Propaganda? Or just self-epitomization?

Haslev, that’s the name of the town which I’ve been studying in for the last 4 years or so.

But there something very, very wrong in this little town: The town is the center for the Church Association for the Inner Mission in Denmark. And if there’s something that really can bring my blood to a boiling point; it is religious people trying to convert atheist discreetly.

The town have about 11.000+ residents, and it wasn’t before the 20th century it became the centre for CAIMD.

The latter built a folk high school, sixth-form college (with a boarding school) among others. In the 1970s and 1980s, the schools became independent of the founding association.

It is said that only a few inner missionaries still reside in the town, but trust me when I say it doesn’t feel that way. The school I’m currently studying at is definitely not the worst one in this… Eh… I just realized that “God forsaken town” would be the least appropriate thing to call it.

Most people have probably heard that Danes are very open-minded with our religion, and that is indeed true, but there’s still some groups who is the polar opposite, trying to force every little piece of Christian religion down my throat, using whatever small abstract piece of paper they happen to be armed with. (There is a reason for Denmark being the only country mentioned in the ‘see also’ section, on this wikipedia page: Inner mission )

Well, Haslev is getting better, but the hopes of the town to be completely “Inner missionary free” Is of little substance.

I’ll be completely fine with all those religious people, if they just kept their superstitious words to themselves.

Anyway; I had a little fun idea yesterday. Thus I, with the best of my current skills, drew some old-fashioned propaganda. It’s part of a group, which is against all forms of forcing both children, nor adult into an unwanted religion. (Or what they would call “self-realization”, shams!)

I was trying to get a vintage, steam punk-ish feel about it. I think it succeeded.

I’m going to print about 8 posters of this, and hang them up in the hallways in my school, to see if I can get some more teacher with me on this.

And yet again: I don’t have anything against religion, I just think that if a hovering zombie saint, who could turn the must common fluid on our planet into wine, can be the ideal vanguard for the whole human race… Then a self-destructive golem, made out of expired vanilla pudding, can be so too. (Not that I actually think there’s a golem made out of expired vanilla pudding… Buuut I’m pretty sure you get the point. (If there ever was one))

Review: Ghost brigade – Until fear no longer defines us: Collectors edition

Cover art by the band itself.

I originally intended to write a multi review of Opeth- and machine head’s newest releases, Heritage and Unto the locust, but as the relatively large box got to my doorstep, ten days earlier than when they all three should have arrived, I decided against it.

As I was analyzing the neat box’s content, I found a piece of paper with all the member’s individual signatures – which made my day.

Even though there cardboard box it wrapped for protection was about four times the mass of the actual box I bought – It’s still fairly large, as I said before. The cover art of the CD is the same as the box, which is why the box now stands proud at the top of my desk. The cover art really sets a mood – A mood that isn’t bad, but rather neutral/good. It makes me smile, and which cannot be a bad this, no matter how you look at it. Peace at heart – That what it gives.

Anyway; I took the content out, to get a nice look at it. As I couldn’t really remember what the content list said, so I gave it a sorting. The box contained:

  • One lengthy bracelet-thingy, made of black leather, engraved with the lines “Ghost brigade”, and “Until fear no longer defines us” – All in capital letters.
  • The actual CD (Of course) made of cardboard, nicely designed, like Season of the mist is usually doing a great job at – Especially with the album Absolute design, from Engel.
  • A T-shirt, again with the band-name on it, and a bird with an anchor on the back. I chose the size XL, mostly because such T-shirt can be a lot smaller than those two letter suggest. (And the fact that I’m a chubby lad *Giggles*) It seems far too big though, so keep that in mind.
  • Three badges, medium/small sized. One with the anchor bird, one with the album title, and one that simply says “Ghost brigade”. Two of them now rest nicely on my awesome Peak beanie.
  • As I said before: The autograph from all the band members.
  • Two pointless flyers from Season of the mist, featuring some merchandise from bands I don’t really like – which renders it worthless to me.
  • Bubble-wrap… I love bubble-wrap.

