Monthly Archives: December 2015

Dungeons and Dragons

How about something completely random today? No? Well you’re getting it anyway!

Every so often my friends and I get together and play some Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a lot of fun. Well a few months ago I recorded one of our sessions. I mean sure I recorded it on a toaster and then exported it via a cheesegrater, but the bits that don’t sound like a dead wombat trying to understand basic trigonometry are quite funny. I think so at least.

Enjoy.

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Raw Talk [28/12/15]

Raw this week came from Brooklyn, N. Y. Vince McMahon was promoted to be on this show, maybe in an attempt to boost those ratings again after another huge drop since his last appearance. Will it work? Will Triple H return from his injuries that he clearly wasn’t suffering from on NXT? Which Roman Reigns will show up? Who will actually be on the show considering half the roster is at a different live event?

Let us find the answers to all of these questions and more when I look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Monday Night Raw.

The Good

tumblr_o03jdkaf6p1rnjfjfo1_r1_400WWE are nailing Kevin Owens right now, it’s great to watch. He’s getting TV time, character development and pulling off being a douchebag heel amazingly. This week he actually lost to Neville in 30 seconds! Embarrased he attacked after the match delivering a beat down that eventually lead to a huge clothesline! Dean Ambrose made the save which continued their story as well. The only negative was Ambrose doing his silly roll over the apron clothesline, that he almost messed up. I like Dean, I like the move. I just don’t want to see it four times a match.

tumblr_o03qp1onbi1rt044do1_r1_500After being chased off Owens came back after Dean’s tag match. Power-bombing him through the announce table. Brutal. The WWE aren’t getting that much right at the moment but they’re doing okay with this one, so far at least.


I feel like I say this every week and with good reason because you’ve got to love The New Day. Xavier Woods cuts a simple promo, indicating that he was challenging Sin Cara to a match to avenge the loss of Kofi Kingston. Only to swerve and say Big E was competing. Simple, but fun.


Welcome back John Cena. I see you haven’t missed a beat, still working the same gimmick for the last 10 years. That’s not boring at all. That said, at least you cut a better cheesey promo than Reigns. I don’t like your shtick John, but at least I respect you. You aren’t awful. Just stay away from the main event for a while longer please.

Also a quick shout out to that ref bump during the US title match. That guy flew across the ring!


While the entire Vince McMahon gets arrested angle was dumb and poorly done (more on that later). I will say that announcing Vince’s presence on Raw next week is a good idea. As is booking another world title match. Even if Sheamus doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning. Does anyone actually think he can win? No, because we’re not all that stupid.

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Daisy Ridley [Gallery]

At 23 years old Daisy Ridley has gone from almost completely unknown to huge international recognition in just a few year. That’s what happened when you are cast to be the female lead in the new Star Wars trilogy though! J. J. Abrams was trying to repeat the casting choices made by George Lucas in the original films by using lesser known stars and its worked perfectly.

Ridley, who plays Rey in The Force Awakens, is one of the best things about the film. She’s clearly a great actress and I’m amazed that she hasn’t been more involved in the industry already. She’s clever, funny and endearing. She can even hold her own in action sequences which can be failing of even the most experienced actors. Instead the character of Rey grows into her role as she learns becoming more confident. It feels very natural.

I’m really looking forward to her characters story arc in the new films and that is solely down to her performance. In fact, I’m just really looking forward to seeing more of her in films in general.

A bit of trivia for you now. For anyone who is a fan of the original Dad’s Army television show from the 70’s then you’ll know who Private Godfrey, the gentle platoon medic, is. Well Private Godfrey was played by Arnold Ridley, Daisy’s great uncle! Small world isn’t it?

Heaven’s Basement – Filthy Empire [Album Review]

 

Filthy Empire, released February 2013, is the debut album from the British hard rock band Heaven’s Basement. The lead single ‘Fire, Fire‘ came out in September 2012 in the build up to the album. It peaked at number eleven on the Mainstream Rock chart.

