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  • Music My thoughts on...

    Epica – The Holographic Principle

    By Clayton

    It’s been exactly a month since Epica released their seventh album “The Holographic Principle”. I decided not to write anything about it until I have listened to it for a while. Usually I go “OMG this is the best album EVER” right after one week, but I can be bias and go into ultra-fan-mode.

    Having said that… The Holographic Principle IS one of Epica’s best records!

    The-Holographic-PrincipleEach record I wonder how they can even top themselves. Especially after the previous recode, The Quantum Enigma, which is really-really good, but this one is just as good AND maybe even better. You really can tell that Epica has grown over the years. The music quality keeps getting better and better. I am not even going into the lyrics and sound just yet, but just the hard work and commitment is very noticeable.

    And now moving on to the content of the record.

    The previous record was all about the mind and the mystery around it. This album is a concept that we could be living in one big giant hologram. It’s a very interesting concept. Let me do this track by track as each track is different, but each one is just as strong as the previous and the next. Mark Jansen said that this time they wanted to make songs that all could work live and I think they have succeeded.

    The album is much heavier than ever before and ALL the typical Epica elements can be heard, but multiplied by ten. The album sounds enormous and it is almost like one big Epic soundtrack that you will not easily forget. I did not go into the lyrics, because I have not had the time to pay much attention to them yet. I am waiting for the earbook of this album to study the lyrics.

    (more…)

  • Music My thoughts on...

    Epica – Universal Death Squad

    By Clayton

    So it has been 3 days that Epica has released a new single to promote their upcoming album “The Holographic Principe” and I have not written a thing about it yet? What sorcery is this?
    Calm down. Let me explain!

    Universal-Death-SquadThe very first time I heard the song I did not like it. (What?)
    Musically it sounded great. Just the quality of the MP3 that I have heard was a bit too low for my taste and also I think that Simone’s voice sounds almost unrecognizable. However after a few times listening the first day and not listening to the for an entire day, song started to play itself in my head the day after that. I then had to listen again and started to feel the connection to the music. I finally could appreciate the song. I finally recognized “Epica” and also Simone’s voice. This took a lot longer than usual, but I expected this. Epica’s music is kind of complex and you basically like it or you don’t. I do. But it with new music it takes a few times listening.

    I think the grunting part of Mark are the best of the entire song. After the amounts of listening now, I can almost sing the song out of my head and I am sure I will love it even more once I heard the entire album in HQ. I still need to place my order. It has been two years of listening to The Quantum Enigma and it is still a great album, but more music is always welcome and the time is here.

    The-Holographic-Principle

    For more information please visit Epica.nl

  • Movies & TV My thoughts on...

    Is Jon Snow really dead?

    By Clayton

    Is Jon Snow really dead?
    Here’s is what I think.

    john-snowYES, Jon Snow is dead! He got stabbed – how many times again?- So yes, he is dead.

    However, I do believe he will come back. How?
    Well, one of the first season 6 trailers, may have been a spoilers. Where what-what-is-the-name-of-that-paralyzed-Stark-kid-again had a premonition, in which Jon died. So I guess a lot from season 6 has not happened yet. Meaning, Jon could still be alive and his death can be avoided.

    Another theory is that the red woman, Melisandre, will somehow bring him back to live. And let’s face it, that wouldn’t be the craziest thing happening on Game of Thrones. The woman gave birth to a demon for God’s sake.

    Either way, the producers and promotors have done a great job to protect this mystery so far. Not one filming picture including Jon has leaked nor has Kit Harington appeared on any Talk Show the entire year. Guess we just have to wait a few more hours to find out.

    To keep everyone extra anxious (and to keep the ratings up of course), I bet they will not reveal anything about Jon until the end of the episode or the second episode of season 6. Or maybe if they are really cruel, make us wait a few more week.

    And if he really, really, really is dead… I will stop watching… or at least try not to get attached to a character, because they might end up dead anyways.

    Valar Morghulis

    GOT_season_6

  • My thoughts on...

    I hate Snapchat

    By Clayton

    635511606238427625331440091_snapchat.imgopt1000x70Snapchat here… Snapchat there… Snapchat everywhere!

