Best of 2016: A metal playlist

To put it bluntly, 2016 has been prolific in the metal genre of my liking, metal core, Swedish metal, prog metal, thrash metal, and more.

Here’s a playlist that I put together in Apple Music to capture my favorites. (As 2016 is not yet over, this list will be updated over the next 2 months as additional albums release.)

  1. Luminesce, by Erra
  2. Last Light, by Bury Tomorrow
  3. Alone I Stand, by Killswitch Engage
  4. Face for Lust, by Aliases
  5. Crusader, by Affiance
  6. Dreamcatcher, by Shoot the Girl First
  7. Made This Way, by The Word Alive
  8. Breathe Again, by When Our Time Comes
  9. First Father, by Silent Planet
  10. Waste Away, by SECRETS
  11. Blind Side, by Skyharbor
  12. COMA, by Issues
  13. Break, by I See Stars
  14. 570, by Motionless in White
  15. This Light I Hold, by Memphis May Fire
  16. Back Breaker, by Darkness Divided
  17. Faster, by Amaranthe
  18. Feels Good, by Volumes
  19. Crystalize, by Sonic Syndicate
  20. Zero, by Crown the Empire
  21. The Moment, by The Agonist
  22. Can We Give It All, by Imminence
  23. To the Key of Evergreen, by The Devil Wears Prada
  24. Silver Lining, by Glass Houses
  25. Blood in My Mouth, by The Amity Affliction
  26. Wasted Age, by We Came As Romans
  27. Open Door, by We Are the Catalyst
  28. The Crashing Waves, by Imminent Sonic Destruction
  29. The Bazaar, by Painted In Exile
  30. Forever United, by Your Memorial
  31. Dead Memory, by Fit for a King
  32. My Doom, by Any Given Day
  33. Natural Order, by Everyone Dies in Utah
  34. Exile, by Seraphim
  35. Entity, by Light the Fire
  36. Flatline, by Periphery
  37. Hybris, by Deadlock
  38. Hologram, by Northlane & In Hearts Wake
  39. The House of Shame, by Lacuna Coil
  40. Sorrowpsalm, by Black Crown Initiate
  41. Cognitive Computations, by Allegaeon
  42. Mind Mutation, by Solution .45
  43. Fake, by Make Them Suffer
  44. Jagged Cross Legions, by Serpentine Dominion
  45. Stars Abound, by Auras
  46. Nexus Point, by The Room Colored Charlatan
  47. Gone With the Wind, by Architects (UK)
  48. Lonesome Soul, by The Color Morale
  49. Hands of Gold, by Delain
  50. I Won’t Give In, by Asking Alexandria
  51. World on Fire, by Wovenwar
  52. Captive Conception, by Circle of Contempt
  53. The Grand Delusion, by Breakdown of Sanity
  54. Forever Lost in Van, by Soilwork
  55. Relentless, by Moments Till Fall
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How to make your own subwoofer cable

If you find that you are in need of creating your own subwoofer cable, you can do it through Home Depot with a few items.

First, you need a compression tool. Check out this one from Klein.

Second, you need a RCA male connector. Home Depot only has one option, and here it is.

Third, you need wire. Here’s in-wall rated 14-gage in case you are routing the wire through your walls.

I found that I needed a solution when I had surround sound installed because the receiver end of the wire was not capped or terminated and I had no way to attach the wire to my receiver to utilize the subwoofer. The above tool and connector worked perfectly. Best Buy did not have any option for me, and the people at Home Depot did not know what to do. I had to figure it out on my own. Now, I hope you have an easy solution. Knowledge is power. Good luck!

Highly Recommended: Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A750 7.2 Receiver

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A750 from Amazon.

I highly recommend this receiver.

I touched base on using a 7.2 system in the past (How to control iTunes volume completely independently from the system’s volume).

I also touched on the full listening spectrum (All about that treble no bass: Upgrading computer audio to get that boom, boom, boom).

I recently installed a in-ceiling surround sound system and opted for this 7.2 Yamaha receiver because it has AirPlay built-in and is multi-zone.

One nice advantage of this receiver that I did not know it had is that it plays music through all 5 speakers in my 5.1 setup rather than from the front 3 plus the subwoofer. By playing through all 5 speakers in the ceiling, the room has an even sound throughout.

