Author Archive

Relationships in Books

In which I ramble on about some of the main relationships in some of my favourite books. This went far longer than I wanted it to, but since it took several tries, I’m not doing it again. I hope at least some of what I said in this made a little sense. If not, I apologize.

John Cena: Not (Quite) As Terrible As Everybody Thinks He Is

Due to a recent main event match on Monday Night RAW, there’s been a lot of talk on wrestling websites about John Cena and how much he does or doesn’t suck. I don’t read comments on sites like that, because wrestling fans who comment on shit on the internet are a bunch of fucking retards. Everybody knows how things should be, and any attempt to convince them otherwise are ridiculed and dismissed.

With that in mind, this is my attempt to put into words my opinion of John Cena and whether or not he sucks. I don’t know how many of you are wrestling fans, but generally speaking, unless you’re either a woman or gay dude who’s attracted to Cena, or a child under the age of ten, you probably hate Cena. It’s pretty much just accepted in the wrestling world that John Cena is to be hated. People have their reasons, and are entitled to feel however they wish about him. For my money, however, John Cena is not as bad as he’s made out to be, and I’m going to tell you why.

He can’t wrestle. This, in my opinion, is a horse shit reason to hate Cena. As a wrestling fan, it’s impossible to miss that yes, he is limited in the ring. He can’t do high flying moves, and he has the same move set he always uses, every match. I’m not here to say John Cena is the most talented in-ring performer of all time. I’m not even here to say he’s a good in-ring performer. What I am saying is that he is no worse than average in ring. He’s not nearly as bad as a lot of guys out there, and for people who make the argument that a top guy should be a great performer, I’d like to point out arguably the two biggest wrestling stars of all-time: Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. You think either of those two were great wrestlers? Hogan’s finisher was a leg drop and he couldn’t sell for shit. At least Cena comes off the ropes for his leg drop. If this is the reason you choose for hating Cena, wake the fuck up. The dude can wrestle. Not particularly well, but not particularly badly either.

He’s being shoved down our throats. Yes, he is. Congratulations on being aware of things that are happening around you. If you opened your eyes a little wider, you’d see that no matter who was the “top guy”, you’d be sick of him by now. The Rock is a part-time worker now. Austin is retired. Wrestling fans were spoiled by those two. For a decade, the WWE had two top guys who were charismatic as fuck and who they’d all tune in to watch every week, regardless of what was going on. But they’re the exception, not the rule. Somebody had to fill their role, and options weren’t exactly endless. Look at the guys who came around when Cena did. Randy Orton? How many times has he been suspended? He’s a liability, and that’s why he’ll never be the guy. Batista? Retired. Lesnar lasted all of what, two years? Look at the other big names who’ve come and gone since Cena came around. Shawn Michaels? Retired. Triple H? Semi-retired/focused on running the company. Kurt Angle? Working for TNA. Edge? Retired. Undertaker? Works one match a year. Kane? Never would have fit in as “the guy”. Jericho? He’s been in and out for almost eight years now. JBL? Retired. John Cena was the answer to the question “Who’s next?” WWE needed somebody to push to sell merchandise and promote the company. He was the best of a bad situation, and he’s been smart enough to not fuck it up. You can hate him for that if you want. Just as long as you admit you’d feel the same damn way about any of the other options WWE had at the time.

His behind-the-scene pull. Of course he has pull there. He’s the top star of the company, the biggest draw. And of course he’s going to use it. If you were the king of the mountain and some asshole came along with designs on taking over and possessing the ability to actually get it done, what would you do? You’d squash him like a fucking bug before he got the chance. Anybody who hates on Cena for this is a moron. Everybody does this. You think Steve Austin went around recruiting people to take his spot? You think he saw the Rock coming up and thought “Yeah, this will be great!”. Fuck no. He shit his pants and started sweating bullets. And that actually makes another argument for me: despite Austin already being the guy, and at the time, not really looking like he was going away anytime too soon, the Rock still managed to rise up. People can talk all they want about the Rock only really coming out when Austin was out injured, but that’s bullshit. The Rock was coming up while Austin was healthy and at the top of his game. If somebody is good enough, they will rise up, regardless of who is or isn’t trying to keep them down. The fact that nobody has even come close to dethroning Cena should tell you exactly what you need to know about the prospects that have come up since he came to power. The closest we’ve come over recently is CM Punk, and it’s not like he’s some young guy who can carry the company for the next ten-fifteen years.

