn the Straw Man anyway), but then the rest of the album is just kinda generic crap.

Best Cultural Appropriation: FAKY
So FAKY had their debut album last year and I was pretty surprised at what I had heard. Japanese pop and K-Pop sounds strikingly different from each other. Even Japanese pop groups sound distinctly Japanese. FAKY are different, they have the look of a K-Pop group, they have the production of a K-Pop group but they are a Japanese group. It only took them 7 years to make a perfect copy of K-Pop. That being said I enjoyed it and it’s funny because the beats are some of the most obnoxious stuff you can hear but for some reason it works

Biggest Disappointment: Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva is a Mighty Long Time
It would be easy to put Eminem here, but I wasn’t expecting anything from him. Big KRIT released a double album which would have been pretty rad if the album delivered but it did not, for me anyway. Each CD has a distinct theme / feel. The first one is the “bangers” side but only a handful of song are good on this on, Subenstein being pretty awesome. Disc 2 is very religious and not super appealing and like the first disc only a handful of song are good.

 


Regular Awards

Honorable Mention

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid
This was actually pretty good, however, it was a lot like another album I included in my top ten. Also, it’s really fucking weird.

Blanck Mass – World Eater
If you’ve ever heard of Fuck Buttons this is one half of the duo. Pretty solid album but ultimately it didn’t have that extra oomph to put it over the top.

Vamps – Underworld
I really enjoyed this album, but not as much as Underworld (their previous album). It’s a fun little rock album with some interesting featured guests

 


TOP TEN

10
Dälek – Endangered Philosophies
Endangered Philosophies
Dälek is hit and miss sometimes. When he’s on he’s great but sometimes he gets a bit too complicated for his own good. Luckily on this album he’s hitting and hitting hard. Starting with “Echoes Of…” he sets the tone. Album runs out of steam towards the end but the highs are pretty high on this one.

9
Mew – Visuals
Visuals
I’m going to also award this the “most unnerving album cover” really there’s something that creeps me out about it. But the music, yes it is good. I’ve always been a fan of Mew but I hadn’t listened to them in a while. Then they released a new album last year and it immediately made a positive impression on me. The first track (Hmmm a theme of first tracks?) is like almost being in a dream, but the melody is almost a nightmare the way it replays itself, but only half of the melody (you’ll probably have to hear it to understand). This album just sounds like a refinement of what they’ve always done well, a sort of dream rock, and it’s very good.

8
öOoOoOoOoOo – Samen
Samen
These guys remind me a lot of the band Unexpect (and that Igorr band sort of) but not as chaotic as either of them. “Avant-Garde” Metal if you will. Really enjoy Asphodel’s vocals which sometimes the vocals can do it. The album is organized chaos, kind of all over the place but enjoyable to listen to. Something that gets tiring to listen to from a band like Unexpect works for these guys.

7
Binary Star – Water World 3
Waterworld 3
Remember Binary Star? They’re back, but in pog form. Actually not in pog form but they released an album after 17 years! Best of all it turned out to be good. Some songs sound like a reprise of songs from Masters of the Unvierse, like Woflman Jack now Wolf Man Jackin for Beats – but recomposed slightly, probably some of the most haunting beats in a long time. If anything this album is a throwback to old school raw MC rap stuff, heavy sampling and guys actually rapping instead of the heavy produced verse based rap you hear these days.

6
Slowdive – Slowdive
Slowdive
Speaking of returns, Slowdive is back. If you’ve never heard of them that’s because the last time they released an album was in 1995, 22 years ago. Personally I had never heard of them either but there was some positive buzz around this album so I checked it out. A very awesome shoegaze band, music is very layered and ethereal. I hope these guys continue to make music and take a shorter hiatus next time.

5
Infected Mushroom – Return to the Sauce
Return to the Sauce
The funny thing about this group is my friend has listened to them for years and I’ve ignored them probably for the same length of time, that is until last year. Now I wonder what was I waiting for? Very good electro-trance album, really no weak tracks here.

4
Progenie Terrestre Pura – oltreLuna
oltreLuna
If you’re familiar with Nocturunus, this band is similar with a death metal space sound, I guess theoretically anyway. However, I personally prefer more space stuff than death metal stuff. This album has a good mix of the two. Long sweeping epic songs that progressively shift from the chaotic death metal to the atmosphere of space. Hard to describe but I guess you’d hear typical death metal then it would shift to operatic vocals, electronic space blips and a more melodic song structure (something like that anyway).

