IC2S Playlist Update 27/04/2016

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we are now just past the IC2S Playlist’s 1 year anniversary. At 9 1/2 hours and 104 songs long, I find it quite enjoyable to throw on shuffle when I’m at work. I’m going to continue to update it irregularly from here on, but I don’t think I’ll write up big update posts like this anymore, mainly because I felt like they spammed the blog with useless posts that people didn’t care about, and the effort I put into writing them was taking up potential effort that could have been going towards the backlog of topics that I actually had some interest in writing about. That’s more-or-less why I started making the playlist updates into more “regular” blog posts a couple months ago, but it’ll be nice not to have weekly updates hanging over my head from here on out.

Anyway, we’re gonna close out the year with 2 songs I wanted to add for months now. First is “Dear John Piper” by Showbread. I had been debating picking this song for a while because it’s a very IC2S-type song (it’s about the destructive theology of Calvinism/predestination… which, again, is totally something I’m into). I kind of wish that the whole song wasn’t being yelled out, but after a few listens it works pretty well, and contrasts well with the furious preaching towards the latter-half of the song. I quite enjoy it, it’s my kind of deliciously angry.

Secondly we have “Empire of the Clouds” by Iron Maiden, which closes us out with the longest song on the entire playlist. It’s also worth pointing out that this epic was written and performed by a group of nearly 60 year old men, which is just insane for an 80s rock/metal band in this day and age. Very few artists can remain relevant for a decade, let alone the 35+ years that Iron Maiden has been rocking our faces (although they did start to slip into irrelevance through the 90s, releasing their 4 indisputably worst albums back-to-back, but have been putting out high quality stuff again since 2000). I mean, just think about how irrelevant The Rolling Stones have been for years, or even other bands with mini-comebacks like Aerosmith have long since slipped back into obscurity (even Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne to some degree). Even better, they seem to be edging back towards my preferred era of Iron Maiden, the Powerslave/Seventh Son of a Seventh Son sound with its heavy concepts, sweeping epics and technical virtuosity. I maintain that Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is my favourite Maiden album, and it’s too bad that they ditched that sound in favour of the mediocrity they chased throughout the 90s. Now that we have The Book of Souls, who knows what limits Maiden still has within them?

Also, coincidentally, I have put together a small one-off playlist which just happened to coincide with this 1 year anniversary. Basically, I was listening to Sabaton’s “The Rise of Evil” the other day, which got me wondering whether it could be considered part of a “musical trilogy”. “The Rise of Evil” would be part 1, followed by “The Final Solution” as part 2 and then finishing with… well, I wasn’t sure if they had a third song that could fit in well enough. The result of this is a playlist I titled “Sabaton – The Rise and Fall of Evil”, which basically is a recounting of the history of Nazi Germany in WWII. I personally think that the compilation gels together very well and tells a rather compelling story: a madman rising to power, the Nazis’ early victories, the Holocaust, the Allies uniting and turning the tide, and then the German people coming to grips with the evil they had been fighting in the name of for almost 6 years. I definitely recommend checking it out, either search it on Spotify or go to the IC2S Playlist sidebar and then click on my username.

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IC2S Playlist Update 09/03/2016

I’ve got to say, I have been looking forward to this playlist update for a while now. The reason for that is because I have REALLY gotten into Iron Maiden’s discography now and have been listening to their music pretty much every day lately. In fact, narrowing down to just one song from them this week was hard enough. In the end though, I decided to settle on the title track from arguably my favourite Maiden album, “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. This album just exemplifies what I love so much about Iron Maiden, the sweeping epics, the tackling of simple (but deep) themes and some absolutely killer guitar solos. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son seems to get overlooked in favour of more of the “classic” Maiden albums (Piece of Mind, Killers, The Number of the Beast, Powerslave, etc), but for my money it’s criminally underrated. That said, it also demonstrates just how deep Iron Maiden’s discography is. Seriously, if you aren’t listening to them already, the damn well do it.

I also knew that I wanted to play some Showbread this week. I initially was going to go with “Dear John Piper”, but with all the insanity going on in the States at the moment due to the nomination process, another song really jumped out at me. “I’m Afraid That I’m Me” might be Showbread’s best song that encapsulates the political religiosity of American evangelicalism:

“Lately I have found frustration among the incongruence / a movement of peasants and pacifists drowning in patriotic affluence / I feel as though I should do something but I’m staggered by the ramifications / they’ve baptized the empire into the church and heralded its sanctification”

“‘Blessed are the meek’ succumbs to ‘might makes right’ / “turn the other cheek” succumbs to pre-emptive strike / “love your enemies” is fossilized beneath the frozen tundra / and ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’ is devoured by ‘God bless America’.