    Since long I’ve had a major dislike for the app Snapchat, but at the moment I have reached a point where I downright hate it, because it’s everywhere. Let me be clear, I do not have a Snapchat account, never had and never will. Nor have I even downloaded it. I am against the entire concept of Snapchat and this is for personal reasons. Why?

    • I am obsessed with memories and historic dates.
      I cannot understand why someone would ever want to make a memory disappear after 15 (?) seconds.
      I love to scroll though old photos and relive moments that were precious to me.
    • Yes, I share a lot on Facebook, but I do not share every second of my life.
      I simply do not have the time, nor do I think my life is that fascinating.
    • I hate those stupid animal filters.
      And lately they seem to be rising up everywhere.
      Why would anyone want to look like a dog or a zebra? Call me old. Call me boring. I think it’s stupid.
    • I do not want to choose my audience. I want to share content with all my friends and followers.
      Sharing certain things with a selected group of people sounds like a whole lotta work.
      Yes, Facebook also has filters, but mostly is visible to everyone.
    • Apparently Snapchat gives you a notification when someone takes a screenshot of the content?
      Uhu… and then? Isn’t the damage done after that?
      And if you don’t want anyone taking screenshots,
      how about YOU DON’T SHARE THOSE NUDE PICTURES!!!!!
      Uhu, yes it’s no secret what Snapchat secretly is being used for.

    Sorry for the rant. The above are my thoughts and opinion.
    If you enjoy Snapchat, go ahead and Snap the chat all you want.
    I however, will not be joining that train… so please stop asking! #byefelicia

    Please note, I have never had a Snapchat account nor have I ever downloaded the app.
    My analysis is purely based on the things I have read and heard.

  • My thoughts on... Nerd Herd

    Second bite of the Apple

    By Clayton

    applelogo-150x150It now has been 3 months since I purchased my new iPhone and it’s time for the second bite of the Apple…. Or in less cryptic words: time for a second review 😉

    If you’ve read my first review, my list of cons appears to be quite long, but it turns out that a few of those points were based on lack of usability knowledge. Okay, at least one of those points is. I am talking about the search option. I found it to be utterly stupid that a smartphone didn’t provide a simple option like a search bar. However, the search bar seems to be hidden and is visible as soon as you pull down on the screen. I have noticed that Apple works with layers of screens. So it’s like a new menu opens on top of another, which is why you have to swipe right to go back to the previous screen.

    As for the rest of the cons, I have learned to live with and they are not of annoyance to me anymore. Actually when I was using my company phone, which is a Samsung phone, I needed to get used to that operating system again.

    Having said the above, I still do believe that it’s just a phone and it does what is supposed to do, but I do not understand the religion that has developed around it, and I prefer not to be a follower… read: sheep 🙂

  • My thoughts on... Nerd Herd

    My first iPhone

    By Clayton

    Last Friday my Samsung Galaxy S4, which I used for the past 18 months decided to die out on me. The phone has been showing some signs of I’m-about-to-die-soon since the beginning of this year and in February it almost did, but somehow it revived itself and besides a few special instructions it worked perfectly again. However, last Friday it completely stopped working and it was time to buy a new phone.

    2015-04-22 10.00.57Since all of my Apple using friends have been talking highly (read: religiously) about how amazing and dependable Apple devices are– in this case the iPhones – I’ve decided to buy my first iPhone. I’ve purchased the latest Apple phone: iPhone 6.

    Now, I am very skeptical, but also very open-minded. I know that’s a contradiction, but let me explain. I am open-minded to all thoughts, ideas and opinions, but as soon as I have opened up my own mind and formed my own thoughts and opinions, I become skeptical. I hope that makes any sense.

    I have finally had my own experience with Apple’s iPhone since Tuesday and I have to honestly say that I am kind of disappointed with it so far. I mean, it’s a smartphone and it works. And it does exactly what you expect from a smartphone, but… IT’S JUST A BLOODY PHONE!!!!! IT’S A GAWDDAMN PHONE AND THERE IS NO NEED TO BECOME ALL EGOCENTRIC ABOUT IT!!! SERIOUSLY!!

