Monday, January 30, 2017

The Old Man's Temporary Insanity!

For those who may not know, my You Tube channel will be winding down due to my change of employment. That's okay though! I'm not sad or disappointed. I kind of always wanted to do that and I did it and that's great. However, I need to do something else with the free time that I have.


I'm starting a podcast! It's called The Old Man's Temporary Insanity and it will (for a little while at least) focus on Christian music and pop culture from the late 80's and early 90's. I figured since I can't do videos and vlogs anymore, I'd do this! Episodes will be coming out every Thursday!

So do yourself a favor and check out my podcast:

The Old Man's Temporary Insanity.

Maschine - "Naturalis"

Maschine - Naturalis
2016, Inside Out

1. Resistance
2. Night and Day
3. Make Believe
4. Hidden in Plain Sight
5. A New Reality
6. Megacyma
Bonus Tracks
7. Eyes, Pt. 2 (Live)
8. Rubidium (Live)

You might remember way back in 2013, I gave Maschine's debut, Rubidium a spot on my top picks of the year. I didn't even know the band was putting out a new album until a few weeks before it was released. I am so on top of things these days! Anyway, Naturalis is pretty much a fine continuation of what the band started with their debut. It's funny, two of the complaints I had with the first album were kind of addressed on this one. The vocalist doesn't seem like he's trying to sound all gravelly or tough, he just sings. Also, the lyrics have changed from relationships to natural disasters and war stories. Definitely more epic than before. If you want more music like the first album but with a little more polish, then this album does the trick.

Useless Fact: "Megacyma" is about the Japanese tsunami from a few years ago.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Genesis Project - "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway"

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
1974/2007, Virgin

1. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
2. Fly on a Windshield
3. Broadway Melody of 1974
4. Cuckoo Cocoon
5. In the Cage
6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging
7. Back in N.Y.C.
8. Hairless Heart
9. Counting Out Time
10. Carpet Crawlers
11. The Chamber of 32 Doors

1. Lilywhite Lilith
2. The Waiting Room
3. Anyway
4. Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist
5. The Lamia
6. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats
7. The Colony of Slippermen
8. Ravine
9. The Light Dies Down On Broadway
10. Riding the Scree
11. In the Rapids
12. it. 


We’ve finally reached the end of our tour. It’s fitting that we end on this particular album as I think it’s the band’s biggest, most ambitious release. There was so much weight on this album that it nearly broke the band. From what I’ve read about the making of Lamb, everyone was miserable. Peter Gabriel, whose surreal and trippy story drives the music forward, quit while it was being written and recorded (he returned to finish when a deal fell through). Other members were going through divorces and what not. It was a tumultuous time for Genesis. If you’ll remember I remarked at length about the relaxed vibe of A Trick of the Tail. No wonder! This album takes itself pretty seriously. Peter Gabriel is at his most obtuse and pretentious. He had to have left after this album because I don’t know what he would have done with himself he continued on. This is truly the apex of the “aggressively intellectual” (to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Parrish), incarnation of the band.

Speaking of pretentious and obtuse, let’s recap the story shall we? After several listens and some research I think I finally have a grasp on what was going on. Keep in mind this is the actual story. I am not making any of this up…
Rael is a Puerto-Rican street kid living in New York City. One day he sees a lamb lie down on Broadway. Literally. Kind of surprising to start it out like that, but there it is. Rael notices a dark cloud over the city that turns into a giant movie screen looking thing and absorbs him. He wakes up in a cave, encased in a strange sort of cocoon. Then he finds himself in a cage…somehow. He sees his brother John whom he begs for help. John refuses and leaves him. John gets out of the cage somehow and finds himself in some sort of factory – a factory which makes people. He experiences several flashbacks from his life which end with a vision of him having his “hairless heart” cut out. He then comes to a giant spiral stair case which people are crawling up.

