Archive for October, 2009

Dethklok and Mastodon Bring Metal’s Hottest Fall Tour To Boston

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

By Zach Shaw
As a metal fan, seeing Mastodon or Dethklok performing on separate headlining shows would be thrilling enough. So when it was announced that the two metal forces would co-headline a tour sponsored by Adult Swim, you could bet your ass I was excited as hell. And from the look of the crowd who entered the House Of Blues in Boston, MA on October 27, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t wait to attend arguably the most diverse and exciting metal tours of the Fall, 2009. The two headliners, with openers Converge and High On Fire, without a doubt delivered on the fan’s expectations. Whether it was Mastodon’s progressive technicality, or Dethklok’s animated death metal performance, the crowd received a hell of a metal night.

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Them Crooked Vultures Bring New Meaning To Heavy In Boston

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , on October 20, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

Picture 029

By Zach Shaw

It isn’t very often you get to witness an all-star super group with out having any clue as what to expect. Despite showcasing a line-up of heavy weights like Dave Grohl ( Foo Fighters) on drums, Josh Hommes (Queens Of The Stone Age) on vocals/guitars and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin….yes you heard correctly) on bass, Them Crooked Vultures has done a hell of a job keeping a low profile. Not only have they not released any music, but they’ve barely done any promotion of the band’s existence. Thus, unless if you’ve watched low quality videos of their surprise summer shows on Youtube, you probably don’t even know who Them Crooked Vultures are. With that in mind, everybody who entered the House of Blues in Boston that night (on October 11) was eager to discover the great mystery. What in the hell would Them Crooked Vultures sound like? Would it sound like Led Zeppelin, The Foo Fighters, or Queens Of The Stone Age? Would it sound like a mix? Would it even sound any good? Well once the band (joined by Queens Of The Stone Age live rhythm guitarist Alain Johannes) appeared onstage, all doubts were at ease.

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Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 3: Editing and Building CMC Wiki

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , on October 20, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. Which entry did you write? Which did you edit?

Previously, each micro-assignment was mentioned on the Wiki CMC page. When Libby, Ali and I added the Grading section to the page, we create a separate page for each part. I wrote the pages for the Micro-assignments and Attendance/Participation. Libby wrote the page for Blogs/Journal. Ali wrote the page for the Macro-assignments. We also created links for each part of the grading, as well as for the authors.

In addition, added more detail to the course description. I changed “This course” in the first sentence to “Computer Mediated Communications (COM 170)”. I also added the sentence “This course is taught by Professor Paul Bohan Broderick at Clark University” to the end of the course description.

2. How hard was it to make an entry?

The only difficulty I had when making an entry was not being able to edit when others were. The site did not allow you to edit while others were editing the same post. However, once more pages were being creating, there were more things to edit (thus speeding the process up). It also helped that I was working with Libby and Ali. We were able to spread the work together so more was done. For example, while I was creating a link page for Micro-assignments, Libby was able to work on the page with Blogs/Journals without interference. This way, everyone was able to contribute to editing.

3. Did you notice the opportunities for social interaction? Did you speak with the student whose entry you edited? Did anyone speak to you about editing your entry? Was there any sort of spontaneous order that resulted from this exercise?

I absolutely noticed the opportunities for social interaction. Wikipedia gives people the chance to create and edit a piece of work together. People are collaborating to accomplish the same goal: gathering information. While I did not speak with students whose post I edited, I did collaborate with Libby and Ali on editing the page. As soon as we got started, we began a pattern of how we posted updates (each of us taking a turn posting something), which then led to us working on new pages. Our communication led to building more on the site.

4. What is your general impression of this tool?

I am personally impressed with this tool and the capabilities it gives the web user. People are able to engage with a platform that seeks to enhance information. Through the discussion board featured on each page, people are also gathered with other people interested in the same goal of bettering sources about the subject. It is truly refreshing to see a Web 2.0 program that encourages participants to converse in order to improve something, rather than bashing.

Turns Out There Are Metal Heads In Princeton…Awsome!

Posted in Cool News with tags , , , on October 16, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

Photo by Jonathan Goh

Photo by Jonathan Goh

I’ve lived in the Princeton, NJ area since 6th grade (I actually live in Lawrenceville but it’s so close that it might as well be apart of the town). I even went to middle and high school in the heart of the town. So I am very familiar with Princeton University and how it’s usually associated with, to say it nicely, Ivy League snotty prep students. While this isn’t a fair assumption of the entire school body, and as much as I love the Princeton Record Exchange (who has the best collection of all music!), Princeton as a town never was a welcoming place for hard rock fans. That’s why I was tickled to hear about Princeton University students creating a student group called Headbangers Inc. The group is dedicated to creating a community for metal and hard rock fans on Princeton Campus. They have held album listening parties and on –campus concerts open for all students to attend. They have even posted listings of upcoming concerts in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York on their Facebook page so students didn’t have to go to show alone.
This is one of the coolest things I’ve heard about coming from any college campus, let alone Princeton, in a long time. It is great to see metal fans coming together and sharing their love of music in an open and accepting environment. Plus, I’d be lying to say I wasn’t proud that this was happening in Princeton. Take a look at The Daily Princetonian’s article about The Headbangers Inc. Who knows, maybe it’ll make you want to form your own campus group (it’s made me think about it).

