Sunday, August 30, 2015

What Killed Metal? - An Analysis of an Evolving Culture

If you're a member of the metal community, you probably came to this article prepared to disagree. I mean, Iron Maiden, the pinnacle of heavy metal, has a double album set to release this Friday, and newer bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch have been getting a fair amount of play time on radios and the iTunes libraries of 11 year old white kids. However, to say that the culture in question has remained unchanged since the early 1980's would be naive as all hell. There are still good metal releases today (Ghost's Meliora, Cattle Decapitation's The Anthropocene Extinction, and Lamb of God's VII: Sturm Und Drang to name a few recent releases), but nothing quite to the scale of the Big Four, AC/DC, and other 'classics'. The fact of the matter is that metal has fallen out of the mainstream. No modern metal act could ever draw the packed stadiums that Metallica drew in their hey-day, and the most popular metal acts today are the same ones from the 80's - Slayer, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and so on. But what exactly triggered this fall from grace?

Let's face it, metal isn't exactly a welcoming community. It's not an easy feat to be considered 'trv kvlt' by your peers. There is immeasurable hostility between fans of different genres, different bands, people who listen through different mediums, and so on. I've known many metal fans to be nice and inviting, but for the most part, no one wants to lead you through the classics to the new mainstream. The biggest reason for this, quite simply, is that fact that there is no new mainstream; the sheer number of subgenres that exist within metal are absurd. Absurdly exciting to metal fans, yes, but it's overwhelming for someone looking to get into it for the first time. There's death metal, black metal, doom metal, thrash metal, groove metal, nu metal, heavy metal, stoner metal, power metal, and dozens more beyond that, steering people away right off the bat. Even beyond the daunting library available to listeners, there's an even bigger factor: it's scary. Yes, I'm aware that that's the very essence of metal culture itself, but no one just up and decides they want to go from "Uptown Funk" to "Frantic Disembowelment". Metal is something you need to ease into and explore on your own to understand, and that's too much to ask for most music listeners, unfortunately. Metal is a beautifully intricate style of music that is very rewarding to explore, but no one knows that unless they take a leap of faith. And considering there's so much quality content available outside of metal, a lot of people see no reason to do that.

We've already touched a bit on the absence of a metal mainstream, but it's something that needs emphasizing. Metal has become reliant on niches, and there are very few bands that can appeal to everyone within the metal community, let alone the world. When Metallica ruled the world, the internet was yet to develop into the tool that it is today, and music distribution was more straightforward. People didn't go out searching for the latest in Blackened Technical Funeral Death-Sludge, people went out for music. Metallica makes music. They make very good music, at that (or at least, they did). At that time, if music was good, you gave it a shot, because you never know what you might find or when you might need something new to listen to. This is no longer the case, thanks to the internet. If you want Blackened Technical Funeral Death-Sludge, it's just a couple of clicks away. The metal community, and really, the music community as a whole, has been divided and pushed deeper into their niches by the ease of access provided by the internet. Sad but true (pun absolutely intended).

That said, the internet isn't all bad. It's now much easier for a band to release their work. Back in the day, you'd need a dedicated player of each instrument, a solid fan base, and enough money to warrant a release. Today, you need an internet connection and a microphone. This wonderful development has served as a double-edged sword: on one hand, listeners now have access to a plethora of material that would otherwise go undeveloped and undistributed. But on the other hand, it's created over saturation the likes of which has never been seen. Everybody and their mother has released an EP, and quite frankly, a lot of releases like this are absolute garbage. There's no way some of these bands could ever get a record deal, but nowadays, they don't have to. If a garage band can get 15 purchases on Bandcamp, that's "making it big". And do you know why? Because there is no making it big in metal anymore! Fans are much less inclined to go see bands perform live when they have instant access to not only their entire library, but also, footage of the live concerts. The internet isn't a problem exclusive to metal by any means, but it sure as hell isn't helping the scene.

 Don't get me wrong, I love metal and I think it's thriving in it's own little petri dish, but there is no chance of a metal band ever reached the height that bands from the dawn of metal reached. Rampant elitism and shock culture form a barrier at the door, and those that make it through the door are faced with a complex maze of genres and styles. The internet has only amplified this problem exponentially. Metal may never die, but it's sure taken a hit in the past several decades.