The album features Aaron Buchanan on vocals, Sid Glover on guitar and backing vocals, Rob Ellershaw on bass and Chris Rivers on drums. With tracks being taken from the first 5 years of the bands existence, some of which were already featured on the two EPs Heaven’s Basment (2009) and Unbreakable (2011). Its a perfect combination of old and new material to officially announce themselves to the world as the album shouts proudly “We’re here, so listen up!”.

 

heavensbasementHeaven’s Basement have set the bar pretty high for themselves with this debut. This hard hitting album mixes the big catchy choruses of 80’s and 90’s hard rock with a more modern rock sound. It’s not only a throw back but new and unique at the same time.

The heavy guitar riffs will instantly get your attention while the drumming is superb but it’s ‘s vocals that set this band apart from the rest. I can not recommend this band or this album enough. If you like rock music you simply have to give it a listen. When you do, I know it won’t disappoint!

Unfortunately back in October of the year the band announced that they were parting ways with lead singer Aaron Buchanan. They said at the time “we’ve all had a fantastic few years touring the world with Filthy Empire but we simply feel that our time together has run its course”. This is a major set back for the band who seem to lose members every time they start building up a head of steam. Disappointingly I was hoping for a new EP or LP in 2016, but I doubt that will happen now.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

 

My 3 Favourite Albums of 2015

The new year is almost here. It’s time to say goodbye to 2015 and welcome in 2016. With that comes the excellently pointless tradition of ‘top ten’ lists and the like. I thought I’d throw my name into the ring and give you my favourite albums of the year. However just like with my top films list I’m only giving you my favourite three. Why? Because just like in the Olympics, if you aren’t Gold, Silver or Bronze. You lost baby!

Honourable Mention: Matt Skiba & The Sekrets – Babylon

square-600Breaking all of the rules that I just laid out I couldn’t help but mention this album. The only reason I’m not putting it as my favourite album for this year is because technically it came out in 2012. It’s just that I only discovered it this year. I know, I know I’m behind the times. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I just had to mention it though!

Matt Skiba & The Sekrets is the side project of Alkaline Trio and now Blink 182 frontman Matt Skiba. It’s very much in the same vein as the more recent Alkaline Trio albums. In fact if you played them in one playlist I think most people would assume they were the same band. This does beg the question why not just release with your main band? Whatever, it’s another fantastic album.

I’m really looking forward to seeing his input on the new Blink 182 scheduled for next year. As well as hopefully, another Alkaline Trio album too.

 

Bronze: Four Year Strong – Four Year Strong

g9aohyzuFour Year Strong are an American pop punk/melodic hardcore band from Worcester, Massachusetts, formed in 2001. Since the release of 2011’s In Some Way, Shape or Form I had been eagerly awaiting Four Years Strong’s next full LP offering. The band got my taste buds going with their 2014 EP Go Down In History but this was the main event and they did not disappoint!

The new album is hard hitting and frantically paced monster crafted by some truly talented musicians. It’s a great listen and I think this album is awesome. The guitar rifts, the vocal melodies, the drumming. I love it. I’ve been signing the guitar solo in ‘I Hold Myself In Contempt‘ [3:30 onwards] for months now!

Silver: Breaking Benjamin – Dark Before Dawn

Dark Before Dawn is the fifth album by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was the groups first album since the four year hiatus and features an entirely new lineup alongside founder and frontman Benjamin Burnley. The album was both a critical and commercial success. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the group’s first in their catalog, selling 141,000 units in its first week.

This is album is exactly what I wanted it to be and what I wanted was another Breaking Benjamin album. An album in the same vein as their previous efforts. I didn’t want a new direction, I didn’t wanted a new vibe. I wanted another album, just like their others, from an amazing band.

Gold: Shinedown – Threat To Survival

threat_to_survival_by_shinedownThreat To Survival moves Shinedown in a new direction after Amaryllis (2012) and Sound of Madness (2008). They still have their vintage Shinedown sound, led by Brent Smith’s distinctive vocals, but have moved towards a more pop-influenced songs. This isn’t to say that they’ve turned into Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. It’s just a softer and incredibly catchy vibe for most of the album. The albums lead single, Cut The Cord, however is a hard rock classic that I guarantee will get stuck in your head.