That was pretty much it, which is more than enough for just four-hundred  Danish kroner – now let me review the actual music:

Ghost brigade has really improved on the melodical part, and by that I mean they’ve reached a point of mastery for mixing melodies together. Breakwater – song number seven – Is probably one of the best examples on their improved melodies. It features light, high-pitched guitar sounds to aid the heavy power-chords. The drums follows along quite well, almost beating the riff into shape, in a manner of speaking.

One of the things about Ghost brigade I love the most, is the divine balance between acoustic, and almost spine-shivering clear tones, against the deep, dark and heavy riffs. I know that just saying it make it sound like every other metal band, but you’ll have to look deep to find a band that falsifies my statement. To explain that, you’ll have to take listen to my favourite song on the album; Chamber. It doesn’t feature the heaviest side of the band, like the single – Clawmaster – does, but still delivers the fell that is the full potential of their crystal-clear tones.

To be a little critical; It still feels like they are a little scared to experiment with their style, leaving behind music that doesn’t have as much variety as I’ve hoped. As song are getting more powerful, they are still doing it a little too slow.

To keep the focus on the experimental; I’ll like to note that the song 8’th song, Cult of decay, surprised me. Mostly with the strangely muted guitar sound, that carries the song almost as much as the drums of the track. The song could be easily be defined with the word “intriguing”, and gives plenty of time to clear you head before Torn, which is one of the heaviest songs on the album, yet still a great step softer than the fourth song, Traces of Liberty.

Soulcarvers brings back memories from my favourite track on their second album, Isolation songs. Soulcarvers ends the album with both grace, and power. Leaving you with feelings, rather than a hastily muted chord. Even Manne’s voice kept the tone in my head for a half minute after the the album ended – A marvellous ending.

Back to the other end of the album. Out of choice, I didn’t want to hear the songs before I got the album, and boy that intro song caught my attention. It’s one of those beautiful, sad songs that make you stand still, and look another human being’s eye to stare in. Not one of those that’ll make you cry inside (In the good way, I mean) It’s one of those that make you sit down, and close your eyes – Much like the camp fire in the middle of a forest. Maybe that correlation isn’t random, as the name of the song is ‘In the woods’ after all.

Time for a breakdown of the review, and some numbers:

Variety – 7/10

As I mentioned; there isn’t much variety from the previous albums, the song of the album however, is spread nearly perfectly across the whole album. It’s a shame that the lack experimenting drags it down. Both bass and vocals is nearly the same as before, that’s not entirely a bad thing though. The drums is the most improved part of the album, and really shows an all out performance.

Sound – 9/10

The sound of this album delivers, and by sound I mean Volume, clipping, mixing and tone. As I said – The sound and tone of this album is crystal clear, and gives you a feel of being surrounded by every little sound it spews at me, which is nothing but a good thing. It would have got ten if it wasn’t for a sometimes flat tone in the heavy part, although it’s not that noticeable.

Lyrics – 8/10

I know a lot of people who’ll greatly disagree with me that the lyrics of a song matter, but as I see it; lyrics is the question, while the song is the answer. Another thing is that lyrics is also how the the lyrics is sung – how it’s integrated in the song. All is good on the lyrics front, but tend to be a little depressing. Manne did a wonderful job at delivering both growl and clean vocals. The only problem here is that the variety of the growl seems a little unnatural at times, not giving at a proper flow.

Melody – 8/10

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times by now, and both rhythm and beat is improved by far. Both guitar and drums gives a whole new dynamic to the album. There’s not really anything to pick on, thus it’s better than good – above average. But if I should complain about anything, regarding the melody, it would be that even though the melody is great, it isn’t really displayed correctly. Though it’s almost impossible to notice without keeping it in mind.

Overall – 8/10

Great album. A little the same, and yet bloody beautiful. Delivers both hard and soft. Though the soft tend to carry the heavy part. The heavy riffs sounds more thought through than the previous releases. An almost must buy for people wanting peace at heart, but still keep themselves awake.