You file the children into the classrooms, make them stand and say an oath / and when we ask ‘should I love God or my country?’ / you smile and tell us ‘both.’ / We’ve hidden the God we claim we serve and driven him beneath the floorboards / but I can still hear this still, small voice / and I can’t take it anymore”

What else can I say? For all the political and religious commentary, it’s clearly a very deserving song to add to the IC2S Playlist.

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IC2S Playlist Update 20/01/2016

Bloody hell, did I ever have a “week”. A friend and I got into a heated argument with a MRA on Facebook (he self identifies as an MRA-leaning egalitarian, but if you’re familiar with MRA/feminist circles, you’ll know that “egalitarian” is just a term which has been unfortunately co-opted by MRA-types to make them sound more reasonable). It was more-or-less a waste of time, but I did get some interesting insight into the MRA mindset and the crazy things that they believe (eg, holy shit guys, did you know that there’s a minority conspiracy to become the real social powers?). It has gotten my circle of friends talking about these sorts of social issues, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I write up some sort of post inspired by it soon.

First up this week is “Fear of the Dark”, the title track from the 1992 album by Iron Maiden. I have been going through Iron Maiden’s albums on Spotify and have been fairly impressed by what I have heard so far. The band has such a long history and so many albums, it will probably take me months (if not years) to parse through everything and get a good feel for everything. In celebration of this expanding appreciation for the metal juggernaut, I have chosen one of the band’s better known songs, “Fear of the Dark”, for no better reason than because it rocks.

Secondly this week we have “Why Shouldn’t We Kill Ourselves?” by Showbread from their newest (and final) album Showbread is Showdead. I was actually going to choose a Showbread song for this week, but lo and behold, they suddenly unleashed a new album unexpectedly, making them into a must-include choice this week. If there are any bands in the Christian music industry which can be truly classified as “punk”, I think that Showbread would be one of the few to deserve the label. They are exceptionally strange and always raging against the state of Christianity, the music industry and the status quo, without turning into a bunch of whiners like Five Finger Death Punch. I have only listened through Showbread is Showdead once now, but it is very similar to their debut album ‘No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical’.

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IC2S Playlist Update 11/11/2015

It’s Remembrance Day here in Canada, and if you haven’t read my Quick Fix related to it yet, then you might find it interesting. Naturally, it’s going to be a sombre and respectful day around here though, especially since I have family in the Canadian Forces.

On a more positive note though, I’m making quite a bit of progress on the Metal Gear retrospective. I’ve completed 4 games in the franchise thus far and have their retrospectives all written up and ready to go, with a 5th game maybe an hour away from completion and the writing portion should take an evening to put together. It has been pretty fun thus far and I’m glad that I decided to take the plunge, because I doubt I would have gotten to experience the MSX Metal Gear games without it. It’s also giving me a better appreciation for the series, but I’ll leave any formal analysis for the retrospectives themselves. It’s going to be pretty great and I’m putting quite a lot of work into this, so I hope that you guys enjoy when it’s finally ready to go.

First up this week, we have “The Sneaking Chair” by My Heart to Fear from their album Algorithm. Back when Weathered Steel was still on the air, this song just dominated their Top 40 playlist. Most songs only last a week or 2 before disappearing entirely, but “The Sneaking Chair” must have been the #1 song for at least a month. It’s a pretty great song, I’ve been meaning to put it in the playlist for a really long time. In fact, the last time I put a My Heart to Fear song in the playlist (“4th Dimension Opera House”, way back in May), I had originally intended to use “The Sneaking Chair” but made a last minute switch. On an unrelated note, I have no idea how My Heart to Fear comes up with their song titles, some of them are just all over the place. Some will be really straightforward (“Wish You Were Here”, “Angst”, etc) and then others are… well, “The Sneaking Chair”.

Secondly we have “Blood Brothers” by Iron Maiden from the album Brave New World. It had always been a bit of a secret shame for me that I considered myself a through-and-through metalhead, but wasn’t really into some of the genre heavy weights, such as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. However, since Weathered Steel shut down I have switched my Internet radio over to Metal Rock Radio, which plays the metal classics and modern metal all the time, and has been getting me quite into Iron Maiden. “Blood Brothers” might be my favourite thus far, it’s just a really badass song that makes you want to sing along. As someone who likes Sabaton and Disturbed, you can probably tell that this sort of “comradery”/battle song really appeals to me and is making me want to have an “Iron Maiden week” where I just fire up Spotify and blow through their entire discography to find all their gems.

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