Walking Dead Series 5 Finale Review: “Conquest”

*Warnings of a spoiler: his name is Kevin Card and he’s generally kind of a douche-bag, especially when he writes about himself in a self-deprecating manner.*

Hello again folks, it’s my last Walking Dead review until this summer when the spin off series comes out. I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to my readers on WordPress and on my Facebook who comment regularly. Special shout out to bloggers edwinlives4ever and listentothebabe for their funny and interesting discussions on my WD posts. Also a special shout out to blogger Dominique for consistently liking all of my posts since he subscribed. You guys win my corner of the internet.

Well folks, it was almost 24 hours ago and I’m still taking in the whole experience of how epic this entire season was. It literally opened with a bang (the destruction of Terminus), followed by some annoying “cops are control freaks” filler in the middle, and closed out with many plot resolutions and the start of a new plot with Morgan coming back. The final episode to me was better than the season opener for how much suspense it created from a single “public forum” debate.

If my readers want a plot synopsis, here you go. Otherwise, I’ll just touch up on what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy.

What I enjoyed: It was great seeing Pete get his full on comeuppances by having Rick shoot him in the head while being wrestled to the ground by Abraham, it was awesome to see Morgan again and finally figure out who the those Wolf freaks were. I also enjoyed seeing Glenn and Nicholas resolve their differences after almost nearly killing each other. It’s awesome to see how far Carol’s character development has come this season. Lastly, I love how they resolved every single plot point in season 5.2 in the last half hour at the forum. I’ll also credit the writers misleading us thinking that Rick was going down the same path as The Governor for a while, but they were actually foreshadowing the death of Reggie.

What I didn’t like: Seeing that Morgan didn’t finish off the Wolves when he had the chance, this is only going to come back and bite Morgan and all of Alexandrea in the ass next season (especially if you’re familiar with the comics). I didn’t feel it was necessary for father Gabriel to loose his sanity and have him bully Sasha, who’s also been loosing her grasp on reality. Though the scene between Father Gabriel and Sasha did create some better resolutions later on in the episode. Not much else to complain aside from seeing how quickly the red poncho guy got killed off (distant Star Trek reference?)

I was glad to be wrong about Daryl biting the dust, even though that scene in the van was a real tease for some people who were expecting him to die. Also, I feel really sorry for Deanna now since she’s basically lost the majority of her family. This will probably spell trouble down the road for Alexandrea.

As season 5 has closed, I bid farewell to what has been the best season of The Walking Dead to date. Many have said Walking Dead can’t measure up to other AMC fan favorite like Breaking Bad, but it doesn’t have too anymore. Walking Dead is simply in a separate league and genre of badassery than Breaking Bad was.

In honor of the new villains for next season, here’s an industrial metal song that I found while browsing Youtube earlier today.

-KCard

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Walking Dead 5.15 Review: “Try”

*Spoiler warning: remember, remember, the 5th of November. Because some major shit went down back then and last Sunday*

Also, be warned of PG-13 level foul language in my review.

So my review’s up late again, but who’s counting other than me? I blog on a voluntary basis and write for free because it grants me the freedom to write what’s on my mind. I often use my personal Facebook page to experiment on what topics I should cover, and so far I find there’s more malice among common friends than there is among strangers on WordPress. But that could just be because I haven’t written anything controversial since I blamed capitalism for ruining the lives of American musicians. Anyways, this week’s episode was slow in the first half and the episode suddenly erupted into huge amounts of awesome moments that just kept culminating into a sudden stop.

What I didn’t enjoy: Seeing how crazy Sasha has become boiling over into her hunting walkers thinking she could actually dent a swath into the sheer number of Walkers in the surrounding DC area. Sasha is a damn good shot, I just wish her sanity were as sharp as her aim. I’m also getting tired of Deanna’s character who seemed likable at first, but is quickly reminding me of a more mild version of Senator Michelle Bachman (who in my view only wants things her way and isn’t fully aware of the world around her). My apologies to Bachman supporters, but such is the way of opinions on politicians. Anyways, Deanna is morbidly pissed about her son dying and the bull shit that Nicholas fed her about Rick’s group members being the cause of Aiden’s death. I don’t blame Deanna for being mad, but that doesn’t mean I have to like where her character development is currently headed.

