Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day Back!!!

Well today was the 1st day of a new year. We had a minimum day, so that means only 32 minutes with each class. It's hard to gauge the students on day 1 because they are attentive and trying to make a good impression. Unfortunately, you have some seniors or even juniors who come in with a chip on their shoulder...why?

It is going to be a fun year this year. Last year, I felt I did an excellent job on Algebra B. I focused in on it and made a huge effort to teach it better and prepare the students for the CST. Well our school API went up, but I won't know about my classes until next month or so...still nervous. I put in alot of effort and I hope it paid off. This year I am focusing in on my Algebra 2 classes. I was able to get more practice on the material during summer school, so we will see.

As for music, I always start off the year with School by Fear Factory (a cover of Nirvana's song, but I am not a big Nirvana fan) & Van Halen's Hot for Teacher. VH has a cool drum intro that usually draws in the kids. As for School, well take a look at the lyrics:

Won't you believe it
It's just my luck (x4)

No recess (x3)

Won't you believe it
It's just my luck (x4)

No recess (x3)

You're in high school again (x7)

You're nothing again!

No recess (x7)

If there was ever a song for the first day of high school that's it. Well...let's see where we are next time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good Nu-Metal?

School starts up again tomorrow...oh well it was a fun summer. Curious to see how my classes did on the standards testing...wait a couple more months.

Let me blame this one on Limp Bizkit. I do my post on how catchy Limp Bizkit was and next thing I know I am listening to So let me say this, not all nu-metal is bad...yes a majority is very bad, but there does exist a few good bands. Also Sepultura and Soulfly were both nu-metal bands during the 90's, they hid behind the whole "tribal beats" thing, but it was nu-metal. Hell, Fred Durst and Jon Davis both did vocals on Soulfly's debut...nuff said. Now the funny thing is that most nu-metal bands are coming out of South obvious influence from Soulfly and Sepultura (both from Brasil).

Most of these bands I will list you have never heard of, but if you are into nu-metal or were check them out.

Pr1mal - Pr1mal: this is my kind of nu-metal. Fast, great beats, a DJ that scratches like a lead guitarist, and some great vocals. Yeah I know that some of it is in spanish or some other language but who cares it's great nu-metal (is that an oxymoron?)


3rd Strike - Lost Angel: this is a little more rap than most nu-metal bands, but it works ok for me. I heard they broke up, which is a shame because they were pretty good. Now the song they made their video for is not a great example of this band. This is definitely an attempt to be a radio friendly song, but it has it's moments.


Twin Method - The Volume of Self: How did this band not make it big? A very Linkin Park kind of sound with harsher vocals...maybe that's it. Some catchy choruses here people.


Five Pointe O - Untitled: not sure if this counts as nu-metal, they have nu-metal tendencies, but if they are...they are solid as well.

Reveille - Bleed the Sky: these guys are kinda like Limp Bizkit, catchy choruses with some pretty hard crunchy guitars.

Twisted Method - Escape from Cape Coma: once again...these guys could have made it big...similar to Linkin Park with more heavy behind it.

If I was to recommend on band here it would be Pr1mal...hands down my favorite.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Baby turns 1

WOW I can't believe a whole year has gone by already! So much has changed in a year, she can crawl & stand up on her own (but no walking), she has a lot of teeth, and her personality is so cute.

It reminds me of what my wife and I were talking about when we found out she was pregnant. Our life is full of worries for the rest of our lives.

When she was pregnant, you worry about the baby being healthy and free from any problems.

At birth, you worry about complications during delivery and that she comes out healthy and crying.

Something we didn't plan on worrying about was her hearing test the next day...I didn't sleep much that night because I was worried about her hearing.

During the first year there is so much to worry she sleeping on her back, is she eating enough, etc.

As she grows you worry about her fitting in and hoping she isn't picked on.

In her teen years, you worry about her still fitting in and staying out of trouble like drugs and drinking.

You worry about her getting into college & finding someone that treats her right.

You worry that she has a comfortable life with little struggles and that she too can raise a healthy family.

As you can see, there is a ton of stuff to worry about. And I didn't mention alot of them. But I wouldn't change anything.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Industrial metal...must own albums

Ok let me get this out of the way, industrial metal is similar to all other forms of metal because of the different sub-genres within. For this list I am talking about Fear Factory type industrial metal, crushing start/stop riffs, double bass drumming, with some distorted vocals and some keyboards thrown in for good measure. I am not talking Ministry, Godflesh, Marilyn Manson, or any sort of techno/electronic metal.

So how did I get into Industrial metal? Well, Megadeth was starting their inaugural Gigantour and included a band called Fear Factory. I had never heard of them so I checked out some reviews and they varied from classic to sucks. One day I was at Best Buy and saw a 2 disc re-release of Demanufacture. I picked it up, put it in and was blown away by the guitar riffs and the drumming. Vocally, they changed between death metal screams and clean harmonic singing (not like KsE, but similar). The second disc was Remanufacture, which is a techno remix of took me about a year before i could enjoy that disc. After that it all came together, and from that I give you 5 iindustrial metal albums you must own.

1. Fear Factory - Demanufacture: Did you think this wouldn't be #1? In music sometimes you are fortunate to pinpoint an album that starts a new genre, well FF's Demanufacture did just that. This was their 2nd album, their debut had elements of industrial, but was more of a death metal album. Demanufacture, Replica, Zero Signal, New Breed, and Self Bias Resistor are all classics in this genre. If you are into any kind of metal then this album belongs in your collection.


