Music Review: Tool – Lateralus (2001) – Part 3

AmpersandQuest

When I review albums of music I want to provide as much useful information as possible while also providing my own unique perspective on the album. Below my commentary will be a series of links for more information, lyrics, the band’s website, and a link to purchase the album. Please support the artist you enjoy!

 

Tool_-_Lateralus

Part 1 of Review Click Here!

Part 2 of Review Click Here!

 

                      Track #10 -Disposition-

This is perhaps the most relaxing, cool sounding, and mellow Tool song ever written. I believe all the members of Tool must have been in a very spiritual hippie kind of place in life when they created this song and wanted to explore a new style of music. This can be risky for any band but Tool pulls it off very well. It’s placement in the album comes after the bright, colorful, and loud Lateralus theme song but it doesn’t feel like it’s here for the sole purpose of breaking up the album or just to set the stage for the remainder of the album. It does all of that and more for me personally. This song comes across as a message of contentedness, acceptance, and a desire to keep learning and experiencing new things. There is an emphasis in the music on more natural sounds especially with Danny Carey’s hand drumming performance. Maynard’s lyrics are simple yet beautifully sung with a focus on nature, the weather, and communication. Adam Jones’ guitar work is 100% pure atmosphere creation with heavy bends and cool sound effects. Justin Chancellor mirrors Jones’ guitar work on his bass giving the track a bellowing and thick foundation to stand on.

As you listen to the song try to imagine how it feels to be with family or good friends at a picnic, camping, or hiking. I really love putting this track on after I’m done running too cool off while I walk myself and my heart rate back down to earth. This song makes me feel very grounded and willing to accept what nature hands me. It also makes me want to reach out to others and share my experiences with the one’s I love. Normally when Tool does a track to break up the album and set up new ground for the next songs it is usually something simple, short, and consist of strange sound effects. As I said, this track certainly has all of that but is a fully functional and critical song to this album. I strongly feel that without this really unique Tool track Lateralus simply would not hold the weight it does. I can show this song to almost anyone and they will typically enjoy it. It’s been a great way to break the ice with someone who might have never given Tool a chance. I have a sister who listens to mostly country or pop radio music told me she never imagined a band like Tool would ever move her in a way that inspire her because of this very song. I believe that is a compliment to the artist rather than a knock or a way to say “they sold out”. It’s the fact that such a unique and wonderfully performed prog/rock song from a band as aggressive and bright as Tool can reach across genres and musical taste to reach out and touch a stranger really sticks out to me. To me this song seems to celebrate the idea of reaching out and trying new things with other people makes it all the more perfect.

When the song reaches its end don’t react yet. Just focus on what you’re hearing. Listen to the guitar and bass fading and the drum stick bouncing off the head.  Listen to the whirring background and empty your mind. Prepare for the beginning of the next track because you’re in for a big time treat. Just when you think the album could be running out of gas you are presented with an even more unique, incredibly deep, and complex song that is going to be a great challenge to review as I have so much to say about it.

                     Track #11 -Reflection-

I am going to have to be really careful not to write an entire book about this song. I have a lot to say about it because it has a lot to say to all of us.  Let’s just dive right in though and start swimming. I hope you really paid attention to the end of the previous track Disposition and how it bleed right through into the beginning of this song. Danny Carey has always prided himself and his skill. He doesn’t seem like an arrogant man but he is definitely one of the most confident drummers I have ever heard. The main reason I speak so highly of Danny Carey when top drummers list are being discussed is mostly because of how truly unique he plays. I will always appreciate and admire a more rigid and technical approach to music. Staying inside the lines so to speak is part of the art form of playing music. Mastering classic techniques and showing proficiency with them will always be impressive and Danny Carey certainly is impressive in that aspect when looking at drumming. That said, the real reason I am such a big fan of Danny Carey is just how far outside the lines he can draw yet still keep it all together without it feeling like a drug fueled drum solo.  The performance by Danny throughout this song is absolutely bullet proof and inspires me to no end. At times it sounds as if there are actually two drummers playing a duet instead of just one extremely talented man. Absolutely brilliant drumming.

By the time the bass is introduced you’ve already been experiencing a very dark, tribal, and atmospheric drumming performance. The introduction of the bass only amplifies this feeling. This is another case where the simplicity of the actual playing is not as impressive as how it was composed into the song. It makes the song feel really trippy and weird and I love it. Synth work is also introduced and adds more depth to the song making it feel almost sluggish in contrast to the incredible drumming going on.  Adam Jones guitar work sounds very eerie and creepy which fits perfect with the rest of the band. Still though, Danny Carey’s drumming stands out and almost seems to be in command of everything. It feels as if no music can take place or be added without Danny’s permission. And that’s when we get our first ghostly listen of Maynard’s singing.

This song more than the rest of the album needs to be read. Please find the song here and study it. “Lateralus Lyrics Link” This is going to be incredibly difficult to keep short but I will do my best not to bog you down here. This is a song all about you. It’s not to feed your ego however so don’t even go there. Instead try to imagine what it feels like to make a mistake but not just any mistake. The kind of mistake you can’t make up for. The guilt, shame, and indignity that comes with making those kinds of mistakes are unique because while it might seem painful and difficult it’s really a chance for you to take responsibility for yourself and own your actions. I often find it’s a means by which I get to know myself better especially as I grow older and stop blaming others for my problems.  I often find that running away from this often leads to even more severe consequences down the road so in essence failing to recognize your failures will result ultimately in even more dramatic failures in the future as you keep avoiding what ever problems are plaguing you.

The beginning of this song is so dark and makes me feel isolated and I am fairly certain that this is exactly what the artist wanted us to feel. Maynard’s voice sounds so desperate, whining, and small underneath the big giant behemoth of the instrumental. To me, the singing is the narrative of the story while the instrumental aspects of any song is the foreground and background of the narrative. Applying that idea here means to me that Maynard plays the roll of a person who’s been over whelmed with the world around them and that the instrumental music is the world around them. In this case a very dark and brooding world where fear and confusion dominate the emotional fortitude of the main character.

As the song progresses there seems to be small sparks of intuition and inspiration with our main character. I get the feeling the artist are subtly inviting us to face our problems, grit your teeth, and keep a stiff upper lip as you move on to conquer your problems.  What I love about this song in particular is how often my emotions change throughout the song. We’re used to this with all music as we follow familiar patterns of chorus and verse and interchanging them in order to elicit a certain emotion towards one thing or another. This song is no different except they seemed to composed it all in a way that seems to wax and wane between positive and negative emotions so often that I always seem to get lost in the music and start to really think about my life. It’s a wonderfully strange feeling because I am deeply impressed that a song could make me focus so damn hard on myself. It’s not an angry focus but more like healthy criticism.

This song also wants to remind us that we are not alone in our day-to-day suffering and struggle. This small consideration seems small until it turns into incredible inspiration. There is verse in this song that to me symbolizes what it means when people say “we are not alone”.  I don’t like to paste lyrics into my writing but I really want to now because I’m worried you won’t read the lyrics for yourself but if you’re a fan of music and you’re reading this please try your best to love this song after multiple times listening and after having read the lyrics.

The ending of this song last a couple of minutes as the musicians really take their time to put a strong emphasis about the urgency of living life to its fullest as often as you can while you’re still here. There is a message that repeats and drives the point home as the rest of the band really push themselves to deliver a perfect ending to this epic song that also lends itself to the next and last musical track on the album. To me the end of this album is like a trilogy of songs meant simply to be very different from anything you’ve ever heard before. That said, this particular track stands out the most. It’s just so very good especially if you’ve taken the time to really look into the lyrics after you’ve enjoyed the song a few times. I never read the lyrics to songs until after I’ve heard the music several times and I can’t stress enough how much more this song comes to life once you really dig into the lyrics.

Enjoy this song folks. Before you pine away.

 

 

Track #12 -Triad-

As you leave the ambiance of Reflection and enter into this song you might notice a steep and exponentially more aggressive theme beginning to pulse in the background.  My friends if you like flat-out rock and roll meant to make you start banging your head this is to me one of the most ultimate head banging anthems to come out of the new millennium.  The focus on this song is strictly on rocking as hard as you can while you have time to do it. This is the spirit of rock and roll and a bit of heavy metal incarnate in the form of four amazing musicians capping one of the great works off with an amazing instrumental opus meant to please the gods of rock.

I always imagined this is what an ancient tribe of musicians would sound like if they had access to modern instruments and technology. It’s easy for me to imagine a rain dance going on in the back ground or a rite of passage ceremony.  There is something so familiar and comforting in the aggressive tribal drum beats being granted to us from above by Danny “The Lion Fucker” Carey. The guitar work is once again nothing extremely technical but some how Adam Jones is able to make it sound ridiculously awesome I believe in large part once again to the talent of Danny Carey. Adam’s guitar playing just so happens to be a perfect accent to Danny’s drumming sound. That said, we do get some really cool sounding guitar solo’s in the track as well.

Justin Chancellor’s bass work is present and definitely adds a very crunchy and very round sound to the whole song. I always liked Justin’s work because of how percussive his playing seems to be. Like Adam he is the perfect accent to Danny’s drumming making it even more thunderous than it already is. There are no lyrics to this song but when I saw this song performed live Maynard James Keenan was playing a guitar and also played with a keyboard. There was also another percussionist playing some sort of tenor tama drums. It made this already really epic song even more incredible and I’ll never forget it. I believe it was the second to last song they played and the stage was ablaze with amazing artwork, incredible visual effects, intense video packages, and of course amazing musicians performing amazing music.

What we have here then is a song best listened to when you’re with a bunch of buddies doing something awesome together or if you’re by yourself you should get up and move a little bit to the music. It’s meant to be rocked out to by cool people who appreciate good rock and roll music. This song really makes me feel more connected to other Tool fans almost as if it’s our tribal war song that we all want to mosh to.  In the end that’s what this album feels like to me. I big long epic voyage with interesting twist and turns all capped off by an exclamation point.

Track #13 -Faaip De Oiad-

One of the most creepy bits of audio I’ve ever heard. It’s a track meant to catch you off guard as it’s tucked away and could be easily missed. It’s a combination of a conspiracy theory radio show getting a call about Area 51 aliens taking over the planet and eerie sound effects done by someone combined to make what feels like a horror radio show. If you ever want to creep someone out play this while they’re asleep and wake them up, tell them it’s on the radio right now and all over the TV!

