Best Metal Album of 2011

A lot of music was released this year–13 albums to be precise. Which one is my favorite?

I hate being a Debbie Downer, but Bizarro World is definitely not my favorite. It’s the worst. Don’t buy it. Unto the Locust is a step above Bizarro World, but it isn’t all that great in comparison to the others. Decas doesn’t count, because it only has 5 original songs and the rest are electronica remakes. Sounds of a Playground Fading was decent, but it lacked a certain flair and panache from In Flames. Echoes of the Fallen likewise was good, but largely forgettable too. Same with Threat Signal. Okay, so I’ve narrowed it down to half. Now what?

Of the remaining albums, I am torn between two. But first, I want to point out a few things about the others. American Capitalist is really good. The lyrics are clever and catchy. It continues the same grungy style as its predecessors. It is indeed a solid album. Buy it. Dead Throne and Children of Fire are both really good. Buy them too. In fact, Children of Fire was number one in iTunes for a long time. Leveler was really good, and it has some really cool latin and jazz influences. Dead New World was good. In Waves was exceptionally good. In fact, it rivals with the top two.

Hymn of a Broken Man and Darkness in the Light are my two favorites. But the former takes the cake. It is well written lyrically as well as musically. It satisfies the metal in me and the spirit within. It came out in the beginning of the year, and it was a delight all year round.

Which one was your favorite? Was there different metal album that you favored this year? Tell me in the comments!

Chelsea Restructuring: A Proposition

Thus far in the 2011-2012 season, we have performed well enough to be in the top half of the table, but not good enough to contend for the title it seems. This league bears no guarantees: though doubtful, champions is not yet ruled out entirely. If we want to excel, whether we win the league or not, and if we want to secure Champions League for next season, I believe we are goint to need to restructure a bit. January transfer window aside, here’s what I would propose:

Cech
Ivanovich – David Luiz – Terry – Cole
Romeu
Sturridge – Ramires – Mata – Kalou
Torres

Our back four should remain a back four. Leave Ivanovich, David Luiz, and Terry in the back; Cole could push up sparingly, but I would advise against it. He has largely been unproductive offensively. Leave him in the back. In this way, we have a four man defensive line. We could defend deep and prevent counter attacks. We would save our legs as well, since we aren’t pushing up. Thus ends my proposal for the defense.

Midfield. I propose we flood the midfield. Keep Romeu in a holding midfield role. Put Ramires and Mata both as attacking midfielders. Put Sturridge on the left or the right, but he seems to do well on the right. We could utilize Kalou on the left. Yes, you counted correctly, that gives us five in the midfield. We are slow defensively. If we don’t control the midfield and force the opponents out wide, it seems to me that we will continue our ineffectual defense. Controlling the midfield seems to me to cause a trickle effect: control the midfield, control the defense. Thus ends my midfield proposal.

I would give Torres the lone ranger forward position. After all, we spent £50 million on him, and Drogba looks like he won’t be staying for more than a year anyway. Give the role to Torres. Thus ends my forward proposition.

Positions aren’t the only thing we need to address. Let’s talk offensive third tactics. Our crossing sucks. It rarely leads to a goal. We need to get bi-line and stop the early crosses. If we can’t get bi-line, then we need to pull it back and switch the ball. Posession is key: don’t force a cross for the sake of crossing it. Cross with deliberate intention, and do so from the bi-line. Otherwise, play the counter attack. If we are able to play down the middle, focus on finding Torres. He can share with Mata, a quick one-two through ball and off to the races he goes. We need to stop this kickball madness too; keep the ball low and on the ground, making it easier for the receiving player to control the ball and do something productive. Thus ends my offensive tactics proposition.

Defensively, too, we must stop sending or outside backs forward. They are very unproductive and their absence leaves our slow center backs utterly exposed. Keep four in the back. As a result, keep tight in the box and force the opponents out wide. Let the wings help out on the sides for doubling up on the ball, and let the center midfielders drop back to protect against unguarded opposition from the flanks and hail mary crosses into the box. Thus ends my defensive tactics proposition.

Well, these are my two cents on the issue. Change is in order, and my two cents may or may not work. But, clearly the tactics employed over the last month are not working. Moving forward as we finish the season in 2012, let’s embrace change and secure a top four finish.

Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa

Rant Box: Chelsea v. Aston Villa – The Offside – Chelsea blog.

