Today, let’s look back at a point when KMFDM was still on top of their game, with “Ultra”:
In addition to being the soundtrack to one of the better fight scenes in anime, ever, “Ultra” is an awesome song on its own, that effectively showcased what KMFDM could be when all of its relative elements were tempered by each other. Modern KMFDM is mostly just political bullshit and a lot of specific sounds, but KMFDM in their prime featured somewhere around three “core” vocalists, in Sascha, En Esch and Raymond Watts (of Pig), and each brought a different style and sound to the experience. The record Nihil, which this song comes from, is as close to being the objectively best record KMFDM has ever produced as the scientific method would tolerate; while you probably can’t scientifically prove it through testing and such, from general discussion I’ve met few people who would actively disagree, and even then it’s more a case of pleasant disagreement rather than anyone saying “you’re on drugs,” at the assertion.
Point being, the whole record is fucking rad as hell and it’s one of the very few from KMFDM that doesn’t have a bad track on it. It’s also the record the song “Juke Joint Jezebel” comes from, which you know if you saw the first Mortal Kombat, among many other things from that time period.
I know I’ve spent a couple days ragging on KMFDM here, but songs like this were why, at one point, the band was my absolute favorite in the world. Anything negative I have to say about them comes almost entirely from the expectation that they can be better because they have been better, and the fact that they are not better is, honestly, frustrating.
Publisher: Midway. (Aah, Shadow Hearts, probably one of my favorite modern JRPG’s in existence. It’s weird, I generally dislike the series as a whole, but I love this specific game because it actually allows for a happy and relatively understandable ending that the franchise itself wasn’t willing to even try at. The second game still had a good ending, but it was such a convoluted mess, and the game hemorrhaged fans to the point that no one bought it, and the third game ended up being brought over by XSEED rather than Midway. The developer ended up being merged into Aruze, who dissolved the development team, and much of the team went to feelplus, which was a part of AQ Interactive, who themeselves then merged into Marvelous, which is arguably the only company in that list who ever developed a good game that wasn’t named Shadow Hearts. Well, Moon Diver was okay.)
For me, there’s a point in every game where it hooks me; where it takes an holy act of god to pry my sweaty little palms from the controller, because I feel as though I NEED to complete this game. Sometimes that comes from being enthralled with the game and it’s mechanics; other times, from the realization that I PAID MONEY for this pile of crap, and goddammit, I’m gonna see it through. (Sometimes, I just do it out of spite, like with Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.) And sometimes, there’s a frustration point, too; a point where I get so pissed off with the game that I don’t want to play it anymore, ever. (Like in Watch Dogs.) Sometimes that point hits at a particular fight in a game; sometimes I don’t know where to go at a certain point; or sometimes, I just get so FUCKING BORED with what’s going on that I give up. (Also like in Watch Dogs.) Today, we’re going to look at a game that both hooked me and pissed me off to the point I almost didn’t finish it. Today, we look at Shadow Hearts.
Since I brought it up yesterday, let’s take a look at what Depeche Mode has been up to fairly recently, with “Wrong”:
I have to admit, I kind of love this.
Depeche Mode is not a relevant band by any definition at this point, and if you listen to this, it’s apparent why, as they haven’t massively evolved stylistically from their debut. Their tools have improved, and their production is much better, but they still sound like you’d expect Depeche Mode to sound in 2014. Here’s the thing though: Depeche Mode in 2014 still sounds kind of interesting, mostly because the band doesn’t release records constantly, and they still know how to assemble an interesting beat and hook when they do release stuff. Thirteen CD’s in 32 years is fairly prolific, to be certain, but it gives you time to think about things and experiment a bit, rather than releasing a new CD every year that pounds your sound into the dirt. I mean, I’m just saying.
KGC – <i>Dirty Bomb</i> Review (As mentioned, we’re looking back at my review of the, so far only, KGC record produced, Dirty Bomb, for a bit of perspective as to why I feel Dean Garcia and KMFDM have kind of fallen on hard times creatively.)
Website: <a href= http://www.myspace.com/kgcmusic/ target=new>KGC on Myspace</a> (Hahaha oh God Myspace.)
