Thursday, November 29, 2012

Varg Review

Yesterday my review of the new Varg album went up on Full Metal Attorney. You can read it here.

Please note this is a German band called Varg. It is not the Norwegian musician.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

National Beard and Moustache Championship 2012

On the 11th of November, Las Vegas played host to the Third Annual National Beard and Moustache Championships. I keep hoping to go to one of these, but so far I've never been able to make it. The first was held in Bend, Oregon, where an old college roommate of mine lives. I'd thought it might be a good opportunity to go visit, but I didn't have the time or money. Then last year it was held in neighboring PA, though it was on the other end of the state. I figured I could drive out to it, but I didn't have the time or money. Then this year was in Las Vegas. I lived around there for years, and I'm sure I could have stayed with friends if only I could have gotten out there, but I didn't have the time or money. I'm sure by now you've detected a bit of a pattern. I've got no idea where the next one is going to be held, but I'm pretty sure about two things: I'll want to go, and I probably won't have the time or money.

In any case, for those interested, the results of the competition are posted here on Beard Team USA's website.

Incantation - Vanquish in Vengeance

Incantation, possibly my favorite old-school death metal band, is based out of Pennsylvania. They made their name as part of the New York death metal scene, alongside the likes of Suffocation and Immolation. This week, the masters returned with their first full-length release in six years, Vanquish in Vengeance.

In many respects, this is the same Incantation we've grown to know and love over these past two decades. The riffs are still crushingly heavy, the vocals roar their way through the tracks, and the band collectively produce an ugly beast of a record. At this point, it would be moot to point out that I've always preferred the days when Craig Pillard was on vocals, because he's been gone for so long that it's no longer a relevant issue when discussing the band.

What's new here is the cleaner, sharper production. Some people have embraced this move into the modern world, but I have to admit I'm not totally sold on it myself. The murky, muddy, oppressive sound Incantation always maintained was a big selling point in my mind, and on this release that is largely absent. I'm not one to let production ruin a record for me unless the violation is really extreme, so I'm willing to accept this new turn, but that doesn't mean I'm thrilled about it.

Strangely, this review looks kind of negative so far. It shouldn't, though, but I actually did like this record. Incantation are fantastic practitioners of their art, and they bring the pain on this record. It's dark, heavy, and powerful. I guess the reason I'm dwelling on the negative is that it's not their darkest, heaviest, or most powerful. Over the past couple of years, several old names in the death game have really stepped up and released some monumental slabs of punishment. Sadly, that is not really the case here.While this record gives no signs that the band is slowing down, it doesn't really step up and impress, either.

Grade: B
It's good. Incantation are always good. But it's nothing particularly special.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Over the Thanksgiving break I collected up and took home our old Super Nintendo. I now have a big TV in my bedroom, and I've begun going back through the greatest video game ever made, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

It's amazing to me that in all the years I've been playing video games, I've still never encountered one that I thought was better than this one. It may well be a bias on my part; after all, this was the first video game we ever owned. At the time, there was something truly magical and mysterious and foreign about the world of video games, so this maiden voyage probably made a disproportionate impact. With that being said, I can still sit down today and enjoy every minute of replaying this classic.

The LoZ franchise has always been strong. For many people, the original NES Zelda game is still a high-water mark in early home gaming. Later on, when 3-dimensional game design started to take off with the N-64 and the Playstation, the Zelda game Ocarina of Time rose to the forefront as one of the most loved and highly-regarded games of all time. In between those, though, the Super Nintendo dominated the world of home gaming. And along with a handful of other ultra cool classics, A Link to the Past solidified one of the definitive gaming franchises.

There are other games that I really love playing. There are more challenging games, better looking games, and more exotic games. But when it comes right down to playing something that combines all that is best about video games, for me this is it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Snow Time

It's that time of year again. We just had our first snow of the coming winter. I'm at my parents' house for the rest of the weekend, and I do not have access to my computer files, so no reviews until Monday at the earliest. I can, however, present you with these two things: a documentary about Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone fame, and a cartoon about a cat and a bird in the snow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your turkey be a totally metal one.

