Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast

Album Reaction: Vaxis - Act I: Unheavenly Creatures by Coheed and Cambria

Oct 10, 2018 | Comments

Vaxis - Act I: Unheavenly Creatures

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. The Dark Sentencer
  3. Unheavenly Creatures
  4. Toys
  5. Black Sunday
  6. Queen of the Dark
  7. True Ugly
  8. Love Protocol
  9. The Pavillion (A Long Way Back)
  10. Night-Time Walkers
  11. The Gutter
  12. All on Fire
  13. It Walks Among Us
  14. Old Flames
  15. Lucky Stars

DISCLAIMER: This is a reaction blog post which is mostly incoherent rambling and (you guessed it) real-time reactions to the songs. This is not a review.

The last time I did an album reaction was back in 2012. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the last album reaction I did was to Coheed and Cambria’s The Afterman: Ascension. It’s fitting that the next album reaction is also Coheed and Cambria. With Ascension, my love for Coheed rekindled and with Unheavenly Creatures, I can see my love for Coheed rekindling for the second time.

I saw Coheed and Cambria live a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been following their singles pretty closely. The singles off this album are all pretty legit. Like most Coheed songs, it took me a while to get used to the singles but they still got me pretty excited about the album.

Because I’ve sacrificed my soul to Spotify, I streamed the album. I had work the day the album was released and at work, some people were talking about the album already. I debated listening to the album while working but no, I wanted to dedicate a solid hour of my undivided attention to this album. And I’m glad I did!

  1. Prologue

    I really like the prologue. I’ve gotten used to the piano bit from the singles and what not. I love how the music builds behind the narrator. It really does transition nicely into The Dark Sentencer.

  2. The Dark Sentencer

    Somehow, because of the prologue, this song sounds even more epic than it usually sounds. I love the beginning riff. I can’t really say much about this one because I’ve been listening to it for quite a while now. It’s a good heavy song which I enjoy. I know some people enjoy Coheed’s heavier stuff and while I do relish those heavy tracks, I don’t mind it when they depart from it.

    Looking at the lyrics now, I never paid much attention to the bridge where Claudio’s voice has some sort of effect applied to it. It sounds like a robot but layered so not quite like autotune. I actually like it.

    A place where the blind truly can see Hear my voice, dearly departed, I beg on my knees

  3. Unheavenly Creatures

    Interesting how the next song is another previously released track. It definitely jumped straight into Unheavenly Creatures without any sort of reprieve from The Dark Sentence. I do enjoy the synth sci-fi sounds in the background. I can probably see why when I saw Coheed and Cambria live, Claudio didn’t bust out his guitar for this song. It’s definitely not guitar heavy, or, at the very least, it’s not the highlight of the song. It’s definitely a poppier song. I’m down with pop so I enjoy it.

    So run, run, run, run like a son of a gun

  4. Toys

    Interestingly named. The intro to this song is very interesting. Wow. Immediate guitar chord. Claudio sounds like an angel. He’s really going up into that falsetto. But I love those guitar chords. Sounds very rock opera-like. It’s funny but once the guitars really kicked in, I was reminded of Green Day.

    They seem to really like the build-up before the chorus.

    One of my friends said that Coheed is really going “Queen” as in theatrical. I could see it.

    I think this song might be lacking lyrically, unfortunately. No lines really stand out to me, yet. But I do find myself bopping my head to it. For some reason, I think “knees” might be the most used word in their lyrics.

    It’s kinda sad but I’m resisting the urge to click to the next song. It seems really poppy, which I don’t mind. But I feel like it’s lacking. This song drags out a bit which is ironic because:

    Oh can’t you see, you’re dragging me

    Also. Fade out. Nice.

  5. Black Sunday

    Oh this starts out pretty promising. I love it when Coheed gets all sinister. Claudio is doing some good vocal stuff in here. The guitar is on point in this one. I love the random sounding licks in the background. Very chaotic. Oof, more power rock-opera elements.