What I did enjoy: Not to contradict myself, but seeing Sasha kick zombie ass with a sniper rifle was pretty damn epic. She never wasted a single shot, unlike many other characters in zombie films. Seeing Pete get pushed through a window and seeing Rick enact some old western style karma on him was great, too. The whole last half hour of this episode just grabbed me by the entrails and wouldn’t let go, all culminating in that badass speech Rick made about how things should be done his way. Looks the Ricktatorship ego has made a comeback, or at least it did until Michonne clocked Rick out cold right before the credits flashed.

In honor of Rick’s ego(s) being knocked out, I hereby post the latest single of my all time favorite band: Breaking Benjmain!

PS, I’ll bet 10 figurative dollars that Daryl and Aaron are closing in on finding Morgan Jones at the camp fire site, who I wouldn’t put it past for carving stuff on the for-heads of the walkers given how crazy he acted in season 3.

-KCard

Walking Dead Review: Episode 5.14 “Betrayal and Redemption”

*Spoiler warnings: I post them not to piss people off, and spoiler warnings are still more socially accepted by Republicans than Trigger Warnings*

For those who haven’t figured out yet, I’m a moderate Democrat who used to a be a self proclaimed mega liberal. Now that conservatives in congress are looking to make laws about which bathroom a trans person can only use, I’m about ready to loose faith in humanity and politics all together (and a zombie apocalypse suddenly becomes vastly more appealing to me than it was before). Anyways, I loved this weeks episode of The Walking Dead a lot since it was a roller coaster ride of “Holy shit” and “that’s so epic” moments that it’s ridiculous. I’m not going to bother with summaries anymore, as you can watch the episode or read about the plot on Wikipedia now a days anyways (hey, that rhymes!)

To keep this review nice and short I’m going to state what I enjoyed, what I didn’t like, and what I hope to see next time.

What I enjoyed: One name, one red haired dude who kicks ass in time for St. Patricks Day: Abraham! I loved seeing this dude kick zombie ass medieval style with that weighted hammer and mace like weapon and him coining the phrase “mother-dick”, that was just fucking brilliant. I also enjoyed how they tied in Carol interacting with Sam from last week to where we found another comic based plot point: that Jesse and Sam are being beaten by Pete. Lastly, I equally enjoyed seeing that armored walker blow up from the grenade explosion and seeing Eugene finally grow some back bone and step up to save Tara.

What I didn’t enjoy: It’s to be expected that there’s going to be a lot of gore in a zombie apocalypse, but seeing Noah die the way he did (and how quickly he got killed off) was too much for me. Not that I couldn’t stomach the gore, but that it seemed pretty forced to me in how it was executed (just like how the fight between The Mountain and Prince Oberyn went down in Game of Thrones last season). Also, I know I wanted Aiden to get his come-up-ins, but I didn’t think he deserved to get impaled from a grenade explosion, and then disemboweled by walkers old school Romero style. Lastly, I did feel that drunk scene between Pete and Rick was incredibly awkward and out of place with the rest of the episode. They could have used those two minutes more productively.

What I hope to see next time: 

Lots of ass kicking and resolution of the tensions that are high in Alexandria would be nice, but I’m pretty sure next week will cover that. Looking forward to seeing Rick confront Pete, and if father Gabriel will continue to influence Deanna in convincing her that Rick’s group is evil (“Satan has many servants”). As for everything else, I’d say that the season finale should be just as explosive as the season opening. We shall see where things go from here.

Speaking of the works of Satan, here is on of my favorite Avenged Sevenfold songs to close out this review:

-Kcard

Album Review: “Totality” by Lotus Effect

Re-blogging simply because I goofed on the scheduling of this blog the first time. Also, my Walking Dead review will be out later tonight.

Kevin Card

Local Texas band Lotus Effect reached out to me on Twitter a few months ago, and I finally found the time to check out the album they sent to me to review on my blog. Since it’s taken me a while to start this review I have decided to do a song by song break down like one of my old school blog reviews. What’s written below is my live reaction to hearing each song for the first time.