Bloodbeast Review

My review of the new Bloodbeast album is up on Full Metal Attorney here.

Black Metal Documentaries: Black Metal Satanica

This documentary has interviews with many current black metal acts, often reflecting on how they were influenced by the genre's progenitors and what course they believe the music is taking as their own careers develop. It also looks at the history and culture of Scandinavia, and it reflects on how that cultural backdrop informed the major black metal movements in the region.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Metal Documentaries: Once Upon a Time in Norway

Yet another documentary centering on the Norwegian branch of black metal. This one runs just under an hour, and it provides yet another interesting piece of viewing for anybody intrigued by the most notorious movement in metal history. 

Leshak - Пустосвят

Leshak (Лешак in Russian) are a Moscow-based folk metal band. This year they released their second full-length album, entitled Пустосвят, through Sound Age Productions (which is a good label for a wide range of eastern European metal).

Leshak play that brand of upbeat, energetic folk that just makes you want to get up an dance on an oaken table in a warm, smoky tavern while the wind howls and the snow piles up outside. Supposedly their lyrics are rooted in the local culture and myths, but I can't understand a word of it. That's okay, though, because it's fun to listen to. This is unapologetically hammy folk metal at its best. Accordion and flute prance through the middle of bouncy guitar riffs with death metal vocals barking in accompaniment. The drumming does its job of herding the music along at a brisk gait, giving way for periodic passages of pure folk where the accordion and flute totally take over and the vocals shift to the guttural slurring of gruff spoken segments.

The criticisms for this record are basically the same ones that could be leveled at any comparable folk metal output: it's cheesy, it's been done by many others already, and it doesn't bring anything deep or serious to the table. If you are inclined to take your metal very seriously, this may not be the record for you. The Russian lyrics and traditional songs do add a bit of flavor that falls outside the norm, since most material in this vein derives from Scandinavia, and the vocals are harsher than those of many folk metal bands. Otherwise, it's pretty similar to the other purely fun-and-games folk metal on the market.

Grade: B+
Instead of progressive musicianship or introspective philosophy, it sends you a buxom tavern wench with a flagon of mead and a plate of dripping giblets. If that's what you're looking for, have a seat an enjoy.

Black Metal Documentaries: Until The Light Takes Us

I've mentioned this documentary before, since I personally really enjoy it. This one exclusively focuses on the second wave of black metal that emerged from Norway, but I think it does a good job of exploring the thoughts and ideas that motivated several of the key figures in that movement. It looks at the music, but what it really examines are the social movement and the individual personalities involved. I personally find it fascinating, and I recently discovered that the whole thing is available in a single video on YouTube.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recent Listening: Pilgrim, Spawn of Possession, Elysian Blaze

Three more albums I've listened to recently, and all of these were definitely worth my time.


Pilgrim, a young doom band from Rhode Island, released their full-length debut back in January. I've heard that record, Misery Wizard,  compared to Sorrow and Extinction  by Pallbearer. Stylistically, it's true that they're pretty similar. I personally think the Pallbearer record was stronger, but there's no particular reason why anybody who liked that wouldn't like this too.


Spawn of Possession, a Swedish technical death metal band, released their third album Incurso  in March. The record has garnered a considerable amount of positive attention, and it's easy to see why. The band accents their interesting and creative musical constructions with other elements that would normally seem quite out of place on a record like this. For example, the pipe organ on this track. Really, this may be the strongest new tech death release I've heard this year.


