0060. Dead Felcher – Album Zero [2000]

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This album is a personal classic.  The first time I ever saw Dead Felcher perform was at the Electro Rock show in 2000 (or 2001, I can’t quite remember) when he opened for PT Grimm.  This guy was so hilariously arrogant, he performed with his back to the audience the entire time.  I feel like Dead Felcher is just a giant “fuck you,” to any and all audiences, and I love every minute of it.  This album pisses in your ears and hopes you hate it.  This album feeds off your hate, which makes it even more wonderful.  I hope one day that we’ll see a resurrection of Dead Felcher, because audiences in general need much more of this particular style of abuse.  Enjoy!  Or don’t.  Don’t even bother reading this blog; especially if you’ve already read it.  Yay!  Eat shit.

Wikipedia Says:

Nothing.  In fact, most of the internet has nothing to say about Dead Felcher.  The only thing you’ll find if you Google the name is a Myspace page with a few tracks on it.  Which is another way to say “fuck you” to audiences: making them go back to Myspace to hear your music.  I love it.  🙂

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0059. Teargas & Plateglass – Black Triage [2007]

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Dark, droning, ambient… I found this when I typed “trip-hop” into a torrent search field, and I’m damn glad I found it.  Very evocative stuff.  Stuff like this would fit perfectly in a Silent Hill game.  In fact, if these guys had taken over composition for Akira Yamaoka, I’d be completely OK with that.  So, you know, maybe don’t play this for a Sunday picnic, but do play it during a long night drive on mostly vacant roads.  This is only their second album, but they’ve only put out two with the exception of a few singles.  I’m not as conversant on their debut as I am on this one, but I fully intend to be at some point soon.  Aside from the topic of this album, writing this blog entry got me to visit these guys’ website for the first time.  Check out this piece of writing I discovered right on the homepage:

“By any measure, we live in an extraordinary and extreme time.  Language can no longer describe the world in which we live.  With antique ideas and old formulas, we continue to describe a world that is no longer present.  In this loss of language, the word gives way to the image as the ‘language’ of exchange, in which critical thought disappears to a diabolic regime of conformity – the hyper-real, the omnipresent image.  Language, real place gives way to numerical code, the real virtual; metaphor to metamorphosis; body to disembodiment; natural to supernatural; many to one.  Mystery disappears, replaced by the illusion of certainty in technological perfection.  Technology, acceleration do not affect our way of living – they are our new and comprehensive host of life, the environment of living itself.  It is not the effect of technology on the environment, culture, economy, religion, etc., but rather that all these categories exist in technology.

In this sense, technology is the new nature.  The living environment, old nature, is replaced by a manufactured milieu, an engineered host – synthetic nature.  In a real sense, we are off planet, dwelling on a lunar surface of stone, cement, asphalt, glass, steel and plastics, engulfed in the atmosphere of electromagnetic vibrations – the soothing lullaby of the machine.  The common notion tells us that technology is neutral, that we can use it for either good or bad.  We do not use technology, we live technology; technology is our way of life.  Being sensate entities, we become our environment – we become what we see, what we hear, what we eat, what we smell, what we touch.  Where doubt is prohibited, we become, without question, the environment we live in.

With our origins based in the natural order, should this context radically change, the mysterious nature of the human being shall also radically change – a change that will reflect the transformation of nature itself, at a turning point or vanishing point.  Natural diversity becomes a burnt offering, sacrificed to the infinite appetite of technological homogenization.  We now live the fiction of science.  We are now, not in some remote future, cyborgs.  We are at one with our environment – we are technology.  In this wonderland, freedom becomes the pursuit of our technological happiness.  Our standard of living is predicated on commodity consumption, as the shibboleth of the new religion is ‘pray for more.’  In vehicles of ecstasy, with cinematic engines of inertia at audiovisual speed, trans-port and tele-port blend into one.  The beginning becomes the end.  The port disappears in the speed of light.  The nanosecond (one billionth of an ‘old second’), technological speed, transforms reality as it creates an ecstatic phenomena of compelling and unparalleled intensity.

By human measure, charismatic technique portends the miraculous, as it engenders the condition of ‘exit velocity’ – a condition that blurs human perceptions, shatters all meanings, drains all content and breaks our bonds to earth.  All locations are subsumed into the startling terra firma of the image, a demonic conformity that is the genesis of massman.  In the shadow of the mass, all previous definitions crumble,  The ‘time’ and ‘space’ of history exit to an homogenized zone of no return.  In this supernatural implosion of g-force, human moorings give way, sending humans out-of-orbit into the void of technological space.  The accompanying loss of original habitat and our subsequent relocation into accelerated space throws nature into catastrophe, as it engenders traumatic stress syndrome as the now normal condition of post-human existence.

Technique, while promising comfort and happiness, means power, means control, means conformity, means destiny.  Technology creates a condition of war that is at once universal and unseen.  The explosive tempo of technology is war; the untellable violence of relocation in technology is war.  All of us are refugees driven from our human state.”

Pretty cool stuff, right?  Pphh, yeah, as if anyone actually read all that.  Anyway, check out the album.

Wikipedia Says:

Teargas & Plateglass are a band who produce electronica, dark ambient, drone music with accompanying videos.

They are influenced by the works of Godfrey Reggio and Sebastaio Salgado, David Sylvian, Jennifer Charles, Tweaker and David Hykes.

Teargas & Plateglass
Teargas and plateglass logo dark blue.jpg
Background information
Origin Unknown
Genres Electronica, Dark Ambient,Drone_Music
Years active 2001 to Present
Labels Waxploitation
Website www.teargasandplateglass.com
Members Unknown
Past members Unknown

History[edit]

The American Film Institute, which exhibited their music videos in 2008, called them “a bold experimental vision”.[citation needed] URB said the band “pave the way so the dark side can take its rightful place at the forefront of the genre”[citation needed]. XLR8R described their sound as “darkness mixed thick like a pool of blood” and advised listeners to “take with a stiff glass of Absinthe”.[citation needed] Danger Mouse likened their music to “the end of the world”. King Britt noted that “their music restores my faith that deep, dark music still moves the masses”.

The band released an eponymous album in 2001, then in 2004 performed unannounced eastern European shows under the names Septagon, Undecagon, Duodecagon, Enneacontagon, and Hecatommyriagon.

Black Triage[edit]

To compliment the visceral music, the text inside the CD booklet was penned by the filmmaker Godfrey Reggio of Koyaanisqatsi fame.

Three music videos were produced for the album and debuted at the 2007 American Film Institute Festival, which called the band ‘a bold experimental vision’

Notable Songs[edit]

Two Teargas & Plateglass songs were used for trailers for the movie X-Men: The Last Stand. The song “Plague Burial” was used for the theatrical trailer, and the song “Book of Black Valentines” was used for the non-theatrical trailer. “Plague Burial” was also used in the trailer for Beowulf (2007). Several songs have been heard in CSI, CSI New York and CSI Miami. The song “a uniquely hostile place” was used in the Steven Spielberg produced television show The United States of Tara (Showtime).

Discography[edit]

  • Teargas & Plateglass (album). Self-titled album released in 2004. Now out of print.
  • Black Triage (album). Released 2007.
  • One Day Across The Valley / Behold a Sea of Ills So Vast (10″). Released 2008.
  • Plague Burial / Simplify this Landscape with Darkness (10″). Released 2008.
  • A Uniquely Hostile Place (7″). Released 2011.