 Then again, I'm a seventeen year old kid and it's very possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Horror Block December 2014 - January 2015 Review

WARNING: Spoilers ahead (duh)

Horror Block is a monthly subscription box by Nerd Block that specializes in horror culture. This is my third month total and my first month back after cancelling previously. My experiences with it haven't been great but I'm hoping that this block will turn things around.

Not my picture, it's from an ebay listing. Only one I could find since I gave it away.

1. Overlook Hotel T-Shirt

This shirt was decent, but nothing special. I'm not a big fan of shirts with pop culture references that aren't immediately recognizable like this one (which is from the Shining, by the way). I gave this shirt away to my sister and she seemed to love it so maybe I'm just not a big enough Shining fan, but this shirt just didn't appeal to me.

The Pop! is on the right. Figure on the left not included, unfortunately.

2. Universal Monsters Pop! Figure

Pop! vinyl figures are awesome. They're cute, they're inexpensive, and they cover so many franchises, not to mention that they look fantastic on a shelf. In the horror block there was a randomly selected universal monster Pop!, and I was lucky enough to get the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The other options were Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and characters like that.

3. Maggot Eye Skeleton Toy

I've seen some complaints about this and I completely understand that it's silly and sophomoric, but I had a lot of fun with it. It's a rubber skeleton with a giant head that you can squeeze, revealing blood and maggots inside of it's eyes. As soon as I opened the Horror block my little sister began screaming at the skeleton and then playing with it's eyes and making it dance. For what it is, the skeleton toy is actually very high quality and I'm impressed that the creators bothered to put a full body on it rather than just a head. Great little toy in my opinion.

4. Poltergeist Mouse Pad

The mouse pad itself is pretty thin, but after testing it out a bit (I'm actually using it right now), it gets the job done. The graphic on the mouse pad is the iconic television scene from Poltergeist, which is a fantastic movie and makes for an awesome design. Although, lot of people complained about this item because they use laptops primarily. A valid complaint, sure, but as a gamer I need to use my mouse frequently. And for the record, I use a laptop with a USB mouse, so take that as you will.

5. Zombie Hand Sanitizer

This is the only item in the entire block that I didn't like. What a strange thing to include... at least I got a good laugh out of the label.

6. Rue Morgue

As you may already know, Horror Block always comes with a magazine. Rue Morgue is the original (I believe?) that they included and after switching around a bit, and this issue was a nice read. The feature article was an interview with the Ghostbusters director, so that was cool. Not a surprise, but still enjoyable.

Overall, this block really pleased me. This is my third Horror Block (I got September 2014, October 2014, and now December 2014) and I have to say that this is my favorite so far. The Pop! figure is fantastic, the skeleton toy is hilarious, the mouse pad will be getting a lot of use, and the T-shirt at least made someone happy.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quantum Physicists at Ooskian University confirm that Katie is female

The damning evidence 
Quantum physicists that have been utilizing the research facilities at Ooskian University have concluded and are preparing to publish a study that seems to indicate that Katie is, in fact, a girl. By means of blood testing, DNA analysis, and a controversial method of reversing quantum entanglement known as 'Devito-ing', the team of scientists reportedly uncovered two complete X chromosomes. Menstrual blood and other substances organically found in the female body have also been uncovered and are currently being observed in a separate facility overseas as the Ooglestonian Academy in Russia.

A diagram demonstrating 'Devito-ing'
A routine scanning of the body also uncovered physical traits and organs found in the female anatomy exclusively, such as the associated reproductive organs. An in depth examination of the flesh revealed that the organs were not synthesized and have been attached to Katie since birth.

The research was funded by the Gonilocian government, the Magnificent Clown Industries (TMCI), and a private investor known as 'KC', and was supported by the International League of Heather Mason Look-a-likes (ILHML).

"I have no doubt that this study will prove to be sufficient evidence towards the age-old argument of [identifying the sex of] Katie," asserted Dr. Rigatoni Autopsy, supervisor of the study. "It should also help reduce the taboo of using Devito-ing in a published experiment. However, I think regardless of your stance on either of the two previously mentioned debates, scientists can now turn their attention towards more universally beneficial research, such as how we as a species can shrink Target down to a size where it could theoretically fit inside a choir practice room".

The paper outlining the findings of the Katie examination team is set to be published in the Salty Puppet journal in January of 2015. There will also be a live demonstration and explanation of the data at the Hall of Small Horse Shirts at some point this month.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lootcrate Review: October 2014 - Fear

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the October 2014 Lootcrate. Obviously.