Elysian Blaze, and Australian funeral doom act, also released their third album this year. Blood Geometry came out in June, and it is yet another strong addition in a year that has been very good for it's sub-genre. The blackened approach taken by Mutatiis, the band's sole member, serves to differentiate this somewhat from other funeral doom that has made a splash this year. The music is very atmospheric and kind of gothic feeling, with cavernous production and extensive keyboard/organ work setting the stage for the doom and gloom. At first I wasn't too crazy about this, but it has definitely grown on me.

Black Metal Documentaries: One Man Metal

A friend shared this with me on Facebook, and I thought it was kind of interesting. It's got faults, to be sure, with some debatable claims and some slight inaccuracies. And personally, I find the pretentiousness level of certain individuals portrayed to be nearly off the charts. Still, for those interested in the world of modern black metal solo projects, this documentary is worth watching. It's divided into three parts, which I'll post below in order.

Recent Listening: Blood Feud, Cauldron, Horrizon

Three of the albums I've been listening to recently that are good enough to provide entertainment, but which don't really inspire me to sit down and write a full review. I'm toying with making this a regular feature, since it seems that most of the records I've listened to recently have elicited this basic response.


Blood Feud are an Icelandic band who play a brand of death-infused thrash metal. They've been around for a few years, but it was not until this summer that they released their first full-length album, Hiding Behind the Light.  The music is relatively straight-forward, and I'm not totally sure how I feel about the vocals. But the songs are solidly constructed, and the album provides a fairly enjoyable listening experience.


Cauldron are a traditional heavy metal outfit based out of Toronto. Last month they released their third full-length, Tomorrow's Lost.  It's relatively mild as modern metal goes, with clean vocals and a sound rooted in the 1970s. Not the strongest example on the market of a new band taking this older approach, but it's a moderately entertaining record.


Horrizon, a melodic death metal band from Germany, released their debut Time For Revenge  back in April. It's one of those records that I like the most during its mellower moments, since I think they do the soft, beautiful passages much better than they do the intense metal end of things. Part of that is the strange and slightly off-putting vocals, but part of it is that those soft intros and interludes just sound really good.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Korpiklaani - Manala

Korpiklaani are one of the most popular folk metal bands in the world. The Finns, who have maintained an extremely high rate of output since their inception in 2003, released their eighth full-length album a few months ago, entitled Manala.

Over the past several years, Korpiklaani have become one of the prime punching bags for metal purists who want to single out a folk metal band to attack. Their popularity, clean production, bouncy rhythms, redundant output, and booze-obsessed lyrics have all fed into the general image of them as the bubblegum pop princes of folk metal. The band has never pretended like they were trying to be serious or intellectual, so personally I enjoy them for the light-hearted good times that they offer, but for many metal fans they represent all that is wrong with the metal world today.

Because of all this, I was quite surprised by this newest record. In contrast to the enjoyable but empty calories that most of their previous work has offered, this album actually has some meat on its bones. Don't get me wrong, this is still jubilant, polka-infused folk metal ideal for drunkenly dancing to in a pub somewhere, but there's a hard edge to it that has been lacking on every record after their debut. The guitars have a crunchier tone, and there are actual metal riffs present on several songs instead of just folk riffs played on an electric guitar. The drumming is a little sharper, the bass factors into several tracks, and the accordion/violin duo aren't quite as dominant in the mix as they have been on other releases. The vocals feel like they have a little more force behind them than usual. Stylistically they haven't changed much, but they just come across as being a little gutsier and more assertive.

Ultimately, there are three big factors worth noting about this album. One is that the songwriting feels like it has begun to shift toward a more metal sensibility. Folk melodies still dominate the record, but there are traces of riffs and progressions that were clearly not pulled from their traditional folk playbook. Another factor is the production, which for the first time in years actually sounds like production that belongs on a metal record. It's still clean and clear, but there's a trace of dirt in there and it makes a noticeable difference. Finally, and by far most importantly, when I heard it I did not think to myself "this sounds just like the last one did". Over their past several releases Korpiklaani have fallen into a major rut, simply producing the same record again and again every year or two with nothing but with a new title. This sounded different, though. I mean, it still sounded very much like Korpiklaani. It was by no means a reinvention or anything, but it was an audible change from its immediate predecessors.