0058. Various Artists – The Animatrix: The Album [2003]

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Not sure how many of you even know there was a thing called The Animatrix.  It was a collection of animated short stories that either pertained to the main story of the trilogy, or were simply supplemental.  I loved it, and I loved all the music used in it.  So much so, in fact, that I bought or downloaded albums from most of the artists on it.  Most of it is underground electronic music; some of it jazzy and downtempo, some of it more dark and uptempo.  Anyway, watch The Animatrix, or listen to the album, or both.  Great stuff all around.

Wikipedia Says:

The Animatrix (アニマトリックス Animatorikkusu?) is a 2003 American-Japanese-Australian best-selling[1] direct-to-video anthology film based on The Matrix trilogy produced by The Wachowskis, who wrote and directed the trilogy. The film is a compilation of nine animated short films, including four written by the Wachowskis. It details the backstory of the Matrix universe, including the original war between man and machines which led to the creation of the Matrix.

Plot[edit]

The plot-summaries of the shorts are listed below in the order that they run in the DVD release, which is not the chronological order. Chronologically, the order would be:

  • “The Second Renaissance” – an electronic library entry which appears to serve a world after the Matrix movie timeline. It describes history generations before the original film, The Matrix, relating how humans built artificially intelligent Machines, the apocalyptic war between the two, ending with the Machines enslaving the human race and the initial creation of The Matrix virtual reality.
  • “A Detective Story” – a stand-alone story in which the character Trinity appears, but independently of any other characters. Because Trinity is present it takes place at least within several years of the films, and though it is not made clear within the anime if it takes place before or after Trinity met Neo in the original film, another official source places it before the events of The Matrix.[2]
  • “Kid’s Story” – set during the six-month gap between the events of the first and second films, after Neo joins the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar in freeing other humans from the Matrix. Its events are briefly alluded to in dialogue at the beginning of The Matrix Reloaded.
  • “Final Flight of the Osiris” – takes place directly before The Matrix Reloaded, as the hovercraft Osiris stumbles upon the Sentinel army digging to Zion. At the beginning ofThe Matrix Reloaded, Niobe mentions that their reconnaissance photos of the Machine army were transmitted from the Osiris.

The other four shorts (“Program”, “World Record”, “Beyond”, and “Matriculated”) are independent of the events of any other installment. While they generically deal with the virtual reality of the Matrix, and the Zion rebels, conceivably they could take place at any point in the generations-long struggle between the human rebels and the Machines running the Matrix.

“Final Flight of the Osiris”[edit]

“Final Flight of the Osiris” was written by The Wachowskis and directed by Andy Jones, with CG-animation production and design bySquare Pictures, this segment is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for “Sci-Fi Violence, Sensuality and Language”. The short is a direct prequel leading into the events of The Matrix Reloaded.

Captain Thadeus (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Jue (Pamela Adlon) engage in a blindfolded sword fight in a virtual-reality dojo. With each slice of their swords, they remove another piece of each other’s clothing. Immediately after cutting the other down to their underwear, they lift their blindfolds to peek at the other. As the two are about to kiss, they are interrupted by an alarm and the simulation ends.

In the next scene, the ship Osiris is headed for Junction 21 when Robbie (Tom Kenny), the operator, picks up an army of Sentinels on his HR scans. The ship flees into an uncharted tunnel, where it encounters a smaller group of Sentinels patrolling the area. The crew members man the onboard guns and destroy the patrol. The ship then emerges on the surface, four kilometers directly above Zion and close to the Sentinel army. There, the crew members see that the Machines are using gigantic drills to tunnel their way down to Zion. The Sentinel army soon detects the Osiris and pursues the ship.

Thadeus decides Zion must be warned, and his shipmate Jue volunteers to broadcast herself into the Matrix to deliver the warning while the ship is doggedly pursued. Jue and Thadeus admit to peeking at each other in the VR simulation. Entering the Matrix on a high rooftop, Jue jumps off and acrobatically makes her way down through power poles between two buildings. When she lands in the alley below, a ripple effect is created by her impact. She drops off a package into a mail box; the package sets the prologue for the video game Enter the Matrix. She attempts to contact Thadeus via a cell phone as the Osiris is overcome by Sentinels and crashes. The Sentinels tear their way into the ship. At the time of the call, Thadeus is making a last stand to hold off the Sentinels. Shortly after Jue says “Thadeus” over her cell phone, the Osiris explodes, destroying many of the pursuing Sentinels. In the Matrix, Jue falls to the ground, dead, her body having been destroyed on the ship.

“The Second Renaissance Part I”[edit]

“The Second Renaissance” is a two-part film written and directed by Mahiro Maeda. He used Bits and Pieces of Information written byThe Wachowskis as a prequel to the series as a base for the first part.

In the early-to-mid twenty-first century, humanity successfully develops Artificial intelligence, and soon builds an entire race of sentient AI robots to serve them. Many of these robots are domestic servants meant to interact with humans, so they are built in “man’s own image” (a humanoid form). With increasing numbers of people released from all labor, the human population has become lazy, arrogant, and corrupt. Despite this, the machines were content with serving humanity and, as the narrator states, “for a time, it [the status quo] was good”. This phrase is a reference to one of the most famous phrases of Genesis, consistent with the Biblical references seen throughout the original Matrix films, and is one of numerous references to Genesis in particular present in “Second Renaissance”.

The relationship between humans and machines changes in the year 2090, when a domestic android is threatened by its owner. The android, named B1-66ER, then kills the owner, his pets, and a mechanic instructed to deactivate the robot. This murder is the first incident of an artificially intelligent machine killing a human. B1-66ER is arrested and put on trial, but justifies the crime as self-defense, stating that it “did not want to die”. During the trial scene, there is a voice-over of Clarence Darrow (the defense attorney) quoting a famous line from the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1856 in his closing statement, which implicitly ruled that African Americans were not entitled to citizenship under United States law. Using this as a precedent, the prosecution argues that machines are not entitled to the same rights as human beings, and specifically that human beings have a right to destroy their property, while the defense urges the listener not to repeat history, and to judge B1-66ER as a human and not a machine (a longer version of Darrow’s closing statement can be read in the comic Bits and Pieces of Information from The Matrix Comics Volume 1).

“We think they are not, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings…[3]

B1-66ER loses the court case and is destroyed. Across the industrialized world, mass civil disturbances erupt when robots and their human sympathizers rise in protest. World leaders fear a robot rebellion, and governments across the planet initiate a major program to destroy all humanoid machines. Some robots escape destruction, however, because humans still want or need them to produce things. The surviving robots leave in a mass exodus and build their own new nation in the desert of the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, (which is noted as the “cradle of human civilization”). They name their new nation Zero One (or “01”, the numerals used in binarynotation). Zero One prospers, and the machines begin to produce efficient, highly advanced artificial intelligence that finds itself in all facets of global consumer products, which further bolsters the fledgling nation’s economy, while the economies of human nations suffer severely.

The United Nations Security Council calls an emergency economic summit at UN headquarters in New York City, resulting in UN delegates approving of a global economic blockade of Zero One. Zero One sends two ambassadors to the U.N. to request the admission of their state to the United Nations, to peacefully solve the crisis, but their application is rejected. However, it is narrated, this would not be the last time the machines would take the floor there.

“The Second Renaissance Part II”[edit]

United Nations aircraft unleash a massive nuclear bombardment on Zero One, devastating the nation, but failing to wipe out the robotic race, as the robots were invulnerable to the heat and radiation of such weapons. The robots retaliate by declaring war on the rest of the planet, and their armies advance in all directions. The human nations are hampered by the fact that so much of their industrial base had already become reliant upon Zero One, and one by one, mankind surrendered each of its territories. As the machines advance into Eastern Europe, the desperate humans seek a final solution: “Operation Dark Storm”, which covers the sky in a shroud of nanites, blocking out the Sun to deprive the machines of their primary energy source.[4] The human armies simultaneously launch a ground offensive against the robots. Heavy losses are suffered by both sides, but the Machines gradually gain the upper hand.