Songs:

1. “God Particle”- An interesting intro that grabs your attention with thought evoking lyrics about God and scripture. This song uses spoken words for the vocals, starts off mellow with guitars on reverb and then stops into a synth build up, then climaxes into a progressive classical piece reminiscent of an old church chorale from the Baroque era (just dark, not abstract). This piece strikes as a daring way to…

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Walking Dead Review: “Forget”

*Emergency, emergency, spoilers are imminent. I repeat, spoilers are imminent Prepare to man your keyboards and be warned of butt-hurt comic fans*

I enjoyed this weeks episode simply for how many subplots they weaved together so quickly into just one hour. Before I go into my review, I want to touch up something that annoys me about the Fandom community: “source material loyalty” rants. For the record, I’ve read the first two compendiums of The Walking Dead comics and deeply enjoyed them. It’s fair to say that I like the show and the comics equally (but for different reasons). I get why many comic book fans say there’s too much filler in the show, but just because something is based off something else doesn’t mean it has to be 100% accurate to the source material. TWD show may deviate from the comics, but it’s probably the most loyal live action adaption of a zombie story in the history of zombie media; especially compared to the horrible Resident Evil film franchise and that god awful movie World War Z (which was basically a poor Max Brooks fan fiction).

As I step off my writer’s soapbox, I shall now step back onto my critiquing soapbox. As mentioned previously, this week’s episode had a lot going on in it. To summarize, the episode plays out showing how Rick’s group is adapting to life in Alexandria, and how most of the group is starting to enjoy life there. The exception that we’re seeing to this rule is Sasha who’s sharp shooting skills are sharp, but her grasp on reality is still dull. We see that Sasha is still haunted by all the recent deaths of her friends and loved ones, as she pointlessly shoots old photographs and gets royally pissed off at the people at the cocktail party later in the episode. Meanwhile Rick, Carol, and Daryl are letting Alexandria grow on them (but not without suspicion). Daryl has come out of shell and with help from Aaron to become another recruiter for Alexandria. Lastly, Carol scared the ever living Be-Jesus out of a child by making a speech that reminds me heavily of something Freddy Kreuger would say. Carol made this speech to hide the fact that she was stealing guns from the weapon storage building.

The only thing I didn’t really enjoy was seeing Buttons the horse become zombie food, and maybe how Sasha is becoming so emotional at this point (not that I blame her). Otherwise this episode was chocked full of awesome things such as getting to know Aaron’s back story, seeing the kiss between Aaron and his husband for how it pushed a boundary among the more politically conservative television audiences, and the kiss with Rick and Jessie for it’s shock value in how Rick has been cold and distant towards female characters for the last two seasons. Carol’s speech was also something that will go down in the history of this show as something that evokes fear into your soul (especially since the zombies have lost their shock factor by this point). Lastly, I enjoyed seeing Daryl warm up to the idea of helping Alexandria out by Aaron’s continued kindness towards him.

By the looks of things, some major stuff has yet to play out between all of these intersecting plot lines and the fact that we only have three episodes left in the season. Namely what’s going with Rick’s grasp on power, Sasha’s emotional state, and why the hell that Walker had a “W” on it’s forehead. Judging by the preview of next week’s episode, it would seem that another heard of walkers is making their way towards Alexandria, which we shall see how well the walls could withstand such an onslaught.

Speaking of forgetting and love story plots, here’s a badass song by Apolocayptica and Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, “SOS (Anything but Love)” that reminds of the emotional struggles of characters on TWD:

-KCard

Album Review: “Totality” by Lotus Effect

Local Texas band Lotus Effect reached out to me on Twitter a few months ago, and I finally found the time to check out the album they sent to me to review on my blog. Since it’s taken me a while to start this review I have decided to do a song by song break down like one of my old school blog reviews. What’s written below is my live reaction to hearing each song for the first time.

Songs:

1. “God Particle”- An interesting intro that grabs your attention with thought evoking lyrics about God and scripture. This song uses spoken words for the vocals, starts off mellow with guitars on reverb and then stops into a synth build up, then climaxes into a progressive classical piece reminiscent of an old church chorale from the Baroque era (just dark, not abstract). This piece strikes as a daring way to open an album, and doesn’t disappoint. My interest is garnished, and I look forward to the next song that it flawlessly transitions into.

2. “Window Panes”- This song kicks up as the intro fades a more recognizable alternative metal opening that builds into a heavy metal moshing groove. The singer kicks in at 30 seconds, demonstrating how well he can go from singing to shrieking like Rob Halford from Judas Priest. The instrumentation sounds like modern metal, but also has some more alternative influences. This piece is heavy in the same way that Tool’s “10,000 Days” album was heavy in that it makes you want to mosh, but also makes your jaw drop at all the intricacies thrown in. Overall, this six minute song keeps you on your toes and does not let you down.

3. “Hangman”- This piece reminds me stylistically of Iron Maiden meeting bands like Breaking Benjamin and 30 Seconds to Mars in that it progresses on a steady rhythm, and has emotion filled vocals that tell the tale of man forsaken by society and that he will miss his lover. This piece comes off sounding slower in tempo than the previous two songs, but still comes off as pretty strong to me in how the vocals of a story of the forsaken man against the will of an executioner. Not my favorite song, but not the worst thus far.

4. “Try Harder”- This song stands apart from the others as starting off mellow and quickly becomes more dramatic as the song progresses towards the chorus. The song tells of a man who can’t forgive his ex-lover who has wronged him in a deep way. The piece speeds up and slows down in certain parts continuously to build and resolve tension, and the singer’s screaming is especially note worthy in this song.

5. “Totality”- The lead single and name sake of the album displays the band in full form, with hard hitting guitar riffs and riffs that build up into a climatic chorus, an experimental break down with a synthesizer solo, and a dramatic closing in the song where everything slows down. This is my favorite track off of the album so far because this song is just so epic, I love the outro and how this song progresses into something so different then you will hear in a lot of other metal today.

6. “Pumapunku”- In an intro that makes me think of the old west meeting prog rock, this is the most groovy piece on the album thus far and proves to be an epic instrumental to bridge the first half of the album to the second. This piece makes me want to kick ass inside of a mosh pit, but also to contemplate the mysteries of life. A short, but incredibly sweet instrumental.

7. “Coronium”- This piece stands out as a more down tempo and low key feel, but still retains it’s heavy sound when the distorted guitars kicks in. The most notable thing for me in this song is how the bass guitar makes a counter melody alongside the vocals rather than the guitars. I’ll admit that this particular song’s my least favorite on the track so far, but that’s not to say it’s an awful song. This song does grab my attention, and I can tell the band put their hearts into it, I’m just not a fan of how the verses sound with how syncopated every instrument sounds (that they’re off beat rhythmically vs the other songs).

8. “Saviour”- This next song sets itself apart from the previous seven as being the most straightforward thrash metal inspired piece, and also breaks the feeling on musical continuity. With how the first half of the song chugs along like a slow but certain freight train, while the second half sounds reminiscent of Tool’s album “10,000 Days”. While I didn’t like what “Coronium” was going for, this song astounds me with how well Lotus Effect is combining two different musical styles so seamlessly. This song is definitely the game changer in the feel of the whole album, another solid track.

9. “Promise”- Another different piece, this song is more of an alternative rock song that sounds heavy and exciting, but doesn’t strike me as an aggressive song (think Coheed and Cambria). This song is actually very down key through out the whole thing, and makes me think of a man singing to his lover about his struggles to be on this earth. I love this song for the story the lyrics tell, even if it is one of the longest pieces on the album.

10. “Cutting”- This piece opens on a piano playing that sounds incredibly reminiscent of the opening of the Italian Aria “Sebben, Crudele” by Antonio Caldara’s, then fades into a separate fast riff song that is more in the style of speed metal. Another six minute song, this one is like several pieces put together as a master medley of strong and heart filled guitar playing. Compilation style songs aren’t always my thing, but Lotus Effect pulls things off well with how this piece refers back to the main themes towards the end of the song. The piano at the outro sounds gorgeous, it’s truly to die for.