Manala, in my opinion, is an extremely important release for the health of this band. For the first time in several years, it feels like there's some life and vitality back in their music. Hearing this got me excited to see what Korpiklaani will put out next, and that's not something I expected to feel when I sat down to give this thing a spin.

Grade: B+
The best Korpiklaani album in years, this is a strong folk metal record for those who just want to have a good time. But be warned: it's still relatively shallow and goofy.

I'd just like to note that this is my 400th post on this blog. I really didn't know when I started it if I was going to stick with it for long, so it's kind of cool to get to any kind of productivity milestone like that. This comes just a couple days after I officially got my 15,000th hit, so I'm glad that my time on here has been noticed by at least a few people. I realize that other metal bloggers have produced far more content and have received far more views, but I'm happy with the feeling that I've made some kind of dent in my little corner of the metal blogosphere. Many thanks to Metallattorney and Full Metal Attorney for linking to me from their own blogs, for the shout-outs and featured reviews, for all the comments, and for making me decide to start writing about metal in the first place.

Deathspell Omega - Drought

Deathspell Omega, the French avant-garde black metal giants, have released two of the most highly regarded extreme metal albums of the past five years. This summer they put out their newest EP, Drought.

This EP carries the same intoxicating blend of creativity and ferocity that Deathspell Omega have become known for. This is not so much on the black metal end of the band's sound, though it's still terrifically intense and aggressive. There is a lot going on here, with odd beats and dissonant guitar progressions keeping the listener slightly off-balance as the band surges forward with a non-stop assault. The production perfectly captures the required blend of clarity and grit, allowing the performances to shine through.

I have no idea who handles the drumming duties for the band these days, but whoever it is does an admirable job on this record. They blast away with tons of energy when it's needed, and they just as easily slide over into lighter, jazzy beats when those are called for instead. The guitar work is scintillating. It's fast and sharp with strange progressions and an array of shifting, swirling riffs. The bass doesn't take center stage too often, but it crops up and plays an appropriate role in fleshing out the sound and adding some depth to the dynamic instrumental interplay on display. There are also some synths or keyboards in the background, though those only take on a noticeable role in a few brief passages near the end. The unrelentingly intense vocals are really noteworthy too, since they have more character than most extreme metal vocals, and they lack nothing in terms of power and impact.

Fans of the band have come to expect the best from these guys. Though it's not a full-length record, this does not disappoint. I'd say it's the one EP that has a good shot at making my end-of-year top albums list.

Grade: A
If you like Deathspell Omega's other recent albums, or just experimental and interesting black metal in general, you'll like this.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

GSL Follow-Up

Just a quick note on my GSL 5 prediction from a few days ago. I was right on 4 out of 8. Not great, since I basically could have done as well by just tossing a coin. Additionally, my top 2 picks to win the tournament both got knocked out, so only MarineKing remains from my selection of front-runners. The other players I guessed correctly were Ryung, HyuN, and Leenock.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finsterforst Review

My newest guest review just went up on Full Metal Attorney. This one was about the new Finsterforst record Rastlos, which I absolutely loved. If you're at all a fan of folk metal I'd recommend giving it a whirl. For a more complete explanation and a music sample, head on over to the full review.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ulver - Childhood's End

Once upon a time, Norway produced one of the most highly regarded black/folk metal bands of all time. They were called Ulver, and their talent was matched only by their willingness to experiment. As time passed, the band's drive to evolve and explore new ground took them further and further from their black metal roots. This spring's release of Childhood's End  marks the newest step on their journey.

We can all agree at this point that Ulver aren't really a metal band any more, right? I have not listened to this record's immediate predecessors, but if they contained any trace of metal, that trace has now been lost. In its place, we have a cover album filled with a spaced-out blend of all the slowest parts of classic rock (you know, the interminable electric organ sections they cut off when they play the songs on the radio) and indie pop.

