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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

     Because I'm an obsessed spaz who can't wait past midnight to say it: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! This is without a doubt, hands down, my absolute favourite holiday ever. Costumes, candy, skulls and monsters everywhere, and leaves crunching under your feet everywhere you go. Let's not forget the binge drinking us 20-somethings enjoy! For me it will be at Bloodbucket, after a day of work in full costume because, not only do I work with a bunch of nerds, but I also happen to be employed at a company where costumes are mandatory. MANDATORY. It's like I belong there or something... But anyway. October is the month I shop the most, collecting as many creepy, bony, bizarre things as catch my eye, and laughing hysterically at all the cheap cheesey things I leave behind.

     As you can see, my decorating style is basically just BONES EVERYWHERE and webbing wherever it will stick. I did all this in a couple hours after work myself, with 95% things bought from dollar stores. Last year Layla and I tackled the decorations together, but she moved out earlier this year - thankfully leaving behind her two large boxes of plastic skeletal remains and whatnot. Probably my favourite thing I did this year was have the fingers come out of the dirt, made to look all the better with one when the headstone got stepped on and broken. I was going to post these yesterday and my costume today, but I didn't get around to editing and I'm not paying Danielle so the costume pictures will be done whenever she's finished them (you can see a few here, though). More on that later.

     So once again: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And if you've got any decorations/costume posts of your own, send me a link! I love seeing how other people celebrate this greatest of holidays.

gratuitous Maila shot because she's adorable

Saturday, October 25, 2014

30 days, 30 pages (pt. 3)

Yes, this took forever to get posted. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be.

     Turns out the battery charger that I "lost" was only a few inches from where it was supposed to be, hiding in a crevice I ignored. Go figure.

     Were these all done in September? Of course not. I knew starting this that chances were I would't meet the deadline. It's absolutely absurd how many different things I'm trying to do all at once lately, while working a full-time job and trying to take care of a very needy dog. The point is, I managed to fill 30 pages! More than that, even, which has made it so much easier to put pencil(/pen/marker/brush) to paper and have something come out without having to think about what I'm doing. So yay! I don't really have much to say on the subject otherwise...

     Still trying to chip away at those album reviews. The longer I take to finish them, the more new things come out and the more daunting a task it seems to be. But I'll get there. Probably. We'll see. Either way, I've got some Halloween stuff to share next week!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

30 days, 30 pages (pt. 2)

     A lot more playing around with part 2! Which is good, sorta the whole point of this exercise - to get the mind and hands going off in new directions. Evilwok, more Hellhound designs, playing with paints (shiny silver does not translate well in pictures), and random as hell little sketches. Really don'y have much more to say on the subject, other than I still can't draw human faces in one shot without them looking nuts... And I still haven't found my camera charger, so again with sharing crappy pictures. I'll get better shots and update the posts when I track it down actually look for the damn thing beyond the usual spots.

     Edit Oct. 25th // Charger was of course in a very obvious place... Yay better pictures!

Monday, September 22, 2014

30 days, 30 pages (pt. 1)

     Zombie creeps, flowers, Hellhound things, a young Yoda, and a bit of space with a Before... quote. That's where my brain's been lately. Getting some serious inspiration for the fall line, it's just a matter of getting my ass into gear. Gotta clean up the studio, get hunting for fabrics, buy some cheap sample materials and get to development! Luckily my new roommate has agreed to pay supply cost for at least one piece in the name of getting the sample for herself. I always offer this to friends, but rarely get anyone who follows through, so here's hoping this girl does. :)

     Working on a new logo (again, as with every season -__-), modifying the moto hoodie for colder weather, and halfway through designing the screen prints. Only a couple days over a month until the deadline I've set for myself (Oct. 24th launch), but I think I can handle it. Somehow gotta squeeze in another photoshoot with my friend Danielle as well. Yikes. With Halloween quickly approaching, I also have to find the time to get my costume done. Haven't even started planning for that yet, beyond shield maiden. Vikings are awesome, and I really wanna make a badass she-warrior costume. Already got an appointment set to get my hurr did, cause holy hell am I ever not good at doing anything beyond a basic braid. Might talk to one of the sculpting/prop guys at work about how to make the shield and weapons. Should be fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CRIMSON SHADOWS - Kings Among Men (Sep. 9, 2014)