This has become quite a lengthy article so I have decided to break it up in three parts. Be sure to visit the previous two articles if you haven’t already! 

 

Lateralus Wikipedia Link :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralus

Tool Website: http://www.toolband.com/

Lateralus Lyrics Link:  https://www.toolband.com/album/lyrics/lateralus.html

Don’t forget that if you want to listen to the album, please, for the love of all that is right and just in the world. Buy the songs or the album.

Music Review: Tool – Lateralus (Part 2)

AmpersandQuest

 When I review albums of music I want to provide as much useful information as possible while also providing my own unique perspective on the album. Below my commentary will be a series of links for more information, lyrics, the band’s website, and a link to purchase the album. Please support the artist you enjoy!

 

Tool_-_Lateralus

Part 1 of Review Click Here!

                         Continuing on with my review of 2001’s album from Tool entitled Lateralus. I hope you enjoyed the articles in between these reviews. Which brings to mind just how much of an influence the artist who comprise Tool have influenced the way I think about the world. I will never forget just how much more I began to appreciate art once I really got into Tool and would seek out articles and interviews of them. They always promote the idea of questioning every institution, every belief, every status quo, every piece of art, and every theory you come across in life. It is this notion that has inspired me to create and write this on going WordPress site.

                        Let’s not get side tracked with my personal anecdotes though and let us begin part 2 of this long-winded review.

                    Track #6 -Parabol-

Greeted by an atmospheric and mysterious tonal intro we find ourselves on the heels of the power driven previous track, Schism. Parabol brings you to a world of creeping fog and thick mist. It feels as though we are witnessing a man crawl out of a hole in the middle of the forest who has just rediscovered the surface and finds himself lost in the thick of reality. I don’t sense a great deal of fear in this song other than the feeling you might get being in a strange new place. We tend to fear things we do not understand but it is that which motivates us to explore and objectively identify our surroundings. The singing mirrors the music in the same low, atmospheric, and tonal way and the story of this track emerges.

Just as I described the music reminding me of a man crawling out of a hole a bit befuddled and confused with his new surroundings he begins to realize he is experiencing something profound. He is enlightening himself in a moment where he realizes he is one with his surroundings. As more information comes his way conflict burrows in his heart and longs to hold on to the precious moment when he realized the true beauty of nature all around and within him. He senses the danger and conflict coming his way and guards jealously the bright and warm light of the confines of his heart as the cold harsh reality of his mind consumes whatever comfort he had in waking up to this new reality. He is hopeful that his heart can triumph over his mind but seems to realize it is inevitable that he will have to loosen his ever so tight grip on the reality he wants to be true and begin to accept reality for what it really is. But there remains a spark of inspiration despite his realization. His reaction is further explored in the next track of this two-part song.

                    Track #7 – Parabola- 

The previous track’s slow, atmospheric, and lumbering tone’s seamlessly bleed into an aggressive, bright, and inspired rock and roll drive as our characters journey continues. I absolutely love Danny Carey’s performance in this track. His drumming to me is always the highlight when I turn this track on. It’s very rock and roll, energetic, and feels very unique at the same time. Everything else is an added bonus as the rest of the band joins in on the symphony of powerful rock and roll.

Previously I talked about a man coming to terms with his enlightenment and that he is experiencing difficulties when trying to balance his heart and mind. It isn’t until he realizes that he is not alone in his struggle to simply understand the nature that surrounds him that he finds the motivation struggle on. He finds more balance in himself once he realizes his new-found friend was just as confused and has conflated the issue just as much if not more than him while simultaneously bringing new and unique perspective to light that fundamentally changes the dynamics of reality that he had previously been sure were uncontroversial truths.

He finds this so beautiful that he begins to realize that the pain he feels inside is a lie. He doesn’t want to believe that the pain he feels can be felt by his friend, whom he loves, looks after, and wants to protect in all his vulnerability.  For a while this becomes a ritual of sorts until one day reality sets in and the true and vicious nature of reality strikes his friend down. Great anger and frustration sets in as his heart is once again tested by his mind searching for the truth all the while still holding on to the beauty he believes to be real. How can this be? How can reality be so beautiful and so god damn brutal at the same time? He digs through the remains to see if there is any discernible evidence of a soul but only finds flesh and blood further conflating his mind as it recoils to a primitive state of fear and confusion.

Our character leaves the whole scene behind and returns to the wilderness that spawned him. Over him hangs the cloud of despair that took his one and only friend from him. The same cloud that now threatens to consume him at every turn. He slowly begins to realize there is no escape from fate. His destiny is being formed and his last steps lay ahead. It is at this point he throws everything he’s learned out and clears both his heart and mind. He opens himself to nature in all of its unabashed glory and without question stops trying to make sense of it all and allows reality itself to fill him. Both the beauty and cold brutality simultaneously fill the deepest crevices of his heart, mind, and soul and in unison fill him with an omnipresent aura.

His life brief, his ability to understand it all null and void, yet his willingness to open up is the culmination of everything we all seek out of life. To understand who we are and where we are going. These two songs tell a story of life and death in a very well composed and powerful piece of art. I very strongly recommend several readings of the lyrics and even more strongly suggest seeing the very well done music video that guitarist Adam Jones put together to accompany this song. That music video directly inspired everything I had to say about these two songs to say the least. The title of the songs fit absolutely perfect. If you look at a parabola it is a line curved to represent and object traveling from point A to point B. The apex when considering these songs represents that medium in life where you become enlightened and begin  your decent into your fate. Such a beautiful and clever way to tell a story about life and death.

 

                    Track #8 -Ticks and Leaches-

We make the leap from the previous track and are greeted with a strange and rhythmic drumming performance. The bass guitar joins in producing a very deep and bellowing atmosphere. Then the guitar pulls its weight by introducing a very aggressive and very metal sounding crunch to the mix. The vocals start with a scream as the music pours through the speakers. What happens next is a bit out of the ordinary for Tool. Maynard James Keenan raps! Okay, not exactly and I don’t mean to make light of how epic this song really is. But I can’t help but feel that Maynard is actually attempting to produce the same kind of tongue twisting busting of rhymes you would hear from a hip hop artist.  It is not tacky by any means. In fact it sounds really cool with the very deep and bellowing back drop of the band’s music.

Anger, vengeance, brutal honesty, and adrenaline fill your ears and you quickly realize that this is perhaps how the artist actually feel if you push them too far. I am so grateful for these kinds of Tool songs. Songs that celebrate the aggressive nature of humanity. Songs that are a bit more on the metal side in place of the more prog rock side of Tool. That familiar prog rock feeling makes an appearance in this song as Tool seamlessly slows everything down into a really groovy guitar solo by Adam Jones. I have always been a huge fan of Adam Jones’ guitar style much more than his technique or complexity. His playing is very accurate and precise and I’ve rarely ever heard him make a mistake but that is not what’s important for me. For me, it’s his ability to compile and insert himself into Danny Carey’s drumming. He is the perfect complement to Danny. His ability to compose and direct Tool seems to make him a the spiritual leader of the group. This bridge is a perfect example of where Adam really shines as a guitarist. It doesn’t seem all that difficult to play and I’m sure any amateur to advanced player could easily figure it out. But could they compose such a piece to sound so undeniably cool? Would the have the ability to take what seemed to be nothing but a testosterone over load of a metal song and turn it into groovy prog rock bliss? That right there is why I am a huge fan of Adam Jones. He doesn’t need to show boat with fancy solo’s because it seems his main objective isn’t to impress you with wailing solos but rather capture your imagination with atmosphere and feeling.

In this particular song the focus seems to be directly on someone who has betrayed their friend and could be the thoughts and feelings of the betrayed towards the betrayer. The more mellow bridge gives you just a long enough break from the adrenaline to realize that perhaps decent people need to express their anger in order to maintain themselves. That no matter how hard you try to avoid it, some times the only way to find peace is to express your anger without being sorry for what you say. However, the calm and serenity that comes with this outlet of emotion will often lead you to realize that things are even worse than you first imagined. That certainly seems to be the case here as the music begins to pick back up. You can sense a building frustration and even more pent-up anger is about to be unleashed but this time with clarity of mind. Not to be cheesy by the second the last notes of the mellow rock bridge end the music picks back up to the more aggressive nature of the first half of the song it becomes METAL AS FUCK. Maynard unleashes a scream of epic proportions and the band enhances this with frantic and loud off beat unison that leaves me with the impression that this is the final stage of anger. This is the moment of truth where the culmination and totality of the betrayal is realized. Any anger here forth is not only justified but fully understood to be justified by both parties. A complete and total cutting of ties can take place without any unfinished business.

In essence then this song is about letting go of the bad influences in your life. It might sound like it’s saying it’s okay to lose your mind and start screaming and hollering at people but I don’t think that’s the point. My favorite thing about music and this is especially true with metal as fuck music is that you can express your inner most frustrations, regrets, and anger with people and society at large without actually hurting anyone in the process. This is a perfect pressure release valve song for when you are just having one of those days. I recommend listening to this if you are feeling pent-up. It always seems to help me when I’m too frustrated to deal.

Heavy metal is not a label I would generally use to describe Tool. However, with this and several other songs I would say that the genre only allows the artist of Tool to show you their own unique style based on a genre that is already very popular and accepted by a lot of people. Tool has definitely defined their own style and this is just another fine example of them finding new and interesting ways to perform a familiar type of music.

                    Track #9 -Lateralus-

I’ll never forget the very first time I saw Tool live and this song came on. The arena I was in was busy all night with amazing visual effects, banners of amazing artwork by Alex Grey, interesting music videos, and epic light shows. However, this song was something even more special as they chose this song to close the show. I could do nothing but sit in awe as this awesome as fuck song filled my ears and the wondrous visual effects the cleverly put together amazed my eyes.

I have a very unique take on this song that hasn’t ever been very popular with other Tool fans I know. But I can’t help the feeling I get. It happened the second time I saw Tool. Maynard was dressed as a full on Cowboy and I couldn’t help but imagine listening to this song as I was farming, hunting, fishing, or hiking. For some reason this song, while it is very rock and roll with a dash of heavy metal, has always felt like a country rhythm and blues tune. It’s just such an uplifting and adventurous song and reminds me of big open fields or giant mountain ranges. Almost as if being sung to you by an old Western sage/wise man to encourage you to seek out new boundaries and venture forth to untouched and hidden valleys of your surroundings, heart, and mind. The lyrics seem to back up my assertions very much so and I hope I can help others hear and feel what I do when I hear this song. Perhaps it’s easiest just to ask you to imagine riding a galloping horse and imagine that the hooves are hitting the ground in perfect beat with the music.