    I wouldn’t call this track heavy but it’s definitely rock.

    W O W. I enjoy the “Black Sunday” chant. I can see this being great to hear live.

    Oh man, they busted out the military-like snare drum. Really reminds me of My Chemical Romance in a way.

    The outro is nice.

    Black Sunday, Black Sunday

  6. Queen of the Dark

    This sounds like a ballad. It starts off with some scarce piano. Then the guitar, drums, and Claudio come in. Definitely not a ballad.

    I don’t know how I feel about this song. It feels like exposition to me. There’s a lot of repetition in this song. I feel like chanting two songs in a row is a bit excessive.

    It has an interesting outro though. Some cool guitar effects. And then another kind of fade out. It doesn’t actually fade out.

    All hurt in time gets better

  7. True Ugly

    Hard hitting. There’s some clapping in this song. Interesting. High energy. I like. This song definitely has a more upbeat tempo. Oh shit. Claudio is doing some semi-scream thing and I dig it a lot. Claudio is definitely blab-singing (I have no idea how to describe it) but it’s really interesting. Sounds really happy go lucky in the middle of a song like this.

    I like this song. It deviates a little more from what I expected. It’s a good mix of pop and prog. Sometimes I notice that there are points that seem to drag a bit. The difference is really noticeable in this song.

    And another fade out.

    Break, break, breaking up Break, break, break,follow me Can, can, can you hear me?

  8. Love Protocol

    And another immediate transition! The guitar sounds familiar. I wonder if it mirrors the prologue motif. This song’s like another cheesy Here to Mars type song. A typical love song. But some of the lines really catch me. I also love the name of this song. Are there any protocols to love?

    Oh, I can be your dancer The one you set within your sights When I admit surrender Then maybe goodbye will turn to goodnight

  9. The Pavillion (A Long Way Back)

    Y E S. I love titles with parentheses in them. This is another rock-opera sounding song. Maybe another ballad too? Not sure how I feel about the song itself though. Coheed is really channeling their inner Green Day/Queen/I don’t really know what to compare them to.

    Goodbye for now

  10. Night-Time Walkers

    Hmmm. Zombies are my first thought.

    Okay. The intro is hella cool. I love the sci-fi space effects they’re using on this album.

    Ah. Another power ballad love song. Why is this album so cheesy? Could do with the fact that the two characters are a couple… It’s right there in the album cover. I don’t know why I thought different, haha.

    The Claudio robot comes back. I really like it. But I don’t understand a single thing. But it’s good.

    The thing about this though is that the power chords just slow this song down so much. It does that for a lot of songs. It makes sense here but I’m getting fatigued by it.

    I don’t wanna see you, I don’t wanna believe you’re here But it’s too hard not to when your songs I hear

  11. The Gutter

    They love their hard cuts to the next song. The Gutter sounds really good in the context of the album.

    Okay, I really love The Gutter. I love the pseudo screamy bits. Claudio’s enunciation of “gutter” is perfect. This is probably my favourite song on the record. I would have been really happy to hear this song live in concert.

    On a close listen, I can hear the orchestra in the background which is nice. I don’t know how I never noticed it. It’s pretty good right now. ALSO. Claudio laughing like an evil dude. He does it so well.

    Now if I had my way I would leave you here to waste your final days

  12. All On Fire

    Okay I am gutted (haha) that The Gutter does not go to Old Flames. But this song has a piano intro which kinda makes up for it. Oooh this song sounds like a throwback. Hm. I also don’t know how I feel about this song. I think this is definitely a grower. I could also see some of these lyrics becoming memes among the fandom. “Please bring water” x3. Amazing.

    Come slither, you snake, please bring me back To when life was wonderful

  13. It Walks Among Us

    Another zombie sounding title. I love the intro effects. It sounds like clockwork. And the opening riff is some good stuff. Good synths too. More power chords. I. Think I like this. I’m only a verse into it. I see a trend. I really like the sinister songs. When Claudio gets all kinda angry, haha. Not sure about the mixing on Claudio’s voice in some parts though.