Legions of a new model of machine, no longer in humanoid form and appearing more like the insectoid or cephalopod-like Sentinels and others of the Matrix films, overrun the human armies. This coincides with the destruction of original man-made robots at the hands of human forces and, as a result, the further dehumanization of the rapidly emerging machine collective. As the machine armies swarm across the human defenses, the United Nations, in desperation, fires nuclear missiles directly at the machine armies, vaporizing their own troops in the process. The machines eventually unleash lethal biological weapons which further ravage humanity, and when the humans are defeated, the machines make up for the lack of solar power by using the bioelectric, thermal and kinetic energies of the human body, forging a new, symbiotic relationship between the two adversaries. These start out as massive hovering artillery robots powered by human bodies kept in pods, but in time this technology is adapted to make the massive power plants seen in The Matrixfilms.

Eventually brought to its knees by the might of the machines, the U.N. signs an armistice with them. However, after the machines’ representative to the U.N. signs the treaty, it detonates a nuclear bomb in the meeting chamber, killing the assembled leaders and destroying New York City, one of the few remaining human settlements, and ending the war.

To keep their prisoners sedated, the machines create the computer-generated virtual reality of the Matrix, by feeding the virtual world into the prisoners’ brains, starting with the first prototype Matrix.

“Kid’s Story”[edit]

“Kid’s Story” was written by The Wachowskis and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with animations by Kazuto Nakazawa and production design by Studio 4°C, Tokyo. It is the only one of the animated shorts contained in The Animatrix in which Neo appears. The scene takes place during the six-month gap between The Matrix and The Matrix: Reloaded, during which time Neo has joined the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar and is helping the rebels to free other humans from the Matrix. Kid (Clayton Watson) is a disaffected teenager who feels there is something wrong with the world, frequenting hacker chat rooms on the internet and wondering if he is alone. In school, he absent-mindendly scribbles “Neo lives” in his notebook. One day he receives a personal invitation from Neo (Keanu Reeves) to escape the Matrix (much as Morpheus invited Neo himself to escape it). The following day, he receives a call from Neo on his cell phone, and is chased through his high school by a band of Agents, before ultimately being cornered on the roof. He asserts his faith in Neo, and throws himself from the roof, whereupon the other characters are shown holding his funeral. The scene fades up from black as the Kid awakens in the real world to see Neo and Trinity watching over him. They remark that he has achieved “self substantiation” (removing oneself from the Matrix without external aid), which was considered impossible. In both the scene itself and The Matrix Reloaded, however, the Kid seems to believe it was Neo’s actions, not his own, that saved him.

Self-substantiation is never thoroughly discussed in any part of the series. Morpheus speaks of the founder of Zion who freed himself, presumably without external help. However, this was revealed to be a ruse by the machines. Kid’s Story and World Record both heavily hint at this being a lie, as the viewer wonders how a man being awoken from one of those pods, apparently helpless, could somehow build and start a city, though clearly it suggests that it’s possible.

“Program”[edit]

“Program” was written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The character designs were done by Yutaka Minowa. It follows the protagonist, “Cis” (Hedy Burress), who is engaged in her “favorite simulation”: a battle program set in feudal Japan. After successfully eliminating an attacking enemy cavalry, a lone samurai appears whom Cis recognizes as “Duo” (Phil LaMarr). “Cis” made her first appearance as an image in The Matrix Revisited.

Initially, the two duel as allies, testing one another’s fighting abilities. During the course of their duel, Duo briefly disarms Cis. He questions her concentration and wonders whether she regrets taking the Red Pill that took them out of the “peaceful life of the virtual world”. They continue fighting until she finally overpowers Duo and is poised for the ‘kill’. It is at this point that Duo states that he has “something to say”. She sarcastically assumes that he wants to propose [marriage]; but instead he admits a desire to return to the Matrix; incredulous, Cis nevertheless responds that doing so is impossible as ‘the truth’ is already known to them, forbidding their re-integration. Duo reasons that reality is harsh and that he is tired of it. He adds that the Machines can make the both of them forget the truth.

Duo then states that he has disabled or killed the other crewmembers and contacted the Machines. He asks Cis to return with him to the Matrix, but she continues to refuse. As Duo becomes more aggressive in his arguments for returning, Cis attempts to escape while simultaneously warding off his attacks. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, Cis requests an operator in order to exit the simulation. Duo tells her that no one can hear her and reiterates that it “is already done…[the machines] are on their way”. Thereafter their fighting becomes much more serious and forceful as they move from rooftop to rooftop.

Duo, in a flying leap, attacks her from above with his sword. As the blade comes towards her, Cis, standing her ground, concentrates and halts its forward motion inches from her face and breaks it. She takes the broken end of the blade and thrusts it into Duo. Duo states his love for her as he dies.

Suddenly, she wakes from the program and discovers that the encounter with Duo was a test program devised for training purposes. A man named “Kaiser” (John DiMaggio) unsuccessfully assures her that she acted appropriately during the test and met the test’s targets. Clearly upset, she punches him in the face and walks away. He remarks that “aside from that last part”, she passed the test.

“World Record”[edit]

“World Record” was created by Madhouse and directed by Takeshi Koike, with a screenplay by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The beginning of this short includes a short narration from the Instructor (implying that this short is a Zion Archive file) explaining details behind the discovery of the Matrix by “plugged-in” humans. Only exceptional humans tend to become aware of the Matrix, who have “a rare degree of intuition, sensitivity, and a questioning nature”, all qualities which are used to identify inconsistencies in the Matrix. This is not without exceptions, given that “Some attain this wisdom through wholly different means.”

The story is about Dan Davis, a track athlete, who is competing in the 100m in the Summer Olympic Games. He has set a world record time of 8.99 seconds, but his subsequent gold medal was revoked for drug use. He decides to compete again and break his own record to “prove them wrong.” Despite support from his father and a young reporter, Dan’s trainer tells him that he is physically unfit to race and that pushing himself too hard will cause a career-ending injury. Dan is adamant on racing.

On the day of the race, he is monitored by four agents located in the stadium. The race begins and Dan starts off strong. However, the muscles in his leg violently rupture, putting him at a setback and scaring many of the people in the stands. Through strong willpower, Dan ignores the injury and runs much faster than he did before, easily passing the other athletes. Before he can cross the finish line, three of the agents possess the three closest runners and try and stop him, but are unable to catch up to him.

Dan’s massive burst of energy in the Matrix causes his real-world counterpart (the Dan in the power-station pods) to rip apart the plug connecting him to the Matrix, causing him to see the real world through his pod. A Sentinel restrains him back in his pod and violently shocks him with electrified restraints.

Dan’s mind is thrown back into the Matrix, but his body is exhausted from the race and what he has just seen, causing him to tumble to the ground at high speeds. Despite this, he easily wins the race and breaks his original time of 8.99 seconds with a time of 8.72 seconds.

The next scene shows a crippled Dan being wheeled through a hospital. A nearby agent calls his other agents to tell them that they erased Dan’s memory of the race and that he will never walk again, nor be an issue for them. However, Dan quietly whispers the word “Free”, angering the agent. Dan then effortlessly stands, breaking the metal screws that bind his restraints to his wheelchair, and takes a few steps before falling down again and being helped up by a nurse.