And two ratings that doesn’t get counted together with the overall score:

Artwork – 8/10

Even though the cover art sets the mood for the whole album, it still feel like more of a beautiful picture, than a beautiful piece of art. And the fact that the booklet only contains a black background and white text, with the cover art on the other side, disappoints me a little, but the cover art is still fantastic, so it doesn’t matter that much.

Extras – 10/10

Going only by the fact that this is the limited collectors edition, it’s one of the best I’ve even seen yet. Everything seems high quality, even the box. And because you also get the autograph from all the band member, gives it a colossal boost towards the better. The price is also really good for the content. I’ll recommend it with all my heart.

Jonas Christensen


Quotidian thoughts and quotidian words, from a quotidian mind.

Ever tried to write your own thought? Me neither… Or well, I tried to do so for the last two weeks – the result is kind of humorous, at least for my deviant mind. I tried to take some scenarios too, so dialogue is also attending.

I didn’t want to categorize it, so length will differ from a line of thought to a lengthy conversation. I did narrow it down to two thought… Now to start:

1. During the Danish rainstorm:

Rain, rain, rain… How I love the fact that I’m living on a hill.

2. Me, two female adult teachers, a friend of mine, and a guy at my age that I don’t really like (and he tend to stalk me) are sitting in the classroom – talking about what costume to wear when it’s the final day of school.

Me: “Hmmm, I think I’ll dress up like a Scot, with a red beard, a funny hat-thing, some bear pelt, and a checkered kilt.”

Teacher: “You know that real Scots aren’t wearing anything under the kilt, right? And I don’t think you wouldn’t dare such thing.”

Me: “Nah, I probably wont.”

The guy at my age I don’t really like: “Dammit!”

Everyone of us look at him, trying to understand what social glitch in his mind that made him say such strange, and utterly wrong thing.

And then the other teacher laughed for about 25 minutes straight…

3. While walking to Physics and chemistry class. Two kids, from about second grade, asks me a question. Though I still don’t know why they asked.

Kids: “I’m lying… Am I?”

Me, stopping to think for a second before answering: “Well: Your question seem to lead to a contradiction – a double-sided  situation which seems to defy logic or intuition. My personal guess would be to ask you about what you’re throwing such vicious statements, so your words would be either black or white – in the matter of non-racial meaning.”

Kids: “So…. Are you saying that I’m lying?”

Then I just ignored them.

4. Thinking, whilst eating ramen breeds funny thoughts:

If an ‘Opposite day’ exists, doesn’t that mean the sentence: “It’s Opposite day today!” Will never be truthful?

5. If I ever have a kid; I’ll look him or her in the eye, and say:

“Want a ball, child? Make it. -With bolt scissor and needle.”

“Want a bird, child? Catch it. -With net and bait.

“Want beauty, child? Shape it. –With pen and brush.”

Want love, child? Give it. –With words and sympathy.”

“Want danger, child? Greet it. –With open arms and preparation.”

6. “Always remember: you are unique – just like anyone else?”

Is it that motivating thought that makes millions seek comforting in cubicles?

Or is that the pillars of creation for the human identity?

7. While waiting in queue at school:

 Women outside queue holds a bag up, and yells: “Anyone own this loot?”

Me, who was really bored: “I call dibs for the armour!”

Hilarity ensues among the geek crowd.

8. Me and my brother sitting inside, doing nothing:

Me: “Dude, time is a pain – always destroying my plans.”

My brother: “Fuck time: I got internet.”

Me: “But if time didn’t exist; you wouldn’t have internet.”

My brother: “Doesn’t matter – Still got internet now.”

9. Recalling a dialogue, from years back, while sitting in the bus:

Male teacher and female teacher sitting at the table, while me and a little kid is sitting on the other end of the table – minding our own business, but still listening.

Female teacher to male teacher: “I like your date’s name, it beautiful.”

Little kid next to me: “What’s his name?”