If I had to pick one phase to describe this record, it would be "boring as fuck". The band clearly still have musical skill, but instead of putting it to use they just drift around killing time with directionless keyboard noodling and redundant, echoing vocal choruses. Maybe if you were high you'd enjoy this, but I can't think of any other circumstance when it would keep your attention for its fifty-three minute run time.

On an individual basis, each instrument is played with skill. They just don't really go anywhere. There are some interesting guitar flairs and solos, some good keyboard/organ work, and drumming that skillfully matches the requirements of the songs. At times, the vocals drift into Jim Morrison territory, though they usually drift right back out in the space of a couple lines.

In the end, this albums sounds like a massive scrap heap of the filler bits and interludes that an experimental metal band would sprinkle throughout their records. In that capacity, this record has material that could be of interest. And for people who just really want to hear Ulver doing a bunch of trippy cover songs, I guess it might be worth checking out. On its own, though, there's little of value here for the majority of metal fans.

Grade: D

Skogen - Eld

There are three active black metal bands named Skogen. The Swedish one released an album last month with the same name as a well-known Enslaved record. This was the band's third album since their formation in 2009.

As my opening might indicate, I feel like there's a little bit of a void in the originality department when it comes to this release. It essentially offers the same Viking-inflected brand of black metal that Enslaved themselves were producing at the time of the better-known Eld. Now that's not to say this is bad. It's a perfectly solid record, and I actually rather enjoyed it. But it just felt a bit like I was listening to Enslaved Lite.

The record moves at a slow-to-middling pace, with only one track under six minutes long, and the total run time clocking in at just shy of an hour. The guitar work is relatively standard black metal fare, just played at a slower tempo. The bass is surprisingly audible and even actively productive in several places, which is probably the most unusual factor in the band's sound. The drummer does a good job of flowing with the rest of the band, though the drum work is not really a central factor in most of the music. The vocal work goes between traditional black metal shrieks and sonorous clean passages that walk the line between chants and spoken-word recitations. The latter variety, along with some scattered acoustic interludes, provide the bulk of Viking-esque flavor.

There's really nothing specifically wrong with this album. I can't point to any one thing and say "if they only fixed this, the record would sound good," because the record already does sound good. Unfortunately, when you choose to tread in the footsteps of a great band that is still active (even if their newest effort was a bit of a dud) then you have to bring something to the table or your material just sounds like a skillful rehash. In the end, that's pretty much what this feels like.

Grade: B-
Solid black metal with some Viking flavor to it, but if you've already got the classic Enslaved albums you won't find anything new here. Still, it makes for an enjoyable listen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dark Forest - Land of the Evening Star

Dark Forest are a Canadian solo project based out of Calgary. They play a variety of black metal that falls into that nebulous area on the lines between black, pagan, and Viking metal. This spring, Dark Forest released their second full-length album Land of the Evening Star.

Though I have not read anything official to this effect, this seems to be a concept album centering on the stories of Vikings discovering North America. For those who don't know, there are written accounts (backed up by very strong archaeological evidence) that Norsemen sailing from Iceland to Greenland later continued onward to the east coast of Canada around the year 1000 A.D. Typically Leif Ericsson is credited with captaining the first landing, though some stories suggest others saw the land first and told him about it.

Anyway, Dark Forest have chosen this general topic for most of the album's lyrics, which I find fascinating. This is a rare example of a time when lyrical content highly increases my interest in a record. The music itself is very strong too, with the epic closer standing out above the rest. A couple instrumental interludes capture a Moonsorrow-esque level of beauty and epic scope. In black metal mode the music is strong and compelling, though never in an intentionally under-produced, overly "kvlt" way. The soft-heavy dynamic, while not as seamless as some, still works effectively to give the record a sense of flow.