3
PassCode – Zenith
Zenith
I never got into BabyMetal so I’m not sure how close this is to that. This album reminds me of a metal band meets Hatsune Miku, like electronic J-Pop. It took me a while to warm up to it but the album is brilliant. So many shifts from one thing to another. The most intriguing thing to me is does this Japanese girl actually do these harsh vocals? I think this conundrum adds to my enjoyment as much as the music does. (After watching a live video it seems she does do them, interesting)

2
Violet Cold – Anomie
Anomie
I saw this getting some negative reviews for being a rip off of Alcest but I was pleasantly surprised. A blackgaze band from Azerbaijan, this is actually quite good. I suppose what they do differently is put different “ambientish” elements into the music rather than Alcest doing the acoustic guitar interludes. But let’s be real, Alcest isn’t the only blackgaze band on the block and some others deserve recognition for their work.

1
Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar
The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Without a doubt my #1 – Not just the best of the year but one of Ulver’s best albums (if not the best). A culmination of all their work in one album. Songs are simplified but still complex and layered. Similar yet still completely different from anything they’ve done. Remarkable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 192015
 

DOTA 2       Cities: Skylines is the newest city simulator that seems to have been making a splash recently. It has been called, “The game that is better than SimCity,” or, “The Game That is SimCity If SimCity Was Good,” or, “The Game SimCity Would be If EA Didn’t Screw Up.” Whatever people were saying about it, I wanted to try it. Thanks to a gracious benefactor I was able to experience this game first hand.

Now I’m not 100% went wrong with SimCity, I only paid a bit of attention to it. I guess biggest gripes were online only, small cities, the fact it’s on Origin. Well Colossal Order, the developer of Cities: Skylines, came along and decided they wanted to make their own city simulator. They have a couple of games under their belt, Cities: In Motion 1 and 2, but this game is the first one they’ve made that you can actually build the city. An ambitious project for a reportedly small developer.

So how is the game? Well, I’ve only put several hours into it but so far I would say it is good fun. At first glace it is a beautiful game (see the screen on the left). It plays a lot like SimCity. You’ll build roads, put down zones for residential, commercial and industries. You’ll adjust taxes and all that jazz as well. But what does it better than SimCity? I can’t say for sure with my limited time with the game. From what I understand you can get pretty detailed with the road layouts. The game puts a large emphasis on traffic flow and being able to direct the flow of traffic efficiently around the city. You can also paint different districts in your city and apply different polices to each of them. It’s also got a lot of mods in the steam workshop.

In my playtime, about seven hours according to steam, I spent three years trying to dig myself out of a $7,000 hole. When I first created my city I neglected to check the wind graph. I built some wind turbines in a non windy area so I ended up with a lot of blackouts. I was also spending a lot of money on water which ended up making me go into debt. Through some strategic budgeting I was able to get out of the hole and I’ve got a pretty sizable city now. Who knows where I’ll go from here but this is definitely a quality game that I’ll keep playing.

Sep 232014
 

DOTA 2 DOTA 2 was a game I’ve always wanted to get into but knew nothing about, except that you’d get called out for being a n00b and there being a steep learning curve. I had it downloaded since the beta but still had never jumped in. This all changed a couple of months ago. I would say back in late May what really caught my eye was this whole compendium on steam. If you bought one you’d get all sorts of goodies, could watch the game, and contribute to the prize pool that ended up being almost eleven million dollars. So I bought one and it basically forced my hand, I had to figure out what I was doing.

So I began practicing. I watched several videos on how to play, I played vs bots and watched some games. Even still it was hard for me to decide to jump in. I decided to try other MOBAS as practice for DOTA 2. I tried Dawngate but it was so completely different that it didn’t really count as practice at all. So I sucked it up and decided to jump into a public match. Honestly I can’t remember how I did. But the game is addictive. The ultimate “just one more game” experiences. I found that the players weren’t all that unfriendly actually. A lot of them were forgiving and some even were helpful in telling you how to play a hero and this and that. I do know why some people end up getting called out but after some time with the game even such acts (feeding) would even frustrate me!

But other than playing I got into watch as well. I mean I did buy access to The International so I might as well watch right? You can watch inside the game client to get the best picture possible. There were some great matches even if I didn’t know what was going on at the time. Watching DOTA 2 is serious business. Just like any pro sport they have commentators casting the game. You’re watching the greatest players in the world play this game and it shows but they are great sports and have a lot of fun too. I enjoyed The International so much I even decided to buy a ticket for another pro tournament, The Canada Cup. This tournament is not as big as the International but it still has pro players and some even using some unorthodox heroes as well.

Overall I would say I’ve had a positive experience overall. I don’t think I’ll be going pro anytime soon but the game has racked up 400 hours of time out of me, which is probably the most of any game I’ve played ever. If you’re on the fence give it a try, you’ll probably end up enjoying it. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next International champion!