    This song has some really good lines. I changed my most liked lines like three times. It’s hard to pick.

    Okay. Yeah. This is a good song.

    Infected, don’t provoke ‘em Feel free to cock and load ‘em

  14. Old Flames

    Hearing these songs in the context of the album make me appreciate them a lot.

    When the music video of this came out I was little apprehensive. They have a lot of interesting music videos but they never really jive with me. So when they brought out synchronized dance numbers, I was a little weirded out. It makes sense though.

    Ah. I love this song! I’m so torn between this song and The Gutter as my favourite song from the album. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s so poppy that I like it. The outro is also really good. It somehow fits the song. Going out with a bang and then revelling the last peaceful moments.

    “Are you ready?” “As the day we met.” “You’re adorable.”

  15. Lucky Stars

    The closer. I am heavy in anticipation.

    Ooh, an acoustic guitar. Interesting. Another ballad? This is a true ballad, however. I remember reading somewhere about how some people were hoping it wouldn’t end on a ballad. I do prefer ending out with a bang but Old Flames kind of fills that need. This might be another Wake Up for me. Way too cheesy but I’ll end up memorizing the lyrics and singing along to it in concert.

    This could be the biggest mistake we make in this life Chasing as we tried to compete for each other’s time

TL;DR

So I’m slightly disappointed this isn’t an immediate “wow I just fell in love with every single song” record like The Afterman: Ascension was. I might have just been riding the hype of the singles and the concert. I felt the urge to skip a couple songs. There are some songs I already know I like but the others… They might have to grow on me. But I think it’s a pretty good mix. I liked 9 out of the 15 songs (including Prologue). I think that’s a good ratio especially for a first listen.

Book Review: The White Book by Han Kang

Oct 9, 2018 | Comments

The White Book by Han Kang

From the author of The Vegetarian and Human Acts comes a book like no other. The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.

Don’t die. For God’s sakes, don’t die.

I picked this book up at my local library. There is a display at the front where other library patrons suggest a book on certain criteria. If you like plot, you might like this book. Or if you like suspense you might like this other book. Mampreet suggested this book if you like prose. They didn’t put any reasons but I trusted them.

I’ve actually read and reviewed The Vegetarian as part of a mini book club that I was doing with a friend. Everyone who read it was a little flabbergasted by it. There was something very Murakami-esque about it. But I couldn’t deny that I really liked the writing.

The White Book is very minimal. The text is sparse but I imagine every single word was chosen very carefully. I can only imagine how the translator might have laboured over it. It’s prose to a tee.

In this book, Kang writes about her sister who only lived for two hours. In it, she imagines what her sister’s life would have been like if she had lived and if Kang had never been born. Kang also talks about living so that her sister could live and being haunted by her sister’s presence.

This is definitely an artsy concept kind of books. The design is a dead giveaway of it. There is a lot of whitespace on each page. Some passages only use one side of a page. There are random pictures scattered throughout. If you enjoy fancy prose but don’t mind lack of direction, you could give it a shot.

I can’t tell if I liked it. It was a quick and easy read. And I feel like I experienced some beauty for a little bit but nothing too special.

Fainting

Oct 9, 2018 | Comments

A couple of weeks (months?) ago, I fainted. I know it’s really not a big deal to faint but it never happened to me before. It was just a really bad case of vertigo, I think. I was sitting down and I stood up too fast. I walked a couple steps forward and a pain shot up my leg. I get cramps a lot so it’s no big deal for me. I tried to wait it out but this time the pain felt different. Not like my usual cramps. My cramps usually just stop at the top of my calf but this time it felt like the pain spread up my entire leg and into my side.

Now, when it comes to health, I always assume the worst. I take birth control which slightly increases my chances of blood clots. I also have relatives who have had aneurisms before so there’s a family history. The past year, I’ve been on the plane like five times and everyone knows deep vein thrombosis is a thing. And I’ve read Two Kisses for Maddy where a new first time mom suffers from a pulmonary embolism and then dies. Her last words were, “I feel light headed.”

