Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Greg and Danny's Top 10 Star Wars Everything Episode V: Return of the Revenge Strikes Back

This is part 2 of our countdown of all things Star Wars. If you haven't read part 1 yet, we recommend starting here: http://butmostlymetal.blogspot.com/2016/12/greg-and-dannys-top-10-star-wars.html

Danny's 5: Plagueis
Plagueis may be a bit of a misnomer for the title, as the book is largely about the rise of a young Palpatine under the tutelage of his master, Darth Plagueis. Aside from the obvious interest in Palpatine as a character, the book is also noteworthy because it manages to make the events of the prequel trilogy MAKE COMPLETE SENSE! I’m serious. Luceno brilliantly discusses Palpatine’s hand in all the events that led to the blockade of Naboo and, ultimately, the Clone Wars. Having asked Luceno in person about this, he wrote all of this with no guidance from anyone. The poor man had to come up with a way to make The Phantom Menace not seem completely ridiculous, and he succeeded. The saddest part is that Luceno published Plagueis right before Disney mashed the reset button on Star Wars canon. Though he managed to sneak a bit of it into Tarkin, so he’s clearly trying to keep some of that around. If you’re interested in the backstory to one of the most important characters in the original and prequel trilogies, this is a great place to get it.

Greg's 5: Star Wars (A.K.A. Episode IV: A New Hope)
No list would be complete without the one that started it all. It’s the rare movie that changes how movies are made yet still holds up after decades of sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and imitations. The original Star Wars is still the gripping adventure it was in 1977, dropping us into a world that feels real with an endlessly quotable, instantly likable cast. It’s the archetypical story of good vs. evil shot with a style and conviction that separated it from the pulp sci-fi that inspired it.If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and go watch it. Just be warned that this rabbit hole is vast.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Greg and Danny's Top 10 Star Wars Everything Episode IV

It should be no surprise to anyone who knows us that our nerdiness doesn’t end at Satan, vikings, Tolkien, Cthulhu, and the hard rockin’ odes to all the above. There’s also a soft spot in both of our hearts for the goings on of a certain galaxy far ,far way. Since Rogue One just came out, what better time than now to share our list of the top 10 Star Wars everything? The rules are simple: movies count individually, while game, book, and TV series count as one entry.

Danny's 10: The Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous so-bad-it’s-not-even-good movies/TV specials in the history of moving pictures. The Holiday Special was released at the beginning of 1978, a mere few months after the initial release of Star Wars intended to capitalize on the overwhelming and unexpected success of the movie, and advertise the Star Wars toys/action figures that are probably now worth a shit-ton of money for some reason. The special itself it a total garbage fire of Chewbacca’s family belching at one another (without subtitles, mind you) and mindlessly boring, unfunny skits that are 100% unrelated to Star Wars as we know it. So why does it make my top 10 list? Because I love making people suffer through it! The Holiday Special is one of those things you should never watch alone. Or sober. But god damn it, it is a lot of fun to watch with a group of equally masochistic friends.

Greg's 10: Battlefront Series
Star Wars is an experience best when shared with friends. Games like Episode 1 Racer and Republic Commando were close contenders for the top ten, but nothing puts you right in the middle of the action quite like Battlefront. It’s a simple but endlessly replayable formula: choose your side, pick a class, and relive the iconic battles. It doesn’t matter whether you have 15 minutes or an afternoon to kill, the Battlefront games have virtually no learning curve yet you could spend your whole life getting better and never feel like you played the same battle twice.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Head to Head: Seventh Wonder - Welcome to Atlanta vs. Ayreon - The Theater Equation

 A wife reveals an uncomfortable secret to her husband, and in his rage the car loses control. In the wake of the crash, he finds himself in a coma, struggling to confront his demons in a race against the clock as his life is slipping away. Sound familiar? Maybe a little too familiar? If you were a prog metal fan in the last decade, you might have noticed an uncanny resemblance between Ayreon's The Human Equation and Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls. The former, in true Ayreon fashion, features a heavyweight cast as aspects of the main character's psyche, while the latter explores his condition through the metaphor of a mysterious town. Both are favorites of mine and Mercy Falls cracked my top ten metal albums. So when both bands released live versions of their iconic albums back to back, what choice did I have but to pit them against each other?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ghost - Popestar

In the spirit of brevity, I'll keep this review short. Popestar is a 5 track EP with one original song and four covers that draw from some unexpected sources. For those unfamiliar with Ghost, stop reading this and pull up a video of one of their live shows because the only way to understand their strange aesthetic is to see it for yourself. It's a familiar gimmick executed with a commitment to atmosphere that's all their own,

Square Hammer starts off the EP and is everything a Ghost single should be, with the church organ styled keyboards front and center and the driving bass adding some oomph to the simple but effective riffing. Papa Emeritus shines on this track, and the chorus immediately stands out as one of their most infectious. This is the highlight of the EP and its one original track.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Insomnium - Winter's Gate

The masters of melodic death metal (a debatable point, I admit, but you're here for my opinion, so can it!) are back with their seventh studio album, Winter's Gate. While Insomnium have never been shy about experimenting with new sounds to prevent stagnation, Winter's Gate probably marks one of the biggest and strangest leaps their style has taken between albums. Winter's Gate is intended to be listened to as a single 40-minute song. Though the album is split into seven tracks in digital versions, it's pretty much impossible to tell where the transitions take place. As if that wasn't enough, Winter's Gate is also Insomnium's first foray into concept albums. The album is based on a short story written by bassist Niilo Sevänen about a group of Vikings who set out for Ireland as winter draws near.

As Insomnium are probably my single favorite band (with Ne Obliviscaris nipping at their heels), I've been very eagerly anticipating this album, so let's see if it lives up to my hype. The album cover certainly doesn't slow down the hype train. I mean damn, that is a thing of beauty. Though I actually like it better with the colors inverted. Eh, whatever, on to the music!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Delain - Moonbathers

Symphonic metal is a fascinating crossroads of genres where anything from heavy, operatic beauty and the beast compositions to power pop with pointy black guitars feels at home. Plenty of bands end up sounding like some kind of Nightwish, After Forever, or Evanescence clone, but a talented few manage to find their own niche. Delain are a bit too young to have a major influence on the genre, but they've managed to mix elements of Anette era Nightwish and latter-day Within Temptation into a sound that's distinctly theirs. With 2014's The Human Contradiction they built on their usual pop sensibility and showed a heavier, more complex side to their sound.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sabaton - The Last Stand

Sabaton is a band that both of us discovered in college and had us exclaiming a collective "fuck yeah!" at the first bombastic chorus of “Primo Victoria.” We've heard every album of theirs since then and even saw them live together on tour with Amon Amarth. Few brands of finely aged cheese have elicited more collective fists pumped and faces palmed than Sabaton. So here were are, doing a joint review of their seventh album (excluding Fist for Fight and the retroactively released Metalizer) and the second with their new lineup. Like Heroes it's a loose concept album, this time focused on famous and not so famous last stands throughout history. So, how does The Last Stand stack up?