I think a lot of fans have been a bit harsh on the band with them ‘changing’ their sound. I can’t judge after all I didn’t want Breaking Benjamin to change their sound either. I’ll admit I had some concerns of my own when I heard the follow ups to Cut The Cord. It didn’t seem quite right and after all new is scary right? It wasn’t until I listened to the album in full that everything clicked for me and I realised that new for Shinedown isn’t scary. New is good. No, new is great! I have listened to this album daily since it same out in September and I don’t think that will stop anytime soon either.

Threat To Survival is very much still Shinedown and still Shinedown rock!

So there you have it, my three favourite albums from this year. What were yours?  Do we agree on any? Let me know!

4 Albums To Look Forward To In 2016

With the new year almost upon us it’s time to stop looking back at 2015 and start looking forward to 2016. What will it bring us?  Well I’m here to answer that question with four albums, either confirmed and rumoured, that you should really be on your radar for next year.

Blink 182 – 7th Studio Album

 

When Tom DeLonge exited stage left from Blink 182 in the early stages of the year one of the main frustrations he was causing was a lack of progress with a new album. Initially slated for a 2013 release that came and went, the band then missed 2014 as well. By 2015 enough was enough. Was Tom kicked out? Did he leave? It really doesn’t matter to be honest. The rest of the group wanted to push forward, Tom didn’t.

blink_182_Matt_SkibaWhen Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) stepped in to play a few shows in his place the rumour mill started for Blink 182 to record their new album with him instead. In August it was confirmed that the new look trio were heading into the studio to start writing new material and things might be moving along faster than expected.

2014blink182_getty180618724150714-article_x4Back in October drummer Travis Barker confirmed with NME that “We’re just getting started but I think we’ve got like four or five songs right now that I’m really, really happy with. There’s a song called ‘Punk Rock Cliché‘ which I love the most right now. It’s about friends of ours and their relationships.”

He added that the aim for the group is just “Write a bunch of songs and when we feel like there’s an album ready, there’s an album ready. No pressure, no deadlines.”

mark_hoppus_2011While speaking to Alternative Press bassist Mark Hoppus discussed the style of music they were creating as a blend of “early Blink meets early Alkaline Trio”. He went on to say that he’s really happy with how its going and that the energy in the studio is great adding “Nothing except good stuff is going to come out of the studio.”

This is all very promising for a 2016 release and while the band are keeping their intentions close to their chests it is the most logical conclusion. I’m guessing that the album will be out towards the end of the year. After all the new album will come under intense scrutiny from fans and the media. So they will want to put out the best music possible.

Megadeth – Dystopia

megadethdystopia

Dystopia will be the fifteenth studio album by thrash metal legends Megadeth. It is due for release January 22nd.

It is the first album since 2004’s The System Has Failed not to feature drummer Shawn Drover and the first since 2007’s United Abominations without guitarist Chris Broderick. Instead it will have Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro filling those roles respectively.

It’s nice to see Megadeth still writing and releasing new material on a regular basis. Even though their last album 2013’s Super Collider didn’t get the best reviews I think it’s better than resting on your old legacy that some older metal bands do. *cough* Metallica *cough*

Before you get your panties in a twist I’ll let you know that I love Metallica. I just think it’s a little bit lazy not to have only produced two albums in the last fifteen years. That’s if you even let the abomination of St. Anger count.

Below you can listen to one of my favourite Megadeth songs ‘Something I’m Not’ from 2004’s The System Has Failed.

Alkaline Trio – 9th Studio Album

myshameistrueThe world needs more music from Alkaline Trio. It’s almost been three years since the release of My Shame Is True and fans are eagerly anticipating their next efforts. So far there has been very few rumours to run with on the planning or progress of this project. However back in July Dan Andriano (bassist) said that Alkaline Trio ‘need to make a new record’ and that he thinks it will be early 2016 when they starting recording a new album. The problem is that they’re all so busy. Dan has his solo project. Matt Skiba has The Sekrets and now Blink 182. It’s a matter of how and when are they going to fit it all in!