Well, that sucks.

Manchester United lost to Blackburn. We come on the pitch and lose to Aston Villa. We beat Villa in the pre-season; how is it that we could not beat them in season at home? Our only goal was from a penalty, and Drogba converted it for his 150th goal for the Blues. Great. Too bad 2 minutes later Villa equalized. Arguably, Terry should have been sent off for a handball in the box to deny a goal-scoring opportunity, Chelsea reduced to 10 men, and Villa given a free kick, but the visitors followed up and scored anyway. I was foolish to believe we would come out in the second half and take care of business. What happened instead is we fell apart in the back four. Villa scored twice more after Lampard, Torres, and Bosingwa were introduced. I’m not saying it was the subs’ fault. I’m just noting that the goals came after their introduction. In any case, as Jack put it in the rant at the Chelsea Offside, egregious doesn’t even begin to describe the performance.

Let’s put 2011 behind us, please, and let’s move forward with 2012.

Goals:

  • Anelka: 1
  • Bosingwa: 1
  • David Luiz: 1
  • Drogba: 6
  • Ivanovich: 1
  • Kalou: 3
  • Lampard: 8
  • Malouda: 1
  • Mata: 5
  • Meireles: 2
  • Sturridge: 10
  • Ramires: 5
  • Terry: 4
  • Torres: 4
  • Goals for: 51
  • Goals against: 31

BPL’s Goals in Comparison with MLB and NFL

Americans don’t like soccer. The biggest complaint I hear is that it is boring. Why? Because goals aren’t scored enough. However, soccer is comparable to that of the MLB and NFL.

In 2011, America’s favorite past time, baseball, saw 2.85 runs per hour in each game in the MLB.

In 2010-2011, American football saw 2.10 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per hour in each game in the NFL.

In 2010-2011, the BPL in England averaged 1.87 goals per hour.

American’s like everything to be big, whether it is their big gulp soft drinks or their entertainment scorelines. Soccer games are only 90 minutes, while MLB and NFL games average at about 3 hours–twice as long as a soccer game. Now, each BPL game averaged 2.8 goals; compare that to the MLB of 4.28 runs per game and the NFL at 6.30 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per game. Because of America’s preference for extra large, spectators take the scoreline for granted. Yet, per hour, there is not much difference in scorelines. Yes, it is true that baseball and American football yield more scoring opportunities on average. But it isn’t that big of a difference when boiled down to a per-hour foundation. All three sports should expect to see 2 scoring opportunities, whether runs, touchdowns and field-goal conversions, or goals, each hour of play.

Out of curiosity, how do the top performers of each stack up to each other? The New York Yankees managed to earn 859 runs in 162 games last season, working out to be 5.30 runs per game. The New England Patriots earned a total of 518 points in 16 games, which is 32.38 points per game on average, equating to 4.63 touchdowns and field-goal conversions every game. Manchester United scored 78 goals across 38 games, or 2.05 goals per game. As I pointed out earlier, our common ground is per hour: the Yankees scored 1.77 runs per hour; the Patriots 1.53 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per hour; and the Red Devils 1.36 goals. The scoring is comparable across the boards.

To say that soccer is boring because there aren’t that many goals is a false statement. The scoring rate per hour is less than the likes of the MLB or NFL, but it is still comparable. People often neglect to consider that the soccer game is typically around 90 minutes, whereas baseball and football games are around 3 hours. Just saying.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Movie Trailers – iTunes

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Movie Trailers – iTunes.

Peter Jackson is the man. I trust that The Hobbit will be just as epic as his version of The Lord of the Rings. The book was great, unlike The Lord of the Rings; his version of the latter was better than the books, so will his version of the former be better too? One can only hope, and the trailer does suggest IMO that it might.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Movie Trailers – iTunes

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Movie Trailers – iTunes.

I saw the latest Mission Impossible movie for my birthday with my wife. It was a good movie! Much respect to Tom Cruise for doing his own stunts. If I had seen this movie in 3D, I would have lost my lunch. The heights got to me in regular format; I certainly felt queasy. The story was good, and the action was better. It had enough comic relief to lighten the mood as well. Interestingly enough, the movie felt more like the first one than the second or third. Apart from the first, the latest movie is my next favorite of the four.

What did you think of Ghost Protocol?