The Moustached Man’s Marvellous Mix of Metal Magic 2014

Yeah, I know what you are all thinking- Another list of stuff? Groan grumble groan. And yes that maybe true but this is new territory for me and I promise i wont keep you long, I’LL KEEP YOU FOREVER!

Ok, Slayer reference aside

I have listened to some cracking Metal this year and have recommended the odd one here and there to whomever wants some recommendations. So I thought i would do my top five  albums from 2014 that at present I cant live without

These are in no particular order as I really couldnt decide what I liked more as they are quite different even in subtle ways. This is the first time Ive done anything on my blog about Metal

Number #5: Archspire – The Lucid Collective 

Archspire are from Canada and i totally discovered them by accident and Im so glad that I did. This album has everything I could ever want. Musically its very technical, which is awesome but the songs are more than just clever arrangements and fantastic musicianship. Its like getting punched by the Hulk and then jumped on by Iron Man in the Hulkbuster whilst trying to keep your jaw off the floor.

Number #4: Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails 

Fallujah are from San Francisco and like Archspire I accidentally discovered them. This album blew me away and since then I have looked at their back catalogue which is just as amazing. Again this on the technical side of Metal, but with a real progressive feel that creates a rather stunning atmospherical recording. Some of the breakdowns will give you goosebumps and the riffs are just an endless onslaught of brilliance. The song in the link was my standout track, the harmonisation of the instruments is just spine tingling. Also the covers of their albums are pretty awesome too.

Number #3: Ne Oblivscaris – Citadel

This is the second album by the Australian, extreme progressive metal outift. And if you thought Fallujah was atmospheric then this album takes all that atmosphere and enhances it. Again this band is another example of fantastic musicianship, and the violin played by Tim Charles, (who also does the bands most lovely clean vocals) adds a real special layer of beauty to this wonderful album. I could talk about this incredibly melodic album for ages as it definitely one that needs to be added to your album collection, and you can slap whatever label you like on it but this is in a class of its own.

Number #2: Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater

This is an interesting one. This is the Arizona metallers fourth album and the first one that I actually liked. With their previous albums I could never connect with it, and I didnt bother with them until this little monster. It has a rawness that the other JfAC albums dont have. The riffs are really crushing and the vocals are much improved from the bands previous efforts but this is a good thing as it is an example of a band that has evolved for the better, in my humble opinion, and It does make me want to give their previous albums another listen. Also the mix of Sun Eater is just lovely.

Number #1: Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion 

I adore this band and have always enjoyed their musical marvellousness and lovely time changes. For a three piece band they have such a powerful sound and probably some of the best playing I have heard. The bands lineup comprises of two guitarists (Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes) who play eight string guitars and a very talented drummer (Matt Garstka.) And their intsrumental mastery crosses the genre labels in a very cosmic fashion. Although I loved Weightless (2011) this album is something else and more.

So there we are my dear friends, my top five. All these albums are available now so treat yourself with a bit of Metal. After all, what is Christmas without it,  just ask Christopher Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVzOve8T39w

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The Year That Was, Through The Eyes Of The Moustached Man

I thought about doing a best-of-list, for this year, but decided not to. So instead I thought I would do a little look back at some of things that (being old or new) have caught my interest in the year 2013. There are probably a few things that I have missed.

Books:

There have been so many great book releases this year, and many that I have not yet had the chance to get round to a large proportion of this years book releases as well as last years.
Throughout this year I have read so many great books and have also re-read some of my favourites (Book Of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe, being one) as well as some classic Gemmell (Rigante series) and Robin Hobb’s Fools Errand. Also I began reading (at long last) A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin and am currently at book three (and still waiting for my copy of Storm Of Swords part 2 to arrive) Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter, Your Brothers Blood by David Towsey are two of my very favourite reads this year, but there are other reads that have also been fantastic, and I look forward to reading more from the authors that have created them. One book that I finally got around to reading was Sabriel by Garth Nix, part one of the Abhorsen trilogy. This a book I highly recommend and one that I will be re-reading very soon. Another novel that has made a very big impact on me, is The City’s Son by Tom Pollock. Although, not released in 2013, is still a novel that can only be described as wonderful and alters how we view our surroundings. I somehow forgot to mention the magnificent Heartwood by Freya Robertson, that got me through a difficult time, but also a very enjoyable read, with amazing worldbuilding and awesome characters. I somehow forgot to also mention books 1 and 2 of the Everness cycle by Ian Macdonald. All I can say about Planesrunner and Be My Enemy is. Read them! You won’t regret it. Airship duels! Nuff said.

Films:

As for films I’m very, very behind with this years releases. Although there have been some films that I have seen for the first time this year and have made a big impression on me: Calvaire directed by Fabrice Du Welz- a Belgian horror film and the tragic documentary that was released this year- Blackfish- about the controversial Seaworld, and the tragic plight of the Orcas that are used for entertainment and are taken from their natural habitat and separated from their young. I urge anybody to watch Blackfish. Another film that *is* from this year is the 2000AD fan film Judge Minty, which I highly recommend for 2000AD fans, and fans of the film Dredd, (which I am yet to see). I finally got to see Trollhunter directed by Andre Øvredal- a horror/fantasy set in Norway. Its a relatively low budget horror, but its a fabulous film and magnificently done. If you are a fan of the film Monsters directed by Gareth Edwards, then Trollhunter is a must see.

T.V Shows:

As for t.v shows. The 50th anniversary of Dr. Who (Day Of The Doctor), was absolutely fabulous, and I am looking forward to the regeneration, however, I will be sad to see Matt Smith leave the show. I also started watching Hell On Wheels, which I thoroughly enjoy, I liken it to a somewhat old west style- Person Of Interest, which is another show that I feel goes from strength to strength. I never got round to watching Atlantis or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D but I will at some point. I’d like to see some new Sci Fi television shows in 2014 that are awesome and don’t get prematurely cancelled.

At the beginning of this year I started my humble blog. In which I share what I’m interested in, which mainly involves lovely, lovely books
I absolutely adore reviewing SFF books and writing blog posts about all sorts, and couldn’t imagine not doing it.
in finding my feet in the depths of the SFF blogosphere. I have come across some amazing people. From bloggers, podcasters, authors, and artists, to editors and beyond. All the individuals that are the spokes of the wheel of the SFF community, and I’m proud to feel part of that wheel.
Yes we are all aware of the individuals and issues that lurk in the dark side of the community, but on the whole, the SFF community is a nice place to be, and the majority of people are, to be frank, awesome!
If you want book/film/game/comic recommendations, you got it. You need help with your blog or podcast? Or tips on how to write that epic fantasy tome, its yours.
Everyone is there for one another and there to help each other.

One of many things I love about the SFF community is that it is a journey of discovery for all involved, not unlike an SFF story, in which the characters discover hidden kingdoms or Extra Terrestrials on their own path of discovery.
It truly is a wonderful thing.

So I would like to say a big thank you, to everyone in the community for making me feel a part of it and for joining me and others on their own quests, into the wonders of genre. I look forward to further adventures into genre with you all.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. And here is to swords and spaceships, monsters, and magic.

Music While You Write?

I wrote a while ago about The Rituals Of a Writer. In this particular post I spoke at length about things some authors do whilst they write their new masterpiece etc.

I relayed that when I’m writing I listen to a lot of music.
What interests me about this (from a musicians aspect) is, does it help the process or hinder it greatly?
I personally find my mind works better whilst listening to music of my preference. As I write this I’m listening to one of my favourite bands of all time RUSH with their cosmic, out of this world songs/instrumentals and odd time signatures etc its atmospheric qualities really get me stuck into the page.
I know Stephen King listens to things such as Metallica, AC/DC when he is writing (smart man) but for some authors, as I have mentioned before they depend on absolute silence to get the work done.
So my question to authors of all genres is this,

Do you listen to music whilst writing?

If so do you listen to a specific type to go along with a certain genre I.e listening to Black Metal when writing Romance or when writing Urban Fantasy do you listen to Chris De Burgh etc.
Would love to hear what you listen to when writing, the weirder the better!

Till next time Insomniacs!

R. A. Kennedy