This song strongly encourages the listener to invest in their growth as an individual. To learn new things, break new ground, and to push the envelope. This song more than all of the others on this album is focused much more on the positive. I believe they really wanted to create a truly inspirational prog rock opus that relentlessly dares their listeners to explore new territories. I simply can’t help but think about a frontiersman discovering new land to explore and if I’m the only Tool fan on the planet who feels this way about this song then so be it.

Spiral out my friends.

 

              

This has become quite a lengthy article so I have decided to break it up in three parts. Come back for more especially because I happen to enjoy the later half of the album a lot more. I have a lot to say about the remainder of the album so stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

Lateralus Wikipedia Link :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralus

Tool Website: http://www.toolband.com/

Lateralus Lyrics Link: https://www.toolband.com/album/lyrics/lateralus.html

Don’t forget that if you want to listen to the album, please, for the love of all that is right and just in the world. Buy the songs or the album.

Conspiracy, Aliens, Demons! OH MY!

AmpersandQuest

 

I quite like watching scary videos on YouTube. Whether that be outrageous conspiracy plots, aliens from other planets, or my personal favorite demons from hell. I can’t quite pin-point my fascination with such material and no I do not actually believe in any of it but I do feel there are very real lessons to be learned from exploring such material.

For example, when it comes to conspiracy theory, I do not take that term lightly. I adhere to the strict definition of the word so in my world view, yes, conspiracies are indeed very real. The theories however are often so outlandish they cannot be believed. Then again some of the best lies on the planet are those told by using grains of truth. My personal feeling on the matter is to take everything you hear and question the hell out of it until you’re positive you know what you’re talking about. Until then, it’s best to remain stoic and open-minded.

Irruminati

Aliens from other planets to me as a topic unto itself is a little more complicated of a matter because personally I believe it’s possible there are other life forms in the universe, perhaps intelligent, perhaps not. The material we often see on the internet though is usually accompanied by grainy photos, videos, and questionable eye-witness accounts that the listener can choose to believe or not. My biggest concern is that if there is a hyper evolved alien species visiting the planet why have they not made themselves known? That to me is the smoking gun that proves that this has yet to happen and an argument can be made that it never will. At least not until humanity has evolved to a specific point where we are actually equipped with the knowledge it requires to deal with such matters. Imagine being an ant among giants. It would be impossible to relate to them.

ermahgerd-erlierns-ancient-aliens-meme-1348795928

And finally, Demons. Oh yes, creatures from the lowest pits of the Devil’s own playground. I’m referring to the demonic possession videos, caught on tape videos, and eye-witness accounts of these creatures. What fascinates me most about this phenomena is just how believable some of these videos can be. More often than not they are deeply edited and are indeed creative endeavors but often times I see one that leaves me stunted even though I tell myself it can’t possibly be real. Of course I recover to a more reasonable state and realize that it’s just a YouTube video and there is no reason to believe in such a fantastic thing. Yet, when I walk down a dark hall, go out to my car at night, or wake up in the middle of the night after a night mare I can’t help but feel there isn’t something having an effect on me. I realize that it’s my mind trying to work things out and failing as it recoils in horror into an introspective mind terror. Perhaps this is what fascinates me and gets my blood flowing. The idea that there is probably much more than meets the human eye in reality. That I am not equipped to understand all and everything really puts me in my place and I find it bizarre that it’s the fictional realm that makes me an even more objective person.

BobRossDemons

The one things that ties all of these topics together is the human mind. That which we do not understand is often the most terrifying and eye-opening. It’s easy to roll your eyes when you hear a rant on a massive conspiracy to take over the planet, alien abduction stories, or demonic possession tales but you have to face one cold hard fact about these topics, you do not have to believe them for them to be true. That does not mean you have to accept them to be true but it does mean you all on your own cannot prove these things do not exist. Of course, this is not proof that they do either. It’s a perplexing question is it not? Atheist like myself, like to point out that Unicorns don’t exist but we cannot prove they don’t exist as a way to show theist that they cannot simply say, “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist.” I agree with that sentiment but sometimes I cannot help but have an open mind and ponder on that statement.

I really can’t prove a mythical being doesn’t exist which makes my mind race at times. How can this be? How is it that no matter how hard we try we cannot truly prove Santa isn’t real? Of course we can realize that mythical beings come from stories we learn as children and that religions are based on these and other mythologies. But why is it that when someone believes something so strongly it is impossible to show them undeniable proof that their belief is wrong? Is it because they are just too stubborn? Well yes, that is true about belief, but that’s not really my point.

That last sentence wasn’t to suggest that they are indeed real. Think of it as more of an invitation to explore what on earth is possible in the realm of this reality. If you are fully skeptical of such tales, believe me, I understand but what reason other than complete lunacy do others who claim such tales to be true have to believe in them? Money? Fame? Infamy? Or is it something else entirely?

You cannot deny that people sometimes make a lot of money and make friends who have a lot of money who get together and make plans to make even more money, start wars, gain political power via conspiracy. You also cannot deny the possibility of life on other planets in our vast and expansive universe. The chances of this planet being the only among a near infinity of other planets being the only to harbor life are so infinitesimal that I believe it is safe to assume that some where out there is another species of intelligent life forms.

Now we approach the most unbelievable and unlikely of these three topics. Demons from hell. Why, in the information age with ever evolving and expanding technological advances are we still hearing these stories? Why on earth am I still haunted by the possibility of a creature from the ether of our multi-dimensional reality having some kind of physical manifestation here on our little blue planet? Even though I can fully admit that I do not believe in it, knowing full well there is no actual definitive proof to suggest there are such creatures, and enjoying the creature comforts of modern society I still wake up in a fever pitch of sweat and worry having seen visions of a vicious creature from what to me would be hell. I know why.

We now have the capacity to fully explore these haunting tales and get a true look into the depths of our psychology. It’s not that there are just a small minority of people exploring this material in their own ways. It’s droves and droves of us and this is my message to all of you out there who share this fascination.

That feeling of terror that our ancestors would feel in the depths of whatever wilderness they survived in when a predator would snatch up one of their primitive tribe members and fleeing from the scene and go into hiding. The terror of hearing such a creature hunting them and not understanding even a single solitary thing about that predator. The adrenaline rush from such an encounter would have been traumatizing if not down right debilitating back then when there were no truly safe refuges from the wild. However, to us modern folk it is reduced to the level of entertainment, thrill seeking, ghost hunting, and creepy pastas.

We all seek our own agency in life and when we go through periods of drought in that respect we look to external sources for inspiration. We see someone else’s success and often feel a sense of jealousy so instead of facing our own life and fixing our own problems we create a scenario in our mind that everyone is out to get us. Granted, I do believe conspiracies do happen and should be explored in a literal sense, there is a difference between pulling things out of our collective butts and actually investigating a situation and seeking the truth.

I feel nearly the same can be said for alien life from outer space. The biggest difference is that while difficult to prove, human beings definitely conspire to in order to gain power in the world and there is historical precedence to prove such actions taking place in the world. To deny it is to me an embarrassment. In the case of extraterrestrials though, there is nothing anyone can point to that truly suggest there are indeed aliens here on Earth, though I still maintain that there is enough room in the universe and reason to believe there are other intelligent life forms somewhere beyond the stars.

The reasons we look to the stars and wonder nearly mirror those reasons we believe there’s a shadowy elite trying to rule the planet. We want to believe in something more powerful than us in order to explain away our own short comings. Also, there is so much about reality that we are left in the dark about and our own mind will create elaborate and often terrifying constructs in order to teach us. Often we are left still blinded to reality simply because we are to afraid to peak through our fingers at what truly is in favor of the comfort and familiarity of modern civilization.

 

I am not suggesting you flat-out believe in anything I talked about in this article. On the contrary, I am demanding you do much more than that. I am suggesting to you to have a good time scaring the crap out of yourself. Keep and open mind and respect others no matter how outlandish their theories are. Even if you know they are completely mad do not judge them for if there is even an iota of misunderstanding in your own mind you are in at least in small part like them as well. It’s a matter of degree and severity and not at all a matter of us vs them.

Stay frosty folks. Thanks for the read!

Album Review: Tool – Lateralus Part 1

AmpersandQuest

 

 When I review albums of music I want to provide as much useful information as possible while also providing my own unique perspective on the album. Below my commentary will be a series of links for more information, lyrics, the band’s website, and a link to purchase the album. Please support the artist you enjoy!

 

 

Tool_-_Lateralus

 

As I said above factual information about this album will be found below so I will spare you the gory details in favor of a more opinionated diatribe that will detail my feelings and interpretations of each song. If you are a big fan of Tool and have followed them for a good length of time you will understand when I say that my interpretation is not a prescription of how you should feel. I realize I haven’t covered a Tool album before and it might seem strange to really hardcore Tool fans out there to start now with Lateralus. My reason for doing so is that while I have become a really big Tool fan and love to know all the little details about them I have to be honest, this wasn’t always the case. My fandom of Tool started with this very album soon after it was released in 2001. I was a freshmen in high school, my parents were just divorced, I was a social outcast, and I turned to music to escape the harsh reality of my existence.

From my experience with all of Tool’s albums it is a blessing that Lateralus is the album that I dove off from first as it seems to be a turning point not only in my life but in the lives of the artist who created the album as they seemed to be in the midst of a spiritual and intellectual awakening. This album is chock full of inspirational themes but they are not fully realized without taking a journey through the cold dark reality of existing in this harsh modern social climate so full of cruelty and despair. Lateralus as an album served me the same purpose The Holy Bible would serve a born again Christian but obviously in a very different way. Take away the overt brainwashing that religion offers and replace it with understanding, acceptance, and enlightenment that the main characters of The Holy Bible were created to represent and you have the album Lateralus.

What we have here then is one young boy’s Rosetta Stone for life. A means by which he would come to understand all of the strange, unique, painful, and beautiful things that were happening to him. All of which seemed to come through the speakers and soak deep into his bones as the stories of the music and lyrics came to be fully realized mythos unto themselves. This album, if you cannot tell by now, means a lot to me. If I were ever able to speak to its creators I would thank them deeply for finding it within themselves to express the glorious truths of nature described in this album and having the conviction to lay the tracks down and sell it to the world without shame.