His gimmick. Of all the reasons people hate him, I think this one is the most legit. His gimmick is bullshit. He no-sells every move. Actually, no, that’s not right. He sells the move, but then jumps up three seconds later, perfectly fine. It’s a superman gimmick, essentially. I think it’s fucking stupid, and it should have never happened. I’m not sure how much of it is him, and how much of it is his character, but it’s all retarded either way. I’m not going to defend this one. What I will say is this: how much of the hatred of Cena is at least influenced by this reason? It seems to me like the people who say he can’t wrestle are just saying that because they’re frustrated by the no-selling aspect of the gimmick, but don’t know how to articulate it properly. They see him take a chokeslam one second, then deliver the AA the next and think, “That’s not what’s supposed to happen”. And they’re right. But that doesn’t mean he can’t wrestle. It means he’s just not selling moves. Yes, it’s an aspect of wrestling, but over time and after enough “You can’t wrestle” chants, it turns from ‘Cena doesn’t sell’ to ‘Cena is the most incompetent retarded excuse for a wrestler who’s ever lived’. And it’s bullshit.

That’s why Cena hits a hurricanrana in a match, and everybody blows up. Because it’s not normal. And for one second, everybody remembers Cena actually isn’t the worst wrestler since Giant Gonzalez.

In my opinion, John Cena is this: an average performer with a good look, a frustrating and tired gimmick, and an almost uncanny ability to irritate the shit out of everybody simply by existing. Fifteen years ago, he’s a mid-card guy at best. Probably wins the US championship seventeen times before he retires. Circumstances, the fact that he’s not addicted to pills, and him being extremely durable from a physical standpoint put him in the position he’s in today. On top of that, despite all the hate, he sells a metric shitton of merchandise. And when he’s in a match, listen to the crowd. No matter who he’s wrestling, the only chants you hear are “Let’s go Cena” and “Cena sucks”. He gets a sustained, thunderous reaction, positive or negative, and that’s more than you can say for pretty much everybody else.

The point is this: Cena isn’t as bad as most make him out to be. ‘Blinded by hatred’ fits here. He’s not as good as his fans make him out to be either, I’m sure, though I can’t say I know any real Cena fans. Despite the fact he’s been the top guy for almost a decade now, people can’t seem to accept the fact their boos mean nothing. He’s here to stay until he retires. Your boos actually help him more than they hurt. As long as you’re booing, he’s going to keep getting the biggest reaction of everybody. And as long as he keeps doing that, he’s going to stay on top. Just remember that.

The Truth About Honesty

As most of you know, I recently instituted a new honesty policy In my life. At this point, I’ve only been at it for around three weeks, but I’ve already noticed a few things that I’d like to point out. I’m not going to be dishing out deep lessons here, but there’ve been certain things that have happened as a direct result of me being more truthful and open and I thought they were interesting enough for me to write about them. Sort of observations, if you will.

First off, being honest is a lot harder than I thought it would be. If movies or television or books were to be believed, it would be the easiest thing in the world. You’d just say whatever was on your mind, however you really felt, and it would all be good. But that’s some serious bullshit right there. Right off the start, if you’ve got a shred of decency in you, you’re always going to have to balance the truth with the harm it could do to people around you. If everybody told every person they knew how they truly felt about them, nobody would fucking talk to each other. We’d all have six friends, and everybody else would either hate us or not give a single fuck about us at all.

People lie for a reason, keep things to themselves for a reason. I think that reason can fall into three categories: they fear the reaction their truth would bring down on them, they fear the damage their truth could do to somebody else, or they’re trying to influence situations or events to favour themselves by withholding certain information.

