Set Your Goals: This Will Be The Death of Us

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Set Your Goals has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Pop-Punk scene, and this album only makes that force stronger.

With the release of TWBTDOU, Set Your Goals has evolved more as a band. I think that Set Your Goals just may very well be the future of the pop-punk/hardcore-pop scene. They function together as a band very nicely in unison, and that’s especially hard considering that they have two different vocaslist. The guitar riffs differ from each other, both bringing different things to the table, and finally making other bands relaize why there’s even another guitar in there. The bassist does a nice job of realizing that even though you play bass, that doesn’t mean you have the easiest part in the band, as his riffs can go from nice and subtle to brutal and menacing. And the drummer, probably the most talented in the band.

Their intro song, which has the same name as the album, couldnt be a stronger opener. The drum intro is heaven to anyone’s ears, and the voacals get better and better with each passing second of the song. Although Set Your Goals doesn’t do too much to set themselves apaart from other vocalists in the pop-punk scene, their vocals fit so perfectly with the music that I can’t coplain too much, as I love it anyway. The next great song on the album is Summer Jam. It has such a nice beat to it, and the lyrics are about them touring with each other kind of like AFI’s 6 to 8, except with A LOT more pop.

The next song on the album that really stood out (not that the rest of the great songs are bad), was The Few that Remain, which features Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams. The song is a great mix between hardcore and pop-punk music, that even incorporates some hip-hop beats midway into the song. And if you ever call Set Your Goals, “Too poppy of a band…”, you must listen to the next track, Gaia Bleeds. It’s a straight forward hardcore song with probably the best vocals on the record.

All in all, Set Your Goals hit the jackpot with this album, as it leaps miles ahead of their already good predecesor, Mutiny!. If your a fan of hardcre or pop-punk music, pick up this album now.

Tracks with Scores:

  • This Will be the Death of Us: (10/10)
  • With Hoffman Lenses We Will See the Truth: (9/10)
  • Look Closer: (8.5/10)
  • Summer Jam: (10/10)
  • Like You to Me: (9/10)
  • The Fallen… (8/10)
  • The Few that Remain: (9.5/10)
  • Equals: (10/10)
  • Gaia Bleeds:  (10/10)
  • Flawed Methods of Persecution and Punishment: (9/10) 
  • Arrival Notes: (9.5/10)
  • Our Ethos: (9.5/10)

Overall Score:    93%   (Outstanding!)

Gallows: Grey Britain

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Could this be possible? A modern-day punk band actually achieveing a masterpiece? Ladies and Gentlemen, this is more true than anything else in the world. Gallows have delivered a near-perfect record that almost improves upon their first one in every aspect, and the great thing is, there weren’t even that many things bad with the first one! In fact, it’s currently one of my favorite records! So with this one being better, you can only expect what I’m about to say.

This punk band and record is perfect.

The record starts of with the song,  The Riverbank, which starts off with a nice fade-in and leads to a ballad to will make your ear-drums explode with angst! The next song, and probably the best song on the record itself, is London is The Reason. It’s a great song that starts off with a nice drum solo and leads to a brutal intro that will leave you speechless, with Frank Carter and his amazing way to get you pumped on and off the stage.

I recently had a chance to go see Gallows when they opened up for AFI back on November 7th, here at the Rivera Theater in Chicago, Illinois. It was probably one of the craziest and most energetic shows I had ever been to in my life. Gallows knew all the right things to do to get the crowd pumped, by starting a circle pit, to crowd surfing, and the band themselves getting in the crowd to taste a piece of the action. There was even an instance where Frank Carter, the singer, dived into the crowd off of a balcony. A balcony!

So it’s quite evident that Gallows are a very raw and energetic band, which makes them stand out in a way. Their first album, Orchestra of Wolves, was a sure-fire hit, with loads of angst and rebellion, but it didn’t really stand out when compared to other hardcore punk records ot just punk bands in general. But this record puts Gallows in a position where tey can either embrace heir new, more edgy punk sound, or they can continue down the path of becoming another scene-punk band. I’m sure glad Gallows chose the first option.

In all actuality, Gallows could create a full acoustic record, and it’d still be filled with angst and energy.