The instrumentation, in addition to the usual, includes keyboards and what sound like violins and some very bass-heavy battle horns. All these non-metal additions are kept tastefully minimal outside of the two short instrumental tracks, and all are synthesized or programmed as far as I can tell. As far as the standard instruments go, no singe aspect particularly stands out from the rest. Instead, their greatest asset is their collective quality and cohesion, which makes sense given that they are all played by the same man. The vocals, like the instrumentation, are quite strong. And again, like with the instrumentation, their greatest quality is the sense that they fit quite smoothly into a larger whole.

In a year that has been a little light on quality releases from the Viking/pagan/folk/black metal spectrum, this is one of the better records of that variety that I've heard this year.

Grade: A-

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 GSL 5 Predictions

Plug your ears children, it's about to get nerdy in here.

As much as I've grown to enjoy tracking baseball stats and complaining about how the BCS is rigged to help SEC teams get to all the college football championships, over the past year neither of those games have been my spectator sport of choice. Instead, it's been professional Starcraft 2. I'm not even going to get into what that says about me, but as the current season is getting ready to do the final set of Code S group matches to determine which 8 players make the playoffs, I've decided to give my predictions on who will advance. Because, you know, it's my blog and I can do stupid crap like this if I feel like it. Bracketed letters indicate the race they play: Terran, Zerg, or Protoss.

Group A:
DongRaeGu [Z]
Creator [P]
Ryung [T]
Curious [Z]

Group B:
MarineKing [T]
Hack [T]
YoDa [T]
HyuN [Z]

Group C:
PartinG [P]
Polt [T]
Bogus [T]
Sniper [Z]

Group D:
Life [Z]
Soulkey [Z]
Leenock [Z]
Symbol [Z]

The top two players from each group advance.

Group A:
DongRaeGu is the easy favorite from this batch. He's the only player from that group to have won a GSL championship, and he's made it as far as the final 4 since then. He's also got the most prize money won of any player this year, one of the best ladder records on anybody in the game, and he's overall just clearly the best player in this group.
Ryung is my other pick. His GSL success has been modest, but he's gotten to the playoffs before. I think he might finally be ready to break through to the next level.

Group B:
MarineKing is, at this point, almost certainly the best player to have never won a GSL. He's claimed 2nd on multiple occasions, and he has won an assortment of other major events, including back-to-back MLGs early this year. He almost always makes it this far, and he advanced to the playoffs last season (again). Since he's playing in probably the weakest group, there's not much to stop him from advancing. He also happens to be my absolute favorite player to watch, so I'm really rooting for him to get to the top.
HyuN is my other pick to advance from that group. He's had bits of GSL success in the past, and Zerg players are doing extremely well right now, so the potential minor imbalance should work in his favor.

Group C:
PartinG is a top-notch player who has already made the playoffs twice in the previous 4 GSLs this year. He's also the best hope Protoss have of being represented in the playoffs.
Polt is my other pick from this group. He has not been at the peak of his game recently, but he's a former GSL champion who has started pulling things together after a rocky patch. I'm looking to this as his chance to step back into the spotlight.

Group D:
Life is probably the easiest pick of the bunch. He's the defending GSL champion, one of only 2 "royal roaders" the GSL has had (somebody who wins the whole event their first time participating), arguably the best team league player in the world over the past 6 months, and winner of the MLG Fall Championship just a week ago. And he's done all this at 15, making him one of the youngest Starcraft 2 professionals. Right at this moment, Life is the best player in the world. Since he's so young, there is a good chance of that continuing as he gains more experience.
Leenock is my other pick from this group. Both he and Symbol have had very strong results recently, with each making playoff appearances last season. They are also both play Zerg, so there's no notable race advantage. This is almost a coin toss for me, but I'm taking Leenock just because I personally like his play a little better.