Let’s talk about the first reason for a moment. Whether the extent of the backlash is as harsh as they think it will be or not, there are consequences for every action. And the fact of the matter is, when you’re talking about honesty and truth, you’re talking about people. People who think and feel and have fucking minds of their own. There is no way to really know how people are going to react to things. It’s like that saying ‘the truth will set you free’. Will it? Will it really? It might, or it might not. You don’t know. You can’t know. All you’ve got is your imagination, and that’s what made you lie or withhold in the first place.

Let’s say you did something that would undoubtedly piss one of your best friends off. So you lied about it, passed the blame or just tried to pull yourself out of the situation, and he or she bought your lie. For whatever reason, some time down the road, you decide you’re going to come clean. The truth will set you free. If it was a movie or whatever, your friend would forgive you. He or she would understand your position and that would be the end of it. Maybe a little resentment carries over, but that would get resolved near the end of the movie. In real life, yeah, that could happen. Or your friend could punch you in the mouth. Or burn your fucking house down. Or never speak to you again. Or just shrug and not give a fuck.

You can’t know how people are going to react, is what I’m driving at. It’s impossible, unless you develop the ability to read minds. So every time you tell the truth, it’s a crap-shoot. Because you don’t know how people will react, and you don’t even necessarily know that even though you believe what you’re saying is a good thing, that they’ll see it the same way. That’s the issue when you’re dealing with intelligence, man. You’ve got no way of knowing whether or not what you’re saying is going to bring nothing at all, or a goddamn shit storm of legendary proportions. So, use caution when telling the truth, I guess haha.

And that all leads into the bravery/cowardice aspect of truth-telling. It’s unavoidable, really. Being a good guy has always been tried to being honest, and being an evil scumbag always goes hand in hand with lying. That’s in our heads, man. Disney movies, kid’s book, and even stories our parents tell us as kids put that shit in there, and by the time we’re old enough to realize it’s not nearly that black and white, it’s so deeply ingrained it’s almost impossible to get it out.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently good about being honest, or inherently bad about lying. It’s all a judgement call, man. Every time somebody chooses to go one way or the other, they’re making that call based on some kind of internal system of judgement. Now, maybe that system is flawed in some way. That’s not the point. The point is just because somebody lies, it doesn’t mean they were trying to be an asshole or trying to be evil or bad. And just because somebody tells you the truth, it doesn’t mean they’re a good person, or are doing a good thing. They’re doing what they decided is the best thing to do in the situation, at that time. People need to remember that.

The final thing I’ve noted, and probably the most important, actually ties back into one of my earlier points. Just like you can’t know how people are going to react to the truth, you also can’t know if they really want the truth. You can’t know that, because they can’t know that. People can tell you they want the truth, but it’s one of those things where it’s really impossible to make that call without knowing all the factors. They can’t know if they really wanted the truth until it’s already been given to them. Until they know what that truth is, it’s just an abstract concept that can be seen as either desirable to know or not.

That’s part of why I found it so difficult to complete those honesty responses to the people who liked my status a little while back. Yes, they volunteered to hear the truth from me. They wanted to hear it. But what if I’d said something they didn’t like? Would they have still wanted it? I can’t answer that. That’s the point. There’s no way to know.

Either way, once you decide to say something, it’s out there, man. You can’t take it back. You could try, I suppose. You could come up with excuses, try to play it all off as a joke. But I’ve got a little more faith in the basic ability to see through bullshit most people seem to have. They will see through your lies and shit will be so much worse. That’s where the cowardice comes in for me. If you say something, whether you regret it or not, whether you want to take it back or not, you stick by it. If you thought it was important enough to say in the first place, you don’t back away from it. Don’t be a little bitch about it, essentially.

I guess the main thing I’m trying to get across with that last point is this: you need to figure out whether you really want the truth. Sometimes, you’re not going to have a choice. People are going to give it to you whether you ask for it or not. I’m going to do that, because I’ve told you all that I will, and I’m not a little bitch.

But I’m the exception, not the rule in this scenario. Most of the time, you’re going to have the opportunity to ask for the truth. You need to take some time right now and figure out whether you want the truth and all the good or bad it could bring with it, or if you’d rather just live and let people figure out for themselves what to tell you.