Some other choice picks off of this damn good record is Leeches, which is just a great song to headbang to, or mosh to if you ever have the privelege to see them live. The Vulture (Acts I&II)  is a slow acoutic number that just seems so right, and it’s placing on the middle of the record wasa good choice. It was sort of like a heavenly break from all the madness before it, and a prelude to all the madness that would follow it. A great song is The Great Forgiver, which is probably the most melodic rock song on the album, and it’s a great one at that. The albums closer, Crucifucks, is a great way to end the album with a great, angsty closing which leads to a soft fade-out…7 minutes of pure magic.

So what do I think of the album overall? I think the album is so close to perfect, you can taste the blood you’ll find on your body after seeing these guys live. It’s a contender for my Album of the Year award, and if it wins, it will have deserved it. If you don’t own this album, pick it up now!

Tracks listing with Scores:

  • The Riverbank: 10/10
  • London is the Reason: 10/10
  • Leeches: 10/10
  • Black Eyes: 9/10
  • I Dread the Night: 9.5/10
  • Death Voices: 9/10
  • The Vulture (Acts I&II): 10/10
  • The Riverbed: 10/10
  • The Great Forgiver: 10/10
  • Graves: 8/10
  • Queensberry Rules: 9.5/10
  • Misery: 10/10
  • Crucifucks: 10/10

Total Score:  125/130  =   97%   (Excellence!)

AFI: Crash Love

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It’s been three years since a fully-fledged A Fire Inside record. This album really came out of nowhere, and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. Crash Love is definetely one of AFI’s most unique approaches, and to think, many critics and fans thought that they could have gotten any more unique after Decemberunderground. But AFI have really pulled something out of the bag with this one. Every album has it’s ups and downs, but AFi were able to overlook the negative reviews and hate from their past, and not get cocky from most of the praise and fans. and move on to almost twenty years of rocking it out, and this album really brings out the true shine these vets have to offer to the Alternative scene.

This record really feels complete, in a sense that they sort of compile AFI beats from all records. If you listen closely, you can hear reminecent things from even the 90’s, like the album’s song, Sacrilege. This song has a very punk-vibe to it, and is nostalgic for those who have been long time AFI fans. People also loved the Alternative side of AFI which was really during the early 2000’s, like AoD and Sing the Sorrow. Something you don’t really see in this record is an electronic vibe. The band seems to have moved on from that sound, which was extremely abundant in their past album. They have been able to produce a full rock album, and it’s a success. The full rock vibe even kicks in with the album opener, Torch Song, which is a complete achievement in it’s own. The album is not too short either, but doesnot linger on.

Overall, the record is a success. Is it a spiritual sequel to Sing the Sorrow? No. This album has an identity of it’s own. An identity that deserves a great deal of positive reception in the rock community. It compiles nostalgic AFI music, with mid-career blowouts, and new ballads that you’ll find humming to yourself constantly. This album could not have been better, and I think that AFI really hit the jackpot with this one.

Tracks with Scores:

  • Torch Song: 10/10
  • Beautiful Thieves: 8/10
  • End Transmission: 8/10
  • Too Shy To Scream: 8.5/10
  • Veronica Sawyer Smokes: 7.5/10
  • Okay, I feel Better Now: 9/10
  • Medicate: 10/10
  • I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here: 10/10
  • Sacrilege: 10/10
  • Darling, I Want to Destroy You: 9/10
  • Cold Hands: 8.5/10
  • It Was Mine: 9.5/10

Overall Score: 108/120 =    90% (Outstanding!)

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

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It’s been too long since I wrote a review.

Harry Potter has always had a record of being one of the most famous, fan obsessed, and critically acclaimed Film Franchises of all time, and this new installment into the Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, is not a failure, not at the slightest. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is one the best movie of the whole series, and let me tell you why.

Harry Potter movies have been known for having stunning special effects that leave you in awe after every scene. There are crazy things in the world of Harry Potter, and I don’t imagine it to be very easy to render and create special effects for these films, and it totally evident that a lot of effort went into not only the acting, special effects, and story, but everything in between as well. The special effects in this movie are the best yet, with realistic renders that are just too awesome to even comprehend. And to think that there’s more to the movie than it’s special effects, the effects alone garners the movie a four-star rating in my book. but the acting is simply superb.