And yet again: We all laughed… Except for the kid, who didn’t understand why we were laughing.

10. Yet another dialogue, with a rather… Simple-minded girl, that I didn’t/don’t know.

She approaches me while I was drawing, right after class, and asks me:

“I bought one of those… Drawing tablets, but it wont work. I’ve tried all my pencils, ballpoint pens, and I even tried a brush – But it doesn’t work.”

I look at her, thinking she’s joking, but still unsure: “You know it only reacts to magnets, right?”

She gives me a look, like I’m saying rubbish: “You’re obviously lying; magnet destroy electronics and stuff”

And I never spoke to her again.

Afterwords:

I actually intended to do a review of Ghost brigade’s new album: Until fear no longer defines us, but if I get the money to do it; I’ll do a multi review of:

Ghost brigade – Until fear no longer defines us.

Machine head – Unto the locust.

and Opeth – Heritage.

The problem is the release date for Unto the locust is six days after Heritage: The 26’th September, and that’s a pretty long time to wait. I’ll figure it out. Cheers

-Jonas Christensen

Ladies and Djentlemen

I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing anything recently, so as an excuse; I made a 3×3 panel beginners guide to the metal sub-genre Djent.

Hope you’ll enjoy, or just find it interesting.🙂

A small guide to djent

As I promised:I’ll post a couple of djent bands/songs for anyone to enjoy.

Meshuggah – Bleed There’s a very small chance that anyone not familiar with really hard metal is going to like this.

Periphery – Buttersnips This one (Or rather the whole band) is a little more kind on the ears, but again; that doesn’t mean anyone is going to like it.

TesseracT – Deception part II This one is yet again a little kinder on your ears, and you’ll probably survive even if you are a musically obvious 8’th grader.

TesseracT – Ambient sax solo This could probably be the most beautiful piece of djent I’ve ever listened to. It’s isn’t really heavy, and everyone should be able to listen to it.

Cloudkicker – Dysphobia Djent in its true form, showing both the ambient, futuristic sides and the rhythmic beats. No vocals, and slightly heavy.

Vildhjarta – Shiver This one isn’t for the faint of heart. It really shows how *Squee* can make any *djum djum djum* good.

Keith Merrow – Pillars of creation I found this guy some day back, and he simply blew my mind. No vocal this time either.

Abscent distance – Traces I found these two guys a week ago, and I’m impressed.

There’s an ocean of more djent bands out there, including sky harbour and such, but these are the ones I listen to the most.

If anyone also happens to wonder, the guy with the beanie, scarf and black hair is suppose to look like me, which I actually think he does… Well, except for being a cartoony, übber pale dude with arms the size of a thin stick.

Again: Sorry for not posting a lot, but I promise I’ll post something interesting before next Thursday.

-Jonas Christensen

Edit:

I am aware of the multiple spelling errors in the picture (So much for drawing it 4AM)

The biggest one is in frame 8:

“…The song is understandably called ‘Ambient sax solo’, and is probably the song with the-…”

Ponies, ponies everywhere…

Never in my rather short life, have I ever witnessed a culture, based on a cartoon like that, spread like fire on a pool of oil. But the speed isn’t really the most odd thing that riddles me about this, it’s the peculiar fanbase it has created. If anyone is still clad in incomprehension, and haven’t figured out what cartoon I’m talking about, then you probably haven’t been beyond the borders of Google, and into the wast barrens of the desultory, antipathetic oblivion, for the last 7 months. Well, this matter isn’t really of origin on the internet.

I’m talking about the cartoon “My little pony: Friendship is magic” And yes, as cute as it sounds, as cute it is. The show is originally made to the target fanbase consisting of young girls, around the age of 8. Despite that very fact, the show has gained a large group of “cult-like” followers, which is in public speech being called by the name “Bronies”.