Shadows Fall Hit Metal Glory With Retribution

Posted in CD Review with tags , , , on October 5, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

shadows_fall_retributionOut of all of the Mass-Core Metal bands to break out of New England, Shadows Fall has always been at the front of the charge. Their latest release, Retribution, proves that the boys from Springfield, MA are worthy of the buzz. With their first album off their own record label, Everblack Industries, Shadows Fall will make any metal fan both new and old raise their fists in the air.

Shadows Fall takes the aggression and melody from 2004’s The War Within and 2007’s Threads Of Life to the next level with Retribution. Singer Brian Fair’s vocals/screams feature more drive then ever, making songs like “My Demise” and “A Public Execution” sound more like battle cries. The vocals only come off stronger when guitarist Matt Bachand joins Fair on backing vocals on songs like “Still I Rise”. Drummer Jason Bittner and bassist Paul Romanko keep the band tight while speeding through songs like “War” and “Dead And Gone” that would make speed metal fanatics melt. However, guitarists Bachand and Jonathan Donais steal the show with riffs and solos that will stick in your head forever. Anthems like “The Taste Of Fear”, “King Of Nothing” and “Embrace Annihilation” are soon to be classics that are drenched with meaty and mesmerizing guitar work. Donais and Bachand have created riffs that will blow away metal heads for decades to come.

Shadows Fall do more then just pay tribute to their metal idols, or provide slam dancing music to hardcore fans. Retribution features vigorous yet melodic music that makes the entire metal music scene so powerful. While Shadows Fall has always been reliable for carrying the banner of today’s heavy metal, the band finally steps up to the plate as future legends. Shadows Fall is not just thrash metal. They are not just hardcore. They are not just mass-core. With Retribution, Shadows Fall proves that they are METAL in all senses.

-Zach Shaw

Pearl Jam Delivers The Rock With Backspacer

Posted in CD Review with tags , on October 4, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1797470_170x170Need another excuse to shop at Target this fall? Well thankfully Pearl Jam has given us one with their new album (exclusively sold via Target and iTunes) Backspacer. The band delivers a garage rock album that will please everyone from the most hardcore Pearl Jam devotee to the young new fan.

Each song highlights the band’s ability to create simple, melodic rock music. Eddie Vedder’s vocals are as solid as ever, with songs like “The Fixer” and “Johny Guitar” showing the passion Vedder captures in his voice. Guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard remain as tight as ever with drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Jeff Ament, especially on songs like the punk anthem “Got Some” and the powerful “Amongst The Waves” . And while fast songs like “Gonna See My Friend” will make you bounce to the beats, ballads like “Just Breathe” and “Speed Of Sound” will bring you to tears. Songs like the later showcase how the beauty of Vedder’s voice wil make you think back on your life with pain and joy. Though I highlight the good of the album, I will admit that some might find Backspacer less than mind blowing. Songs like “Supersonic”, though catchy, may seem to lack a new edge some music fans search for. However, it is melodic garage rock the band captures with each song that makes their latest album a great addition to any rock fan’s record collection.

So whether you’re looking for songs that will arise emotions in your soul, or simply just good old gritty rock n’ roll, Pearl Jam’s new album will please your needs. With Backspacer, the boys from Seattle satisfy fans’ desire for simple, yet melodic old school rock. So next time you go to Target to pick up washing detergent, pick up a copy of Backspacer. You can’t go wrong.

-Zach Shaw

Megadeth’s Endgame Proves That The End Is Far From Coming

Posted in CD Review with tags , , on October 4, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

megadeth-endgameIntense metal guitar riffs: check. Mind blowing guitar solos: check. In your face thrash metal rhythms: check. Dave Mustaine’s ravaged vocals: check. All the ingredients to a great Megadeth album are present in their latest release Endgame. Whether you can’t stop listening to past classics like Rust In Piece or Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying? or if you just want truly off the wall heavy metal, then you’ll love Megadeth’s new album.

Dave Mustaine, Megadeth’s singer/guitarist/head hancho, is back in a big way. With riffs meatier then ever, Mustaine’s guitar playing is as fast and tasty as ever, making songs like “1,320” and “This Day We Fight!” feel as if they could’ve been written in the band’s hay day. Just like his guitar playing, Mustaine’s vocals sound equally intense on songs like “How The Story Ends” and “Bodies”. However, Mustaine isn’t the only one stepping up to the plate on the new album. Drummer Shawn Drover and bassist James Lomenzo are back on board to give songs like “The Right To Go Insane” and “Bite The Hand” the groove that separated Megadeth from the rest of the thrash metal scene of the 80s. New guitarist Chris Broderick adds his own stamp to songs like “Head Crusher” and … well come to think of it, the entire album! In other words, Broderick proves his worthiness as a new member of the band.

Don’t call Endgame a “comeback album” for the thrash titans. The new album serves as a reminder that Megadeth are not just some washed up 80s metal band. With the album’s fast, heavy, and uncontrollable riffs, Dave Mustaine and company confirms that Megadeth will always be seen as the metal icons they truly are.
-Zach Shaw