Below is some poor quality video of a match I played a while ago. I’m a lot better now. :-p

 

Jun 072014
 

Edge of Tomorrow I went to go see Edge of Tomorrow yesterday (despite what the title says) and I was entertained. I contemplated if I should put the review up or not. I decided if I get one like on my letterboxd account I would put the review up here. So I got one like and put it up. I fleshed out some of it so it’s a bit different from that review. In any case you can read it Here. If the trailer didn’t sell you (yes some people didn’t think it looked good from the trailer which makes me wonder what they would need to see to make it look like a good movie) I think the actual movie is something you will like.

Apr 032014
 

ACNL Bridge      So you may or may not have read my feature on the addictive nature of Marvel Puzzle Quest. While I have possibly conquered those demons I’ve run into a whole new set of problems. This time my addiction comes in the form of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the  Nintendo 3DS. A little under a month ago I got a 3DS for my birthday. My original desire for the system stemmed from a game I saw on a Nintendo Direct, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (I’ll provide a video to that at the end). After seeing the details of this game I couldn’t hold my desire in check any longer, I needed this system. However, the game wouldn’t come out until a month later. How would I spend my time until then?

Well luckily for me Nintendo had a deal for new 3DS owners. With the purchase of a new 3DS and a qualifying game I could get Pokemon X for free. One of these games was Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I had played this game previously on the Gamecube but never since. This time it would be all mine. I downloaded it off the eShop and I got my Pokemon X but soon I found myself playing Animal Crossing more than Pokemon. In fact since March 5th I’ve spent 42 hours in Budapest (the name of my town) with an average playtime of 55 minutes each. How do I know this? Well the 3DS has a built in activity log to tell you how much of your life you’ve wasted. However, I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve wasted. The 3DS is an amazing system with a built in pedometer (to count your steps and play Mii Plaza games) among other things. But in terms of what I’ve done in Animal Crossing I’ve participated in may delightful activities. I’ve already had my birthday festivities and a special April fool’s day event. St. Patrick’s day was cool too. There’s just so much to do crammed inside this little game, it’s grabbed me and hasn’t let go. I’ve caught many fish, you collect them to put in your museum plus there was a fishing competition. Every day I go hunting for fossils, collect bugs and sell stuff for bells all while keeping myself and my home looking spiffy.


ACNL AquariumACNL Room
 

But after spending all this time with this game am I really going to be able to put it down for Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball? Probably not. But I’m happy I was able to find good value in other games besides what I was looking forward to. I don’t really know how to conclude this, I guess I’m just writing stuff at this point. I did want to mention that this game does have a woman’s touch, Kyle Bosman noted this on his show today, so that is probably half of my inspiration for writing this today of all days. And of course the trailer for Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball as promised. It should be coming out any time now…

Feb 272014
 

Marvel Puzzle Quest Or more specifically the curse of Marvel Puzzle Quest. As most of you know (or don’t know because I doubt anyone other than spambots read this website). I write reviews of games during my leisure time. In fact I was working on Asura’s Wrath most recently and making some progress completing it (actually I finished the game I’m just trying to 100% it) when my friend gave me an old iPod touch. I never thought mobile games were anything I would get into but I got slammed hard first with Let’s Golf 3 then Marvel Puzzle Quest. The game is highly addictive. It’s a unique twist on Puzzle Quest (which is ho hum compared to this) using marvel heroes and villains with special powers that affect the gameplay. You collect comic covers that correspond to various characters and through these covers you can level up your characters improving their powers. The game is free to play but the catch is in order to keep the covers you need hero points. Hero points can be earned through playing the game single player and various tournaments but if you want a huge roster of characters the game forces your hand and you have to pay for hero points. I have never contributed to a free to play game until this game came along. I’ve probably spent over $30 on this game with no regrets.

However, the game is brimming with content. It’s constantly updated with single player missions and tournaments springing up all the time. In fact most recently I participated in two tournaments and ended up with Psylocke and Magneto (classic). The only problem to get these characters you need to place well in the tournaments which last three days mostly. In the time that I’ve played these tournaments I’ve neglected friends and family, brushing off their requests so I could ensure good placements in these tournaments. I’ve had respectable top 20 finishes in both but I would like to apologize to my friends for ignoring you. I hope to make it up to you in the future.

 

You can download Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign from the App Store for free right now

App Store

Oct 102013
 

So I finally got around to getting all my back reviews up on the site, they were all video games, about 17 reviews up now. I also finished Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas so that’s new too. You can check it out here.