At the top is a room with thirty-two doors, one of which will lead back out. Rael meets a woman who helps him find the right door and he leaves the chamber. Then he meets Death. Death doesn’t kill him, mind you, he just says “hi” I guess? Rael then finds himself in a cave with three snake-like creatures called Lamia. He has sex with them (because why not, I mean really, when are you ever going to have the chance to have sex with snake women?). They bite him and when they taste his blood, it kills them. He then decides (and remember I am still not making this up) to eat their dead bodies because I guess he forgot to pack a sack lunch on this little psychedelic road-trip. 

Does this make you hot? 

He leaves the cave to find a colony of “Slippermen.” Slippermen are deformed humans covered in tumorous lumps. Rael finds that he has turned into a Slipperman, as have all who’ve shagged and eaten the Lamias. I guess it was quite the fad for a bit there. He finds his brother, John (now also a slipperman, because of course he is). They find out the only way to turn back to normal is to visit Doktor Dyper and…wait for it…be castrated. They agree to this far more quickly than you’d think.

Gabriel as a Slipperman. Just say no to sex with lamia!

 So… (yeah, we’re not done)… they get castrated and they turn back to normal. As a consolation prize they get to keep their junk in golden tubes around their necks. As they’re traveling a raven swoops down and snatches Rael’s Testicle Tube (a great name for a band, by the by). The Raven drops it down a waterfall into a crevasse. Rael is as distraught as you imagine a man would be and begs John to help him get his balls back. John refuses. Rael chases after his babymakers and falls down into a ravine. John appears to rescue him but gets caught in the rapids. Rael goes to rescue him and pulls him onto the shore where we find out the big twist to the whole story…surprise! John is Rael! Rael is John! They’re the same person! Then they dissolve into light. The end.

Um…so, gentle reader, did that story do anything for you? Did you get the concepts? Yeah, me neither. Now I might not be telling it right, but it doesn’t matter – my opinion stands. I’m not really sure what we’re supposed to take away from this. There’s sort of an Alice In Wonderland vibe here – a connection made obvious by the Mad Hatter printed on the CDs themselves. There’s no whimsy though. It’s far too dark and sexual to just be a flight of fancy. In the end it’s like one of those dreams that feel like more than a simple dream but whose meaning remains inscrutable. If I were to guess there’s probably some point to be made about how one defines masculinity and the trouble sex can cause when carelessly pursued. Still, in the end you’re left asking yourself, what the heck did I just listen to?

And that’s really the trouble with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The story completely dominates the album. Despite the fact that the music was a band effort with Gabriel contributing the lyrics and story, it seems like this is a Peter Gabriel solo album. The music is good and I liked it more each time I listened to it. But there’s that disconnect… that pesky emotional disconnect that I’ve been talking about since I started this project. It’s just really hard to connect with the material sometimes because it’s so strange. There seems to be very little one can hang their emotional hat on and little in the way of relatable feelings. Even with Pink Floyd’s psychedelic concept opus, The Wall, there were themes of isolation, loneliness, and alienation that everyone could relate to. Here? Not so much.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like the album, but that’s not true. I really did like it. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the band’s catalog as something wholly unique. I absolutely recommend it – just be aware of what you’re getting into. Besides, Mike Rutherford’s fat bass line in the title track and Steven Hackett’s beautiful guitar passages are just too good to let a little thing like Lamia sex keep you from hearing them. Give me some time and this could even rank up with Selling England and A Trick of the Tail as one of my favorite Genesis platters.

Final Score: 4 out of 5

Useless Fact: Peter Gabriel regretted his Slipperman costume because it was so bulky he had a hard time moving around and singing while wearing it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Circle of Dust - "Machines of Our Disgrace"

Circle of Dust - Machines of Our Disgrace
2016, Fixt

1. re_Engage
2. Machines of Our Disgrace
3. Contagion
4. Embracing Entropy
5. Humanarchy
6. Signal
7. alt_Human
8. Hive Mind
9. Outside In
10. Neurachem
11 k_Os
12. Neophyte
13. Malacandra

Klayton caps of a year of Circle of Dust remasters with a brand new album. A fantastic one at that! Machines manages to combine the sounds of the old albums into a unified whole. You've got some Brainchild type moments with the title track and "Contagion," but you've also got some more Disengage moments with "Embracing Entropy" and - naturally - "Malacandra." I'm really impressed with this album and I hope this isn't the last we hear from Circle of Dust. The only reason why Scandroid beat out this album for a spot on my picks is because Scandroid had the benefit of being a delightful surprise. I kind of knew I was probably going to dig this.