“Beyond”[edit]

“Beyond” is written and directed by Kōji Morimoto. It follows a teenage girl, Yoko (Hedy Burress), looking for her cat Yuki. While asking around the neighborhood, indicatively somewhere in Japan, she meets some younger boys. One of them tells her Yuki is inside a “haunted house” and invites her to see it.

The children have stumbled across an amalgamation of anomalies within an old, dilapidated building. They have learned to exploit thisglitch in the Matrix for their own enjoyment, through several areas which seem to defy real-world physics: glass bottles reassemble after being shattered, rain falls from a sunny sky, broken lightbulbs flicker briefly (during which they seem intact), a door which opens into an endless dark void, shadows which do not align with their physical origins, and a dove’s feather that rotates rapidly in place in mid-air. There is a large open space in the middle of the run-down building where they take turns jumping off a high point and falling towards the ground, yet somehow stopping inches before impact. This proves amusing and they do not seem to be bothered by the inherent strangeness of the place.

Throughout the film, brief sequences show that Agents are aware of the problem in the Matrix, and a truck is seen driving toward the site to presumably deal with the problem. It arrives while the children are still playing, and an Agent-led team of “rodent exterminators” moves in to clear everybody out of it. The story ends when Yoko and the others return to the area the next day and find the site has been turned into an unremarkable parking lot. They unsuccessfully attempt to re-create the bizarre occurrences of yesterday and soon go in search of something else to do.

“A Detective Story”[edit]

“A Detective Story” is written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, with animation by Kazuto Nakazawa and is a direct prequel to the first film. It follows the story of a down-on-his-luck private detective, Ash (James Arnold Taylor), on what he calls the “case to end all cases”. Ash receives an anonymous phone call to search for a hacker that goes by the alias “Trinity” (Carrie-Anne Moss). Ash traces Trinity and learns that other detectives have failed in the same task before him; one had committed suicide, one had gone missing, and one had gone insane. He then attempts to speak with the insane detective but cannot get anything substantial out of him. This detective is an African American with a thin mustache who shows a resemblance to Walter Mosley‘s detective character ‘Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins‘. This is a possible homage to the character as Mosley’s detective series is set in a similar Noir type setting and there were not many black detectives at the time.

Eventually Ash finds Trinity after deducing that he should communicate using phrases and facts from Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She proposes a meeting, and he successfully finds the location. At the meeting she removes a “bug” from his eye, planted by Agents earlier in an “eye exam dream”. Agents appear and attempt to apprehend Trinity in a shoot-out with her and Ash. While the two fugitives are trying to escape the train, an Agent attempts to take over Ash’s body, forcing Trinity to shoot him in order to prevent the Agent from appearing. Ash is wounded, whereupon he and Trinity bid farewells without malice. Trinity escapes, telling Ash that she thinks he could have handled the truth. Agents enter the car to find Ash, who points his gun at them while looking in the other direction and lighting a cigarette. The Agents turn to Ash who, even though he is armed, will likely die. With this apparent no-win situation, the film ends with Ash’s line (“A case to end all cases”) as his lighter flame goes out.[5]

“Matriculated”[edit]

“Matriculated” was written and directed by Korean American director Peter Chung, widely known for his work on Aeon Flux. The film starts with one of the humans looking out over the sea, watching for incoming machines. The film deals with a group of above-ground human rebels who lure hostile intelligent machines to their laboratory in order to capture them and insert them into a “matrix” of their own design. Within this matrix, the humans attempt to teach the captured machines some of the positive traits of humanity, primarily compassion and empathy. The ultimate goal of this project is to help the intelligent machines develop free will in order to overcome their original “search-and-destroy” programming, rather than reprogramming it by force.

The rebels’ hope is that, once converted of its own volition (a key point discussed in the film), an “enlightened” machine will assist Zionin its struggle against the machine-controlled totalitarianism which currently dominates the Earth. After capturing one of the “runner” robots, the rebels insert the machine into their matrix. The experience of the robot leads it to believe it may have a relationship with one of the female rebels, Alexa (Melinda Clarke), either friendship or something deeper.

However, the rebel group is attacked by the Machines and unplug themselves to defend their headquarters, but they experience what might be considered a Pyrrhic Victory: all the onscreen rebels are killed but the single robot captured in the film successfully ‘reprogrammed’, indicated by the machine’s mechanical eye changing from red to green. The robot plugs the dying Alexa into their matrix with itself, the only two things left surviving. Much to the machine’s dismay, when the rebel realizes she is trapped inside the matrix with the “friendly” robot, she turns horrified and her avatar dissolves screaming as she clutches her head, and the robot exits from the rebels’ matrix to see a motionless Alexa in front of him in the real world.

The film ends with the ‘converted’ robot standing outside, looking out over the sea.

Production[edit]

Development of the Animatrix project began when the film series’ writers and directors, The Wachowskis, were in Japan promoting thefirst Matrix film. While in the country, they visited some of the creators of the anime films that had been a strong influence on their work, and decided to collaborate with them.[6]

The Animatrix was conceived and overseen by the Wachowskis, but they only wrote four of the segments themselves, and did not direct any of their animation; most of the project’s technical side was overseen by notable figures from the world of Japanese animation.

The English language version of The Animatrix was directed by Jack Fletcher, who brought on board the project the voice actors who provided the voices for the English version of Square Enix‘s Final Fantasy X, including Matt McKenzie, James Arnold Taylor, John DiMaggio, Tara Strong, Hedy Burress, and Dwight Schultz. The English version also features the voices of Victor Williams (TV’s The King of Queens), Melinda Clarke (TV’s The O.C.), Olivia d’Abo (TV’s The Wonder Years), Pamela Adlon (TV’s King of the Hill), andKevin Michael Richardson of the Xbox game Halo 2, who also plays the voice of the Deus Ex Machina in The Matrix Revolutions.

The characters Neo, Trinity, and Kid also appear, with their voices provided by their original actors Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Mossand Clayton Watson.

Music[edit]

The soundtrack was composed by Don Davis. Several electronic music artists are featured, including Photek and Adam Freeland.

Release[edit]

Four of the films were originally released on the series’ official website; one (Final Flight of the Osiris) was shown in cinemas with the film Dreamcatcher. The others first appeared with the VHS and DVD release of all nine shorts on June 3, 2003. The DVD also includes the following special features:

  • A documentary on Japanese animation. The on-screen title is “Scrolls to Screen: A Brief History of Anime,” but in the DVD menu and packaging, and on the series’ official website, it is referred to as “Scrolls to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime.”
  • Seven featurettes with director profiles, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage of each of the films.
  • Audio commentaries on World Record, Program, and both parts of The Second Renaissance
  • A trailer for the video game Enter the Matrix.

To coincide with the DVD release, a print of the film premiered in June 2003 in New York City at the New York Tokyo Film Festival.[7]

It was broadcast on Adult Swim on April 17, 2004, and has received airplay on Teletoon several months after its American broadcast. In the UK, Final Flight of the Osiris was broadcast on Channel 5 just before the DVD release, along with The Second Renaissance Parts 1 and 2, Kid’s Story and World Record broadcast after the DVD release.

In May 2006, The Animatrix was aired in Latin America by Cartoon Network on Toonami. The Animatrix was also screened in select cinemas around the world for a short period of time, a week or two before the sequel The Matrix Reloaded, as a promotional event.

One day before the release of The Matrix Reloaded on cinemas the Brazilian television channel SBT, which have a contract with Warner Brothers, aired the Final Flight of the Osiris, after airing The Matrix, to promote the movie. Same thing happened on French TV (France 2).