With that out-of-the-way let us begin the review and remember that the lyrics for each song can be found in a link at the bottom of the page.

Credit: Alex Grey Visit his website to purchase artistic prints at http://www.cosm.org/
Credit: Alex Grey Visit his website to purchase artistic prints at http://www.cosm.org/

              Track #1 -The Grudge – 

Let us not avoid how much this track just flat-out rocks. The instrumental work in this album from the very start is outstanding from beginning to end and the very first track does not disappoint. It leaves you with a very powerful first impression by the nature of the very aggressive kit work from Danny Carey who never seems to let up throughout the entirety of this album. Danny’s drumming prowess is in full force here and beyond. The power chords from guitarist Adam Jones may not be technically brilliant however I would argue that his composition AND his precise technique don’t really leave a lot to be desired, it’s as if he simply plays exactly the right way all the time even if it’s not wailing technical solo’s. If I wanted power metal solo’s there are plenty of artist who provide that. Tool is not that sort of band. I have also always been fond of Justin Chancellors bass work and here it serves its purpose well to seemingly make Danny’s drum set sound even more pronounced and adding just the right amount of contrast to Adam’s guitar playing. Singer Maynard James Keenan gives a very powerful performance as he always seems to do in his own way. Both guttural and operatic weaving in and out of each other in a symphony of powerful and aggressive musical backdrops.

Moving on to what I believe this song’s story is. In life, whether it be an individual, a group of people, an institution, or even yourself you will find adversaries. You will inevitably experience all of the emotions and realities of what it means to have an enemy. People will do things to hurt you, you will be singled out, be treated unfairly, and make mistakes that you will regret. This song is not about that. This song is about the willingness or lack thereof to let go of grudges. It weaves in and out of inspiration and despair as both the music and lyrics spin you round and round but all the while staying focused on the merciful release that is granted to those who learn to let go of those enemies, gangs, politicians, and regrets. While at first the song might seem to be screaming at you out of anger ultimately the point of sale comes when it all culminates in the emotional outburst and release of that anger as both music and singer collide in an epic 32 second long scream urging you to simply LET GO! The lesson here is that there is much more to be gained in life from accepting reality for what it is instead of hanging on to that which ties you down and keeps you in one place and static with your blood boiling and a soul full of regret.  I fully recommend looking deeper into the lyrics of this song because like all of Tool’s songs it could mean something totally different to you. For me, this helped me control my anger and tempered me whenever I felt my emotions could be getting the best of me. It was easy for me to think back to this track and remember how awesome it feels every time I listen to it.

             Track #2 -Eon Blue Apocalypse (Instrumental)- 

I get the sense that this song is full of grief and a great amount of pain.  It is very short and delivers what feels to me to be a “moment of silence” sort of feel. Appropriate because apparently it is an ode of sorts for the passing of guitarist Adam Jones Great Dane whose name was Eon. For me, on a thematic level, it serves as a break between the aggressive opening song and the next. It might be a track that we skip over but from time to time I like to listen to it as I reflect on life.

 

              Track #3 -The Patient-       

The intro to this roller coaster of a song feels lumbering, laborious, tedious, and filled with tension. Perhaps the title of the song is very appropriate here as it seems to feel almost like how one would feel sitting in a doctor’s waiting room as you ponder what the good doctor has to report to you. Even the opening lyrics are dripping with a feeling of restrained exuberance dying for a massive release.  As the next section continues on we are presented with growing animosity as the music gets subtly louder and the lyrics encourage you to open your heart. The meat and potatoes of the song break free as that feeling of having to wait, be quiet, and remain stoic give way to an outburst of conviction and aggressive musical themes.

I think this song can be about anything. For me personally I tend to feel it’s about living in an overly politically correct society where you are not encouraged to express yourself. Quite the opposite is definitely pronounced throughout society. Thus, we all seem to go through periods in life where we lay low, keep a low profile, and become quite apathetic towards others. I believe this song explores the importance of both being silent and introspective and expressing yourself loudly and without shame.

It is important to have a stiff upper lip and soak up the pain at times as in don’t whine and complain too much and actually BE patient. But the desire to reach out, express yourself, include others, and branch out once you’ve healed is a desire that shouldn’t be forsaken.  The reason I said this is a roller coaster of a song is because towards the end the feeling I get is much the same as waiting for the big drop off at the top of a roller coaster at a theme park. Much more appropriate to me now that I mention it would be the feeling of a tight rope walk. That you are constantly walking this fine line between apathy and empathy. That while you want to reach out to others and experience love, compassion, and community there is always a desire to return to solitude. I strongly encourage a deep and focused reading of the lyrics found at the bottom of this review.

 

Track #4 -Mantra-

 

There are a lot of interesting discussions I found online about what this track represents and also how it was recorded. If you’re interested I would definitely encourage you to check Google for the information. However, right now I just want to talk about how the song makes me feel and how it correlates with the rest of the album’s thematic aura.

The listener is graced with a very peaceful yet somehow creepy and dark sound effect. There are a couple of layers to the track to mention. Most notably what sounds like the cry’s of a whale or perhaps monks chanting. Regardless of what the artist actually did to record this track to me it serves as a way to invest the listener to focus on their inner most thoughts. It isn’t long enough to make you forget about the previous track but just long enough to get your attention heading in to the next. Which is one of the most popular songs in Tool’s entire discography so it makes sense that Tool would want people to really pay attention at this point in the album.

 

Track #5 -Schism- 

 

What stands out to me most about this song is that while it is the song they chose to be the radio friendly song of the album it is not by any means your typical arena rock and roll anthem, which I do love by the way, but they somehow managed to create a song of very pressing matters that most people don’t want to talk about and make it a chart topping hit. It’s as if they created something that isn’t supposed to appeal to everyone that by virtue of its own merit managed to soak itself into the world consciousness and took on a very powerful meaning for millions upon millions of people. It is not by any means my most cherished Tool track but I deeply respect it for what it is and what it meant for Tool being absolutely cemented in history as one of rock’s greatest bands. That does not mean this track is not chock full of philosophical importance, indeed it is, but that’s not what impresses me about it. It stands on its own as the Tool song that took music by storm without selling out.

The song itself begins with a bass intro that comes off the heels of the previous track Mantra and fits so damn well with the feeling of Mantra. The focus and attention I get from listening to Mantra is not at all broken by this intro but enhanced. The intro drones for a moment as the main bass riff that’s become so recognizable begins to enter your consciousness. Followed by Danny’s powerful drumming and Maynard’s timeless lyrics unfold before you. Musically to me this song is not the most impressive of all of Tool’s efforts but it is by no means forgettable either. Mostly because of how pressing the issues discussed in the lyrics are. To me that is where the strength of this song stands.

There is no way to view this song in a one-dimensional manner. It is about you, me, and everyone else. It is about our institutions or lack thereof. But what is the song saying about them? Personally I think the entire point of the song is that we do everything we can to promote certain ideals and convictions but fail to recognize how those seemingly virtuous and inspiring intentions also create division, animosity, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.  It is amazing to me how our greatest intentions can give birth to such tragic failings in human kind. As the song says, you can realize that all the pieces fit but only because you watched them crumble, fail, and burn to the ground. While the song definitely encourages all of us to strive for good things in life it doesn’t bury its head in the sand when it comes to how those good things are often born from human suffering.

Perhaps this song was so successful because it’s over all message is that no matter how strong our convictions, family ties, friendships, and relationships are they will never be perfect. Everyone can relate to this message and appreciate the compassionate message it has. It doesn’t attempt to paint a pie in the sky image of the human condition but instead is honest with the listener. I am very glad this song became as popular as it did for it provided an outlet for all the animosity in the world. Also, it gives people the chance to understand just how connected we all are in the human condition and encourages us to come together in a common goal. Not in any communist hippie dippy sense but in a realistic realization that we all experience this schism in our interactions with others. We are all our own individual with our own belief structures but ultimately they are all born from a very similar place where we desire the best outcomes for not just ourselves but those around us. It is then by its very nature a message of peace and understanding. It’s not saying to tolerate bad behavior for the sake of tolerance either, rather, reaches out for us to recognize how bad behavior manifest from otherwise harmless and good intent. What a fascinating example of how music can change the world.

This has become quite a lengthy article so I have decided to break it up in three parts. Come back for more especially because I happen to enjoy the later half of the album a lot more. I have a lot to say about the remainder of the album so stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

Lateralus Wikipedia Link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralus

Tool Website: http://www.toolband.com/

Lateralus Lyrics Link: https://www.toolband.com/album/lyrics/lateralus.html

Don’t forget that if you want to listen to the album, please, for the love of all that is right and just in the world. Buy the songs or the album.

Try With All Your Might. Rock and Roll Will Not Die!

AmpersandQuest

 

 

If you have been following the #GamerGate hashtag online over the last two months you are probably familiar with both sides of the argument. Breifly, one side believes video games promote misogyny, violence, bigotry, and need to be changed and censored. The opposing view-point see’s video games in a much different light and believe they are forms of art that should not be censored by any means and offer a way to experience difficult human conditions without actually bringing harm to others. I find myself on the latter side but not just with video games. While #GamerGate might be the strategic front for now to criticize the views of a group known as “Social Justice Warriors” (SJW’s for short) it has come to my attention more than once that my favorite genre of music will definitely come under their harsh, unfair, biased, and unrealistic criticism. I will not sit idly by while they try to tear my favorite form of music expression to pieces and attempt to make it more politically correct. Rock and roll has faced this over and over again over the years and I for one believe it will survive the onslaught. 

 

elvis-presley-dancing-thesuiteworld

 

 The following is taken from Wikipedia. 