SO. With that context. I genuinely thought I was going to die. My vision went pixelly, literally. It was like someone put a filter over my eyes and everything was behind a transparent grid. I called out for my brother and he rushed to me. He was talking but I couldn’t hear anything/ The room started to spin and then I blacked out.

When I came to, I started crying. It was scary. I went to see a doctor and he confirmed it was probably just vertigo. Or a panic attack. He really tried to press hard if I was stressed the past couple of days. I downplayed it but really, I was (I was going through a lot of interviews at the time, it was draining). So maybe a mix of vertigo and stress?

The reason I bring this up is because on the train, a girl fainted. When she came to, her first instinct was to say, “I’m sorry” and the started to cry.

And so I was reminded of my one and only fainting spell. Also I stood up too fast today and I was like “oh no not again.” I was okay though.

I probably need to go see a doctor though because my legs are tingling and cramping up a whole lot more than usual lately. Maybe I’m just sitting down way too much. I don’t know. I’m more aware of my body these days. Sometimes I feel like I’m out of my body. Not really feeling like I’m in it. But I only have one body and I should probably take care of it.

Book Blogger Hop #56

Oct 5, 2018 | Comments


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

It’s getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer urban fantasy, or horror, and why?

I have no idea. I don’t read either, honestly. I think the last horror story I read was Frankenstein. While it is the epitome of 19th century horror, I didn’t really find it… horrifying. I also get super affected by suspense so I don’t know if I would do well with horror. For example, I put down the book if things get too intense. Even if it’s something simple and non-horror related like someone is caught cheating, I have to put down the book and catch my breath. Thankfully with reading, you can’t really have any jump scares. It’s just the suspense that will really get me.

As for urban fantasy… I don’t really know what that means. I’ve read a lot of sci-fi that might be urban… But not sure about fantasy. I usually don’t like the tropes that occur in urban genres. I find a lot of urban books fall into the same pitfalls. I’ve probably just not found a really good urban book yet.

So I guess my answer would be horror. I really don’t like the urban genre and sub-genres, especially if they are YA. I could tolerate horror because, even if it does have the intention to scare, it doesn’t seem that bad in terms of scary levels.

Book Review: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Oct 1, 2018 | Comments

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shinamura, a wealthy dilettante, meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages–a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.

The summary of this book captures the essence of Snow Country perfectly. This book is dripping in implication. The characters are never straightforward. They all keep secrets or they are just distant enough from each other that you know as much as the narrator knows. Even if the characters state their feelings clearly, there is some hidden layer beneath the words that you know to be true. Honestly, all the implications kills me.

The sadness kills me as well. I was so emotionally affected by Thousand Cranes that I immediately sought out another one of Kawabata’s novels. There is something addicting about how Kawabata portrays sadness. Kawabata is no stranger to sorrow and he conveys it so beautifully.

I remember reading about Kawabata a while ago before I read any of his works. For some reason, I was reading about seppuku (might have been because one of my friends told me that samurais used to drink tea beforehand so they could empty their bowels before committing seppuku, cool fact) and I was reading about the last recorded instance of seppuku. The accomplished poet, writer, actor, and director Yukio Mishima was the last and he was a friend of Kawabata’s. It is said that Kawabata was haunted by Mishima’s ghost so much so that he in turn also committed suicide (although not by seppuku).

After reading Snow Country I went ahead and read some more about Kawabata. One article talks about his first love and how it fell apart. It was tragic.

While it seems so simple, two people are caught in a passionate but illicit affair, there is tragedy seeping in every single word, gesture, and thought in this book. It’s hard for me to think about what even happens in this book because I was just so affected by it all.

Kawabata really knows how to write. I’m losing my ability to write because I just can’t come up with any words to describe it. I highly recommend it.

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My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.

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