I made my choice. I’d rather have the truth, in every situation, regardless of how you think it would make me feel. I’m a grown-ass man and I’ll handle whatever people tell me, for better or worse. But not everybody is built like me, and you all should figure out what works for you. Don’t just think about it for ten seconds and say ‘yeah, this or that is the way for me’. Be malleable. Take everything into consideration. Be willing to change your position based on the situation. Accept that neither lying nor honesty are inherently one way or the other.

That’s all I got.

Later.

Inside My Head – Part 2

Arrogance. I am an arrogant person. I’ve never tried to hide that. Most of the time, high self-confidence is what it comes off as, I think. But I can’t conceal the fact that most of the time, I think I’m better than most people, and people sometimes pick up on that. Maybe it hasn’t come across as clearly to the people on the internet. It’s a lot easier to appear humble on here. Especially since most people would just assume you were lying if you started bragging about something. Or maybe that’s just me.

To be clear, I don’t think I’m the nicest or most knowledgeable person in the world. I don’t think I’m the best writer, or the best at any given thing. But I do believe I could be better at any given thing than any given person. And I can’t not believe that. It’s automatic, a part of me. For instance, I can have a conversation with somebody on a topic that they clearly know more about than me. I would have no issue in admitting that they are more the expert than I am. But a big part of me knows—or believes—that given enough time, I would be better than them.

It’s not conscious. I don’t look at everybody and automatically think they’re an idiot or that what they do is easy or that the knowledge they possess was easy to obtain. I look at them, or listen to them, and a part of me just says “Yeah, I could do better. I could know more”.

Self-confidence isn’t a bad thing. Arrogance cannot, by definition, be a good thing. The line between them is razor thin. I like to think most of the time I’m just a really confident person. But I’ve offended people in the past with my words and actions, and that’s what pushes me out of one category and into the other.

I think what makes my high opinion of myself all the worse is that it’s not entirely devoid of a factual base. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide everybody sucked but me. I am an intelligent person. I find learning new things incredibly easy. I’ve never scored lower than 170 on an IQ test, and routinely score much higher. I’ve never had the slightest issue when attempting to learn new material. School was so easy for me, it was laughable. I don’t think any of that is a good excuse for being an arrogant fuck, but it is an excuse. Or a reason. Take your pick.

There are some positives to it. Like I said, the difference between self-confidence and arrogance is tiny. Both have pushed me to put myself and my work out there in many situations and have absolutely no fear about what sort of reception I’m going to get. I’ve never thought twice about posting some of my writing. I am one hundred percent aware of what I’m capable of in that field, and self-doubt is just not something that ever creeps in.

Even that is a double-edged sword though. It’s difficult to accept criticism when you think you’re better than the people giving it. I think I’ve often been logical enough to realize when it would be in my best interest to accept that I was wrong. But not always. And I’ve probably suffered for it. I struggle often to see thing from other people’s perspective. It’s not like somebody criticizing me or offering advice makes me angry. I just have a hard time seeing how their way would be better than which way I originally chose. But I try to see their way, and if doing that allows me to see that they’re right, I’m willing to make changes. It’s just that initial aversion that’s a bitch to get past.

And to be clear, there are people who I respect and like whose opinion I will always take into consideration. It’s not as though I believe all people aside from myself are idiots. Just because you value your own opinions and ideas above those of others, doesn’t mean you think those people are stupid. Just not as good as you, in simple terms.

I mention this in another part of this series, but I always place a much higher value on the personalities and intelligence level of the people I consider my friends. I don’t know if it’s conscious or subconscious, but I try to surround myself with people I see to be a better class. Not necessarily smarter, but possessing qualities that, in my eyes, make them worth more or simply better than other people. It would be easy, I think, to surround myself with people I see as inferior, but I’ve never needed the confidence boost some people seem to crave. If a friend makes a suggestion to me, I’m much more likely to consider it than if it came from somebody I don’t know or am only casually acquainted with. My subconscious automatically accepts the suggestion as something at least worth considering because it came from somebody I deemed to be worth listening to. The same goes for the family members I’m closest to, and the women I’m attracted to. Through some mixture of conscious thought and subconscious awareness, I find you better than everybody else, in at least one way and almost certainly multiple ways.