I love how it handles AirPlay. The receiver may be off, but if I tell my iPhone to start playing to it over AirPlay, the receiver turns on automatically and then music comes through the speakers. So convenient!

The point of the AVENTAGE system is for music, too. I love the sound quality.

If you are in the market for a high quality receiver that is 7.2, AirPlay, multi-zone capable, then I would highly recommend this unit.

I got mine open-box through Amazon to save cost. It was well worth it.

Best of 2015: a metal playlist

I made another metal playlist on Apple Music.

While my last playlist was a bit of a magnum opus, this one is isolated to metal contributions from the year 2015.

Best of 2015

  1. Skydancer (feat. Jonathan Vigil), by In Hearts Wake
  2. Throw Me In The Jungle, by Born of Osiris
  3. No Way Out, by Bullet For My Valentine
  4. Return to Sender, by Elitist
  5. Bleed Heavens Dry, by Solution .45
  6. Dead Choir, by Phinehas
  7. Fail, by Haste The Day
  8. The Sickness, by Imminence
  9. Legion of Monsters (Bonus Track), by Disturbed
  10. Fiat Empire, by All That Remains
  11. Utopia, by Tesseract
  12. The Direction of Last Things, by Intronaut
  13. Question Everything, by Five Finger Death Punch
  14. Coffin, by Disarmonia Mundi
  15. Empty Promises, by Miss May I
  16. The Give And Take, by Like Moths to Flames
  17. Supernova, by The Devil Wears Prada
  18. Loyalty, by Killswitch Engage (from the Game of Thrones Mix Tape II compilation)
  19. Follow The Crossed Line, by The Agonist
  20. Anodized, by Fear Factory
  21. Ghosts (feat. Jeremy McKinnon), by August Burns Red
  22. Enemies in Fidelity, by Soilwork
  23. The Path, by Battlecross
  24. Blind Leading The Blind, by Trivium
  25. Omega, by Periphery

From Mercy to War

I created a Metal playlist on Apple Music.

Here’s the playlist description:

A collection of some of the best Artists’ songs in metalcore, nu metal, prog metal, Swedish metal, and more

Here’s the list itself:

  1. The Windswept Mercy, by Soilwork
  2. Vengeance, by The Devil Wears Prada
  3. Ultraviolet, by Erra
  4. Dying Breed, by Deadlock
  5. Clandestinity Now, by Solution .45
  6. Time, by Wintersun
  7. Ringside Seat to Human Tragedy, by Disarmonia Mundi
  8. A Rose for Epona, by Eluveitie
  9. Hymn of a Broken Man, by Times of Grace
  10. Erised, by Periphery
  11. Amaranthine, by Amaranthe
  12. I will Fail You, by Demon Hunter
  13. Of All These Yesterdays, by Trivium
  14. Square Nothing, by In Flames
  15. Orbital, by Sybreed
  16. Of Matter: Proxy, by Tesseract
  17. Evolution, by Skyharbor
  18. Doxa, by Monuments
  19. Pleidian Keys, by The HAARP Machine
  20. Broken Man, by Corpus Christi
  21. Machines, by Crown the Empire
  22. The Death of Me, by Asking Alexandria
  23. Fire That Kid, by The Ascendicate
  24. The Place That Most Deny, by Haste The Day
  25. Mad at Myself, by Issues
  26. Tears Don’t Fall, by Bullet For My Valentine
  27. The Ravenous, by I, Omega
  28. Delusions of Grandeur, by Art by Numbers
  29. Backstabbers Need Not Apply, by Close to Home
  30. Glass Faces, by Corelia
  31. Yellowism, by The Safety Fire
  32. We Never Should Have Met, by Aliases
  33. The Hounds of Anubis, by The Word Alive
  34. Tiny Hands (Au Revoir), by Silent Planet
  35. White Flag, by Glass Cloud
  36. Pittsburg, by The Amity Affliction
  37. Healer, by In Hearts Wake
  38. Before You Know It, by Ten After Two
  39. Half Life, by Whether, I
  40. Redemption (With Embedded Track “Mosley”), by August Burns Red
  41. Watcher, by Bury Tomorrow
  42. The Mapmaker, by Jamie’s Elsewhere
  43. The Path, by Upon This Dawning
  44. The Wretched, by Attack! Attack!
  45. How Could I Believe, by Il Niño
  46. Hey Mister, by Miss May I
  47. Five Months, by We Rise The Tides
  48. If Not, For Ourselves, by Woe, Is Me
  49. Your Heart and Mine, by Us From Outside
  50. No Peace, by Affiance
  51. This Ship, A Coffin, by Adestria
  52. Flourish, by The Contortionist
  53. John, The Revelatory, by Righteous Vendetta
  54. Truth Be Told, by Phinehas
  55. Product of a Murderer, by Of Mice & Men
  56. Castles In The Sky, by Mureau
  57. With Ears to See, And Eyes to Hear, by Sleeping With Sirens
  58. From Ashes, by War of Ages
  59. Ceasing Time, by Onward to Olympus
  60. Silhouette, by A Breach of Silence
  61. Legends Never Die, by Betraying The Martyrs
  62. A Greater Sense of Self, by Fit For a King
  63. I Will Destroy The Wisdom Of The Wise, by A Bullet For Pretty Boy
  64. Legacy, by Memphis May Fire
  65. A War Inside, by We Came as Romans
  66. Ten Thousand Feet, by I See Stars
  67. Trapped, by Abandon All Ships
  68. What The Water Gave Me (Rock Mix), by Come The Dawn
  69. Lonely Giant, by Elitist
  70. Strange Comfort, by The Color Morale
  71. Atonement, by Your Memorial
  72. Inheritors, by Serianna
  73. Die to Live, by Confession
  74. Upside Down Kingdom, by As I Lay Dying
  75. The Rise, by Oh, Sleeper
  76. The Silent Divide, by Anterior
  77. Into The Sky, by Armana Reign
  78. Fadeaway, by D Creation
  79. Murder…Savior, by Dirge Within
  80. Guarded, by Disturbed
  81. Harmony., by Forever Orion
  82. Deathmarks, by Like Moths to Flames
  83. I Am Hell (Sonata in C#), by Machine Head
  84. 1.618, by Allegaeon
  85. The Unknown, by Shadows Fall
  86. Reincarnate, by Motionless In White
  87. Before You Finally Break, by Sonic Syndicate
  88. Question Everything, by Five Finger Death Punch
  89. Get Over It, by Battlecross
  90. The Tempest (The Siren’s Song, The Banshee’s Cry), by The Agonist
  91. Exile, by Before The Dawn
  92. Conquer, by God Forbid
  93. Inane, by Threat Signal
  94. Canis Major, by Substructure
  95. Cascade, by Auras
  96. Vahle, by Volumes
  97. The Malignant, by Black Crown Initiate
  98. Machine, by Born of Osiris
  99. The Way We Die, by Devil You Know
  100. Holographic Universe, by Scar Symmetry
  101. Painters of the Tempest, Pt. II (Triptych Lux), by Ne Obliviscaris
  102. The Arms of Sorrow, by Killswitch Engage
  103. Fractured, by Diecast
  104. Melancholy, by Machinemade God
  105. Psychosocial, by Slipknot
  106. Anika, mon frère, by Shoot The Girl First
  107. Fightin’ Words, by Casino Madrid
  108. Stay Captive, by Still Remains
  109. Forsaken, by Mutiny Within
  110. Arise The War Cry, by Unearth

Listen to this playlist in Apple Music by clicking on the link below:

From Mercy to War

Sleddin’ Hill, by August Burns Red

OMG! LOL! ROFLTOFL!

Okay, let’s dispense with the senseless acronyms.

I am very pleased that August Burns Red are coming out with a full Christmas album. I have raved about their seasonal contributions before, but now it will be an actual album rather than a single.

To whet your appetite, feast on their version of Sleigh Ride, available on their site free of charge for streaming and on iTunes for purchase. Pre-order their album now or wait for it to release online and in stores on October 9, 2012!

The Dark Knight Rises, by Hans Zimmer

The Dark Knight Rises, by Hans Zimmer, free streaming via AOL Music today, 7/17/2012

Hear the brooding score from the upcoming conclusion to Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Surely this album will be better than the Zimmer-Howard tag team effort of The Dark Knight, right?

This Zimmer-solo effort carries a lot of the tones and themes from the first two scores over quite nicely. Is it as good as the legendary Batman Begins score?

The first song, A Storm is Coming, carries the basic Batman theme from Batman Begins. It is quite noticeable, and it ties the score in with its predecessors very well.