All old cast have been returned in this installment, not one actor was replaced, and that’s the way I like it. the actors did a splendid job of portraying they’re HP characters, it was a great show, really it was. Daniel Radcliffe did a splendid job as Harry, Emma Watson great at doing Hermoine, and Rupert Grint couldn’t have been bettwer as Ron. Another thing that I loved about this movie was it’s strong focus on the relationships found in the Harry Potter universe.

The movie is based soley on Harry and Dumbeldore trying to destroy the horcrux that Voldemort sealed a part of his soul into, but there are many different twists and turns in this movie that will just keep you glued to the screen the entire time. The relationships are humorous and pleasing to watch, at the best, but the movie really shined when the darker side of the film showed it’s gruesome face.

Althought there were many laughs on the way, this was darkest, and saddest movie from the whole entire series. The movie relies heavily on the corruption that Tom Riddle leaves behind at Hogwarts, and the dark secrets that he passed away. I’m not going to reveal too much in this review, but the movie can’t get any darker than what it has already achieved. Of course, manny say that it is the lighting, and that’s definetely a contributor, but the movie has a dark plotline that can really get to you, and it also brings back horrible memories from Albus, Harry, and the newly added character, Slughorn. All these memories have a vast effect on the turning poin of the story, and if you haven’t already read the book, I suggest you don’t read it before the movie. the movie is vastly different from the book, and very the same at the same time. It contains a multitude of references from the book, more than any movie has shown, but at the same time, it is it’s own movie in itself, rather than an adaption if you ask me, which in this case is very good.

If you have alread read the book, then you already know about the gruesome ending. Although that it wasn’t the happiest moment in the Harry Potter series, I think that the movie portrayed the moment beautifully without any flaws at all. The production values for this moviem although not suprising, were wxtremely high. Too much effort was put into this movie, I can’t believe they finished it in time, but I’m glad that they did. There was one part, though, that they left out. A huge part. So huge, that it wasprobably my only real letdown for the movie, and I can’t beleive that they had the audacity to not include it.

Overall, the movie was simply wonderful. There were many laughs on the way, but the delightfully dark mood of the movie captures the book’s mood very well. It doesn’t matter if your a fan of Harry Potteror not. If you love great movies, your going to adore this one. It was simply spectactular. Except for that one part that was missing, the movie was just amazing. A legend to behold.

  • Sound: 9/10
  • Acting: 9/10
  • Action: 10/10
  • Story: 10/10
  • Humor: 9.5/10
  • Visuals: 10/10
  • Unique Taste: 9/10
  • Tilt: 8.5/10
  • Lasting Appeal: 10/10

Overall Score: 85/90  =  94% (Outstanding)

Alkaline Trio: Maybe I’ll Catch Fire

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“Shakin’, like a dog sh***ing razorblades, waking up next to nothing. After dreaming, of you and me, I’m waking up all alone, waking so releived, while your, taking your time with apologies. I’m making plans for revenge. Red eyes on orange horizons, if Colombus was wrong, I’d drive straight off the edge. I’d drive straight off the edge.”    – Radio; Alkaline Trio (Maybe I’ll Catch Fire)

Let me tell you one thing, this album is almost perfect.

For any lover of punk rock, this album would be an ace hit right from the beginning. Alkaline Trio are talented bunch of lads from the streets of Chicago, all just trying to do what they love, write music. Well they really aced it with this album. It’s absolutely spectacular.

Alkaline Trio’s debut album, Godamnit!, was a sure hit. It was one of the best records I’ve ever listened to, and especially considering it was their first LP, it was just unreal. And no one really thought that any band could follow up an album like that, well, Alkaline Trio did. Maybe I’ll Catch Fire is one of the most intriguing and inspirational albums I’ve  ever listened to.

Lyrically, the album is fantastic. As their first album focused more on love and drinking, this album focuses a lot on the darker side of life, and would soon launch Alkaline Trio’s unique trend with death and alcohol. The album starts off with the song “Keep em Coming”, and it’s one hell of an opener. Lyrically, musically, and spiritually, the song is sheer hit, and one of the best on the record. Some of my personal favorites were “Keep em Coming”, “Madam Me”, “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire”, “She Took Him To The Lake”, “Fu** You Aurora”, “5-3-10-4”, and “Radio”.