I’m not sure how much of a surprise what I just wrote would be to the people I interact with daily/almost daily on the internet. Like I said, it’s a lot easier to conceal aspects of yourself on here. And I’m not even talking on purpose. I’ve never been one who needs other people’s acknowledgment to reinforce my opinion of myself. So I don’t say a lot of things I could say, the kind of shit that would make it very obvious how I think of myself and how I see others. It sounds bad, but I don’t really give a fuck what the majority of people think of me, so I don’t feel the need to say the things that would make me seem truly arrogant.

A great example of that is a person’s IQ. I don’t like to bring mine up in almost every situation, for several reasons. For one, it is not nearly as simple a matter as most people seem to think. Two, it’s very easy to lie. You can just pick a number, and nobody is going to be able to prove you’re lying. And three, just dropping your IQ into a conversation is a fucking dick move. It’s like that guy who prefaces every argument or debate by saying you should just stop right now because he knows more on the subject than you do. Go fuck yourself, shithead. You see it more often than you should if you frequent any kind of internet forum or site where people interact. There’s always that one jerk-off who likes to throw a high IQ around because he—or she—thinks it’ll impress everybody.

It doesn’t impress anybody who matters. You just end up looking like a fucking douche. Back up your words, motherfucker. Say something intelligent. Make me believe you. A fucking monkey can pick a number out of a book and throw it in people’s faces. That’s all you’re doing. Stop.

Touchy subject for me. I loathe false intellectuals and people who like to brag to every single person they meet about how fucking smart they are. If you’re truly intelligent, you shouldn’t need acknowledgement. You should know it, you should believe it. You shouldn’t need to have random fucking people telling you how great you are every second of every day.

That’s all I got today.

Later.

P.S. Thanks for commenting on Part 1, Fang. I appreciate it.

Inside My Head – Part 1

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about some of the aspects of my personality that make significant contributions to who I am as a person. I’ve decided to go a little deeper into each of the traits I mentioned (and a few I didn’t). But instead of lumping them all together, I’m going to try going one at a time. The following paragraphs are a mixture of what I originally wrote on the subject of fears and some new stuff.

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Fear of death. I’m not going to say I have no other fears, but if there was a test and I was asked what one thing I feared the most, the answer would be death. It’s not an uncommon fear, I think. People fear the unknown, and it doesn’t get much more unknown than death. I’ve never met anybody who’s truly comfortable discussing how bad their fear of death is, but for me, it was and still is extremely intense. I used to have mini panic attacks whenever I thought about it. It was mostly at night, but wasn’t exactly rare during the day either. I’d have to get up, regardless of the time, and distract myself with a book or TV or something until my heart rate went back to normal. It still happens from time to time, though I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over the last five years or so.

I don’t like thinking about death. It’s sort of ironic, actually, given the content of the majority of the fiction I write. People, I think, are fascinated by the things that frighten them. It’s why horror movies make money and monsters are such a huge part of many cultures. But I’ve noticed something very important in regards to death, through my own writing and society in general.

Death in and of itself doesn’t scare me. People die all the time, in peaceful and horrible ways. It’s essentially impossible to have any sort of exposure to a source of information and not get bombarded by the countless reports of people dying all over the world.

What scares me isn’t the broad concept of death. It’s the much more specific concept of my death. I don’t fear the unknown. I know there’s nothing waiting for me. When it comes down to it, what scares me is the idea of a world without me in it. One day, I’ll be gone, and regardless of how much I fight it, it’s inevitable. I’ll be dead, my body will decay, and I will be no more. I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife. I have no religious beliefs. One day, my body will simply shut down and everything I ever was will just be gone. That’s what scares me. That I can sit on my couch, watching a movie or playing a game, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter how healthy I am and no matter what I do with my life, fifty or sixty years from now, I’ll be gone. And the only way it goes down any different is if I die earlier. I don’t fear aging. I don’t fear pain. Whether I pass away in my sleep, get lung cancer, or get hit by a car when I’m twenty-five doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ll die and there isn’t a fucking thing I can do to stop it.