Bronies are predominately male adults, as well as teenager. The age group 15-25 are the most common among Bronies. And I’m not sure what to think of this jolly, and otherwise cultistic regime. On one hand: It’s cute that some people are just trying to find the childish side of themselves, and doing it with a harmless show as MLP:FiM is nothing to see as a ludicrous nor bizarre act. On the other hand: It seems a little out of hand, considering it’s is a kids show after all. I’ve seen things like enthusiastic radio podcasts, to the endless ocean of fan art on popular sites like Deviantart and 4chan. (If you aren’t familiar with 4chan, then don’t google it, count yourselves as lucky) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to demote these acts of fascination. I think it’s awesome to be creative for any hobby anyone might have, and the to be passionate about something will always make the result better.

Before I continue, I might add that I, out of simple curiosity, chose to watch some episodes of the show. (Don’t judge me without having watched the show yourselves) As I said, part curiosity, and part “knowing what the hell I was going to write about” made me watch it. And I must admit; it is a very good show. My artistic nature genuinely want to promote the animations, and excellent drawings. But it is a rather unique show, actually explaining moral values without being too sugary. The show came out October 2010, thus it isn’t that old.

Anyways, to return to the Bronies:

It’s hard not to find traces of ponies around the internet now-a-days. But there’s some “Brony-sites” to be found, and after a rather quick search in some rather obscure (And rainbow coloured) corners of the internet, I found an image board called “Ponychan”. It’s a Brony counterpart of the infamous 4chan I mentioned earlier, but this site isn’t infested with morbid hentai (I’m still scarred since last visit… Never again) and cryptic paranormal stories.

Also, as I mentioned earlier; I found a podcast made by the most enthusiastic Bronies I’ve ever witnessed. It’s basically two guys, having a good time talking about the series, merchandise and what not. Still, I’ve nothing again thing like this. I actually think it’s rather cool to hear people loving their hobby as much as they do, and the show is actually very neatly put together, with guest commentators and etc…The sh0w is called “The BronyShow” if anyone is interested in joining the pony fever. You can also find it on iTunes, which I found out yesterday.

There’s also being held Brony meet-ups around the world. Somehow, I couldn’t help myself laughing a little about that, I think it’s a little crazy, but that’s okay. I think it’s a little too extreme, but my opinion won’t keep a handful of happy Bronies from having a BBQ or anything like that.

Just for the record: MLP:FiM is made by Lauren Faust. She’s known for her unique style, and her previous animated series like: The Powerpuff Girls, Kids Next Door and the animated movie: The Iron Giant.

So be nice to all the Bronies out there. They might be a little bizarre, but they could also be anyone you know, the mania isn’t that hard to hide I’m sure of. It’s not like it is the holocaust of the modern era.🙂

Now I’ll go and listen to some Machine head to wash the rainbows out my ears.

-Jonas Christensen

A game of chess, between you and the Grim reaper.

It’s a mystery, isn’t it? What happens when the fire in our soul runs out, and our body decays in the blackness of our tomb. We can only assume, believe and imagine, but we’ll never know or understand. Maybe there is a reason for that. Maybe the whole universe is based upon the fact, that we don’t know? But who knows even that? Hopefully no-one, because then there wouldn’t be anything left. Nothing to strive for, not a single goal to set for our beloved scientists.

Maybe the reason for everything, is that we search for the reason. If that is so, what should we question? I personally want to question anything, with the knowledge that there isn’t an answer for everything. If I knew everything about everything, what should I strive for? Personal development? The point is, that questions is all we have in the end. Sure we have enough trouble as it is now, with hunger, disease and global-warming. But if we knew all the answers, we could solve every problem known to man, with infinite knowledge.

Just for the record: I’m an atheist, and I carry a certain pride in that opinion. However that does not mean I don’t understand religion, and/or respect it. Actually, as an atheist, I find what I don’t believe in very intriguing. And I like the side of the bible that teaches people about moral, and what’s right. But when it goes from being a guideline, to a comprehensive guide to ones life, it’s too much.