The album is near perfect, only because no record is ever “100% Perfect”. But if there was ever an album closest to that, this one would be it. If you don’t own this album, pick it up, download it from iTunes, I don’t care! Listen to it, it’ll change your life…musically.

Tracks with Scores:

  • Keep Em Coming (10/10)
  • Madam Me (10/10)
  • You’ve Got So Far To Go (9.7/10)
  • Fu** You Aurora (10/10)
  • Sleepyhead (9.8/10)
  • Maybe I’ll Catch Fire (10/10)
  • Tuck Me In (9.7/10)
  • She Took Him to The Lake (10/10)
  • 5-3-10-4 (10/10)
  • Radio (10/10)

Overall Score: 99.2/100   =    99%  (Excellence!)

Alkaline Trio: Godamnit!

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This is a review for the album Godamnit! by musical group Alkaline Trio. This was the trio’s first outing on a full-length record, and it packs a punch. A lot of bands do horribly on their first outing, and then improve upon their mistakes. This is not the case with Alkaline Trio. This talented trio was amazing from the get-go, with their first ever release, The Sundials EP. They then progressed, and former bassist Rob Doran quit the band for whatever reason, and Alkaline Trio recruited former Slapstick bassist, Dan Andriano, and I thoguht that was a huge step up.  Alkaline Trio then continued to record, and made this masterpiece. Really, Godamnit! is pure genius. The album includes punk riffs, with catchy lyrics sung by both Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano that just work perfectly with each other, and the awesome drum tunes by Glenn Porter (former Alkaline Trio drummer).  The album is almost pitch-perfect, and there’s no denying that Alkaline Trio is still as good as they were back then. This is a definite pick-up, whether your into Punk or Hip Hop, you’ll fall in love with this record.

Tracks With Score:

  • My Little Needle (10/10)
  • Cringe (9/10)
  • Clavicle (8.5/10)
  • Sorry About That (10/10)
  • Message From Kathleen (9.5/10)
  • Cop (9/10)
  • San Fran (10/10)
  • Enjoy Your Day (8.5/10)
  • Nose Over Tail (9.8/10)
  • As You Were (10/10)
  • Trouble Breathing (9/10)
  • Southern Rock (10/10)

OVERALL SCORE: 113.3 / 120 = 94% (Outstanding!)

Super Mario Galaxy review

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Here’s my review for the Nintendo Wii video game, Super Mario Galaxy. Let me start off by saying that this is probably my favorite Wii game, so your going to hears a lot of pros in this review.

Here we go! First off, let’s comment on the story. The main gist of the story is like any other Mario game, Bowser kidnaps Peach and takes her to a faraway land, making Mario have to go the distance to save her. But this time, the battle is taken to the stars. Bowser and Bowser.Jr kidnap Peach and take her to a distant galaxy, and Mario must travel through many galaxies to save her. The overall story honestly never gets old, I love it.

The gameplay is quite innovative. You use the nunchuck to control Mario, and you can also shake the Wii remote to send Mario into a tornado attack, which you’ll be finding yourself doing more than often in the game. You must collect items called Star Bits, and you can use these items to launch at your opponents. You can also use your shake attack to fight them as well. You can, of course, bump attack as well. Overall, the gamplay is fun and creative, and will appeal to hardcore and casual gamers.

The graphics in this game are simply beautiful. Really, the best graphics I have ever seen on the Wii, other than Metroid Prime 3. The graphics have a detailed cartoony theme that just works so well, that it’s almost strange that those kind of graphics  can even be supported by the Wii. Overall, the graphics are just plain perfect.

The stages on the game are based off of small planets found in different galaxies, and all the different playing fields are simply amazing. They are so fun to play in, that you’ll find yourself addicted in an instant. You will seriously play this game until you have either beaten ir or at least  gotten 80% into it. The game is jus too fun for Mario fans to pass up.

Overall, the game is an absolute joy to play. You’ll find yourself glued to your Wii for hours, just playing around in these fun-filled galaxies. This game will never disappoint, and it’s just the best Wii game out there.

GRAPHICS: 9.5 / 10

GAMEPLAY: 9.5 / 10

STORY: 8 / 10

SOUND / MUSIC: 8 / 10

LASTING APPEAL: 10 / 10

REPLAY VALUE: 10 / 10

OVERALL: 9.2 / 10    –    Outstanding!