I don’t think it’s hard to see the root cause of my biggest fear. Power. I don’t want to be powerless. Under the right circumstances, I have no problem allowing somebody else to have the power. Relationships, social interactions, group settings: I don’t have a problem stepping back and letting other people take charge. But that’s my choice. I don’t mind freely giving up power, but having it taken away from me is another story. I don’t like feeling powerless. And when it comes to death, it’s pretty much the definition of powerless. In the end, you lose, no matter what.

I’ve heard people talking about assisted suicide, or just suicide in general, as a way of taking back the power. The whole “If I have to go out, I’m going out on my own terms” thing. They think that swings the ball back into their court. They’re fucking idiots. Whether you die of old age, accident, disease, or your own design, you’re just as dead. You lose. You have no power.

That’s why I feel the way I do about suicide: I can never respect or feel anything but disgust towards anybody who kills themselves. It is weakness in its purest form, and no part of me can ever accept that. That’s why I never share my views on suicide. I know too many people who’ve considered it. While the logical part of my brain can see and even partially understand their reasoning, every other part of me loathes them for it. I’m not a hippie, or an optimist. I don’t look at the world and go “But how could you? Life is a gift. It’s so beautiful”. The world is a terrible, depressing pit of evil and bullshit. But in my view, suicide should not be a way to deal with that. It’s nothing but an admittance of personal failure and weakness on the grandest scale, and every fibre of my being refuses to accept it.

Interestingly enough, with the realization of the whole fear of being powerless came some insight into my writing. Anybody who’s read my work can already see where this is going. I write powerful characters because I can’t stand the thought of weakness. I don’t think it’s really wish fulfillment either. I don’t picture myself as these characters. I think it’s more a case of my aversion to weakness colouring everything I write. It’s not so much me wishing I could be in their shoes as me just being unwilling, whether consciously or subconsciously, to put them into mine.

Or maybe it is wish fulfillment. It doesn’t fucking matter. The point is still valid.

I guess the whole point of this delving into my fear of death revealed I don’t really fear death after all. I fear what it represents. Not an end, necessarily, but rather an inevitability. I don’t like the idea that I can struggle and fight all I want, but in the end, it’s not going to make a bit of difference.

From there, it’s fairly simple to look into other aspects of my life and see how that basic aversion to being powerless or weak has impacted them. I avoid almost all situations that could result in the power being taken out of my hands. I’m a control freak. I detest change, and by extension, the potential unknown that it brings. Obviously, awareness of those things makes it slightly easier to repress them, but still.

And that’s it. My greatest fear and how it has shaped me. Will I ever get over it? Probably not. Unless some kind of immortality pill shows up in the next fifty years, I’ll almost certainly have some fear of death. And the fear of being powerless will never go away.

I accept it. Nothing I can do about it anyways. And isn’t that just another kick in the fucking nuts?

Later.

Top 5 Albums of 2012

When I decided to choose what I felt were the best five album released this past year, I thought it would be difficult. I thought I’d have to comb through a shitload of music and narrow it down repeatedly until I found the five best. But I was wrong. It was easy. I had bit of a struggle with number five (my final choice only narrowly edged out two other pretty awesome albums), but other than that, it was simple. In my opinion, the albums I’ve chosen blew away the competition. And not by a small margin.

Obviously, I realize people have different musical taste. Honestly, it would surprise me if many (or any) of you saw things the way I do. But for my money, the following five albums were the best releases of 2012.
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5. Adrenaline Mob – Omertà

Excellent first release for Adrenaline Mob. There aren’t any tracks on this album that I skip over when I’m listening to it. I think it got a bit of a bad turn because it was more rock than metal, but I didn’t find it to be an issue. I don’t really give a shit what genre music is considered to be. If it’s good, it’s good, and this album is good.

Top three tracks: Indifferent, All on the Line, and Angel Sky.