      “The second Milton Berle Show appearance came on June 5 at NBC’s Hollywood studio, amid another hectic tour. Berle persuaded the singer to leave his guitar backstage, advising, “Let ’em see you, son.”[104] During the performance, Presley abruptly halted an uptempo rendition of “Hound Dog” with a wave of his arm and launched into a slow, grinding version accentuated with energetic, exaggerated body movements.[104] Presley’s gyrations created a storm of controversy.[105] Television critics were outraged: Jack Gould of The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. … His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub. … His one specialty is an accented movement of the body … primarily identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway.”[106] Ben Gross of the New York Daily News opined that popular music “has reached its lowest depths in the ‘grunt and groin’ antics of one Elvis Presley. … Elvis, who rotates his pelvis … gave an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos”.[107] Ed Sullivan, whose own variety show was the nation’s most popular, declared him “unfit for family viewing”.[108] To Presley’s displeasure, he soon found himself being referred to as “Elvis the Pelvis”, which he called “one of the most childish expressions I ever heard, comin’ from an adult.”[109]

 

    Elvis Presley may not be the most rock and roll of rock and roll however this famous example really highlights the points I will be making later on in the article. Please consider the ramifications and consequences if we listen to the same kind of concern, baiting, immaturity, and baseless accusations of the modern-day political correctness brigade infamously known now as Social Justice Warriors. 

mastodon-once-more-round-the-sun

 

                         The following is taken from Loudwire.com

  •       http://loudwire.com/mastodon-brann-dailor-defends-twerk-heavy-the-motherload-video-sexist-allegations/

       “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s just no escaping from the phenomenon known as twerking. Even Mastodon took a tongue-in-cheek approach to rippling glutes in their new video for ‘The Motherload.’ In a new interview with Mastodon drummer / vocalist Brann Dailor, the musician explains the concept behind the video and addresses the sexist criticism that videos featuring twerking receive.”

               It will be tempting to dismiss the comparison by pointing out that the criticisms of Elvis came from a different time and that Mastadon’s criticism is that of female dancers being sexually objectified. To me however these observations only serve to highlight how much more ridiculous, immature, and biased it is to criticize women on 2014 the same way people criticized Elvis in 1957. In both cases I have to wonder what in the world are these people so afraid of? Is society at large so easily offended and afraid of sexuality that even dance moves send them in a fluttering tizzy of emotional weakness? If men and women are equal then why is it offensive for one to shake their hips and not the other? 

               If my love of the rock and roll/metal genre has taught me anything it’s that nothing is off-limits. The main reason I love it so much is that it constantly pushes the envelope and the artist involved are constantly exploring hot button issues in order to provoke a reaction that raises eye brows and hopefully gets people to think twice about their preconceived notions.  I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Mastadon nor do I find the video particularly interesting save for the parody of early 90’s heavy metal music videos which I find a bit humorous. That does not grant me a right to even attempt to censor them, tell them they are sexist, and try to tear them down in any way. Sure, you have all the right in the world to make such criticism but in doing so you open yourself up to retort. My retort is that you are simply being entirely too sensitive. The girls in this video are not forced to dance in front of the camera in provocative ways. In fact, I think it’s rather demeaning of you to label them as victims when in fact they have found a job they enjoy doing. Who are you to pass judgement on them? 

                          What would have happened to the music industry if we as a society would have taken such accusatory, baseless, and immature criticisms to heart? Would Elvis Presley have gone on to set the world on fire with his provocative style? It is my opinion that if we do not stand up to the political correctness brigades of the world that we will end up in a joyless ride where you have to constantly watch what you say, enjoy, do, listen to, watch, or are otherwise entertained by. It is exactly this kind of blatant censorship which I fear most and would simply refuse to live and put up with. Rock and Roll/Metal music serves a very important purpose in this department. The more PC is pushed, the harder these bands should rock out. The more they are labeled and blamed for societies problems the more provocative the lyrics should become until finally something gives and the PC Nazi’s of the world grow up and realize the jokes on them and give up on their ridiculous quest to Nerf the world. 

There are even more examples of rock music coming under fire and being blamed for ills in the world (I will provide more below). It seems that every time something bad happens in the world we will quickly divert responsibility away from the perpetrator and on to the kind of music they enjoyed, games they played, books they read, or movies they watched. Why? It’s a simple question that the SJW movement wants to answer by saying things like, “Just because you don’t think you’re affected by media doesn’t mean you aren’t. In fact, it probably means you are the most affected.” Anita Sarkeesian said something very similar to this in one of her Tropes vs Women videos and I have to demand actual proof of this baseless accusation. I am defending rock music here because for me it has served as a very healthy outlet and allowed me to explore the darker half of my psyche without actually having to express it and take it out on others. This art form doesn’t just explore the dark but very creatively creates a light at the end of a very difficult tunnel for millions of fans world-wide. To imagine anyone trying to take this away by failing to make a valid criticism of it just because they are too sensitive to understand what rock and roll/metal is all about is beyond asinine. To these people I recommend just turning off and avoiding media that makes you feel so mad and sensitive. The rest of us are just fine and aren’t out to hurt you. Leave us alone and stop trying to ruin OUR fun and OUR hobbies.   

 

 

List of Society Blaming Rock for Violence

  • The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” & Manson Family Murders
  • Ozzy Osbourne’s “Suicide Solution” & Teen Suicide
  • Judas Priest’s “Better by You, Better Than Me” & Suicide Pact
  • AC/DC’s “Night Prowler” & Serial Killer Richard Ramirez
  • Marilyn Manson & Columbine’s killers

                        I advise my readers to do google searches of this list and would ask that you consider the consequences of demanding artist censor themselves just because bad things happen in the world. What sort of legacy will we leave behind if we are the generation that chose to leave behind the tradition of free expression? Do you really want to be remembered in history for going along with an ideology that demands you not explore yourself through the safety of art? Is there any good reason why we should close our minds, hide our eyes, and close our ears every time someone creates something that offends our sensibilities? My accusation of you if you have already is that you are of a weak mind and speaking from a place of fear and ignorance. Your message is not the only one that needs be heard and understood. So while you are free to criticize all you want it really stops there if you are unwilling to go and create your own art, messages, and content for others with a like mind to enjoy. If you simply refuse to put in the effort to create and build an audience then I’m afraid your complaints fall on deaf ears because all you’re ultimately doing is complaining constantly that the creative people of the world didn’t make something that pleases your every last desire. 

 

ROCK AND ROLL WILL NOT DIE AND I HOPE IT ROCKS YOU OUT OF YOUR SOCKS! 

“Activisimist” Movements: The Unavoidable Hypocrisy of Modern Culture (Warning for the sensitive, Profane Language Within!)

AmpersandQuest

I have always considered myself a humanist for my own reasons. No self-proclaimed humanist was ever able to teach me why, I just found myself attached to the ideologies behind humanism. It’s not for secular reasons or because a bunch of hipster activist told me I should be one. I am one despite those people. I am one because I believe in humanity to improve and progress through a lot of hard work. Not so that the government can grant everyone privileges and screw over everyone else just because they’re in the majority.

 

It seems in this “modern civilized world” it is not enough to be a decent human being, no, you have to be a part of this kind of “ism” or a certain type of “ist” in order to fit in. These “movements” are taking what was such a beautifully simple notion of goodwill towards men and have spun it into their own unique perceptions and delusions of how best to operate one self in a world wrought with war, political cesspools, a crumbling economy, and do gooders trying to get in everyone else’s business. They will point their filthy fingers at everything and everyone other than themselves and will never look in the mirror to see how they’ve duped themselves into believing that if they just scream loud enough, the world will listen and change. In other words, these people love to complain.

 

I am humanist because fuck you. What I mean to say is that I as an individual strive to better myself. I am part of a society of other humans so I have had to learn to go along to get along to a certain degree but the reason for this word press being written is to point out that society at large is stepping all over itself to prove to themselves that they are these gleaming and shining examples of morality. But we all know we are imperfect and typically shit headed towards one another. Yet we find ourselves involved with groups of people proclaiming to have the answer to solve all the worlds ills. Myself included, so don’t misunderstand me. I include myself in this article because I actually realize I have a lot of work to do on myself and I do it every day. I can’t say the same for others though. For others, mediocrity is just fine.

 

This same harsh “fuck you” goes to anyone who belongs to any of the following groups, Republicans, Democrats, Feminist, Libertarians, Anarcho Capitalist, Anarcho Socialist, Socialist, Communist, Jihadist, Christians, Muslims, Men’s Rights Activist, and many many others so if I left you out, fuck you too. Do you want to know why? Because while there are exceptional people within each community who I want to be friends with and would love to be around, there are always those extreme people who take the idea way too far and go way out of their way to not just exclude others from even the slightest conversation but will actively seek to bring harm to anyone outside that community. This is the problem I have with every single one of these “ismist”. They subvert themselves by proclaiming peace but it’s at a cost. They are not at all peaceful once they start lobbying for laws to be passed in order to limit the behaviors of those who disagree with them. Granted some are much less inclined to do so than others so I am not exactly painting with broad strokes here. I recognize good, better, and best.

 

I realize right about now I sound completely hypocritical and I agree, but how can this be avoided? How can we live in society with all these special interest, all just as annoying as the next, and not at some point put your head out of your ass and remember who you really are? Humanism to me does not mean I think all humans deserve special treatment. To me, it means, we’re all a bunch of dip shits for thinking that some little group we were a part of at some point was going to make a difference by complaining about some oppressor at large until someone paid attention to us. Never once providing a working solution or internalizing our own faults and communicating to others that sometimes the bullshit that happens to us in life is our own damn fault.  Perhaps then I am not a humanist, perhaps then I am just an individual who is sick of movements.  In any case I have been a part of several movements in my life time and never once did I feel fulfilled. Just a brief encounter with inspiring ideas at first which quickly succumb to in fighting, finger-pointing, and complaining. It’s rather disgusting.

 

I see all these disappointed faces all the time. You’re in a movement, things are going well, then reality sets in and people tailspin into denial, self-pity, and loathing of their brethren.  Did you really believe you were going to make a difference? So disappointing isn’t it? You were fooled by a guru into believing in something abstract and unrealistic and at first their were positive results because you were excited about something. It gave you positive energy and something to believe in while you continued to your ultimate destiny. But eventually, you had questions about what you were doing. Just as an atheist questions God or an Anarchist questions Government YOU question this community you’re a part of.

 

But you deny it don’t you? Anything to belong. Anything to maintain this near narcissistic shell  that you are good because your people are good. That you could never ever be a shit head and neither could your activist friends. Ha! Wake up fools, you live on an ancient rock, it’s been alive for billions of years and will probably outlive our species. And the reason it will is because you are so narcissistic that you actually believe we will kill the Earth before it kills humanity. You honestly truly believe that what you are doing is truly good and right and correct meanwhile you make enemies at every turn. Bring harm to those who disagree and in turn those shit heads you piss off come back and attack you.