However: Death, that’s what I want to discuss. And let me get right to the point, keeping it nice and clean: What if we are all the same? What if we all are great people like Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, or maybe even mass-murderers like Adolf Hitler? I’m not sure if it classifies as reincarnation, but what if I’m every man that ever existed, and ever will? If I after a life, goes back and plays the role as another human being? An accountant the first life, and the next life I’m a Prussian count? Kings, queens, soldiers, commoners, priests, beggars or serial-killers? It’s isn’t a deep, complex theory, and yet it’s something that affect us all. (If “All” is the right term here) But then again, would that knowledge bring us anywhere? There would be nothing we could do to change it, and we would still sit here in our cursed apathy, which has been haunting the human species for the last 30 years. Again; who knows?

Time wouldn’t exist, as we would be (or are) everywhere at the same time.

Jonas Christensen

The topic of ages: Video game violence?

It has been discussed since the dawn of games like Grand Theft Auto, with its obscure sandbox-like gameplay about being a criminal in the urban metropolis: Liberty city. And the gaming industry didn’t let those the new possibilities go pass without ‘abusing’ them to match the market. Back then, those bloody pixels wasn’t a target of verbal annihilation for concerned parent, or at least not as heavy as it is today, but as we walked over the border from 2D to 3D; things blew up.

Of course there’s notable examples as the classic Wolfenstein 3D, which was armed with a rather obscure storyline that allowed the player to actually kill Hitler, but the main example I want to focus on is Manhunt. Manhunt is a third-person stealth horror game, and it is easily the most gory game series for the Playstation 2 I’ve seen so far. It was even gory enough to get banned in New Zealand and Australia, even though it was marked as a “15+” game before it was banned in Australia. Manhunt is also a violation of § 131 StGB in Germany, and yet it was the country where I got my hands on the game, kinda ironic. Anyways: When Manhunt hit the stores back in October 2007, it quickly became the media’s punching bag and was accused for being the catalyst of a number of murders. The media quickly jumped to conclusions with this new and ‘vile’ game. Things like “Police reject game link to murder”, “Game blamed for hammer murder” and “The murder of a 14-year-old boy was game’s fault”  Though that wasn’t enough to stop the teenagers and young adults of UK from buying the exciting collection of sinister pixels.

That should be enough information to state my subjective opinion.

I know it isn’t that serious as it sound, or well, the murders are serious yes, but not the game itself. It’s like blaming the bullet in the skull of a dead man, and not the human behind the trigger. The media are blowing a fiery wind at the fire, with the intention of getting a new shocking reason and false truth behind any tragic event. Then the innocent parents are sitting home  in front of the tv, in all their ignorance, and listening to journalists, reporters, psychologists and what not, talking about the vile, nefarious nature of video games. Sure, if I didn’t have a living clue about games, I would also be worried for my children. (Please note that I don’t have any children) It’s easy to make the games seem like the villain, especially you don’t know better, but banning the game will only get the young more curious.

I must admit that I love video games, and I think that they play a huge part in the social and emotional evolution of children, but I don’t consider them dangerous. But again, it’s hard to talk about some of the mainstream games without realizing how grotesque it actually is. Taking an overly popular game like Call of duty, you’ll see children down to ages of 10 playing, even though the PEGI mark clearly says either 16+ or 18+. (I’ll discuss my relationship with PEGI another time) And these modern shooting games aren’t all that family friendly. I’m also mentioning this as a site note, that games like these are not only meant for kids with their level of gore, but the game itself isn’t designed for ten-year old kids either, which means that the kids way of playing the game online, is against the way more mature gamers plays it, and that is very annoying for anyone who expects to play with decent people.

I don’t think children see these violent things as clearly, or rather, it just isn’t what matters in their universe, especially not when it comes to competitive games. I’m not saying that parents should let their children play games like Manhunt, but they shouldn’t be afraid of their kids becoming something they aren’t already.

So all in all, I think that the mature society are making a way to big deal out of games, and adults should protect their kids of course, but they should know their “enemy” before making any unnecessary accusations. They should simply bear in mind; that maybe the game is violent, but that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous.

-Jonas Christensen