Today we look at another Dean Garcia project, KGC:
I actually have a review I wrote for Beyond the Threshold kicking around that I’ll report today for shits and giggles, and to inform the discussion from this post, but in short: KGC is made up of three of the most talented musicians in the industrial genre today, between Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM, Lucia Cifarelli of Drill and KMFDM and Dean Garcia of Curve. You’d expect that a band made up of these three would sound, at best, like a sonic masterpiece, and at worst, like Curve with bits of KMFDM added in. In reality, it sounds boring as shit, as Sascha and Dean have both kind of… become the adult contemporary versions of themselves in the past decade, and while Lucia sounds fine, she always sounds fine, so that isn’t really enough to save this project from being mediocre.
(And here we go, back to the YHCOR game reviews. There are only about eight or so of these left before we get into the IP game reviews, so I’ll probably do some clearing out of the YHCOR backlog for a couple days once these are done, just to get that embarrassing mess over with, then get into the IP/DHGF stuff, because that at least is less embarrassing.)
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
Console: X Box
Genre: Sports/Simulation (Life) (For a very loose interpretation of both.)
Developer: Team Ninja
Y’know, sometimes I hate working for other websites. (Singular, at this point.) See, working at 411Mania is interesting and whatnot, but honestly, all I ever get to review there is the smaller games nobody plays. In addition, I don’t get to link to my website. Such is life in both cases, I know, but still, it kinda sucks. (I have to feel like this was honestly an Ashish Pabari policy more than anything; Widro, for all of our interpersonal disputes, is a goddamn prince about letting us do what we want, and Alex has never told me I cannot do something, and has generally stood by me whenever I’VE enforced something without question. We’ve had our differences behind the scenes but they’re both good friends of mine and let me do whatever I want, and I respect that. Plus Ashish was a fucking game thief anyway so fuck him and the spyware ridden hellhole 411 has become.)
A couple weeks back, I brought up Curve, and noted that the musicians associated, Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia, would’ve been better served staying together, as apart their music is a mess. Today we look at one of two Dean Garcia projects, SPC ECO:
The most notable thing about this band is that the vocalist is Garcia’s daughter, and she’s pretty solid; either her vocals are very good, or (more likely) she’s good at sticking to what she can do within the confines of the vocal effects. The problem is that the music never goes anywhere; it’s basically a lot of buildup for no payoff, a lot of effects, pads and soft guitars that just go on but never progress to anything. Go back to the above link and see how Garcia can pay off simple strings and pads with powerful, heavy guitar work and complex structures, and compare that to this, with its beautiful but incredibly boring musical structure. Every SPC ECO song is like that. Dean Garcia is just… bland now, essentially, and this is just a thing he’s doing, but not terribly infusing any passion into. It’s fine but it just feels… lazy, mostly.
For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
We’re at the end of the line for the second season; I’ll be taking a week off before launching into the third season to recharge a bit, but we’ve still got one more entry to go in this season, and it’s a good one. These are easily the two best entries in the second season of ERB, and they’d also rank fairly high on an “all time” list if we put together such a list at any point; they’re technically sound, well produced, and entertaining as all get out. Let’s get down to business…
(Oooooh boy. Okay, so I need to qualify this a whole fucking lot before we get started. Sooooo back in 2002, there was an angle going on surrounding a tag team called “Billy and Chuck,” because those were the first names of the wrestlers in the team, and wrestling is creative. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were in the middle of doing a shitload of nothing, and so were paired off as a tag team, whereupon they bleached their hair to match, wore matching outfits with their names printed on them, and… well, behaved in a manner that was meant to be purposefully homoerotic, without being actively homosexual. The basic gist was we were supposed to hate them, since they were heels, but we were never given any real reason to except, well, that they were gay-ish. Fortunately for the WWE (and unfortunately for everyone else), wrestling fans were (are) just homophobic enough that someone pretending to be gay for angle advancement purposes would draw heel heat… and also, fuck Billy Gunn, so booing was the natural reaction from fans. They ended up paired up with manager Rico, who was also presented as somewhat homosexual, culminating in him taking on a full-blown Exotic Adrian Street gimmick; at the time, though, he was just their roided up hair dresser. Continue reading
For an idea as to what we’re doing here, refer back to the introduction for more details.
We’re in the final four here, and while there was a lot of nothing going on in the middle of these rankings, the top four tracks from this season easily rival the quality of any competing seasons, albeit for much different reasons from one another. The two we have today probably could’ve both been winners on their own merits, which says a lot about the quality of the final two videos for this season, as these two are generally some of the better battles released from ERB overall. It’s only some minor issues that hold these battles back from getting into the top two; let’s jump in and see what ranked and why for today: