Hello, Spontaneity (The Result Of A Mind On Overdrive)

I mentioned on Christmas Eve that there might be an entirely new assortment of songs spinning in my head and skipping beats in my heart, and that statement unsurprisingly rings true. For some reason, I had the wildest urge to listen to Velvet Revolver yesterday morning…And then more songs manifested themselves into the conscious part of my brain.

The beautiful noises that spin and skip are as follows (you know the drill)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would apologize for all the Velvet Revolver, as well as the other random artists, but I’m not because, quite frankly, I don’t have to. What can I say? I’ve been in love with Scott Weiland’s voice since I was twelve years old, and as for the latter, I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone as far as music is concerned, and broaden my horizons. The result: What you see above, an open-minded approach towards music…

 

 

…Okay, so I added one addition to the already grand list. Only because the song popped into my head, causing my fingers to effortlessly glide across the keyboard, not because of the irony of putting Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold in the same post…If you haven’t the slightest idea of what I’m talking about, acquire yourself a May 2006 issue of Revolver, and read the Atreyu article…Regardless of anything, I’ve loved both bands since I was fourteen and if it hasn’t changed in the past seven years, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

A little open-mindedness and spontaneity can go a long way.

A Glimpse Into The Mind (That Never Stops)

Usually, there are a million things running through my mind head at any given moment. From possible blog topic ideas and potential poetry, to plans for the day/week and whatever songs from a band that is currently on shuffle, you never know what you’re going to get.

Oddly enough, this week has been, well, an odd one…

Random songs have been running through my head. From when I’m brushing my teeth, to when I’m listening to a completely different song, random music indeed finds its way to make itself known.

The songs that have been swirling through my head this week are as follows…

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the newest addition to the beautiful noises buzzing around in my head. Mainly because it was a link on the Eighteen Visions vid…Plus, it’s Avenged Sevenfold. You can never go wrong with A7X.

 

 

There are two new songs that are running through my head…I amend and blame YouTube, respectively. Amend for having a multitude of videos, blame because too many early mornings can be wasted watching music videos, instead of being ‘wasted’ writing.

 

 

 

I would say that you now have an idea of what goes on inside my pretty little brain, but that would be redundant. On this blog, I share all of my musings, thoughts, obsessions, etc., so you already have said idea, but I think it’s a better idea actually…You now have a better idea of what races through my mind, not to mention how my taste in music has evolved over the last ten years. What once was Avril Lavigne and Good Charlotte, is now Neon Trees and Black Veil Brides.

It’s truly incredible how quick time passes sometimes.

A glimpse into the mind can bring back the kind of nostalgia you thought was dead and buried.

Breaking The Mold

As much as I adore male-fronted bands, there are times where I adore female-fronted bands even more. Whether you’re enough of a music fan to admit it or not, there’s no denying that sometimes girls can rock harder than guys.

The very first female-fronted band I was really, truly into was Evanescence. The minute I heard “Bring Me To Life”, it was all over. I was amazed by Amy Lee’s voice because I’d never heard someone sing with such range and so quickly transition from whispers to full-on, beautiful singing so effortlessly as she did. I remember I borrowed their 2003 debut, Fallen from a friend and I was completely blown away. Every song was absolutely beautiful. My favorites are “Going Under”, “Bring Me To Life”, “Whisper”, “Hello”, “Tourniquet”, “Imaginary”, “Haunted” and “My Immortal” (the heavier version). Amy’s vocals and intricately played piano pulls the listener almost into another world. When listening to “Imaginary”, I actually feel like I’m in my own little world, fully equipped with a “field of paper flowers and candy clouds of lullaby” and just before that, listening to “Haunted” I feel like I’m running through the woods, searching for someone, their “heart pounding in my head”. Call it stupid and weird, but certain music has that kind of feeling and Evanescence is just one of those bands.

While Fallen was amazing, something about 2006’s The Open Door was even more appealing. Don’t get me wrong, Fallen was pretty great, but The Open Door had this raw edge to it that was lacking before. Amy’s vocals are even more impressive than they previously were and while there’s still piano present, there are some songs that clearly more hard rock driven. “Call Me When You’re Sober” and “Sweet Sacrifice” display a new-found edge to Amy’s voice, and ‘Lithium’ proves that piano introductions can definitely lead to something heavy. My favorites are “Call Me When You’re Sober”, “Lithium”, “All That I’m Living For”, “Lacrymosa” and “Weight Of The World”. Like the songs on Fallen before it, you’re pulled into a place beyond the bounds and bindings of reality. Once again, call me crazy but the songs still maintain that sort of mysterious feel to them, as did the ones on Fallen, only with more edge and a slightly different kind of intensity.

I myself have not listened to their new self-titled release that came out last year. I’d read an article about in Revolver a couple of months ago, and hear some very promising things, just didn’t think of listening to it at the time. When I finally do listen, I will definitely be sharing my thoughts about it.

It doesn’t matter if you like Fallen, The Open Door, Evanescence or aren’t even an Evanescence fan.There’s no way of denying that Amy Lee has one hell of a voice.

The second band that followed Evanescence as far as exposure to my ears goes is Canadian, all-girl band Kittie. Some people would probably look at their name and laugh, but their name is clever in contradicting the way they sound. I’d first heard Kittie freshmen year, the same year I got my, now pretty obsolete, iPod shuffle. I’m pretty sure I heard about them through a radio show they were on, but I could be wrong. Whatever way I found Kittie, I listened to them, and when I did I was shocked…In the greatest of ways, if that’s even at all possible. The first song I’d ever heard was “Into The Darkness”, and I was stunned and impressed by lead vocalist/guitarist Morgan Lander’s voice. I’d never heard a girl scream like that, or a voice have that much venomous edge. Her screaming/growling definitely sets her apart from other female-vocalists, and her clean vocals are unique all on their own. While Morgan and her vocal styles are pretty amazing, I feel like I’m drawing all the attention to the lead and that’s pretty clichéd. It feels like a lot of people would focus most of their aim on the lead singer because they’re the main thing you notice, but with Kittie it seems a little silly to just focus on something so stereotypical.

Despite that their line-up has changed over the years, and the only founding members that remain are Morgan and her sister, drummer/backing vocalist, Mercedes, that hasn’t stopped them from being a kick-ass band. Even though I’d discovered them well into their third album, Until The End, that doesn’t mean I stopped listening. I proceeded to dig deeper and listen to their debut Spit and follow-up, Oracle. Their 2000 debut, Spit, is like a crushing blow to all the other bands around them at the time, and with songs like “Charlotte”, “Raven”, “Brackish” and title track “Spit”, it’s no wonder why. “Raven” and “Spit” both start out with violent guitars, shifting to pounding drums and back, then proceeds into Morgan’s vocals, that go from clean to ultimately brutal and unforgiving in a matter of seconds. “Charlotte” and “Brackish” on the other hand, collide the guitars and drum work, then show off Morgan’s effortless clean and hard vocals.

Compared to Spit, Oracle is far heavier and aggressive. Don’t believe me? Give “Mouthful Of Poison”, “Wolves”, “What I’ve Always Wanted”, “Severed” and their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” a listen, then tell me if your ears don’t bleed. Their third CD, Until The End doesn’t disappoint on keeping up with the metal sound, despite the reviews I’ve read. Some people say they’ve ‘sold-out’ or that’s it’s not as good as Spit or Oracle, and they’re totally entitled to that. I think that Until The End is a pretty good CD. Among my favorites are “Looks So Pretty”, “Career Suicide”, it’s title track “Until The End”, “Into The Darkness”, “Pussy Sugar” and “Loveless”. Kittie’s fourth release, Funeral For Yesterday has a very different sound in comparison to their previous three releases. Where Spit, Oracle, and Until The End came in with the metal intensity that was inspired by bands that came before them, from what I’ve heard of Funeral doesn’t exactly usher in the entirety of that aggression and angst. The first time I heard the song “Funeral For Yesterday”, I was surprised by Kittie’s new sound and had that, along with the song “Slow Motion” on my iPod. I soon got sick of “Funeral”, keeping “Slow Motion”, and added “Never Again” . Even though I haven’t yet listened to Funeral and it came out 4 years ago, I plan to listen to it sometime or another.

Their 2009 release, In The Black, brandishes the same kind of metal as their previous accomplishments, only better. In my opinion,this is better than their other albums. Don’t get me wrong, their earlier releases were great, but when listening to Black, you can definitely tell that they’ve improved altogether as a band. They had massive amounts of talent before and now it’s being molded into something that exceeds their earlier work. Morgan’s screams/growls sound even more incredible and her clean vocals sound more polished and well, clean, while still having that signature edge she’s always had. Mercedes’ drumming is just amazing, as it always was; it’s just even more amazing now. My favorites “Cut Throat”, “My Plague”, “Die My Darling”, “Ready Aim Riot” and “The Truth” surely don’t disappoint, and with the addition of new members, guitarist Tara McLeod and bassist Ivy Vujic, they’re better than ever.

As I’ve said with Evanescence in the paragraph above, I have not listened to Kittie’sI’ve Failed You. I remember I say an article about it in some magazine, and I’d been meaning to check it out, but needless to say, I haven’t yet. As with Evanescence’s self-titled, I will share my thoughts on this album as well.

Kittie isn’t your typical heavy metal band, that much is clear. It’s not everyday that you see an all-female metal band who are breaking the mold gender-wise and have an extreme amount of talent in what they do.

I don’t think I’ve discovered more than one band at the same time that I actually ended up liking. Not until now at least. The next band isn’t all-female, but there’s no denying that the lead vocalist and keyboardist are important pieces to the puzzle. I’m pretty sure that I found The Vincent Black Shadow by accident. It was freshmen year when I stumbled upon them, the same year I received my old iPod ( I know own a black Classic) and fell in love with Kittie’s brand of metal. I remember I was watching the FUSE Fangoria Awards on the FUSE music channel. The best in horror movies and music were being awarded, and I honestly didn’t think that there would be any bands that I’d never heard of, but I was wrong. Among the obscure/well-known horror movies, and great live performances by Avenged Sevenfold and 30 Seconds To Mars, respectively, I found The Vincent Black Shadow.

Everything about vocalist Cassandra Ford’s voice is beautiful. I know I said that Amy Lee’s voice is beautiful as well, but beauty has different dimensions, whether you know it or not. Her one-of-a-kind vocals blend with the band’s very interesting sound perfectly. They’re not your typical band, one of the reasons why I fell in love with them. The other piece that binds the band together and sets them apart is keyboardist, Mary Ancheta. Her talents with synths, keyboard, piano, and harpsichord add an even more enticing flair to the band’s already amazing sound. Upon my first listening to the song “Metro” I was immediately hooked. The beginning of the song starts out with some of the wildest drum work I’ve ever heard, and then progresses into even wilder guitars and impressive keyboards. It’s not just the skill of the instruments that makes them wild, but also that they sound pretty insane as well. Before listening to The Vincent Black Shadow, I’d never heard that distinct, very upbeat sound from guitars and drums, and accompanied with the keyboards, add an almost jazzy type of resonance.

Their 2006 debut, Fears In The Water isn’t your predictable freshmen attempt by a female-fronted band. Oh no, it isn’t…

It might sound like I’m bashing fellow female-fronted bands such as Paramore and Flyleaf, but I’m not. I listen to both Paramore and Flyleaf, and I have enough sense not to bash a band that I listen to. While Cassandra Ford’s vocals differ from those of Hayley Williams and Lacey Mosley, it only proves that some female vocalists of rock bands will be compared to other popular female vocalists of rock/alternative bands no matter what. It’s annoying, but it’s the inevitable truth. Bands should be praised for their creativeness and ability to steer away from anything currently being sported by others in their genre, not for conforming and playing it safe.

Fears definitely isn’t average or predictable, and for good reason. If it was, I don’t think it would display the same character and personality. From start to finish, no song is identical, making them a stand-out among bands of their genre. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s really safe to say that TVBS belong in one specific genre, since their style clearly doesn’t scream only one genre. With the keyboard intro on “Surgery”, throughout “Don’t Go Soft” and “Dream”, and the demanding of title track “Fears In The Water”, “Control”, “Metro”, “Letters To No One” and “Valentine”, they go from piano-driven to a hostile combination of hard rock aggression and punk attitude.

I’m not even sure if it’s possible to have any stand-out tracks because the entire album is an incredibly unique and creative tour de force, but if I had to name a few, they would be as follows…”This Road Is Going Nowhere”, “The House Of Tasteful Men”, “Ghost Train Out”, “Bullet On The Tracks”, “Broken”, “Metro” and “Surgery”…Okay maybe that’s more than a few, but you get the idea. “The House Of Tasteful Men” and “This Road Is Going Nowhere” have this bouncy, jazzy-cabaret feel that shows off Cassandra’s vocal range, Mary’s piano talents and mingles them beautifully. “Broken” and “Surgery” demonstrate artful keyboard, while emerging with strength, ambition and edge that’s clearly heard through the lyrics as well as the vocals. “Bullet On The Tracks”, “Metro”, and “Ghost Train Out” cannot be put together because they’re not the same. While “Metro” is upbeat and lively, “Ghost Train Out” is slower, with a tinge of Western resonance compliments of Mary’s brilliance behind the harpsichord, and “Bullet On The Tracks” is a song all its own, fully equipped with interesting guitars, drum work and synths/keyboards.

In comparison to their 2006 debut, 2008’s follow-up El Monstruo, shows maturity and improved musicianship. It’s not that Fears wasn’t incredible and original, just that Monstruo is even more incredible and original. Where Fears lacked in the strive for perfection (despite how good it was), Monstruo definitely makes up for it. I think that it a lifetime, there are only a great few bands that have near-perfect albums, and considering the genre they’re in, TVBS have succeeded near-perfection. Everything about El Monstruo gushes and pours over with the same creative cleverness that made them a standing out original, only much better, proving all the more that they’re nothing like Paramore or Flyleaf at all (despite how good both bands are). Cassandra’s voice is as beautiful as it was on Fears, but is sharper and more defined to match the more impressive sound. Mary’s genius behind the keyboard/synths are definitely more apparent and contributes to that one-of-a-kind, TVBS sound. While Cassandra and Mary have improved their already impressive skills, it’s safe to say that the rest of the band has as well. Brothers, guitarist Rob Kirkham, drummer Anthony Kirkham, and bassist Chris Kirkham, have stepped up their playing, showing off their real talents behind the instruments.

While it was a little hard to name any stand-out tracks on Fears, the same can’t be said for Monstruo. “Dig, Dig, Dig” gives way to a modern-day Alice In Wonderland and “Pale Man” demonstrates their experiments with a Broadway-esque sound. “They Still Want You” and “The Last Few Minutes” are fast-paced, showing off TVBS’s signature sound in a whole new light, along with the clear appearances of backing male vocals. “In A Row” and “Stupid Intruders” boast the beautiful light and dark of Cassandra’s voice, as well the charms of synths and piano, respectively. “Never Met Another Woman Like Me” and “Taste Of Copper”, despite their equal originality, cannot be put together. The same jazzy-cabaret feel that made Fears a diamond in the rough, is taken to a whole new level in the sultry, vocal stylings and piano of “Never Met Another Woman Like Me”. The new appearance of backing male vocals is pushed in “The Taste Of Copper”, an appealing duo by Cassandra and bassist Chris Kirkham. Not only does “The Taste Of Copper” prove that Kirkham has a voice, but that their risky attempt was indeed a surprising success.

With two clever albums under their belt, it’s a surprise that The Vincent Black Shadow aren’t more exposed than they are. It seems like when you mention them, no one knows who they are, but hopefully that will eventually change. A band as talented and different as TVBS shouldn’t be kept in the dark for long, although that might be a good thing. While they are a stand-out among female-fronted bands today, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be treated as such. The Vincent Black Shadow are an exceptional rarity, something not easily found.

I ended up finding the next band through either Revolver magazine, iTunes or I checked them out on iTunes before I saw them in Revolver. I honestly don’t remember how I found them exactly…How ever I discovered the band, it doesn’t change that they’re great no matter what. Like The Vincent Black Shadow, I found In This Moment by accident. I was totally blown away by lead Maria Brink’s extremely powerful voice and range. Not only did she have a unique singing voice, but her demand-all metal screams have an even higher uniqueness to them. Even though I’d heard women sing in bands before (as just previously written), I hadn’t heard the same vocal force driving behind the rest as I did with Maria’s voice.

As with the two previous bands (Kittie and The Vincent Black Shadow), I had unearthed In This Moment my freshmen year, when my iPod shuffle was still pretty new to me and it was full of musical possibilities. Not trying to judge a book by its cover here, because that’s something I’d never do, but with a name like In This Moment, I wasn’t really sure what to expect as far as the music front went.

When I first heard the song “Prayers”, it’s almost safe to say that my jaw literally dropped. Sure I’d listened to songs with in-your-face drum and guitar intros before, but never with the surprise that waited for me at the end of them. Backed up behind them were Maria’s merciless screams and torrential clean vocals that even scared the living hell out of my boyfriend. The sense of amazement and shock that I felt my freshmen year discovering them, he felt a little over 2 years ago. We were talking about music and I’d asked him if he’d ever heard of In This Moment. His response was no and decided to look into them and it’s officially safe to say that I’ve made him a fan.

Their debut Beautiful Tragedy, where the crushing “Prayers” can be found, is a kick in the ass to anyone who never said that a female couldn’t front a metal/metalcore band. Yeah, that does sound pretty extreme and it’s not that women haven’t fronted metal bands before but there seems to be some kind of uniqueness about In This Moment that sets them apart from others. I could be totally wrong and out of line, but I think that it’s Maria’s ability to use both her brutal screams as well as her impressive clean vocals, combined with the viciousness and sheer talent of the men behind her.

Tragedy is an awesome album. There’s no sure-fire way of getting around that fact. From the assaults on your ears that are none other than “Ashes”, “Next Life” and “Daddy’s Falling Angel” to the surprisingly intense “Circles”, “This Moment” and “He Said Eternity”, along with everything in between, it’s a completely solid album from start to finish. “Ashes” and “Daddy’s Falling Angel” show off Maria’s guttural screams to unique clean vocals perfectly, while accompanied with equally sick guitars and drum beats, and the intro to “Next Life” strangely resonates past memories of when Killswitch Engage was still on my iPod, only far more powerful with an equally powerful guitar solo. “Circles” and “This Moment” display sickly sweet whispers in their intros only to break into works of all-out awesomeness, and “He Said Eternity” is a heartfelt, yet extremely potent dedication to Brink’s son, who she dubs “my miracle, my angel/you’re the light in my darkest hour.” Title track, “Beautiful Tragedy” and “The Legacy Of Odio” are both slow-starting, showing off Maria’s clean vocals alone, coming in full-throttle with her impressive screams, then going right back to where they both started, beautifully done in their complexity. “Whispers Of October” and “When The Storm Subsides” are the only two oddballs per say on the entire album, being the only two songs that don’t explode with a combination of vocals and don’t become at all faster in any way shape or form. “October” features Maria’s voice enveloped in the sounds of falling rain, while in “Storm” her vocals wrap around the likes of acoustic guitars and so cleverly end the last 40 seconds with the rain and whispered words of “October”, absolutely beautiful in their simplicity.

Out of all the songs I just mentioned above, I’d have to say that my sure-fire favorites are “Prayers”, “Ashes”, “This Moment”, “Daddy’s Falling Angel” and “Beautiful Tragedy”. While the slower songs are undeniably amazing, I’ve always been drawn to the heavier, more aggressive songs, and this is in no way an exception…So when I heard about their follow-up to Tragedy, The Dream, I wasn’t really too sure how different it would be in comparison, but I was more than determined to find out.

With all honesty accounted for here, I can’t say that I like The Dream more than Tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, while The Dream is interesting and different, it doesn’t really bring on the heaviness and intensity that Tragedy did. I know bands change and evolve and I’m a fan of the fact that bands have the guts to evolve. In This Moment did just that. They evolved. While they definitely did evolve, there’s no denying that The Dream is a strong album. Sure, it doesn’t have the same metal sound their debut had, and while some people would say they “sold out” or got soft, but that honestly isn’t the case.

The Dream is the perfect example of light and dark. Some songs demonstrate the metalcore sound that resonates back to their debut, while others have a newfound ’80’s flair to them. The same can be said for Maria Brink’s vocals. Instead of being scream-driven, with little clean vocals, she proves on surprisingly upbeat numbers like “You Always Believed” and “Violet Skies” that she is indeed a very talented vocalist. “All For You”, “Forever” and “Mechanical Love” sport the newfound ’80’s flair, reinforced by Maria’s crisp clean vocals and powerful guitars and drums. The eerie beginnings of “Lost At Sea” and “Her Kiss” give way to truly unique works, Maria’s voice only getting better. “Into The Light” and title track “The Dream” are the slowest songs of all 11, but don’t let that fool you. Despite their speed, both songs prove to be beautiful in their execution and one-of-a-kind vocals. The oddball out of the bunch is stand-out “The Great Divide”. Everything that fans adored on Beautiful Tragedy is wrapped into a 4 minute metalcore number, fully equipped with Maria’s combination of clean vocal stylings and abrasive screams. The Dream is a far-cry from their debut, but is strong enough to stand on its own, while still being fresh and original.

I know I’ve said this with the past three bands, but I have yet listen to their 2010 release, A Star-Crossed Wasteland. Yes, I know that sounds horrible, but it’s the truth. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve listened to it, because, well I haven’t. It probably seems that I’m not totally up-to-date with the music I love, but so what? It’s not like it’s going anywhere. I can check out those albums whenever I please, and you can assured when I do, I’ll definitely be sharing my thoughts and feelings.

Whether you’re a fan of their abrasive metal or clean mainstream stylings, there’s no denying that In This Moment are something unique, and one of the most interesting metalcore acts out right now.

It might seem like I’m being lazy, only writing about three female-fronted bands, but I don’t see it that way. These three bands are the only ones that have I’ve listened to consistently. Sure, I’ve listened to other female-fronted bands but none of them I’ve carried from my old iPod shuffle to the iPod Classic I received two years ago. Technically, I’ve only had the black Classic I currently own for a couple of weeks now, but that’s another story.

Here are some of the female-fronted bands I fell for years ago/others I recently fell in love with and definitely worth the listen: Arch Enemy, Within Temptation, Sister Sin, Eyes Set To Kill, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Bat For Lashes (although technically not a band, but the stage name of musician Natasha Khan), Florence + The Machine, Picture Me Broken…And I cannot for the life of me think of anymore, but I know somewhere down the line I will definitely write about some of the bands I just mentioned and whatever others I end up finding.

Never underestimate the power of something new.

My Classic French Vanilla Sunday Morning 

A mug of piping hot French Vanilla + my black Classic on shuffle = An interesting Sunday morning wake-up call.

“Whiskey In The Morning” – Buckcherry

“Desecrate Through Reverance” – Avenged Sevenfold

“Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back” – My Chemical Romance

“Black Anathema” – Calabrese

“Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us” – My Chemical Romance

“I Have To Go Return Some Videotapes” – Breathe Carolina

“Tyranny Of Normality” – Papa Roach

“Halloween In Heaven” – Type O Negative

“Self Pity” – AFI

“Gimme A D” – Parkway Drive

“Another Day, Another Way” – Volbeat

“Mad World” – Gary Jules

“Heaven” – A Skylit Drive

“They Call Us Death” – Calabrese

“Graverobber” – The Damned Things

How clever.

Among Many Firsts 

Being an avid reader, I would’ve thought that it was somewhere I’d gone frequently, but it turns out that that was not the case. Immediately walking through the doors, I felt some strange and interesting sense, of well, belonging. The place I’m talking about, ladies and gentlemen, is Borders.

Okay, so I know that walking into Borders might not be such a big deal to most people, but seeing as I don’t exactly view myself as most people (call it whatever you want to) and the fact that I’d never been in that particular store before, it’s a big deal to me. It was just the coolest thing to me…Seeing so many books and magazines, along with a Seattle’s Best coffee shop built right in, it was just amazing to me… My own little piece of vanilla coated and caramel drenched heaven. I probably sound like a total book nerd and/or caffeine addict, but with every fiber of my being, I don’t care. The Borders bookstore across the street from the mall that my boyfriend and I had exited yesterday amazed me and that is that.

But back to what really matters. It is indeed safe to say that this entire week was a great deal of firsts. For starters, not only did I enter a gigantic Borders for the first time, and proceed to try Seattle’s Best, I read Metal Hammer magazine for the first time. Ever. I’m usually enthralled whenever I get my monthly issue of Revolver, but this was totally different. Upon walking in, we found ourselves drawn to the magazine section. We went from the Culture & Politics to the ever-important and far more interesting Music section. The first thing that caught my eye was a magazine with Muse lead Matthew Bellamy on the cover. I honestly don’t know why. My eyes quickly scanned over a little further until I saw this month’s issue of Alternative Press, fully equipped with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes and Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba gracing the Warped Tour edition cover. I hadn’t read AP in years and thought I’d give it a quick read. I scanned through and noticed that there were some good bands on Warped Tour this year (despite the fact it already came to my city!).

Finding myself slightly bored with it, I put it back and discovered that my boyfriend and I had both discovered the July issue of Metal Hammer at the same time, or at least a few seconds after. Gracing the cover with their presence was Avenged Sevenfold. We both immediately noticed what was missing from the equation and equally found that it just didn’t look right. Where usually five black-clad men would stand now only four stood against the artful graffiti on the wall shot behind them. It was the first magazine cover we both had seen without the late, beloved drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Cleverly enough, to our surprise, the graffiti on the wall shot behind the band was that of The Rev himself…With deathbat wings.

After saying that ‘it just doesn’t look the same’ and ‘we should totally read the article’, we decided to stop at the Seattle’s Best coffee conveniently attached to the bookstore and well, read the article. We both ordered cold coffees, one vanilla and the other caramel, and sat down at one of the many tables. We then proceeded to take turns reading, while enjoying the cool, sweet goodness of our coffee drinks. Just looking upon the Metal Hammer cover apparently wasn’t enough to see how much the band changed, I had to literally read to learn that. Sure enough when I took the magazine from where it was set on the table, I found that there was quite a lot that was different. I wouldn’t exactly go to that extreme and say that a lot of things were different, but it was all too clear that they’re growing up as individuals as oppose to just growing up as a band. My boyfriend and I both noticed little details that would’ve being so-called personal trademarks to each member have changed some way or another, giving way to a whole new array of trademarks. Sure, I think it’s safe to say that those insignificant brandings on each one of them will be missed somehow, but it is safe to say that it shows that they have the ability to change (as they’ve always had) and they still know how to embrace right now…Basically, the article psyched me up for their much anticipated fifth album, set to come out in the less than two weeks…More on that a little later.

Needless to say, drinking Seattle’s Best coffee and reading Metal Hammer were some firsts for me, but there are definitely more where those came from. For the first time in a very long while, I found two things from Hot Topic that were actually worth buying. Yes, you heard right… I found two things that were actually worth spending money on…There was a time when I would frequently buy something in Hot Topic, almost every time I went. I would walk in, and as if automatically find something I liked and bought it. The same cannot be said now. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the store, I just don’t find anything that I really like and, for that matter, would feel comfortable spending money on. Among all the new-age band tees and never-ending array of Twilight gear, I saw them: A black and white baseball style shirt with lime green, neon pink, and gray photo strips of a ribcage and a black Boondocks Saints tee, with “Veritas, Aequitas” in red down the sides. It made me smile all huge and goofy knowing that for once I’d actually found two shirts that I actually liked and didn’t feel like it would be a complete waste buying them.

Aside from my tee shirt purchases, I also thought I would try a different color for my lip rings. Yes, my lip is pierced. Twice to be correct and exact. Snakebites. I’ve had them for two months, but never really felt like mentioning them until now. It was definitely a first, walking into a tattoo shop that I’d never been in before, fully determined to get metal stakes driven through my lip one after the other. Okay, not really, but still. I’d been wanting to get my lip pierced for two years and after I got my braces off (which was last September!), I felt like it was time.

My dad and Timmy (yes, my boyfriend indeed has a name) accompanied me for the piercing-of-the-lip, which I thought was pretty cool and kind of strange at the same time…Anyway, as I looked around at the vibrant tattoo designs that graced the walls, I felt comfortable and not at all worried or scared about what was about to happen. I was taken back by one of the piercers, I honestly didn’t catch his name, and was told to sit down on a bench. We made some small talk as he put plastic gloves on and started to get all the needed equipment, then he told me to just relax, which surprisingly, I already kind of was. Two metal stakes driven through both sides of my lip and two 16g lip rings later, I was sitting on the couch in the waiting section of the tattoo shop, reading the assorted magazines and looking at tattoo designs with Timmy. I’ll admit that after I got them, I did regret it a little bit (mainly the constant need to be cleaned and the fact that there could be absolutely no kissing involved…thankfully prom was the weekend before!), but after a while, I didn’t mind. Especially, when I came into school that following Monday. I was honestly surprised at how many people said they liked it or that it looked good on me. Which, I would say that it indeed does. It’s a piercing that I can actually pull off. I’m happy to say that two months have passed since my snakebites and they healed up pretty nicely and kissing can no longer be scratched out of the equation. My lip rings are now an 18g, icy blue, as oppose to the silver 16g I was fitted with how long ago. I have to say that I favor the blue over silver, and the smaller size doesn’t hurt either. I’m honestly really glad I got snakebites.

These are my firsts so far. Granted, there are indeed probably a lot more, but I can’t think of them right now, or they just haven’t happened yet. Either way, being surrounded by a good amount of firsts is pretty good. I’m more than certain that there will be a whole assortment of adventures in store for me this summer. I just need to know where to look.

Never be afraid to try something new, you just might surprise yourself.

Nothing Like A White Chocolate Mocha, But…

It’s been good while since I was actually motivated to wake up in the morning by the music on my iPod…One of the many rare happenings lately.  

“Death Of Me” – Calabrese

“There’s No Sympathy For The Dead” – Escape The Fate

“Beautiful Tragedy” – In This Moment

“Desecrate Through Reverance” – Avenged Sevenfold

“The Boy Without A Demon” – A Skylit Drive

“Eternal Rest” – Avenged Sevenfold

“Raven” – Kittie

“Four Words (To Choke Upon)” – Bullet For My Valentine

It’s not exactly the biggest array of songs, but I’m not complaining…

My Friend Of Insomnia 

I can’t sleep. It’s almost 2 in the morning and my eyes are wide open. Unfortunately, this isn’t something new. I find myself struggling with the awkward, stubborn Insomnia more than usual. I probably should go to sleep, lay in bed and give into the cliché of counting sheep, or listen to my Ipod or read. Reading always puts me to sleep, but I haven’t been in a reading mood in a while.

I’m just sitting here.

My dark red chair feels comfy at this time in the morning, more comfy than usual. I find myself sitting in it, listening to HIM’s cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and searching for a picture for the next project I have in art class. Coincidentally, I’ve chosen a picture of HIM lead, Ville Valo. I thought I would stand out as far as pictures went, not to mention that the picture is beautiful. But that is for another day…

I feel like my mind is easily wandering this morning, more than any other time it wanders. I’m thinking about an array of different things at once. A doctor’s appointment I have today at 3 o’clock this afternoon and a paper for my Senior Seminar class due tomorrow (Friday). It’s almost finished, and my plans of completing it today just didn’t happen. I should work on it now, but I’m not in the right frame of mind to write something for school. I honestly can’t think of school right now, it’s just not what’s important at this time of the morning. In another 6 hours of course, but not now. What’s important now, is that I’m gently swooning to the ever-changing music on my Dell. Right now being “Mute” by Blaqk Audio, in 3 minutes or more being something else. My inability to listen to one song for too long has set in. It’s now “Warmness On The Soul” by Avenged Sevenfold. Strangely, this song is longer than the last, but it’s definitely more soothing. I think that in the battle of techno-electronica beats and pianos/old-school breakdowns, the latter is always the unlikely champion. Especially at this time of morning.

I’ve listened to the same song 3 times already, trying to convince myself to go to sleep. Give into the skillfully played piano, old-school sounding guitar solo and strange beauty of M. Shadows’s voice in the early days of their career. I’m pretty sure the play count has been upped to about seven or eight by now. Okay, the play count is probably higher, but I’m honestly not counting.

Before I descending into my room (literally), I was watching the shows Man vs. Wild and Monsters Inside Me. The episode of Monsters was a case of déjà vu from the beginning of the school year because it was the exact same episode I’d seen the first time I watched it. I watched it anyway, and it still creeped me out. The thought of a parasite living inside someone is disgustingly stomach-churning. I hadn’t seen the episode of Wild, although I think my dad did. Not too sure. I love how in the beginning of the show it’s Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. Curious to see if Bear was actually his name, I looked it up. No. Bear isn’t his real name. His name is actually Edward. That would’ve been pretty interesting if Bear was indeed his real name.

“Warmness On The Soul” passed by faster than it did all the other times it played, and I’m missing it. I could play it, but I’m too lazy. And tired. I’m feeling myself give into the sleepiness that I didn’t think I had in me, or maybe it’s because HIM is playing again. I find the latter to be the unlikely cause and the tiredness the more likely. It would make sense if I got some sleep. I would be able to focus and my mind wouldn’t be yelling at me every time I try to close my eyes. It would make a lot of sense if I got some sleep.

Right now, at nearly 4 o’clock in the morning on this Thursday, I’m listening to “Razorblade Kiss” by HIM and strongly considering going to bed. I might just let my mind wander, taking in Ville’s amazing voice, thinking too many thoughts.

I’m still sitting in my dark red chair, going on my second listening of “Razorblade Kiss”, regretting that I’m actually on my second listen. I know I’ll regret it a couple hours from now, but at least I can say that it was Ville’s voice that helped put me to sleep.

Insomnia is like chain-smoking. It doesn’t benefit you.

Where The Hell Did Freshmen Year Go?

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was standing outside of my high school, in my Avenged Sevenfold shirt and jeans, Converse and Alkaline Trio messenger bag. I was totally overwhelmed and one of the newbies. I was a freshmen.

Being the freshmen I was, completely inexperienced in the tricks and trade of high school, I thought everything would be hard as hell. Like really, really hard. Silly me. Everything was surprisingly easy. Only having four classes might have been the reason. English, math, physical science, and World History. Maybe it was because I had the most best friends that year. I mean, I still have kick-ass friends, I guess, but it’s just not the same. I still think having only four classes and a block schedule was the reason.

I’ll admit, I was naive. Then again, it seems like everyone is sometimes, so what does it really matter? But at the time, I kinda felt like I was just trying to fit in with everyone else. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. I tried to be myself, no matter what the hell hit me. In the end, I think I was just attempting to please my friends. Or people I thought were my friends. Whatever the reason was, I felt like I had to kind of fit in somewhere. After awhile though, I honestly didn’t care about what people thought about me or who talked about me or stuff of that nature.

I have to say, that was the funnest year of high school. Yeah, most people say that their senior year is the best and most fun, but I’m just getting to that part. . .

In a week I will be a senior. Granted, I was officially a senior when I got my report card that said I’m a senior this year. Which I kind of knew I was going to be. I mean, yeah, I had my doubts, but doesn’t everyone? It seems like those 3 years went by so fast. Freshmen year. Sophomore year. Junior year. It’s just really hard to believe that I’m a senior this year.

The fact that I’m starting school a week  is overwhelming, but the fact that all my friends and I are going to be seniors is even more overwhelming. From what I saw from seniors last year, it’s pretty stressful and fun at the same time. There’s prom and graduation, but there’s also the chance that they might not graduate. At my school, there are a series of 5 tests that you have to take sophomore year, and if you don’t pass all of them your senior year, then you can’t graduate. Pretty stupid, I think. Luckily, I passed them all already, so all I would have to worry about are my grades and college.

It’s actually kind of weird thinking about college. During freshmen year, I didn’t think about that. I didn’t really think much about my future, just what was happening right there and then. I mean, honestly, it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I already know what I want to major in, which is journalism. Granted, I have other possible talents and interests, but I can always incorporate those things in, which I do sometimes anyway. I already know what college I’d like to attend and how to accomplish it, but it still seems like it’s all just…flashing by  me.

Maybe I can’t believe I’m a senior because well, I’m 4’10” at almost 18…Strangely, not the shortest at my high school, though. Maybe it’s because I honestly never thought I’d make it this far. Something inside kind of made me feel like I wouldn’t make it this far. For whatever the reason, no matter how weird or silly, I’m a senior in high school this year and I’m ready for whatever the hell life throws at me.

Blink and you can miss an entire chapter of your life.

The most fun I’ve had in a long time…

My best friend, Chelsea, and I decided to hang out. It used to be almost like a tradition every since the 8th grade to hang out every weekend and in the summer. Just one day devoted entirely to the two of us hanging out. Sadly, this summer and this past school year, we’ve been pretty much failing horribly on that tradition, and yesterday was a rarity. A good one at that.

We walked from my house to our usual hang out spot, Ridge Park Square. We didn’t have much to talk about because we had been talking almost all weekend and the majority of the week. It was drizzling and very humid! I literally broke a sweat walking, and I usually never do, but I did. The heat from outside pretty much evaporated when we walked in Starbucks, and the large (or as frequent Starbucks patrons would say “Venti”) Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino was, no lie, the best I’ve had to date. While we sat there, observing a couple new paintings on the wall, we talked about how our summer was going. She showed me her class ring she’d gotten for her birthday, then proceeded to tell me about the craziest dream pertaining to the ring. Pretty crazy. XD

After Starbucks, we walked around the Square, still talking about the most random of things. We went into a couple stores and I was absolutely freezing in every one of them. Granted, the A/C was on in all of them, but still. I had the most insane goosebumps. We walked into Bath and Body Works and as usual, I was overwhelmed with smells. Citrus. Vanilla. Peppermint. You name it, it was there. Only a few steps in, and I stumbled upon a new collection called American Grown. There were different body washes/hand soaps with real extracts from different fruits in the U.S. All of them smelled amazing, and just like the real thing, with the exception of the scent entitled ‘Montana Sky’. That smelled like Dawn dishsoap. I ended up purchasing ‘Siesta Key Lemon’.

Walking out of the store, it wasn’t as humid as it was before, but it was still pretty warm. It wasn’t drizzling anymore, which was good. Usually, Chelsea and I have a routine. We hit certain stores, one after the other. Today we wanted to change it up a bit. The two of us got Amp energy drinks, and made fun of the ridiculous pictures in magazines on the shelves. While standing outside the store, we talked about how lame some people’s Myspace pictures look. I don’t have a Myspace because I think it’s extremely overrated (Yes, I said it! Strike me down where I stand XD), but she does, and I some times go on to check hers out because it’s public. She noticed that some people totally knock off other people’s pictures, and I think that’s really stupid. She told me that someone pretty much copied the pose and set up of this one picture of this girl we know from school. Coincidentally, the girl whose picture was  being copied, was at the same store we were at. I smiled at that, and texted her when I got home.

Feeling unusually adventurous, we decided to walk to Best Buy, then across the parking lot to Taco Bell. While in Best Buy, we looked at different cell phones, and she showed me the type of laptop she got as a birthday present. Then, we went through all the alphabetized CD section, despite the fact no one really buys CDs anymore. The last time I got CDs was 2 years ago for Christmas. Growing totally bored of standing around, looking at CDs (possibly loitering…lol), we left the store and proceeded to walk across the parking lot to Taco Bell. On our way to awesome food at cheap prices, she told me that there was the rumored possibility that Avenged Sevenfold might be playing with Metallica when they come to our city in October.  Her and I both saw Avenged in February, and it would be the coolest thing to see them again. Finally, we made it to Taco Bell, even though it wasn’t even that far. It just made me smile ’cause I haven’t been walking that far for awhile.  She ordered a chicken burrito and I ordered a supreme chalupa. Don’t ask me why exactly it’s called a chalupa. XD It’s still really good.

Not feeling like eating it inside, we walked past Best Buy and walked back to the square and ate at the tables outside of the Cold Stone Creamery. A couple minutes after we sat down, some guy with a Taco Bell bag sat at the table across from us. He then, got up, threw his bag away, and went inside Cold Stone Creamery. We both laughed because that was our plan. Taco Bell then Cold Stone Creamery. She told me that when he got up, he looked at me and smiled. My face turned red and I wanted to hit her with my Jack and Sally tote. I still smiled.  We then left the table and went inside Cold Stone. Chelsea got Lemon Italian Sorbet with Country Time Pink Lemonade and sprinkles, and I got a signature ice cream, a Strawberry Blonde. Strawberries, whipped cream, crushed pie crust, and caramel sauce never tasted so incredibly awesome! XD We then walked back to Starbucks and sat down outside, eating our awesome ice cream, waiting to be picked up by my mom.

It was the most fun that I’ve had in a long time. I had a blast hanging out with her. She’s one of my best friends and it’s always fun to hang out with friends. I hope we can do something like this before school starts.

Friends are some times the most sanest people you know.