11. “Supernova”- The longest piece on the album at eight minutes and 52 seconds, and it opens just like how “God Particle” does with a dramatic speech and a very drawn out synthesizer interlude that reminds me of something from one of the English dubs of Dragon Ball Z followed by thirty seconds of silence (John Cage, is that you?) After the silence representing the end of days clears, we hear a very expressive western guitar playing with the singer closing out the album in style with harmonies and a violin in the background singing about how his love is an angel. This song is the first song I’ve ever had to say where I grew bored with the first half, but loved the second half dearly. Kudos to to Lotus Effect for closing out an album this progressive in such a traditional method.

Instrumentation:

Each member of the band has a solid grasp of their instrument, but I feel like the majority of the focus goes to the vocals performed by Dre Giles for how amazing he can hit those high notes and still bust out some epic screams. I’m fond of the guitar work by Ricki Marquez, the drumming by Richie Caldwell is perfect with the style, and I like how independent of a role the bass played by Vincent Fink and how it holds it’s own melodies at times vs just being purely a support instrument. Of course, being a bassist myself I’m always going to be a bit biased towards the bass guitar.

Overall:

I should hand it to these guys, this has been an epic experience to review this great progressive and powerful album that has each song flow seamlessly to the next. I don’t like every single song the same, but I fail to hate any of the songs on this album. It’s a great experience to listen to the album way through, and I can only wonder why these guys haven’t gotten more press than they already have. I rate this album a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommended this album for listeners of alternative and heavy metal music.

You can help me support more local musicians by having them contact me to review their stuff, I’ll gladly take a listen in exchange for blog shares. I’m happy Lotus Effect sought me out, and I hope it’s the first of many bands to do the same.

-KCard

Walking Dead Season 5.2 Review (So Far)

*Warning: Spoilers be ahead there, me hearties. Yar har har*

So I decided to sound like a pirate with the spoiler warning, so so sue me.

As my readers might have noticed, I’ve fallen behind on doing individual reviews on the episodes of The Walking Dead for the last three weeks. I’ve decided to do the logical thing and review what’s happened in the season so far as whole. I’m not going to be doing much summarizing with the episodes since it would take too long. Instead I’m going to touch up on the strengths and weaknesses of season 5.2 thus far.

What I disliked: Not going to be a very large list here, but I have some minor complaints to touch upon. My first complaint is how quickly they killed of Tyreese in the opening episode,why does this show constantly have to kill the moral center of the group? We understood the symbolism of human selfishness in this show well after season 4.1 ended. It could be worse though, at least the mortality rates of good guy characters in the Walking Dead doesn’t go to Game of Thrones proportions. The other thing that I dislike is how they’ve handled Noah’s character development, I just feel like he’s either too nice or too petty with how he interacts with others in the group. He’s a new character though, so I’m sure that they will give him a bigger and less annoying role in the group. Lastly, some of the characters in Alexandria (if anything like the comics) are proving to be kind of one-dimensional and annoying themselves. The moment that ROTC scavenger character (who I’m too lazy to Google the name of right now) dies, the better for thinking he can psychological warfare with the walkers.

What I liked: On the other hand, I can really tell the budget and writing for this season has increased and AMC is pulling all of the stops to really make season five blockbuster quality (the term for movies, not the bankrupt store). First, the way Tyreese died was awesome with how we saw the killed off characters with hallucinations interact with him. I like the design of Alexandria so far, even though the artwork was much better in the comics (#Firstworldnerdproblems). The comedy is also on point this season, it was pretty hilarious to see Sasha kill those rabid dogs and see the group eating dog meat immediately afterwards. Lastly, I enjoyed seeing how most of the group has adapted back into a more comfortable lifestyle with how the group shaved off their beards (#RIPRicksBeard).

I look forward to seeing how the season will end, but I do think it will be a colossal mistake to kill off Daryl if like rumor says currently. Let’s see where things will go folks, season five has been dynamite so far, and I hope that it ends as high a note that the season began on.

And now for no rhyme or reason, I’m going to post my favorite EDM song:

-KCard