 

I am Humanist because I think humanity has such great potential to be truly exceptional and good. But I see what we’ve become and i am sick! If it’s not cleared by your board members, internet gurus, or political party you will not even think about doing it. It’s disgusting to think that I used to be the same way but I met others who showed me another way. These people didn’t kiss my ass and tell me pretty lies. They said, “FUCK YOU, GROW UP, MOVE ON.”

 

These men to be a little more specific are part of an online culture called “the manospehere” and I realize I am being hypocritical but it simply cannot be avoided in this culture of ours.  Because there is no way around it I must find a way to compromise my position without being a complete piece of shit so here it is. My brand of Humanism is called Pinnaclism and you can read all about it here. https://verbosepeak.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/pinnaclism/

 

Within the confines of that article are what represent to me a set of ideals that constitute a way of life. I no longer want to be another follower in a group that represents the interest of people who at one point had the same idea I had. I want to be a leader in something new, unique, and truly revolutionary. I realize this means dire consequences should anyone out there take my ideas seriously but honestly, it’s a short life and I’m sick of following dishonest people who have their own agendas and use people’s best qualities against them in order to galvanize and quarter off a market of meat heads who will worship them and hang on to every word they say without question. I’m sick of the guru’s and the ism-ist of modern culture and desire a return to what makes human beings so damn amazing. Honesty, honor, hard work, self-responsibility, and ingenuity. I saying this I am not going to blow smoke up anyone’s ass and pretend I am a shining example to be followed at this point. But the fact that I recognize my shit headed behaviors and seek to change them is something people should follow.  I want others to read my words here and rip them apart and give me feedback, positive and negative feedback because if I’m perfectly honest right now everything I’ve written here feels absurd. I feel there is something underneath it all though which is tried and true.

 

Does anyone out there have anything to add? I would absolutely love to hear what others think about this. I wrote this article with a lot of anger and after re-reading and writing it I found many inconsistencies with my arguments but I still feel underneath it all is an undiscovered truth about humanity that we should all example. Please let me hear what you think and take care folks!

Being Right When the Status Quo is Wrong

Ampersand Daily2

I suppose most people would label me with titles like Libertarian, Anarchist, Independent, or even simply a lunatic. However, I’ve come to discover that there has never been or ever will there be a single word anyone could use to describe me. So when reading the title of this post, please do not assume things about me without first considering the content of the entire article and message I am attempting to convey to the world in this little corner of the internet.

I want to take you back on a journey of about 50 years. For those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s may recall standing up to the government on many many issues. Civil Rights, The Vietnam War, Watergate, JFK, MLK, Kent State, and other people and events that helped shape this period in American History all happened because of one centrally planned and organized cartel of men and women who apparently, we have granted the authority to write rules down on pieces of paper, and enforce those rules through a fully armed and trained military/police forces. I often wonder, what was it that caused all of these people to stand up to the government? What sparked the notion that no one has the right to use force against others to get them to behave a certain way? Perhaps a more relevant question pertaining to this is, what happened to that spark? Why did millions of people lock arms in protest and defeat authoritarians hand over fist back then? Yet today, even suggesting you should do such a thing ensures you to be compartmentalized into a box with a label on it that says “Conspiracy Theorist Nut Job”. Curious question is it not?

Even myself, an individual who is happy to question the reality around me, finds myself speechless when I should be speaking up. I know there is no good justification for this and that it is morally wrong, yet, more often than not I simply stand there, knowing things aren’t right and feel trapped by my own fear and insecurity. I think this largely has to do with the majority of people who simply want to live their life oblivious to the ill’s of the world and vicariously through the portrayals of heroes in Hollywood movies. While I too live in a blissful manner and watch movies and enjoy the tales being told, I think I at least do manage to provide some thought-provoking and challenging ideas to those around me. I at least attempt to help push along this idea that humanity should be free of force and coercion and that some day, this kind of revolution will take place.

The thrust of this article is to point out the few human beings through history who have taken a much stronger stance against authoritarian ideologies and made great and even the ultimate sacrifices in doing so. I find that whether or not I agree with all of these people politically, I can at least understand them, and even appreciate their bravery in taking a stand for what they feel was right. I am going to refrain from providing specific examples to avoid making you think I believe in one thing or another and also because if you’re reading this, you probably have a really good idea of the people I am referring to. Instead, this is just to point out that when you take a stand against an aggressive authoritarian, often, you will have to give up much of your life or even be killed for doing so.

When the entire world bows down to a single ideology and believes that forcing everyone else to adhere to that idea is justified, it is considered a rebellious and dangerous act. While that may be true, I think it’s important to point out that the danger is not coming from the protester, the violence isn’t being forced upon the authoritarian, but rather the authoritarian is using force to ensure 100% loyalty and adherence to his or her rules. Rebelling against this dangerous ideology is not an act of terror as the majority of society will probably tell you, it is an action made once one realizes the only way to really be free is to challenge that forced unity and collective blind support. History is riddled with these figures that rise up against the authority of the time and end up in horrible situations just because they had a different idea of how human beings should live among one another. Ask yourselves, how highly can you really think about any political ideology that must force those who disagree into compliance? If it’s that great of an idea, shouldn’t persuasion be enough? I understand that when it actually is a good idea and a rebel uses violence to get their way that defensive violence is necessary. That however, is not what I’m attempting to convey to you.

I think a good example is Marijuana users. If they inhale the smoke from Marijuana when it’s illegal they will be thrown into a cage, violently. Yet, there hasn’t ever been a significant case where someone has over dosed due to the use of the drug nor has the simple act of indulging in the smoking of Marijuana ever produced a victim. Have people made poor decisions as result of Marijuana, probably, but that shouldn’t muddle the entire culture and market place surrounding the drug. Yet, if you dare even try it once and get caught, you and all your friends will end up in jail and with a horrible drug charge on your records. The government may even kill you if the police who are used to enforce the laws upon you are trigger happy psychopaths as we all to often see in the news any more.

When you know you are right about something that contradicts the status quo of government, your life becomes a danger to any authority who thrives of the laws you are breaking, even if those laws are totally unjustified. People have been beaten, jailed, or even killed for doing things that produced no theft, violence against others, or property damage. There are laws, it seems, simply for the sake of having laws at times and I find this to be a tragic situation where the powerful and wealthy benefit from their dominance over the rest of humanity, almost as if they simply enjoy controlling others with their police forces. Almost as if they get a sense of joy from it. This should be alarming to people out there, but I fear apathy greatly outweighs any justifiable concern people may have as most people simply want to be left alone.

There is a song by Rush that I believe outlines what I’m on about here called Closer to the Heart. Give it a listen and read the lyrics while you listen to it. It may do a better job trying to convey the message I’m trying to type out here for you and if so, then great. I hope to help others come to this message in any way I can other than force and coercion. I want to be the opposite of that and I think most people actually feel this way deep down. Seeing the way people are treated for actually acting on this practically though, it is understandable why people’s apathy mostly outweighs any desire to make a real positive change in the world. This however needs to erode as time pushes forward and the next generation comes up. Ask yourself, when will this world of ours stop bombing the crap out of each other? When will this world of ours see a superior level of peace and prosperity that the world has never enjoyed before? I have this belief that this is inevitable but also that if we don’t approach it with the proper line of sight, the cost of this happening will almost be far to great to consider. The choice is yours.

Thank you for the read!

Scott D. Vogler

You Only Hear What You Want To!

Ampersand Daily2Sometimes in life I run into situations where I find myself unable to easily accept the situation going on around me. All of which happens on a small personal scale, local scale, and even larger national or global scale. I’ve been told that I only hear what I want to several times by several people and I have to admit that sometimes this is true. Though I don’t celebrate this fact, I know it to be a true weakness not only of myself but by humanity in general. I always try to look at things from different perspectives and I thought this “catch phrase” would be an interesting idea to explore in some detail through my word press.

First of all, I question whether or not this behavior is always a bad thing or a weakness. Sometimes, what you want to hear, is probably the ideal outcome of the situation you find yourself in. In a world so ruthless and unforgiving, I’m sure many human beings have begged and wished for a better situation in life. Is it not that desire which sometimes pulls us through difficult times and tough situations? The idea that you can over come and the imagination of your goals being accomplished can give you the positive energy you need to get through. Only hearing what you want to hear in these terms to me simply means you want to maintain a good thing in your life and keep it a healthy part of what you’re trying to achieve with your life. This though, is not why you hear people saying “You only hear want you want to.”

The reason you usually hear someone saying “you only hear what you want to” is when you are being stubborn on an issue and unable to process difficult information without making an ass out of yourself. This is when you get in an argument over politics or sometime more simple like who should clean the living room. I would say that most of the time, only hearing what you want to hear only has it’s downsides because you are incapable of allowing communication to take place between yourself and another which in turn ruins any chance of a productive and  healthy outcome. The real honest truth is often very difficult to hear and often interferes with our plans, but avoiding the truth is often more dangerous and risky than it is to face it head on and accept the challenge of that situation.

I think it comes down to a healthy regulation of one’s ego to over come this situation where you simply aren’t going to listen to anyone’s advice. Remember that you alone will never always be right about certain things. The people in your life who love you and would look after you no matter what are there to help you, don’t forget that. We live in a world of endless distractions and ways to escape reality, don’t allow that, no matter how entertaining, to get between you and significant others in your life. This doesn’t mean simply give up on your ideas and beliefs, but it does mean adapting to the reality going on around you in a way that benefits not only yourself, but those around you as well.

Speaking of only hearing what you want to, if you like this article, I have other philosophical articles that relate to politics, religion, and even pop culture. This blog is intended to speak my mind on a plethora of different topics and try to consider all kinds of different perspectives. There are a couple of music review articles on the way and also am working on my first movie review. I’m always working on new articles and want to truly be a daily source of new information, but have found it difficult to keep up. If you aren’t a fan of one of my articles, like this one, please check out my other articles. You may find yourself enjoying a topic you may never have considered before. That is my goal here, to get people to start being curious about the world again so they CAN start hearing good news, the things they WANT to hear coming true. I want to be part of anything that helps that process for even one person on the planet.

Thank you for reading!

Scott D. Vogler

Music Review, Artist: Kyuss; Album: Blues for the Red Sun; Part 3 of 3

&DailyMusic

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. This is not intended to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.