Then it transitions to On Thin Ice. It is a dark and eerie sounding song.

Things pick up in Gothams Reckoning, the album’s most popular iTunes Store track, carrying with it a kind of irksome sound like that of Why So Serious, but not nearly to the same degree. Still, it is dark, only to be cut by some sort of percussion snare accents. Seventy-five percent of the way through, it really crescendos and drives. There’s nothing particularly gripping here, however, as it does lack the capacity to captivate its audience.

The fourth song, Mind if I Cut in, does utilize stringed instruments to draw in the listener. Tempered with some sort of bell or chime with the piano, this song is rather nice yet ominous. It is completely unique and unlike any of the tracks from the previous albums.

Underground Army sounds just like something from the previous album, but it feels new.

Born in Darkness carries the feel from the Batman Begins score, but now a bit more open in some regards. Ultimately, it’s too open and yields itself empty.

The score really picks up in The Fire Rises. It is a turbulent track filled with sixteenth notes, and it is very entertaining. I love how it carries some of the previous album’s themes but works it into this turbulent roller coaster. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, it decrescendos like it’s nobodies business, and it becomes dreary though familiar. The last 25% picks up turbulence again, so this song is very dynamic. It’s a great song.

Nothing Out There comes in sounding like it’s going to be an awesome track with some strings, and then it takes an odd turn before arriving at the familiar and beloved piano trail introduced in Batman Begins. The odd turn nearly ruins the whole track if it were not for the Batman Begins influence that washes it clean.

Now, Despair contains a familiar Batman theme from the first film with a nice set of strings and horn combination. It masterfully works in the turbulent themes of this new film. And then that pesky and irksome “Why so Serious?” influenced sound comes in, which is annoying. But the song finishes well, utilizing other good themes from the previous two albums.

There may not be a more turbulent track on the album than Fear Will Find You. It still incorporates previous themes, but it works them really well with the current feel of the new film.

Why Do We Fall? This title comes straight from Batman Begins, bringing the trilogy full circle and to a fitting close. The track, however, lacks the piano trail associated with this scene from what I remember, which was utilized earlier in this score, and I would have appreciated it here.

Death By Exile was, I’m sorry, brief and forgettable.

Imagine the Fire was, in stark contrast, original and memorable. I love the strings in contrast with the percussion amidst the familiar themes. Exceptional track. That is until it incorporates some of the themes from Pirates of the Caribbean in slightly different rhythmic form. Yuck. Oh, Hans Zimmer, why must you recycle your works so? Well, once the song gets passed the Pirates theme, it crescendo’s really nicely.

The regular album ends with Rise, the second most popular track on the iTunes Store. At 7 minutes 15 seconds long, it seeks to combine the beloved themes from all three albums. It does a decent job, but it spends too much time bringing out the themes from The Dark Knight, which tended to drag out.

I think AOL’s description of this album is quite apt: “Hear the brooding score . . .” (emphasis mine). It’s certainly not better than Batman Begins, but it is a far cry better than The Dark Knight. Hans Zimmer did well all by his lonesome here as he worked in themes from the predecessors into this one with fresh ones of his own too. But, ultimately, it carried too many Dark Knight pitfalls, reducing its overall quality and appeal. It didn’t help that Zimmer did as Zimmer does by recycling material from his other scores either. Still, it’s worth a listen in my estimation. Go check it out on AOL Music while it’s still available for free streaming.

Prisoners, by The Agonist (#Prisoners @theagonist)

Prisoners on iTunes

Prisoners, by The Agonist

In sum, buy the album. iTunes is a great place to buy it, but if you like a tangible item, buy the CD.

I haven’t been able to listen to it yet, as I, unfortunately, need the $10 for other needs, but I plan on buying it. The Agonist puts together some very well-written songs, and I have trust in them to do it again in their junior album. I recommend it blindly.

Halo 4 Music

Halo 4 Music

Neil Davidge is composing this next installment in the Halo Saga. He has worked on Unleashed, I am Legend, Blade 2, The Jackal, Clash of the Titans, CSI, House, West Wing, and more. He has been a Halo fan since it was originally released in 2001.

I’m excited, unlike Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton. I wasn’t really a big fan of O’Donnell’s work on Halo: CE, 2, 3, ODST, or Reach, so it will be interesting to see what Davidge brings to the table.