One thing I noticed was the voice samples. Past Circle discs were full of random samples from television shows, movies, etc. I've noticed that the samples on this album have kind of been limited to obscure sci-fi movies. That's not a complaint by the way. I'm wondering if Klayton was a little gun-shy about using copyrighted material. Back in the day you could get away with that sort of thing, but today? Good grief... he probably had to pick some stuff that was not under copyright just to save himself some headache down the line.

Useless Fact: "Neurachem" features samples from the seminal classic, The Brain That Wouldn't Die as made popular by the best show on earth, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Scandroid - "Scandroid"

Scandroid - Scandroid
2016, Fixt

1. 2517
2. Salvation Code
3. Aphelion
4. Shout
5. Destination Unknown
6. Connection
7. Datastream
8. Empty Streets
9. Awakening With You
10. Atom & E.E.V.
11. Neo Tokyo
12. Probots and Robophobes
13. Eden
14. Singularity

I was not initially interested in Klayton's Scandroid project because I'm not a huge techno person. I like industrial and I like the fusion of styles that Klayton is known for, but straight up techno? No thanks. Then I heard what Scandroid actually was - a love letter to Eighties synth wave. I listened to "Neo Tokyo" and I was hooked. It's like it scratched and itch I didn't even know I had. Yes, I know, I always have the nostalgia itch - no need to send letters. It's scary how authentic it sounds. However, even though it revels in Eighties synths, percussions, etc. it sounds fresh, new, and full of energy. Imagine the soundtrack to the first Mass Effect or the more recent Stranger Things combined with tight hooks and pop sensibility. That's kind of what you're in for with Scandroid. There's even a cool cover of Tears for Fears' "Shout." I dug this o much I put it on my best of 2016 list without reviewing it first.

Useless Fact: "Probots and Robophobes" says it "features" Circle of Dust. How does that work? Both of them are Klayton. So... Klayton featuring Klayton?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Holy Soldier - "Promise Man"

Holy Soldier - Promise Man
1995, Forefront

1. Promise Man
2. Mumbo-Jumbo
3. My World
4. Rust
5. Why Don't You Look Into Jesus?
6. Break It Down
7. Cover Me
8. Grind
9. Love Conquers All
10. Sand

Time and fate kind of conspired to make sure Promise Man wasn't enjoyed quite to the extent that it should have been. It came out smack dab in the middle of the Nineties when the alternative revolution was in full swing. Former vocalist Stephen Patrick, the charismatic - if somewhat eccentric acting (at least on stage) was replaced with Eric Wayne. He's got a lower register than Patrick but fits the band's new style. Speaking of which, it's not the commercial hard rock/metal they started out with. As befitting the times it's more alternative hard rock. While long time fans might disavow this album as a sell-out, I really enjoy it. No, it doesn't sound like old Holy Soldier. It sounds more like...King's X. Not lying. There's some pretty serious King's X worship going on here, especially in tracks like "Break It Down" and "Cover Me." They've definitely got the whole drop-d thing mastered. There's also a cover of Larry Norman's "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus?" that was on a tribute album many years back. The band was signed to Forefront, which if you'll remember was the home of hip-hoppers like DC Talk and E.T.W. I guess Forefront wanted to branch out? Anyway, far away from the time it was released I can say it's a good little album. I like it just as much as Last Train.

Oh, and since we haven't done my weird associations game here we go. I got this for Christmas in '95 along with the Super Nintendo masterpiece, Chrono Trigger. So those two things have been linked my entire life.

Useless Fact: Well...I guess more people enjoyed the album than I thought. It won a Dove Award for best hard rock song, "Promise Man."

Monday, January 2, 2017

Favorite Albums of 2016

Wow. 2016. Amirite? Personally, it’s been a year of adventure for my family and I – losing weight, new job, new car, new baby. It’s definitely had its ups and downs. However, it’s been a great year for music. You know the drill: five main picks and three honorable mentions. I’ve restricted myself to stuff that has come out this year so this really is a “Best of 2016,” not just my personal favorites.