     It might be nostalgia from my friends being in the paper when we were 17, mixed with a surge of pride in my adopted local scene following Crimson Shadows' victory at last year's Wacken Metal Battle, that made me so excited for this album's release. Like anxiously waiting excited, and man was I ever not let down. When I first moved here, the Crimson boys were still that band that seemed to appear on every bill, so I saw them a few times when I first made my drunken entrance into Toronto metal, and then quickly became jaded and stopped making an effort to be there for when they opened for whoever it was that night (sorry guys, my bad). I've now seen them another handful of times over the past year, and they just keep getting better with every show. I really wish I could remember the CD release party for that reason. I know I had a good time, and naturally they were probably killer, but I lost all but a few scattered minutes after I showed up. It was Saturday, I'd been drinking since 130 because of reasons, and then I just didn't stop. Leave me alone.

     The intro track starts things off with the sound of swords in battle and an orchestral choir chant, as any good battle-centric album should do, but it's quick to kick-assery with the segue into "Rise To Power". The song, as well as the rest of the album, instantly screams "put me on full blast while you play some epic fantasy battle game!" The feeling only intensifies with the second track, and after that it's just confirming what you already know: this album is fuckin' excellent.

     But beyond just earning the genre classification of "Epic Power/Melodic Death Metal", these guys are absolutely insane. The harsh Death growl stylings of Jimi Maltais meld together with the clean Power vocals of Greg Rounding and Morgan Rider, completely free of any awkwardness transitioning between the two opposites. The clean vocals shine in "A Gathering of Kings" with some serious power behind the melodies. Rounding and Ryan Hofing start to show what they're really capable of with their guitar battles in "Maiden's Call", continuing into "Braving the Storm" with a war against Cory Hofing on drums for speed and accuracy. I can't even keep up with what Cory's doing. He is absolutely relentless as always, blasting out beats faster than you know what's happening.

     Track 7: "On the Eve of Battle" is a nice little interlude for the onslaught that is the closing argument of this album, acoustically echoing previous songs and fading into the fury that is "Freedom and Salvation". This one I vaguely remember seeing at the CD release, I think, I'm pretty sure yes and it was awesome. It might be the strongest song in this collection. Gratuitous galloping, elaborate guitar work, and a catchy singalong chorus, with a phenomenal drum groove and guitar solo over a solid backing foundation through the bridge. You can't go wrong with that. And I can't get over the insanity of the blasts in the next track at 3:33.

     Kings Among Men ends with a long song in "Moonlit Skies and Bloody Tides". Not one of those annoyingly lengthy wankerings of some "epic metal" bands, thanks entirely to the varying moods contained within its 10 minutes. Following the subject matter in the lyrics, it goes from being victorious and arrogant, to crushed and still fighting, to washing away in the wreckage. #8 might be the strongest (in my opinion), but #10 is definitely my favourite track.

My top tracks: 3: Heroes Among Us, 5: Maiden's Call, 8: Freedom and Salvation, 10: Moonlit Skies and Bloody Tides

     Hometown heartstrings were tugged at severely when I saw the name Dan Foote in the thank yous. I've known Dan since I started going to see live music regularly, 11 years ago. He put on most of the shows, played in a good chunk of them with his band (NonExistent), and is a huge part of why I love metal. It's always awesome to see him get some recognition. I wanna thank Dan Foote as well for just being an amazing human being. And, you know, all the music promotion and whatnot, letting me in for free how many times, making high school bearable and all that garbage. Sorry I never got around to having you guys play in my backyard this summer. We'll try for next year! Neighbours will be piiiissed. But anyway...

Dan photobombing a terrible picture of me and the singer from the Flatliners
(Sept. 2007 @ the Boh, Belleville, ON)

     If Ensiferum and Dragonforce had a lovechild, it would probably be Crimson Shadows. They found a way to reach high levels of cheese while still being heavy as hell, and man are they ever doing awesome things with it. It's no wonder they've always had a loyal fanbase, which had been steadily growing over the years but seems to have exploded in passionate numbers recently, something this nearly 9-year-old band has earned and most definitely deserves. If you don't have a copy of this yet, GET TO IT! And if you're in Europe, they're currently on their first European tour so check them out if they stop near you.

     Trust me, you will not regret it.

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