The cinema running order for The Animatrix (at least in Australia) differed from the DVD release, placing the Final Flight of the Osiris last instead of first. The cinema release-order:

  1. The Second Renaissance, Part I (June 3, 2003)
  2. The Second Renaissance, Part II (June 7, 2003)
  3. Kid’s Story (June 14, 2003)
  4. Program (June 21, 2003)
  5. World Record (July 5, 2003)
  6. Beyond (July 12, 2003)
  7. A Detective Story (August 30, 2003)
  8. Matriculated (September 20, 2003)
  9. Final Flight of the Osiris (September 27, 2003)

To coincide with the Blu-ray edition of The Ultimate Matrix Collection, The Animatrix was also be presented for the first time in high definition.

Reception[edit]

The Animatrix received mostly positive reviews from critics. It has a freshness rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.[8] Helen McCarthy in500 Essential Anime Movies stated that “unlike many heavily promoted franchise movies, it justifies its hype”. She praised Maeda’sSecond Renaissance, noting that it “foreshadows the dazzling visual inventiveness of his later Gankutsuou“.[1]

0057. 30 Seconds To Mars – A Beautiful Lie [2005]

A_beautiful_lie

I’m not really sure how to classify 30 Seconds To Mars. It’s rock, yes, and they’ve had a popular hit or two, but they’re not pop. I’m not sure what to call them, but I definitely love them. Love Jared Leto’s voice and lyrics. I’ve got some great memories for which this album was the soundtrack.  I actually did a paper on the single, “From Yesterday,” for my Vocal Production class in college.  Check it out:

Truly, it is difficult to speak critically about Jared Leto’s performance on 30 Seconds to Mars’ song, “From Yesterday.” It is both soothing during the verses and dramatically powerful during the choruses, especially the last phrase of Chorus 2 (at 2:28 in the song). It sounds like it is all tuned properly and unnoticeably altered (if it required any such action at all). The performance does feel a little bit on top of the beat overall, but it works well nonetheless. Mr. Leto also does a rather good job of articulating his lyrics, so it’s rather seldom unintelligible. Frankly, the only thing about the song I’d even think of changing is the mix.

The song does sound good by itself with no additional EQing by iTunes or winAMP, however, I’d prefer the vocals stand more firmly in front where they belong during the powerful choruses. I would most likely simply trim the vocal level up or the instrument level down a few dB during the chorus sections. There are a few words/syllables that could probably be heard better by finer automation editing. One would be the first “it’s,” (at 1:03 in the song), another would be the “–ming” of “coming” (at 1:05 in the song) and another could be the “no” (at 1:10 in the song), but I’d have to experiment with that last one.

There is a seemingly apparent comp edit after the first four lines of the first verse. The word “one,” (at 0:38 in the song) seems to be cut a little bit short, however, if the mixer/editor were to make more room for it, the subsequent lines would fall out of the pocket. It is interesting how they chose to utilize a flange effect on the second utterances of “map of the world,” (at 0:49 and 0:56 in the song). It’s almost like it adds an element of mystery to the words, or at least, that seems to be what they were going for. The slight delay used throughout the two verses was also pretty apparent and was yet another enjoyable element of this song for me. Not only did it serve to draw contrast between the verses and choruses, but it was used in a way that wasn’t cheesy; that wasn’t too much.

30 Seconds to Mars used background harmony only sparsely and only during the final chorus. The first time it really stands out, I think, is on the “-sages” of “messages,” (at 3:25 in the song). After that, it’s only used on each subsequent, “from yesterday,” until the end of the song. In my opinion, it’s a good idea to have a slight texture change around the end of the song. It gives you something a little extra to remember the song by once it’s over. I might have turned up the backgrounds a little bit more if I were the mixer just to get a little richer texture.

Three things I particularly enjoyed about this song were the ways the first two choruses ended and the way the first verse came in. You’ll notice that as the song begins, there’s a synth pad that swells up to a point and then backs off to make room for the guitars that also swell, but once the vocal kicks in, the guitars move back smoothly and immediately and the verse begins. The first chorus ended with the word, “messages,” (at 1:30 in the song) trailing off into the beginning of verse 2. I’m not sure why I like that as much as I do. I suppose it’s just a nice, smooth segue. Lastly, the way the second chorus ends is wonderful because of the way the vocal crescendo and the snare drum crescendo complement each other, building tension until they both jump headfirst right into the bridge and the guitars smooth out the tension still remaining in the lingering last syllable of, “messages.”

As I said in my thesis statement, it is truly difficult to speak critically of this song because there is very little I’d change, given the chance. It’s just like the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” All in all, 30 Seconds to Mars has a very solid effort in, “From Yesterday,” and I was glad to be given the task of analyzing it.

This album is my favorite of theirs, but the self-titled debut comes in at a close second.  The albums they’ve released since this one have had their highlights, but I haven’t developed a love for them as much as I’ve developed for this one.  Anyway, give it a listen.

Wikipedia Says:

A Beautiful Lie is the second album by American alternative rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. It was released on August 30, 2005 through Virgin Records and was produced by Josh Abraham. The album produced four singles, “Attack,” “The Kill,” “From Yesterday,” and “A Beautiful Lie“; of which three of those four singles managed to chart within the top 30 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart, with “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” entering the top three. A Beautiful Lie received positive reviews from music critics, many praising the album for the band’s new sound from their debut album. The success of the album had helped the band receive accolades for their singles such as “The Kill” and “From Yesterday“.

A Beautiful Lie differs notably from the band’s self-titled debut album, both musically and lyrically. Whereas the eponymous concept album‘s lyrics focus on human struggle andastronomical themes, A Beautiful Lie ’​s lyrics are “personal and less cerebral”.[1]

History[edit]

A Beautiful Lie was recorded on four different continents in five different countries over a three-year period to accommodate lead singer Jared Leto‘s acting career. The album’s title track, as well as three other songs, were composed in Cape Town, South Africa, where Leto was later met by his bandmates to work on the tracks. It was during this time that Leto conceived the album’s title.[2] Prior to this, the album was tentatively to be released under the title Battle of One. It was leaked onto peer-to-peer file sharingnetworks almost five months before its scheduled release; the version of the album that leaked was unmastered. Because of this, the band was forced to set back the album’s release date.[1]

To promote A Beautiful Lie, Thirty Seconds to Mars included the songs “Battle of One” and “Hunter” (originally performed by Björk) asbonus tracks. “Golden passes” were also included with three of the special versions of the album that entitled the buyer free entrance and backstage access to any Thirty Seconds to Mars show for the rest of their formation.

A Beautiful Lie sold 21,000 copies in its first week of release in the U.S. and has gone on to sell more than 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone.[3]

Alternative versions[edit]

Deluxe edition[edit]

On November 26, 2006 a special edition of A Beautiful Lie was released and features different artwork, a third bonus track (all versions have at least two); the UK version of the song “The Kill” entitled “The Kill (Rebirth),” and a DVD that features the music video for “The Kill”, the making of the video for “The Kill,” live performances and MTV2 moments involving the band.

Before production of the Deluxe Edition, the band requested that the members of the “Echelon” send in their names so that they could be thanked for their support over the years. As a result, the inside cover(s) of the Deluxe Edition contain a large list of printed fan names. In addition to this, the front cover contains a holographic image consisting of the Mithra (phoenix) and the Trinity (skulls).