4. Overkill – The Electric Age

Not much to say here. Awesome thrash album. Overkill is a brutal band. They’ve been killing it for over thirty years and this is just another great example of that.

Top three tracks: Wish You Were Dead, All Over but the Shouting, and Black Daze.

3. Three Days Grace – Transit of Venus

At first, I wasn’t a big fan of this album. It wasn’t what I was expecting from them, and that sort of put me off it. But I came around pretty quickly. This is their best album. They tried some new shit, and in my opinion, it worked well. It’s a really solid effort, and just like with Adrenaline Mob’s Omertà there aren’t any songs I skip over.

Top three tracks: Operate, The High Road, and Expectations.

2. Testament – Dark Roots of Earth

This was by far the best thrash album of the year. It really reminded me of their earliest efforts, but bigger. It’s just a really solid thrash metal album. You can look at a metric shit-ton of other bands from the 80s that have changed their sound with the time, and arguably suffered for it. Testament hasn’t, and their shit just keeps getting better and better. Buy this album.

Top three tracks: Rise Up, True American Hate, and Throne of Thorns.

1. Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones – Part 1

Stone Sour is one of the best bands out there, and this album is another piece of evidence that supports that. There are style shifts with nearly every song, but it’s not jarring at all. The whole album is a masterpiece, and you should listen to it. That’s really all I can say. Buy this album, and listen to it on repeat. It’s fucking awesome. And there will be another one next year.

Top three tracks: Last of the Real, Absolute Zero, and Tired.
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Honourable mention goes to Soundgarden’s King Animal and Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist.

Recommended Songs

For the following list, I picked a single song from some of the bands I listen to regularly. The songs I picked are the ones I’d recommend to a person if I wanted them to get into each band. It was difficult to narrow all the options down to a single song, and honestly, I’m still not sure I went with the correct choice in each case. But it is what it is. Hope this gets people listening to some different music.

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10 Years – Russian Roulette
A Perfect Circle – The Outsider
Adrenaline Mob – Indifferent
Alice in Chains – Rain When I Die
All That Remains – The Air That I Breathe
Audioslave – What You Are
Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
Black Label Society – Stillborn
Breaking Benjamin – Away
Cold – It’s All Good
Danzig – She Rides
Death – Zero Tolerance
Demon Hunter – One Thousand Apologies
DevilDriver – Back With a Vengeance
Disturbed – Leave It Alone
Dommin – Closure
Dope – Pig Society
Down – Learn From This Mistake
Dream Theater – As I Am
Exodus – Open Season
Finger Eleven – Slow Chemical
Five Finger Death Punch – Meet the Monster
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Fozzy – Let the Madness Begin
Fuel – Down Inside of You
Godsmack – Temptation
Hail the Villain – Glad to Be
Halestorm – Innocence
Hellyeah – Stand or Walk Away
Hinder – Waking Up the Devil
Ill Niño – Violent Saint
Killswitch Engage – Reckoning
Kreator – Under the Guillotine
Kyle Turley – Another Whiskey
Led Zeppelin – What Is and What Should Never Be
Machine Head – Aesthetics of Hate
Megadeth – Tornado of Souls
Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls
Motorhead – God Was Never On Your Side
Mudvayne – World So Cold
Nine Inch Nails – Every Day Is Exactly the Same
Nonpoint – Past It All
Pantera – I’m Broken
Pop Evil – Hero
Puddle of Mudd – Blurry
Puscifer – The Undertaker
Rev Theory – Ten Years
Saliva – Hate Me
Seether – FMLYHM
Shinedown – Begin Again
Sick Puppies – You’re Going Down
Slayer – Payback
Slipknot – Before I Forget
Sodom – Sodomy and Lust
Soil – Remember
Staind – Something to Remind You
Stereoside – Tattoo
Stone Sour – Inhale
Superjoint Ritual – The Knife Rises
Testament – Face in the Sky
Three Days Grace – Last to Know
Tool – Vicarious
Trivium – Throes of Perdition
Type O Negative – Anesthesia
Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines
Zakk Wylde – Sold My Soul