In reality I it depends a lot on the progress that Blink 182 are making on their new music. It’s probably the number one priority right now. As I said earlier I’m expecting a new recorded from them to be released towards the end of 2016. Does that leave enough time for Alkaline Trio to write, record and tour for their 9th studio album. Maybe, maybe not.

I hope so though!

Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky

blackstonecherry2015bandnew_638Black Stone Cherry will be releasing their fifth studio album Kentucky on April 1st. It will have been two years since the last album release of Magic Mountain, which for some bands is quite a quick turn around. Yet it still can’t come soon enough for me.

blackstonecherrykentuckycdI love everything about the southern American hard rock sound that they have.  They are just a talented group of guys having fun and it always comes across in the music. It helps that Chris Robertson has a perfect rock and roll voice too I suppose.

Also from a drummers perspective it’s a joy to listen to John Fred Young. He is an absolute beast behind the kit!

I’m actually seeing the band live in February at Wembley Arena alongside Halestorm and Shinedown. That’s going to be a quality show!

They just released the first track that will be on the album. It’s called ‘The Way Of The Future‘ and you can listen to it below.

Top 3 Films Of 2015

This post was written before I saw Star Wars, so any of you ‘nerds’ out there who are freaking out over anything. Chill yeah? Though to be honest, I don’t think it would be number one anyway. If you want to know my thoughts on Star Wars CLICK HERE!

It’s almost the end of the year. I hope you’ve all seen some great films this year whatever you’re into. As is tradition with people in media I thought I would give you a list of my favourite films that I have seen this year. However, instead of giving you a top ten that we can spend hours arguing that number 5 and 6 should be the swapped other way around. I’m biting the bullet and giving you my top three straight off the bat. Why? Because just like in the Olympics, if you aren’t Gold, Silver or Bronze. You lost baby!

Bronze: Ant-Man

ant-man_poster

This will be a surprise to a lot of people. Seen as the biggest gamble by Marvel in their cinematic universe Ant-Man gets a pretty hard time.

Ant-Man is the story of Scott Lang, a ‘master their’ just released from prison. After being recruited by Dr. Hank Pym, Lang becomes The Ant-Man. Armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Darren Cross, Pym’s former protégé, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

Yes you’ve feel like you’ve seen this story before and not just that it is a clichéd redemption story. It’s also incredibly similar to Iron Man which is in the same cinematic universe! Bald evil former partner wants to use technology for evil and is happy to kill anyone who gets in his way? That’s Jeff Bridges in Iron Man!

Ant-Man is still a very enjoyable comic book movie. It’s a lot of fun and really, that’s all you really want. Paul Rudd is great, as Scott Lang and is able to bring equal amounts of comedy, emotion and action to the role. Plus he’s got a sweet six-pack now.

Silver Medal: The Martian

themartianfeatured

Presumed dead after a fierce storm astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) must use his wits and meagre supplies to find a way to survive on Mars until he can be picked up…in four years time.

The Martian is intelligent, humorous and thrilling. Matt Damon is fantastic as Watney. It is his charismatic presence that keeps the film moving forward and because of this the films mood has an overall positive and light tone. Instead of following Hollywood’s recent obsession with dark, gritty, depressing spectacles.

Gold: The Man From U.N.C.L.E

the-man-from-uncle-30

At the height of the Cold War, a mysterious criminal organisation plans to use nuclear weapons against the world. It comes down to CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) who are forced to put aside their hostilities and work together. 

tumblr_nqhlobko641ti6w8ko1_1280Originally The Man from U.N.C.L.E was a 1964 American television show.  The best way to describe this film to you is that it’s a live action version of Archer. If that was what they were going for though then they pretty much nailed it.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E is a fun, sexy action movie and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough. I am aware though, that in reality this isn’t the ‘perfect movie’. The story might not be the most original thing you’ve ever seen for example. However it’s just so much fun to watch that I don’t care. Loved it. I just hope they make a sequel.

So there’s my list. Do you agree or disagree? Tell me yours in the comments.