2007 re-release[edit]

A Beautiful Lie was re-released in 2007, following extensive touring throughout Europe, in an attempt to expose themselves to a larger audience. The re-release is essentially the same as the original release, although includes different artwork. The album was re-released in Ireland again in November 2007, the version contains the UK version of “The Kill” and a second bonus track, and an acoustic version of the song “A Beautiful Lie” recorded live on a radio session.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[4]
Alternative Addiction 3.5/5 stars[5]
Billboard favorable[6]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[7]
Melodic 4/5 stars[8]
Revolver 4/5[9]
Rock Sound 6/10[10]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[11]
San Francisco Chronicle 4/5 stars[12]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5[13]

A Beautiful Lie received generally positive reviews from music critics.[14] Jon Wiederhorn from Revolver noted that “intensity and passion clearly inform the textural hard rock of A Beautiful Lie,” which “boasts echoing riffs, moody bass lines, and strong vocal melodies that evoke a radio-friendly mix of Staind, Nine Inch Nails, U2, and The Cure.”[9] Jaan Uhelszki of the San Francisco Chronicle described the album as “full of ferocious electronics, overcaffeinated guitar lines and anxious drumming paired with brainy, brittle but emotionally austere lyrics.”[12] Nylon magazine called it “an album that is digestible without losing the rough-around-the-edges appeal that the band’s rapidly expanding fan base crave.”[15] Alternative Addiction commented that the band recorded “an album with a handful of very impressive tracks,” beginning with “Attack”, the first song on the record, which “soars sonically with processing mixed and forceful vocals.”[5]

Christa L. Titus from Billboard felt that the band “proved its potency” with songs like “The Kill”, “Was It a Dream?”, and “From Yesterday”, and praised Leto’s vocal ability by writing, “[he] alternates between cathartic shouts and a tantalizing croon that shows his capable vocal range.”[6] Kaj Roth from Melodic praised the sonic variety and summarized the record as “an impressive list of anthemic rock songs.”[8] Davey Boy of Sputnikmusic echoed this sentiment, writing that A Beautiful Lie “works well as an album due to greater variety”.[13] He also found the record “a more controlled effort” than the band’s debut album 30 Seconds to Mars (2002).[13] Kerrang! magazine called it a “great album to close your eyes and fall in to, an anthemic eruption of upfront emotion.”[7]

In a mixed review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote that the “band floats out of time, inspired heavily by ’90s alt rock but too clean, heavy, and facile to truly be part of that tradition, yet too indebted to the past to sound like part of the 2000s, either.”[4] He found the band “capable enough at shifting from tense quiet verses to piledriving, heavy choruses, but they borrow the worst habits from all their favorite groups, and then assemble them in insufferably earnest fashion, playing clichés as if they were revelations.”[4]Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone stated, “[d]espite some credible modern-rock tunes, Leto’s self-involved myopia guarantees that his band’s second disc is long on melodrama.”[11]

Accolades[edit]

At the Billboard Music Awards, “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” were nominated in the category of Modern Rock Single of the Year in 2006 and 2007, respectively.[16][17] In 2007, A Beautiful Lie was named Best Album by Rock on Request.[18] Thirty Seconds to Mars received the Kerrang! Award for Best Single in two consecutive years for “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” in 2007 and 2008.[19][20]Metal Edge ranked A Beautiful Lie one of the top 10 albums of 2005.[15] Melodic included it among the best albums of the year.[21]Alternative Addiction ranked it at number six on their list of 20 best albums of the year.[22] In 2009, Kerrang! listed A Beautiful Lie at number four on their list of the 50 best albums of the decade.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jared Leto, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Attack 3:09
2. A Beautiful Lie 4:05
3. The Kill 3:47
4. “Was It a Dream?” 4:15
5. “The Fantasy” 4:29
6. “Savior” Thirty Seconds to Mars 3:24
7. From Yesterday Thirty Seconds to Mars 4:07
8. “The Story” 3:55
9. “R-Evolve” 3:59
10. “A Modern Myth” (includes hidden track “Praying for a Riot”) 14:14
Bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. “Battle of One” Thirty Seconds to Mars 2:47
12. Hunter Björk Guðmundsdóttir 3:54
Total length:
56:09

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from A Beautiful Lie album liner notes.[24]

Thirty Seconds to Mars
Additional musicians
  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – viola on track 10
  • Caroline Campbell – violin on track 10
  • Steve Dress – strings contractor and double bass on track 10
  • Vanessa Freebairn-Smith – cello on track 10
  • Oliver Goldstein – additional synthesizer on tracks 1, 6–7
  • Neel Hammond – violin on track 10
  • Wataru Hokoyama – string arranger on track 10
  • Jeremy Rubolino – programming on track 12
  • Matt Serletic – piano on track 3
Production
  • Josh Abrahamproduction on tracks 1–10
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars – production; creative direction and design
  • Brian Virtue – production on tracks 3, 11–12; additional engineering; mixing and engineering on tracks 11–12
  • Ryan Williams – engineering; mixing
  • Brandon Belsky – assistant engineer
  • Tom Lord-Alge – mixing on track 1
  • Femio Hernandez – mixing assistant
  • Dave Riley – assistant engineer
  • Sean Geyer – assistant engineer
  • Brian Gardnermastering
  • Sean Mosher-Smith – creative direction and design
  • Olaf Heine – photography
  • Gary Stiffelman – legal
  • Irving Azoff – management
  • Dian Vaughn – business management

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2005–11) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[25] 20
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[26] 10
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[27] 96
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[28] 35
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[29] 31
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[30] 15
French Albums (SNEP)[31] 87
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 30
Greek Albums (IFPI)[25] 40
Irish Albums (IRMA)[33] 76
Italian Albums (Musica e Dischi)[34] 8
Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)[35] 20
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[36] 20
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[37] 23
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[38] 49
UK Albums (OCC)[39] 38
US Billboard 200[40] 36
US Rock Albums (Billboard)[41] 9

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
US Billboard 200[42] 184
Chart (2007) Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[43] 72
Italian Albums (FIMI)[44] 63
US Billboard 200[45] 84
US Rock Albums (Billboard)[46] 20

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[47] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Gold 50,000^
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 100,000^
Italy (FIMI)[50] Platinum 80,000*
South Africa (RiSA)[50] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] Platinum 1,200,000[53]
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States[54] August 30, 2005 CD, LP, digital download Immortal, Virgin
Canada[55] EMI
Japan[56] December 7, 2005 CD, digital download
Australia[57] November 11, 2006 CD, digital download Virgin, EMI
Italy[58] February 14, 2007 CD, digital download EMI
Austria[59] February 15, 2007
Germany[60]
Netherlands[61] February 16, 2007
United Kingdom[62] February 26, 2007 CD, LP, digital download Virgin
New Zealand[63] March 27, 2007 CD, digital download EMI

0056. Deftones – Diamond Eyes [2010]

Deftones_-_Diamond_Eyes

Mmmm… This album is beautiful.  Lyrically, musically, everything.  I have no complaints about this album at all.  I mean, I love pretty much all the Deftones albums, but certain ones like White Pony and Diamond Eyes stand out, in my opinion.  If you’ve never heard the Deftones before, this album would be a great introduction.  If you have, you probably already know about this album and love it.  If you don’t love it, please, let me know why.  I’d seriously appreciate some intelligent commentary on why this album isn’t as good as others in their catalog.

Wikipedia Says:

Diamond Eyes is the sixth album by the American alternative metal band Deftones, released worldwide on May 4, 2010 through Reprise Records. An album tentatively titled Eros was originally intended to be their sixth full-length release and follow up toSaturday Night Wrist (2006), but was not released due to bassist Chi Cheng entering a coma after a serious car accident that occurred in November 2008. The release ofEros was put on hold in favor of Diamond Eyes in June 2009. Former Quicksand bass player, Sergio Vega is featured on the album in substitution for Cheng.