For further information regarding this album, please visit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_for_the_Red_Sun

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song.

My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is  http://www.songmeanings.net/  If at all possible I will use their site almost exclusively.

Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review.  

https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/

If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there. http://www.youtube.com/

Before we begin the actual review, I want to remind every one of part 1 of this article where I focused on the modern-day lawsuit that took place between the members of this band. I only chose to discuss that because I love Kyuss so much. I am using their album art and talking about their songs and I can’t help but worry that by some strange set of circumstances that for whatever reason I could somehow fall into legal troubles with any of the members of this amazing band. That is why I feel I must point out that the band Kyuss owes its name to the picture below. I want that to be a reminder of why I felt so strongly about the lawsuit in the first place. The people who produced the first incarnation of the name Kyuss never sought monetary or legal ramifications from the band Kyuss, why should anyone else sue another human being, much less a friend and former band mate. The link below will take you to a page dedicated to the character Kyuss and his entire back story. It really bugs me that such a cool character and cool band was met with controversy like it was. I do take relief however in believing that the people who created Kyuss to begin with wouldn’t have minded that Kyuss the band used their idea and name and made a bad ass rock band with it. That’s why I don’t like the idea of owning an idea, art to me is as much about communication as it is about expressing your ideas. Taking in ideas is not a crime, using those ideas to express yourself is not a crime, and even copying something doesn’t really have any victims. Thinking of it as theft to me seems wrong and out-of-place when considering it’s your former friends and band mates you are suing. At the end of the day, my opinion might be absolutely and terribly wrong. But that is how I feel. I mean no disrespect to any side of the argument by sharing this with the world. Just expressing myself and how I feel about the  things I care about and enjoy thinking of. No harm intended.

Kyuss from Dungeons and Dragons Game
http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kyuss
Check out the link below and get yourself a copy!
http://www.amazon.com/Blues-Red-Sun-Kyuss/dp/B000001A3H

Now comes the part of this review where I forget about modern drama between the members of this band and focus on what makes this album and Kyuss so special and unique that no other band will ever be able to replicate, though I have hope for Vista Chino making a triumph out of the tragedy that is Kyuss the former band. Before we jump in, Kyuss generally gives off a deep rock and roll vibe and I mean that as a good thing. They very much capture the rebellious spirit in rock history yet find ways to blend different styles together. I say that because at times I feel as though I’m really just watching an artsy film noir of a rebellious biker who drives through the desert who also owns a Muscle Car and a giant black semi-truck. I can’t help but imagine that Mel Gibson as Mad Max could have inspired the vibe Kyuss gives me.  After all, Kyuss would often perform live shows in the desert and even released albums called “Dessert Sessions”. The desert motif is certainly a vibrant part of Kyuss and I very much enjoy it.

This is one of my most beloved pieces of music, despite the lawsuit, I have nothing but respect for the work and artistry put into this and other Kyuss albums. In that spirit I will avoid any further reference to modern-day history and only focus on the album and why I love it so much.

1. Thumb http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858542282/ <<<Lyrics

The easiest way to look at this album is to just stare into the album art, consider the title of the album, and begin to listen to its first track. Even thinking about this album can excite me and I hope you can see why once the entire band enters into the ethereal void created by the intro sound effects. The music is this incredible blend of rock clichés yet organized in a very special fashion, and then combined with the innovation of each musician. I keep thinking, red-hot rod, dessert road, blistering white sun, bones on the ground, and over all hot-blooded nature. I think this song represents that rebel without a cause part of 1950’s pop culture. That guy who wears all leather, owns a bike, and a muscle car, and kicks people’s ass just because he’s that cool. At the same time some of the music provides this a sense of complexity and sophistication that only the best kinds of musicians can pull off. I really love this blend of artistic contrast not just in this track, but throughout this entire album. This song means to make sure you realize it doesn’t care what you think, it’s going to be the song it wants to be, and that’s what I love about it and this album.

2. Green Machine http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858542281/ <<<Lyrics

This song represents to me a giant middle finger to the greedy on our planet. If I am right and this song is about a desert rebel warrior, this song would be about him confronting bankers and politicians who exchange money for life on a daily basis. This is the part of the story where they pick the wrong man to mess with. I get mental imagery of a man leading a revolution against the wrong doings of a society drunk with power and violence. The song itself rips and pumps as though you’re listening to the exhaust sounds of a war machine of some kind, perhaps a Mad Max style vehicle with machine guns on it. Snake Pliskon listens to this song when he finds himself missing the good ol’ days.

3. Molten Universe (Instrumental)

This is the part of Kyuss that really grabs my attention, their ability to carry themselves on musical ability alone. Not that the singing isn’t welcome, it’s more than welcome, in fact I think the singing by John Garcia is brilliant work. That however, is not what this song is about, and I love that about it. Just listen to the slow and heavy guitar riff at the very beginning dressed with background drumming and a consistent bass tone. Very temporal and then suddenly the guitar gives a high pitch tone setting off the rest of the band. The extremely heavy, lumbering, laboring music explodes in full form. A song with the name “Universe” needs to sound gigantic, big, alive, and working. Kyuss pulls it off brilliantly I must say. But what about the “Molten” part of the title? Are you listening to how it melts, boils, and to how heavy the bass is? When I hear this song it becomes easy to imagine the “Universe” to become “Molten”. This prog-rock like diversion from the rebellious and fast paced nature of the first two tracks leads into the perfect complement for Molten Universe.

4. 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up) http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858555984/ <<<Lyrics

Immediately you’ll feel the quickened pace, but more. This song surpasses the first three songs in one very critical department, intensity. Everything about this song is going, moving, jumping, and motoring through a blurry background and smoke is coming out of tail pipes and they’re starting to glow red. A bit of literary fun there to illustrate how this song makes me feel. How would you feel if you could live and survive a fall into a black hole and experience everything the universe had to offer? What if you were exposed to all of the realities of all of nature in all of its forms. This of course would kill any one of you out there, including myself. I think this song is meant to celebrate the idea that we should be curious of the world around us. Nature in general is a giant mystery that even the most brilliant of scientist have failed to understand. That is what makes nature so remarkable to me, the very idea that even if you lived 50 million years and were able to ponder all of realities possibilities that you wouldn’t even approach one half of everything there is to know. That exploring knowledge has its risk and rewards and there is choice and consequence as well. Just as you begin to ponder soft philosophical principles the song hits a wonderful plateau of wide open spaces. You’re still traveling at the speed of light, but the space you’re in is so grand and epic and huge that it feels like a cosmic low rider traveling through the stars. This song is a real trip and that’s why I love it.

5. Thong Song http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3458764513820547989/  <<<Lyrics

“Horray for, horray for youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

If you’ve ever slept with someone you shouldn’t have, someone you don’t even like, someone you actually can’t stand, this is the song you should feel when you realize you made a giant mistake.

I do these reviews as I’m listening to the album and I must admit, this song has always been a weaker song in Kyuss’ discography. Though I do enjoy the slick little intro and the obnoxious way in which Garcia sings the “Horray for you” part. Other than getting a laugh out of the few mistakes I’ve made when it comes to women I don’t really make a strong connection with this song like I do many of the others. Still absolutely have to listen to this song in order to appreciate this album and Kyuss in their totality though, so don’t skip out just because I don’t like it as much as you might!

6. Apothecaries’ Weight (Instrumental) 

Another really interesting, twisty, groovy, and epic instrumental experiments with the excitement in Green Machine and the slow big sounds from Molten Universe. You can feel that coolness factor from the very beginning of the song. This song is one of those experimental mind expansion songs that bands like The Doors might do. The guitar soloing towards the front of the song makes the song so alive and up beat while the bass maintains a steady and consistent inspiring theme with consistent and good drumming. Once the song barely begins to change it up a bit with a tiny little bridge, you’ll feel the song gearing up for an even bigger change of pace as the guitar solo becomes more focused and centered. One last chorus into a high-pitched guitar squealing into heavy riffs and more intense drumming. The chorus returns, but seemingly with more heart, more passion, and more fire in its belly. The fuzz of the background clears and a small time later the biggest and heaviest part of the song begins. It’s as if all chaos and all things are flying by you all the sudden as you are thrust through a black hole and come out the other side a new thing entirely. Epicness all around you and then, it just ends….What a fun journey this song provides my imagination.

7.  Caterpillars March (Instrumental) 

I almost began to introduce this song as “and with yet another instrumental” but then I stopped myself and just listened to what Kyuss were trying to communicate with this song. Heavy emphasis on riffing for this intro, both bass and guitar in harmony with a rock and roll drum beat. So far I’m loving it, especially the bass. I do really like this song, but I have to say one thing about it, why couldn’t it have been used as the outro for Apothecaries’ Weight? I’m not dogging on Caterpillar at all, I’m simply saying it is only a two-minute instrumental. Or maybe some how introduced into the next song some how. I don’t know what it is, but this song, while it is very awesome, and yes, you MUST listen to it in order to call yourself a Kyuss fan, you must also respect it for what it is.

8.Freedom Run http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858512920/  <<<Lyrics

This song returns us to the story of this album, which to me is represented by a desert warrior character, like Mad Max, only more bad ass. I like this song so much that I’ve read other people have to say about it and I think people are taking this song to seriously. For me, I get this incredibly vivid image of a guy who just stole a bunch of gold from The Fed and plans on using it to bring down the system some how. He’s being pursued though, through the dessert of course into an eternal setting sun towards freedom, if only he could just have a few more horsepower, he would make it with ease, but where’s the power? I have to admit that I enjoy this song a little too much, in fact, I enjoy Kyuss way too much and this song is one of their top performances in my mind. It just captures this entire album up into one bad ass rock and roll song with prog rock elements and strong lyrics brilliantly belted out by a fantastic singer.

9. 800 (Instrumental) 

Okay, this one really is just another instrumental. I think it’s bad ass, but I know most people will not tolerate it. Just to mention how I do feel about it though. Imagine if the most bad ass tribe in the universe and Kyuss started to jam together and there you have it. The demonic mask the tribe would be wearing would suite the next song very well.