    I seriously think that Apple users need to stop with the idea that they are better than everyone that does not own an Apple device. Yes, an Apple device cost a lot more than another brand, which is ridiculous and unneeded in my opinion. And congratulations, you are able to afford one, but seriously get of your high horse. Some people like blue, some people like black, some people like red wine, some people like beer; it’s a personal choice and Apple users need to stop acting like gigantic douchebags.

    This is not a personal attack, it’s just seriously the reaction what you get from Apple users when they state why they bought an Apple device.

    Of course as an Apple user (read: sheep), you will probably do not even realize this or maybe even stopped reading and are searching for the biggest rocks now to stone me down, but trust me this is a real thing and has to stop. (more…)

  • Movies & TV My thoughts on...

    Maleficent

    By Clayton

    maleficent-movie-poster

    Today I went to see the movie Maleficent. Angelina Jolie is one of my favorite actresses so I just had to see it. THAT… and there seems to be a hype around this movie on social media sites, so I needed to find out what all the fuss is about.

    I can quite understand the fuss, because I thought it was a nice movie. Maybe not GREAT, but nice and you should surely go watch it if you get the chance. Disney sure wants you to get sympathy for its villains lately. I am also very happy that they are trying to get rid of this “true love” crap. Maybe there is hope for young girls after all?

    The movie has lots of great visual effects and I am happy that I went to see it in 3D. I just watched a few behind the scenes videos on Youtube and there sure have been added a LOT of digital scenery. I loved it, and actually wouldn’t mind watching it again in 3D.

    I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since it came out, but 1. I had been incredibly busy and 2. No one had time to watch it with me or already had seen it. Luckily I was chatting with a former colleague/friend of mine this week and we made plans to go watch it together.

    tbl - maleficent

  • Music My thoughts on...

    Xandria – Sacrificium

    By Clayton

    Xandria-Sacrificium

    Symphonic metal band Xandria has released a new album called Sarcificum. And this time they have (yet again) a new vocalist: Dianne van Giersbergen. As the name may hint out, she is Dutch. I have heard the name around in the symphonic metal world, but had never heard music with her previous band. So I didn’t know what to expect when first hearing the new songs. I was very pleased with what I heard. Dianne is an amazing singer and Xandria once again delivered an amazing album. Musically it sounds very Xandria-ish, but with the added strong operatic vocals it’s perfection.

    I have seen Xandria live in 2012 and I remember whispering in Manuela Kraller’s ear, the previous singer, that she was the best the band has had so far. Now I am not so sure anymore. Dianne fills Manuela’s shoes perfectly.

    The album opens with the title track Sacrificium, a 10-minute long epic masterpiece. Trust me, you won’t get bored and will not be able to sit still. This song makes you want to get up and headbang with all your energy.

    Next jumps in the fast paced single Nightfall. This song has Xandria written all over it. But it’s okay. It has all the trademark elements that makes this German band so successful. Catchy choir parts, heavy instrumental parts and piercing high vocal notes. I can totally understand why this song was picked as a single song. Another song that will make your headbang senses tingle.

    The rest of the album is also filled with the same elements, all recognizable as Xandria, but still very interesting and new.

    My other favorite tracks above the 2 mentioned above are:

    • Stardust
    • The Undiscovered Land
    • Betrayer
    • Little Red Relish
    • Our Neverworld
    • Sweet Atonement

    This album will keep you enthralled from the very first note until the last if you are a big fan of symphonic metal as I am.

    Great work Xandria!! Hope to see you guys one day perform live again!

    ——————-

    Below you can see the official music video for Nightfall.

  • Music My thoughts on...

    The Quantum Enigma is released!!!

    By Clayton

    I am very proud of my favorite Dutch band Epica. There new record The Quantum Enigma has been officially released today and it sounds AMAZING!!! Just when I thought that Mark Jansen and his band members would have hard time to top themselves after 5 successful albums and a great show like Retrospect: they did!

    The Quantum Enigma

    I have already been listening to it for 2 days now and it is constantly on repeat. And when it’s not playing it still goes on inside my head.

    I admit, the first listen to this album didn’t do it for me. I thought “meh”. But having been a fan of this great band for years now, I know that the trick is to just keep on listening. After the 3rd listen of this album I couldn’t stop and I start liking a new track with each listen.

    So far my favorite tracks on the album are: The Essence of Silence, Sense without Sanity, Unchain Utopia, Chemical Insomnia, Canvas of Life, Natural Corruption and the title track The Quantum Enigma.