Diamond Eyes was a critical and commercial success; obtaining a normalized score of 78 on review aggregator Metacritic, while achieving top 20 chartings on the Billboard 200, German Albums Chart and many other European charts. It was the band’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200 since their album, Deftones. Diamond Eyes debuted at number 6, while previous album Saturday Night Wrist debuted at number 10.

Background[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Chi Cheng’s car accident and Eros (album).

Deftones started writing for their follow-up to 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist in early 2007. The band was dissatisfied with the lengthy writing and recording process ofSaturday Night Wrist, and wanted to release a quick follow-up record in the same manner as earlier albums released by Deftones. Earlier records such as 1995’s Adrenaline and 1997’s Around the Fur were recorded without the digital audio program Pro Tools. Instead, they were recorded as just a band “in the room with just our instruments, no other distractions” according to front-man Chino Moreno.[3] The band recorded and completed their Terry Dateproduced album, tentatively titled Eros, in 2008, and was expected to be released in early 2009.[4]

In November 2008, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured in an automobile accident, leaving him in a coma and putting the release of Eros on hold. Unsure of if or when Cheng would recover and be able to play in the band again, Deftones started playing various shows and festivals starting in early 2009 with Sergio Vega, former bassist of post-hardcore band Quicksand. Vega had previously filled in for Cheng during tours in 1999, and is a close friend of the band.[5] At this point, Deftones were not sure if they wanted to break up or continue writing and performing music.[6]

In June 2009, Deftones decided to indefinitely put the release of Eros on hold and start writing a brand new album with Sergio Vega.[7] The band still hopes to release Eros at some point, but Deftones wanted to wait until Cheng was no longer in a semi-conscious state, and they did not feel that it represented who they were as artists or as people at the time.[8][9] Deftones wanted to make an optimistic record, as opposed to the dark and angry album they just finished.[10] Diamond Eyes was recorded in two months with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, Stone Sour, Alice In Chains).[11] Deftones avoided using Pro Tools on the album in favor of writing songs together as a band and practicing them “a million times ’til they were perfect” in order to achieve a more raw and “personable” sound.[10]

Release[edit]

Diamond Eyes was originally scheduled to be released on April 27 through Warner Bros. Records/Reprise Records,[11] but was pushed back three weeks to May 18,[12] and later pushed forward to May 4, 2010.[13] The latter release date change was possibly due to the album leaking onto the internet two months before the release date in March 2010.[14] The first single released off the album, “Rocket Skates“, was available for free download through the band’s official website on February 23, 2010.[12] The song had been included in Deftones live performances starting in October 2009,[7] and was released as a limited edition 7″ vinyl single for international Record Store Day on April 17, 2010.[15] The first radio single was the title track, “Diamond Eyes“, which was released for airplay on March 30, 2010.[citation needed] The single was also released as a digital download on March 23, 2010.[16] Deftones performed a live webcast of songs from Diamond Eyes and answered fan questions on May 4 in Dallas, Texas.[17] A music video for the track “Sextape” was released on September 3, 2010. The video was directed by Zak Forrest and Chad Liebenguth, also known as team ZFCL, who are also recognized for their work with Foxy Shazam and Fang Island.[18]

On October 28, 2010, Deftones released the official video for “You’ve Seen the Butcher” filmed by Jodeb Films.[19]

In August 2011, Deftones released the official music video for “Beauty School”.

Lyrics and themes[edit]

After dealing with the tragedy surrounding Chi Cheng‘s car accident, Deftones wanted to create an album with an overall positive and optimistic vibe. Describing the band’s state while writing for the album, Chino Moreno stated, “Our inspiration and unity as a band is stronger than it has ever been before and we needed to channel that energy into our music.”[20] The album doesn’t feature songs about complaining, hurting, or how “life sucks” – a common lyrical theme Moreno has noticed since the early 90s.[10][21] Moreno describes the overall theme of the album as a “positive zest for life”, and also having “a fantasy vibe” similar to White Pony.[10][21]The song lyrics for “Rocket Skates” contain “beautiful yet violent imagery,” and was compared to the Deftones song “Knife Party” from White Pony.[10] Deftones also thought it would be difficult to tour in support of a new album with memories of Cheng attached to it. Commenting on song writing, Moreno stated:

I don’t like listening to people’s problems — I like music. Music has been smothered with that complaining since the early-’90s. It gets old. Instead of going to the opposite side of the spectrum and listening to The Black Eyed Peas, which is just straight silly, I choose to listen to more instrumental music. I do very little singing about myself on this record. I love songs where I can totally take myself out of being human. I can sing about really odd things, and they don’t necessarily have to pertain to me at all. It paints a picture. Those are the kind of lyrics I grew up with — like The Cure. Really visual images and no storytelling.

—Chino Moreno[10]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 78/100[22]
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club B[23]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[24]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[25]
BBC Music favourable[26]
Blare 4/5 stars[27]
Entertainment Weekly B[28]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars
NME 8/10[29]
Q 4/5 stars[30]
Rock Sound 8/10[31]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[32]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[33]
Slant 3.5/5 stars[34]
Spin 7/10[35]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[36]

Initial reaction to the album from music critics was highly favorable. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a four out of five star rating and wrote, “Naturally, there is quite a bit of roiling darkness here — they’re Cure-loving metalheads, it’s in their blood — but there’s shade and light, control of texture, with the band deepening rather than expanding.”[24] Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press magazine also awarded the album four stars out of five. He wrote, “Unlike their alleged ‘peers’ (do they really haveany?), Deftones learned years ago that a whisper can be more terrifying than a scream and power isn’t always about BPMs and downstrokes per minute.” He also added thatDiamond Eyes “belongs in a pantheon of amazing albums born from tragedy”.[25] BBCwriter Mike Diver was also impressed and opined that the album, “knocks every pretender to the band’s throne into the middle of next week”. He praised the band for playing to their strengths and summarized by stating, “Eros is reportedly their excursion into weirdness, while this is a statement of consolidation, a neatly segued set that finds Deftones playing to their well-established strengths.”[26]

Joshua Khan, writing for BLARE magazine, also awarded the album four stars out of five in his review. He wrote, “Tired of the same old restless metal scenes eating up the airwaves? Then grab your $20 iPod headphones and devour the sixth studio release from the California alternative metal quintet. Deftones give birth to a refined sound that makes creations like ‘Prince’ and ‘976-Evil’ enslaving.”[27] The Skinny‘s Mark Shukla likewise gave a four-star rating, as he explained, “The first four tracks set a blistering pace as churning riffs transition relentlessly into fret-burning breakdowns; all the while Chino Moreno deploying his wounded croon and lacerating howl with an intensity that remains impressively undiminished.”[33]Sputnikmusic staff writer, Nick Greer, gave an unequivocally positive review. He awarded a “classic” five out of five score and stated the album is “better than White Pony“. He described the album’s sound as, “intense and visceral, but introspective and sensitive in ways Deftones have never been before”, before finally adding, “I can honestly say it’s Deftones’ best album to date.”[36] Scott Gordon of The A.V. Club states that while there are moments on the album that Deftones “sound a bit like a band on auto-pilot”, many of the other tracks on the album “stomp such limp moments with pleasingly crude riffs that claw and scrape through the verses, then release Chino Moreno’s voice into glimmering, menacing choruses.”[23]

Album of the year lists[edit]

Diamond Eyes was named “Rock Album of the Year” by the iTunes Store.[37] The album was also named the best album of 2010 byKerrang!,[citation needed] #2 in Rock Sound ’​s top 75 albums of the year[citation needed] and #3 in Metal Hammer ’​s top 50 albums of the year.[citation needed]

Charts and sales[edit]

Diamond Eyes was expected to sell between 55,000 and 60,000 records in the U.S. during its first week, based on day one sales, according to Hits Daily Double.[38] The album sold 62,000 copies in the U.S. and debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 making it the fourth consecutive Deftones album to debut within the top 10 on the Billboard 200.[39]

The album has sold around 236,000 copies in the US as of October 2012.[40]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Deftones[41].