2. Mnemic - The Audio Injected Soul: Like FF this is Mnemic's second album (why do bands put out classic albums on their second try?), and like FF there is the standard start/stop riffs, incredible drumming, and catchy choruses. I personally feel that the clean harmonic vocals are better here than Fear Factory. Dreamstate Emergency, Deathbox, Illuminate, and Door 2.12 are all solids songs. In fact, like Fear Factory (notice a trend?), the whole album is a classic in the industrial metal genre.


3. Strapping Young Lad - SYL: ok now this might confuse some people that are into metal. A lot of people don't consider SYL to be an industrial metal band, but take one listen to this album and you will see why I included them on the list. Now the one difference would be the lack of death metal screams. Devin Townsend (vocalist/guitarist) doesn't use a lot of screams, more of classic heavy metal singing. Now unlike FF & Mnemic, there aren't any melodic choruses. Devin has described his music as a "wall of sound" and that fits it pretty well. With SYL, you have to keep you senses up because typical song structures don't exist. What you think should happen doesn't, so don't look to have the song memorized in one listening. BTW, SYL is a difficult/challenging listen on their follow-up to SYL, Alien, their is a twelve minute "song" of white noise and other odd sounds...why? If you can get past some of the unusual song structures you are in for a treat. One last note, SYL is an angry album, it was written as Devin's response to the attack's on 9-11.


4. Threat Signal - Under Reprisal: ok I failed to mention something in my description of industrial metal, there are normally no solos. That's right no guitar solos, just crushing riffs. Well Threat Signal changed that. Take everything you know about Fear Factory and throw in some guitar solos and you have Threat I'm serious. When I hear Rational Eyes I thought it was a new FF song, down to the vocals and harmonic clean chorus and then I heard a solo. Now this isn't a Metallica/Megadeth solo, but it still separates them from the pack. One of the reasons that TS sounds like FF is the fact that FF's guitarist produced their album. An interesting side note it that this band was discovered on a website for new bands. Their song became #1 on the site and it caught the attention of the right people and now they are making records.


5. Dagoba - What Is Hell About?: Well I never thought I would say something from France is good, but Dagoba is from France and they are more than good. Do they bring anything new to the scene? Not really, but they have put their own little twist on it. Dagoba's vocals are what does it for me. When I heard Cancer and The Things Within I was blown away.


After awhile, most industrial metal bands start to sound alike, so my suggestion is to take them in small doses, like a couple hours at a time.

Next up...good nu-metal? Damn you Limp Bizkit!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Dark Days

ok so in the mid 90's metal was all but dead. Grunge came around in the early 90's killing off all of the glam metal and whatever other forms of metal were popular at the time. In fact, grunge was the downfall of Headbanger's Ball. Grunge wasn't bad, don't get me wrong I don't like it...maybe a song here or there, but grunge was depressing and they took out all of the solos!!!

So after grunge died out something worse took it's So what's nu-metal? Well imagine down tuned guitars, heavy bass lines (almost to the extent of the bass taking over as lead guitar), drum beats, sometimes a d.j., and worst of all rapping. Now Korn was the first big nu-metal band, but they found a band that would change the landscape of metal music for the rest of the decade...Limp Bizkit. I absolutely hated this band back when they were huge. Everything Fred Durst did was annoying and to top it off everyone wore stupid red hats backwards (you know who you are). Looking back I still think the music is childish (see Nookie) and simple, but I will say it's catchy.
Break Stuff was my first real introduction to L.B., I remember seeing Faith and thinking it sucked, but Break Stuff was catchy and heavy. Still a favorite to this day.

Rollin' was their next song that stuck with me...and still does. It's a fun song and once again HEAVY.

When I first heard Boiler I was very surprised. It wasn't a catchy kid song, but an actual song. Lyrically though "crawled up your butt now"...ouch that's bad writing. When I play this song, most people can't recognize it as L.B.

So after Chocolate Starfish, Wes (the guitarist) left the band saying he felt like a sell out. Now because of those words Wes is always looked on now as the "musician" of Limp Bizkit. I don't have a problem with Wes, but he knew what he was that man can play a mean guitar riff. So Fred replaced him with some guy and released an album with sucked. They tried the whole serious artist thing, but it didn't work. Fans wanted Wes back.

In 2005 Limp Bizkit released The Unquestionable Truth Part 1. Now this is one L.B. album I tell people I own. The music isn't childish, but it is heavy. I saw the video for The Truth and was blown away by how good it was. Now Fred tries really hard to copy Rage Against the Machine and that's ok by me.

Unfortunately, Wes left again and no one knows who is playing guitar now. There are rumors swirling that TUT part 2 will be released this year and a website has a song that could be from the new album. It sounds good. But what if this is the new guitarist?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

quick note

well summer school is over and I had a few students not make a C or better. No matter how many times I told them I wouldn't change grades they asked.

My dad's surgery went well. So well in fact they sent him home the next day...less than 24 hours after his surgery.

I am in the middle of redoing our guest bathroom. I have pulled out 2 medicine cabinets, old light box fixtures and have put in recessed lighting, a new cabinet above the toilet, putting up new paint, re-textured the walls and some other crap. Hopefully, I will be done by Friday.

I really gotta talk about industrial metal...I'm talking Fear Factory style. I have about 5 or so must own industrial albums.