For the overall event, my top 3 picks to win are:
#1. Life
#2. DongRaeGu
#3. MarineKing

So yeah, that's my full geekdom rising to the surface.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aldaaron - Suprême Silence

Aldaaron are a French pagan/black metal band. They released their second full-length, Suprême Silence, back in April. It was my first encounter with the band.

This was one of those records I was drawn to just because the album art looked so cool. At least, it appeals to my sensibilities. But the music behind the cover was worth the time. As is often true of black metal bands that hover on the borderline with pagan metal, the songs here are relatively long and mostly move at a relaxed pace. There are livelier sections, but the album rarely rushes. Personally I like that quality. It's not the best if you're aiming for bash-your-skull-in intensity, but it makes for a pleasurable listening experience. The production, too, falls into a pleasant middle-ground between clarity and hostility.

This record has a solid amount of variety, as some tracks definitely carry more black metal than others. The pagan metal end of their sound features keyboards/synths to an extent that walks right on the border of being too much, while the more black metal tracks lean primarily on traditional metal instrumentation. The vocals are solid throughout; they are not particularly exceptional, but they get the job done just fine. The guitar work actually falls into a similar vein of being very slid and enjoyable without really blowing my mind.

The standout on this record is probably the drumming, which is fast and intense while remaining versatile enough to bend and flex with the differing sides of the music. Throughout, I kept finding my ear drawn to the drums to an extent that they dominated my attention on some tracks.

All in all, this was a good record. I enjoyed it, and I'd listen to it again. It didn't jump out at me as being anything truly masterful or essential, but I'd never discourage someone from giving it a whirl themselves.

Grade: B
Good pagan/black metal with strong drumming and solid performances throughout.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

At Last!

The nightmare is over!

See, I live in Ohio. Ohio is considered a pivotal battleground state in presidential elections. That means that every day, and every hour of the day, we get bombarded by one political ad after another. Television, internet, radio, flyers, posters, phone calls . . . it just keeps coming. Well, now the damn election is over and I don't have to hear this crap any more. I'll be in my 30s by the time this rolls around again, and I find that thought comforting.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Drinking and Driving

No, not at the same time. I just got back this afternoon from a couple days at my parents' house. While there, I made the notable discovery that I am no longer comfortable sleeping on the top tier of a bunk bed. I slept on one for a decade or more while I was growing up, but these days climbing back up on that precarious perch is just a bit nerve-racking.

Anyway, last night my dad and I had a tasting session with some beers and whiskeys. He's recently taken a big interest in whiskey, especially bourbon. I, on the other hand, am more of a beer drinker. So I brought a couple beers to the table, and he pulled down some stronger stuff. These are the things we had, in order.

Dundee's Irish Red Lager: We tried this beer first. It's nice and crisp up front, very smooth going down, and not overly bitter. I like Irish reds in general, and this is a pretty good one.

Old Rasputin: A Russian Imperial stout, this is what we had next. Powerful stuff that's jet black, it has all the strong, burnt flavors you get from this vein of beer. I don't care much for stuff quite this heavy, and neither did he.

Rebel Yell: Our first whiskey was a relatively cheap bourbon. It's surprisingly smooth going down, though it doesn't have a lot of depth.

The Glenlivet: Next up was a scotch. The mellowest of the hard liquors we tried, it also had a pleasant oak aftertaste that gradually changes toward peat with each successive sip. Easily the most enjoyable of the whiskeys.

George Dickel: We ended with a Tennessee sour mash whiskey which had a higher proof than the other two. It was really sharp and really bitter, sort of an unpleasant turn after its mellow predecessor. Of all the things we drank, this was near the bottom in terms of enjoyability.

So anyway, that's what I've been up to instead of writing metal reviews. That and Halloween, where I dressed up as the Tardis. My little sister was the 11th Doctor this year, so I followed her around spinning and humming the Doctor Who theme song. Regular content will return shortly. In the mean time, you can look at this picture.