10. Writhe http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858591696/ <<<Lyrics

Have you ever been watching the television and during what seemed like an endless stream of commercials felt a bit awkward about reality? What I mean is, have you ever noticed how people seem to always agree with what the TV says? Maybe this song has a broader meaning though, maybe people will do just about anything to fit in, to be cool, to be popular, and be part of the herd. This song is a lecture to those who are slaves to pop culture. Who cannot develop their own thoughts about reality without consulting mass media first. Or perhaps they are the one’s perpetrating the lies that people fall for in the economic and political scenes. This song gives me a big over tone of syndicalism. Maybe not that specific of a political stance, but certainly an anti-consumerist idea that comes through heavily in the lyrics and over all feeling of the music. This song is quite dark and might turn off some people, but to me, this song is the drudge of the album. It’s the one song that goes to that place that maybe only a few people on the planet will “get into” which is the point of the entire song to begin with and for that, I really appreciate this song for what it really represents. The idea that we are free, independent, and beautiful human beings and that getting your identity handed to you by the market or by politics is quite sad. Be yourself!

11. Capsized (Instrumental) 

Here we have one of the best shortest acoustic guitar performances I’ve ever heard. I’m not sure how much I can actually say about a song that’s under one minute long and seems to serve better as a means to carry you to the next song. My opinion though is that this song deserves a very close listen only so I can express my dissapointment that it was never fully developed into an epic full length feature song. I hear that beautiful, solemn, and very dark guitar work and I can hear so many epic musical possibilities considering Kyuss’ style and sound. The acoustics plunge me into a “blues” type of feel that I feel Kyuss would be wonderful with, and they are! It’s just only a minute long and you can so feel another 5 or 6 minutes missing from the end of the song. I really love this little bit of music and only wish I could have heard more from the stream of music I always stop to listen to. I’ve never had so much to say about such a short song. Anyways, let’s move on to the next song.

12. Allen’s Wrench http://www.mp3lyrics.org/k/kyuss/allens/ <<Lryics

Please look up the lyrics for yourself as my favorite website for lyrics seemed to be incorrect! I used an alternative site this time. Enough of that though, this song is so much fun. Ever feel ill-equipped to deal with a drastic situation which required a lot more out of you than you ever thought yourself capable of? This song celebrates the attitude that all you get is what you get and you have to make it work anyways. Not only with what you have to work with, but other people’s jealousy of your accomplishments, and wrath for your failures. Life can feel like being thrust into an industrial strength clothes washer while being told to reprogram a lap-top computer with nothing more than an Allen Wrench at your disposal. With all that turmoil in the song itself, it still manages to leave me feeling ready to take life on. That’s what makes this song stand out from the others and that’s why I love it.

13. Mondo Generator http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858678639/ <<<Lyrics

Our sun is a giant energy source which shares all of its power with our planet and the solar system. Without it, there is no system, there is no orbit, there is no order, and certainly no life in our solar system.  It gives us day light and allows us to farm for food and get a nice tan during the summer. The way I interpreted this song falls in line with the rest of the album in that I still feel like I’m listening to a story of a rebellious outlaw who thrives among the sand dunes and cactus riddled landscape of the desert. I think about how the sun itself has been used in art, song, pop culture, politics, and even religion. I imagine our rebel on his last leg .  This song wraps this album up very nicely in that it celebrates all aspects of the album without feeling like a gimmick just to end the album. You really need to read the lyrics as they are quite difficult to understand on a first listen. There you will find the out pouring and angry lyrics of a man at the end of his rope.

It’s almost as if he’s regretting the decisions he’s made in life and is selfishly blaming everything and everyone else, including and especially the sun which is cooking him alive in the middle of the desert. As if the world has collapsed around him and there is nothing he can do but complain about it. I imagine him kicking and screaming retching as he pays his dues to the sun. The sun here represents a form of God and the rebel is shaking his fist at it with everything he has left. Rebel until the very end, do not accept your fate, or what society tells you to be.

However, nature is not going to be fooled. What you take from it, you must repay some day. On that day, nature itself will humble you and force you to accept your fate. Not our rebel though. He is angry that he must give his life in order to pay his debt. He is frustrated and still kicking over it. He has unfinished business and is on his knees before the Sun begging for regeneration, to be bathed in a new life where he can make the right choices.

Perhaps I’m looking to deeply into this song, but this is always how this song has made me feel. There is something very natural, yet spiritual about this song that always inspired me, despite the desperation expressed in the lyrics. In any case, our album reaches it’s conclusion with a fantastic musical performance that celebrates both the intensity and elaborate prog-rock elements that give Kyuss their own unique sound a feel. By the last note I really do feel like I went on a ride with a bad ass leather wearing dessert bad ass, sitting shot-gun in his Dodge Challenger as we blasted passed the bounds society built around us and into a spiritual realm of esoteric themes and good old-fashioned rock and roll rebellion.

In light of my very strong positive reaction to this album and everything it represents to me, I hope you understand why I feel so strongly about this band and it’s members. I respect all of them for their own artistry, creativity, and musicianship. Even today, while I’m not a big fan of how they ended up treating one another, still support their efforts, even if I completely disagree with them on certain things. I just hope this review and article can turn just a few more people on to a band I think never really got the exposure they deserved. I was able to see them once live as Kyuss Lives! before any of the drama went public so I consider myself very lucky to hear those amazing songs being performed for perhaps their last go around.

Thank you for reading!

Scott D. Vogler

Song Review: Seal Kiss From a Rose

Ampersand DailyMusic

I realize my interpretations are not going to match that of the creators or of every body out there, hell maybe not anyone out there. But that’s not what this is all about. I am doing this because I love art and inspiration and blogging. This is not intended to insult anyone or ruin anybody’s day out there so please, if you feel I have insulted you in any way through my interpretations please let me know as kindly as you can conceive how I might change the way I’m looking at a song or film or even just a piece of art work. This is about being open and communicating well with others in a positive manner. Not personal agenda’s.

To begin I think I need to start talking about the history behind the albums I’m reviewing a little bit at the front of these post. For this I will also provide a link to Wikipedia so you can check out additional information in your own time. With these first post on this subject I am looking to provide a good review, but also develop my ideas into a more organized a professionally done blog through the feedback I get from readers. Please take time to comment as I will be soaking in suggestions and perhaps using those ideas to present a better article for the readers of this WordPress.

For further information regarding this album, please visit.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Giant

I will provide the track name, number, length, and a link to the lyrics for each song followed by my review of each song.

My favorite site for looking up song lyrics is  http://www.songmeanings.net/  If at all possible I will use their site almost exclusively.

Also, I recommend using Spotify to listen to these songs as you read through the review.                                                                                            https://www.spotify.com/us/for-music/

If you do not want to use Spotify visit YouTube and look for the songs on there.

http://www.youtube.com/

 

Seal Kiss From a Rose 4:16 http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/18392/ <<Lyrics

To me there is no other song that is as good as any song I’ve ever heard if not far superior in many ways, but an utter failure in another sense that over time has only given it even more charm. This title standing alone will swoon any mature, thinking, and emotional human being, man, woman, and child alike will easily fall under it’s hypnotic spell as the artist voice graces each soft bass drum kick with wonderful and eccentric dressings that fill your heart with inspiration. On the other hand, this utterly epic song was the headline song for what many consider to be a one of the worst Batman films ever made, next to Batman and Robin, fans of Batman films have often pointed at these two films to be some of the worst adaptations of the mythology behind Batman. I was a kid in 1995 when the film came out, the song came out in 1994. So it’s obvious that as a child, the first time I heard this song was when I was only 10 years old. As ridiculous as it sounds, thinking of the way they filmed that movie, and being impressionable at 10 years old, I cannot help but think of the dark, yet colorful sets of that film. The hypnotic and overly dramatic scenery and ridiculous dialogue by the characters in the film. This song makes me feel a very powerful thing, it is about love, but to me it’s more than that.

Here we have a song, epic in proportions, and a film which many people wish would have never been made, yet for me, it is a powerful nostalgiac feeling I get. When I hear the lyrics, I think of myself as a child, seeing these dark hero’s battle it out with even darker villians, as outrageous as that film was, and as melodramatic as this song is I cannot help but feel deeply impacted by the efforts put into both the film and the song. The song to me made the film and for the first time at a very young age I understood how important music really is in life. It’s not just a bunch of musicians mixing up the same notes over and over again making rythms, patterns, and beats. It is far more than that, if music can make a film work, what else can it do? Can it convince someone to admit their desires to the one they love? Can it cause two people to hang on to one another through difficult situations like this song seems to suggest it’s suggesting, but enough of that cleverness, this song is brilliant.

Forget about mysterious masked hero’s swooping in to save the lady in distress for a moment and just consider the content of the song by itself. You are greeted with a wonderful Acapela piece which is soon greeted by a solemn Oboe. What sounds like a stand-up bass and what is definitely a drum kit kick the meat of the song off as Seal’s soft, yet dominating voice flows into the first Chorus, where the real charm of the song should come out, and this song certainly does not leave one disappointed. The lyrics are simply biblical. The image of a man and a woman falling, staying, or struggling to love one another to me has never been put so elegantly as Seal managed to put onto a record. Coming from a Rocker like myself, I’m sure this entire review has come as a surprise to many who may know me, but perhaps you don’t know me as well as you think, or maybe I’m more obvious than I think, at any rate, this song can and should be enjoyed by everyone you know. It was popular in it’s day and I think this song has the power to stay in the hearts and minds of people for many long years to come if only enough people revisited it.

But hold on a second, while I have your attention, you’ll going to be quickly detoured from those feelings of longing, passionate love, and all the mystique that comes with romance to a different song, that I think was more than likely ignored by the majority of people at the time of Kiss From a Rose. Turn your heart around a moment and experience a different kind of love, the love you have of new experience, the unknown is not always the mystery we believe it to be. Sometime’s the only time we learn the mystery in life is when we stop looking so hard and learn that the best things in life are the unknown and brand new, we have to stop and recognize them. Perhaps someone else just figured out that they are gay and are for the first time dealing with their true emotions in life. What about someone who loses their faith and for the first time, feels freedom. But maybe that same feeling only comes to a person when they come to realize they believe in God for the first time. What is all this about? Should you not enjoy yourself, no matter who you are, or what you believe in, should others not enjoy you being there? I believe those are the kinds of questions that brought about the song “Newborn Friend” on the same album.

 

This is off my usual path for a music review, what am I saying, it is completely off the wall for my musical taste in general. But lately I’ve been feeling like there have been so many changes in my life, that it’s time to adjust my perspective a little bit. Writing about something that I am not so familiar with has been a pleasure and I can only hope reading it was too.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Scott D. Vogler