    I am not nearly done listening to this album and I am sure that very soon I will love even more tracks.

    The album sounds different, but still very Epica. On the first listen you might not recognize the old elements immediately, but keep on listening and you will recognize it. All the elements are there: choirs, catchy chorus, Mark’s awesome grunts, Simone’s outstanding vocals, Coen’s great piano skills, Ariën drumming like a madman and the great guitar riffs. But aside from the old elements there are also so many new things to enjoy.

    Last night I watched the videos of the album release show on Wednesday in Tilburg and I totally missed out. I really wish I could have made it, but I am watching for the Dutch tour dates later this year.

    Epica-TQE-album-release

    I received an email that my copy of the 3-disc earbook is already being shipped, so it should be waiting for me in Amsterdam, the next time I fly over. I can’t wait. Go buy it! It’s amazing!!

  • Music My thoughts on...

    Symphonic Metal recommendations

    By Clayton

    The last few weeks and month there have been a lot of new album releases by many of my favorite bands. They have all been amazing. So much good music, so little time to listen to them all. But I have a lifetime to enjoy it, so actually this isn’t a real struggle. 🙂

    hydracoverFirst we have Within Temptation’s latest album Hydra. This album was released at the end of January, so I have been listening to it for a while now. The album is far better than I expected it to be. I was not all too thrilled about the previous record, The Unforgiving, but Hydra seemed to be an improvement. The album has many guest vocalists and I was quite worried when I read that the band would be working with Xzibit. Yes, the rapper from Pimp My Ride. But believe it or not… that IS my favorite track on the entire record.

    It is a fact that Within Temptation has stepped away from their symphonic metal sound and is more of a rock band with some symphonic elements in their music, but Hydra is listenable nonetheless!

    Delain - The Human ContradictionI have already written about Delain’s latest record The Human Contradiction. It is still a nice album that I enjoying singing along to in the car on my way to work. Still think it should have been a much longer album, but who cares, they have enough albums now to enjoy their music. I have been checking out some live videos of them and seems that the promotional tour for this album seems to be going great as well.

    LACUNA-COIL-BROKEN-CROWN-HALOLacuna Coil has been a bit disappointing for me on their last few records and I barely even listen to them. Their new album also didn’t impress me that much. The band recently released a new album called Broken Crown Halo. It does sound better then the previous 2 records, but I think I need to give it some much more listening. Then again their music isn’t all that “symphonic” if you ask me.

    Diabalus-In-MusicaDiabulus in Musica, a band that I took way too long to listen to, because they are amazing!! The band released a new record called Argia, and I love it as much as the first 2 albums. I don’t listen as much as I probably should be listening to them, but DIM is totally the type of band that I love: symphonic songs, operatic vocals, choirs, latin chorus; they have it all. You should certainly check them out if this is your kind of music. And while you’re add it check out their 2 previous records too. Note: Mark Jansen from Epica grunts on one of the older albums.

    SOP-AWOOOStream of Passion also released a new album called A War of Our Own. This has been the first SOP album that I loved at the first listen. So many great songs that get stuck in your head as soon as you listen to them. All the trademark SOP elements are on this album: violin parts, high vocal notes by Marcela Bovio, Spanish lyrics and catchy guitar riffs. I am totally in love with this record.

    tuomas-scroogeTuomas Holapainen, the mastermind behind Nightwish, has released a solo album recently called: The Life and Times of Scrooge… yes, Scrooge! As in: Scrooge McDuck! I had no idea what to expect, but since this is Tuomas Holopainen we’re talking about I was very confident that this was going to be a great record. Seriously, anything this guy composes turns to complete an utter epicness. This record is exactly THAT!

    It’s mostly an instrumental album with some vocals here and there, but don’t worry, this album will have your attention from the first to the very last minute. I am totally in love with this record. If you love movie scores and epic long songs, go check this album out!!

    Xandria-SacrificiumSo I am still eagerly awaiting the release of Xandria’s new record Sacrificium. I have already heard the 2 singles from this album and they are very promising. I have still to listen to the full album, but have been too busy with Epica’s new record, which got released on the same day as Xandria. About Epica I will be writing next!

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