Anthrax, For All Kings –  Every single one of the big four put out albums this year. How awesome is that? We also got albums from Testament and Death Angel. It was a good year for thrash fans that’s for sure. I could probably fill a list with just thrash. I’m not going to do that though. Out of all the amazing thrash discs I heard this year, Anthrax’s latest stayed at the top. This was truly a modern classic with some of the best songs of their career. Keep in mind Megadeth and Metallica put out some great stuff too. In the end, though, there was no contest For All Kings was king.

Steve Hindalong, The Warbler – Steve Hindalong is not known for his singing prowess. I did not expect his solo album to be one of my favorites of the year. His first solo album, Skinny, decent but I wasn’t totally enamored. The Warbler, however, is probably a better Choir record than some of the more recent Choir records. Great songs, strong production, much improved lyrics over the past few Choir albums. I listened to this one over and over. Just writing this makes me want to listen to it again.

Knifeworld, Bottled Out of Eden – Knifeworld came back this year with the bizarre brand of progressive psychedelic pop. I don’t think it quite reached the highs of 2014’s The Unravelling but there’s just nothing like them out there.

Amaranthe, Maximalism – Like I said in my review, Maximalism is like an energy drink in music form. It’s an instant mood lifter and motivator. Even though the band has gone in a more pop direction with this album, they haven’t sacrificed heaviness and – I think – made their strongest record yet. Still don't like the title, though.

Scandroid, Scandroid- Well, well, well…Klayton has certainly been a busy little bee this year. He’s rereleased all the Circle of Dust albums (as well as the stellar new album, Machines of Our Disgrace) as well as putting out the debut album of Scandroid. Scandroid is Klayton’s synthwave project that is a love letter to the Eighties synth music we know and (some of us) love. I didn’t think this would appeal to me at all, but I was hooked from the first track I heard. Not to mention we get a fantastic cover of Tears For Fears “Shout.” I will review this proper but I haven’t gotten a chance since I got it for Christmas. Yes… got it for Christmas and it’s one of my top picks.

Honorable Mentions

The Jelly Jam, Profit
Panic at the Disco, The Death of a Bachelor
XL & Death Before Dishonor, Offensive Truth

Disappointments of 2016

Dream Theater, The Astonishing – I am shocked at the amount of love this album gets. I must be in the minority. I found The Astonishing to be a ridiculous waste of my time. The story is rubbish, pure and simple. The music has little in the way of hooks and little in the way of progressive mastery. If doesn’t have any of that stuff then why am I even listening to Dream Theater? I can just play Final Fantasy IV…or VI…or VIII. At least the story would be better.  I was never one to say that Mike Portnoy was the “talent” behind the band, but this is the second album in a row on my disappointments list. I’ll give you one more, guys. Then I’m done.

Devin Townsend Project, Transcendence – Wait….what? Yeah… I had some pretty high hopes for this one. It’s not bad. Let me repeat, it’s NOT bad. It just didn’t stick with me like I hoped it would. I didn’t find myself wanting to go back to it again and again like most DTP albums. I’m hoping it will grow on me throughout the years. Maybe it was the gear shift between the more pop oriented albums to a more progressive one.

Favorite Random Music Things of 2016

Circle of Dust Remasters – Klayton (mastermind behind Celldweller, Circle of Dust, and Argyle Park) finally bought the masters to his old music. He remastered them from the ground up and added several discs worth of unreleased material and remixes. It made for a very fine year. And to top it off we also got a new (awesome) Circle of Dust album!

The Genesis Project – Yes, I am not technically done with this project, but it has been a lot of fun. I’m a bonna –fide Genesis fan now. So far my favorites are Selling England By the Pound and A Trick of the Tail. I’ll do a “summary” write up after I finish the final review. It should be at the end of this month. Should be.

Thank you for reading everyone! I hope you have an awesome and blessed new year! Looking forward to all the cool music that’s destined to come out.