No. Title Length
1. Diamond Eyes 3:08
2. “Royal” 3:32
3. “CMND/CTRL” 2:25
4. You’ve Seen the Butcher 3:31
5. “Beauty School” 4:47
6. “Prince” 3:36
7. Rocket Skates 4:17
8. “Sextape” 4:01
9. “Risk” 3:38
10. “976–EVIL” 4:32
11. “This Place Is Death” 3:48
Total length:
41:15

Personnel[edit]

Diamond Eyes personnel according to CD liner notes.[41]

Deftones
Art and design
  • Frank Maddocks – creative direction and design
  • John Ross – owl photos
  • 13th Witness – band photo
Production and recording

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Certification Sales/
shipments[43]
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[44] 22
Austrian Albums Chart[45] 13
Dutch Albums Chart[46] 55
German Albums Chart[47] 8
French Albums Chart[48] 23
New Zealand Albums Chart[49] 8
Swedish Albums Chart[50] 25
US Billboard 200[51] 6 62,000
UK Albums Chart[52] 26

0055. Stabbing Westward – Darkest Days [1998]

StabbingWestwardDarkestDays

Mmmm… this is an album that has helped pull me out of some of the most profoundly crushing depressions of my entire life.  Not because of its generally positive lyrical content (pphh), but because it provided a soundtrack to many long, lonely nights spent staring up at the various ceilings under which I’ve lived.  Nights spent untying mental knots that initially seemed overwhelmingly complex, much like when you dig out your Xmas lights and they’re in a giant ball.  I’m thankful for music like this because it reminds me of my capability to make something beautiful out of something unfathomably ugly.  The fact that the musicians and the vocalist sat down and recorded this gives me strength, because as anyone who’s gone through intense depression most likely knows, one of the prime emotions that accompanies said depression is a feeling of utter futility.  Obviously, a feeling like that does nothing to inspire or motivate anyone, especially towards the sometimes grueling work required to compose, record and mix music.  The fact that this album exists is proof that it’s possible to fight back and win.

Anyway, yeah, I love pretty much all the tracks on this album, but the darkest tracks of all (in my humble opinion) are Drowning and Goodbye.  I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who’s in a good mood, as this album would most likely ruin it, but I would highly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for some music to get them through a painful time in their lives.  I think it’s a fantastic album and I hope it reaches someone out there who might need it.

Wikipedia Says:

Darkest Days is the third album released on Columbia Records by industrial rock band Stabbing Westward. The album was recorded in L.A. in 1997 and released in April 1998. Although the album failed to achieve the same level of success as Wither Blister Burn & Peel, the album received positive reviews and is often considered the band’s best album.[4][5] The band was dropped from Columbia Records following this release. The track “Save Yourself” reached number 4 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart (their highest-placing single on that chart) and number 20 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart and remains an alternative rock staple.

Darkest Days is a concept album made up of 4 acts, each portraying a different emotional phase gone through after a break-up. The first act (Tracks 1-4) is about sabotaging the relationship. The second act (Tracks 5-9) is about lust, hope, and longing. The third act (Tracks 10-12) is about hitting rock bottom after it’s all over. The fourth act (13-16) is about recovery and self-respect.

Track listing[edit]

  1. “Darkest Days” – 3:51
  2. “Everything I Touch” – 3:22
  3. “How Can I Hold On” – 4:28
  4. “Drugstore” – 4:57
  5. “You Complete Me” – 4:05
  6. Save Yourself” – 4:13
  7. Haunting Me” – 3:35
  8. “Torn Apart” – 3:24
  9. Sometimes It Hurts” – 3:39
  10. “Drowning” – 3:28
  11. “Desperate Now” – 5:24
  12. “Goodbye” – 1:56
  13. “When I’m Dead” – 3:04
  14. “The Thing I Hate” – 3:36
  15. “On Your Way Down” – 4:39
  16. “Waking Up Beside You” – 6:34
  17. “Hopeless” – 4:03 (Japan Bonus Track)

All tracks are written by Stabbing Westward.

In pop culture[edit]

Personnel[edit]

  • Stabbing Westward
    • Marcus Eliopulos – Guitar
    • Walter Flakus – Keyboards
    • Christopher Hall – Vocals, guitar
    • Andrew Kubiszewski – Drums, keyboards, additional vocals, guitar
    • Jim Sellers – Bass guitar
  • Dave Jerden – Producer
  • Ulrich Wild – Producer, engineer
  • Bryan Carlstrom – Engineer
  • Annette Cisneros – Assistant engineer
  • Steve Mixdorf – Assistant engineer
  • Steve Durkee – Assistant engineer
  • Milton Chan – Assistant engineer
  • Tom Baker – Mastering
  • Dave McKean – Cover design and illustrations
  • Dean Karr – Band photography

0054. The Berzerker – Dissimulate [2002]

Dissimulate(album)

Mmmm… Australian grindcore.  Or, “industrial death metal,” or whatever.  Why is this on my list?  Because this is the group that helped me acquire my taste for grindcore.  Once you can acquire that, you will realize how fucking awesome it is.  Most people have no desire to acquire that taste, but whatever.  Their loss.  Maybe they’re like my father in that they can’t relate to such intensely dark emotions.  He told me that one time in response to my query into why he can’t find anything to appreciate about Slipknot.

Anyway, the first album I heard of theirs was their self-titled debut.  “Reality,” was the song, and I first heard it through Stepmania: a DDR emulator for Windows & Mac.  I still can’t pass the fucking song, but I love it anyway.  In fact, it might have been my experience(s) trying to pass it on Stepmania that made me love the song and subsequently the group as much as I do.  Anyway, the reason I included this album on my list before, or instead of, the debut is because this album just sounds better overall.  Maybe due to the inclusion of a real drummer instead of a drum machine, although I don’t particularly mind drum machines either.

I would’ve loved to have seen these guys live, but they’ve been on “indefinite hiatus” for 5 years or so now.  Ah well.  If you think you’re up to the challenge of withstanding the relentless aural assault that is The Berzerker, then by all means, give this album a whirl.

Wikipedia Says:

Dissimulate is the second album, released in 2002, by the death metal band The Berzerker. This is the only full-length album the band has released that features an actual drummer instead of a drum machine.

Reception[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  1. “Disregard” – 1:20
  2. “Failure” – 2:26
  3. “The Principles and Practices of Embalming” – 3:25
  4. “No One Wins” – 1:50
  5. “Death Reveals” – 1:56
  6. “Compromise” – 2:43
  7. “Betrayal” – 2:30
  8. “Last Mistake” – 3:20
  9. “Painless” – 3:16
  10. “Pure Hatred” – 1:24
  11. “Paradox” – 2:06
  12. “Abandonment” – 1:36
  13. “Untitled Track” – 1:06
  14. “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” (Carcass cover) – 5:34

Personnel[edit]

  • Luke Kenny – vocals, samples, drum programming
  • Matt Wilcock – guitar
  • Sam Bean – bass, vocals
  • Gary Thomas – drums