So I was casually browsing through MerlosTheMad's user page, happened upon the blog (I hate that word) post that he authored on this very same day, stating it's significance. And like any other man in a new romance, I felt a chill sweep across my spine and cold sweat wring itself from my skin when I realized, "Oh shit, that's today?!"
Yep, it is. Three years ago on this very day, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic first debuted on The Hub... and the rest is history, both of the past and in the making.
So Happy Aniversary, everyone!... And just like every other man, now I've got to go stumble out the door to procure some half-assed token to mark the occasion . The 7-Eleven next to where I live does have muffins, so...
But before then, I have other matters to address. Those of you following DECEPTION will be pleased to know that writing for chapter seven has already begun, and in fact began before chapter six was even posted. We're already well over ten thousand words in, and that's before I've even drafted an outline. Unfortunately, I'll be temporarily sidetracked until the beginning of November to devote the majority of my artistic endeavors to a painting I feel compelled to complete for an upcoming concert I intend to attend with Joseph (I'll get to that in a minute). However, this means that Brian will get to handle more of the writing this time around, and in an exciting turn of events, Joseph also made his first actual writing contributions to the story since chapter one, having penned the first drafts for both of the first two scenes already written for the upcoming entry. And even though it may still be need good need of continual refinement, I greatly look forward to a more collaborative effort with him on this project, as his aptitudes for creative writing have improved immensely.
Oh, and I finally worked up the nerve to go for the high dive at that really deep up of the pool, and submitted DECEPTION to Equestria Daily. Hopefully the 140,000 Great Wall of Words won't wrack them with the willies, and then, Luna willing, this thing will finally start getting the recognition it deserves (and all that money that I've spent for Vimbert the Unimpressive's talents will have paid off beyond the three of us improving as writers). Best of all, each one of you who was watching this story from the beginning or later will get to go all hipster and say, "Yeah, I was reading DECEPTION before hardly anybody knew about it."
Though considering it's already obscene length for a fan fiction, and EQD's back-logged queue, it probably won't hit the front pages for several months. Hell, there's a good possibility that we'll have finished chapter seven before then, even with all these side projects of mine.
Which brings me to my last point. That painting I said I would be working on for that show I said I would be attending is none other than the first show of 'The Night Of The Living Dreads Tour,' featuring Rob Zombie and one of my favorite bands of all time, KoЯn, who'll be promoting their new album, The Paradigm Shift.
For those not in the know, KoЯn's eleventh studio album, released Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 was produced by seasoned production veteran, Don Gilmore (who's worked with Hollywood Undead, Trapt, Bullet For My Valentine, Lacuna Coil, Rob Zombie, and most notably Linkin Park (back when they were still good)), and marks not only the band's twentieth year together, but also the first album since 2003's Take A Look In The Mirror to feature once-former-now-returned guitarist and my personal idol, Brian "Head" Welch.
"So yeah," I can hear you say, "cut through the hype; is the new album any good?"
In my educated and objective opinion?... No. No, it isn't good...
...IT'S FUCKING PHENOMENAL.
This album opens up with 'Prey For Me' and 'Love and Meth,' songs that didn't even bother to put on the gloves to throw off before they jumped into the ring and started swinging as soon as the bell rung, and they hit each mark with the force of a professional bear. From there it's like being stuck in a mosh pit that's taking place on a roller coaster as songs very to fast and heavy ('What We Do,' 'Victimized,' and the special edition songs 'Wish I wasn't Born Today' and 'Tell Me Want You Want') to be broken up to the more melodic tunes ('Spike In My Veins,' 'Punishment Time,' and the partially acoustic 'Lullaby For a Sadist,' which was originally written in 2010). Electric heavy influences appear for songs like 'Mass Hysteria,' 'Never Never,' and to add extra variety, and much to my enjoyment, though not iSSUES-era depressed-as-fuck, the album takes the time to also goes to some delightfully dark places for 'Paranoid and Aroused' and the regular edition album finisher, 'It's All Wrong.'
Guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer has gone on record stating that the album drew inspiration from previous records, like the heavy and atmospheric Untouchables and the dark and depressing as Hell iSSUES (my favorite album of theirs). Listening to the whole record, I can see where he was coming from, but The Paradigm Shift also carries immense electrical and synthetic elements that the band has been experimenting with for almost every album since 2005's See You On The Other Side. However, all these factors are extremely well blended together, with artificial sounds supporting produced ones, resulting in something with both soothing melodies and bone-crushing riffs that's, dark, heavy, sometimes even eerie, and boasts an epic echo in it's world-shaking vibe. Jonathan's vocals and lyrics are strong, Fieldy's bass is solid, Ray's drumming only continues to improve, and the interactions between Munky and Head's guitar melodies and harmonies that helped make KoЯn achieve legendary status are back in full force.
Unfortunately, the record isn't without it's flaws, probably the biggest of which is, oddly enough, the lead single 'Never Never.' To clarify what I meant by 'electric heavy' when I brought this one up, I mean that it sounds like it could have (and probably should have) been on the band's haphazard rendezvous orgy with (insert name of interchangeable dubstep "artist" here). Mind you, I don't think it's a terrible song, and had it been on Path of Totality, I probably would have cited it as one of the better songs, where more effort was put into balancing the genre's, so KoЯn's sound wasn't buried by the indiscreet and over-bombastic "wubstep." It's still a bit odd that the band would think they needed to transition from their last album, when all they really needed to do was release 'Prey For Me' first instead of this, and all the transition they would've needed would be all their fans, new and old, rising in an uproarious cheer of "KOЯN IS BACK!" Again, not an awful song IMO, but you could still probably skip it and not miss out on a whole lot.
If there are other problems, it's that Fieldy's bass is more often then not buried underneath everything else going on, and I still miss that slap technique, where he was beating around his instrument like a pimp that was also an integral part of establishing KoЯn's distinct sound. And even though the album is decently mixed, it doesn't really build up to a penultimate crescendo like most of their previous works did. The songs are great, yes, but at the end of 'It's All Wrong' (which is actually one of my favorites off the album), my first thought was literally, "...Wait, that was it?"
Then again, maybe that's a good thing to say about the musicians behind the music; they satisfy, and you're grateful for what you had, but it still leaves you wanting more, which is an exceptional skill for any band to capture.
In conclusion, The Paradigm Shift takes clear direction from the band's impeccable older material and blends it with the better parts of their more recent efforts. It's familiar, it's more than enjoyable, but there's something else there, too; unique approaches to the bands own style. It's definitely KoЯn, but at the same time, it's new KoЯn, and it easily goes toe-to-toe with their old-school material that many overly-nostalgic fans claimed KoЯn couldn't survive without unless they recaptured it. Well, they did, and they added something fresh... and the result is easily not just 'Rock Album of the Year' material, but the best album the boys from Bakersfield have released in over a year.
KoЯn is back.
- Christian 'It's All Wrong/Knowing That My Demons Won/I'm Done' Harisay