I've been a big fan of Lootcrate ever since I first joined in July of this year. For those unfamiliar with the service, Lootcrate is a monthly box filled with pop culture collectibles and other cool stuff chosen to fit a certain theme (Villains, Heroes, Galactic, etc). This month, in observance of Halloween, the Lootcrate theme is FEAR, being advertised with names like The Walking Dead and Dead Rising.

Initial thoughts

I'm a big horror fan in practically every meaning of the term. Silent Hill 2 is my favorite game of all time, Alien and Silence of the Lambs rank at the top of my favorite movie list, and in general the sensation of fear makes me feel so alive. So, obviously, I'm expecting a lot from this lootcrate. So far I know that there's a Walking Dead comic and a Dead Rising item, neither of which excite me, but I'm still hanging in for a Scarecrow item or a maybe even something Silent Hill related. No matter what, I'm extremely excited to open this crate.


The October Lootcrate contains the following items:

1. The Walking Dead Issue 132 (Lootcrate exclusive variant cover)

I've read a couple dozen issues of the Walking Dead comic series, and it's very enjoyable. An alternate cover of the latest issue is a solid collectible, especially for such a popular series. My only quarrel with this cover is that instead of making the image something interesting like they did with the Rocket Raccoon comic book from the Villains crate, this cover is just a zombie wearing a Lootcrate shirt. Not exactly exciting, but hey, it's cool.

 2. Dead Rising 3 Sledgesaw Hammer Pen

Now this is where I started to get a little upset. Okay, I get it, Capcom is trying to hype the PC release of Dead Rising 3. But that's not something that Lootcrate should just sit down and take. Dead Rising isn't a very loved franchise; I'd be very surprised if you could find me a die hard fan of the games. And not only that, but the game is a terrible representation of fear, because you get insanely overpowered weapons and kill zombies in the funniest and craziest ways you can think of. As for the actual item, it's okay. I mean, it's just a pen. It looks kind of cool, but it's hard to display and definitely not something that I'm going to be using often.

3. 'How to Survive a Sharknado' Book

Once again, a terrible representation of fear. Sharknado is a satirical movie that no one takes seriously, and it definitely doesn't invoke fear. So besides that being a stupid choice for the theme, I actually really like the book. It's an encyclopedia of fictional weather and monsters, complete with descriptions, danger levels, and tips on surviving them. Pretty interesting read and I do like the item, but I don't like that it took up the space of something that could have been actually fear related.

4. 'Death by Kitten' shirt

This shirt is probably what pissed me off the most. I was expecting something pop culture related for the shirt, maybe something from a classic Slasher film. Hell, if I had my way it would have been a Silent Hill shirt. But a skull made of kittens? That'd be a fantastic inclusion if the theme were 'Cringeworthy Novelty Bullshit'. But no, the theme is fear. You could argue that since it's a skull it's a good inclusion for Halloween, but really, it's lame. I'm still going to wear the shirt, don't get me wrong; it's not as if it's the most blasphemous thing I've ever seen. I'm not mad, Lootcrate, I'm just disappointed.

5. SuperEmoFriends Art Print 

Okay, I lied. THIS is what pissed me off the most. It is nothing more than a slab of cardboard with some cartoon printed on it. Not even anything special, just something you'd expect out of a 16 year old Tumblr artist. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it spoils the Walking Dead for you? Lovely, Lootcrate, simply lovely.

6. 'Smite' in-game Jack the Reaper skin

I've never heard of the game 'Smite' before, so this item is irrelevant. It's an exclusive skin for the game, and for the players, that's pretty neat. It's not like I can complain, it is what it is, and I can't use it. Still though, a very nice small touch to the crate.

7. Slashes and Bites Tattoos

Incredibly generic, yes, but you can't go wrong with tattoos. I don't know about the other looters, but I'm definitely gonna be trying some of these out in the near future.

8. Toxic Waste candy

Not fear related, true, but who's gonna complain about candy? It's only one piece, but Hell, it's better than nothing. 


I can say without hesitation that this is the worst Lootcrate I've ever gotten. It's not terrible, but it's really not great either. Besides the Walking Dead items, there's nothing really fear related here. Nothing Scarecrow related, nothing horror movie related, and even though Capcom was involved, they chose Dead Rising over Resident Evil. It seems to me like Lootcrate just picked the theme Fear because they assumed it would be synonymous with Halloween, but damn if it didn't set me up for massive disappointment. I'd just like to say this: Stick with your theme. Your theme this year was fear, but the only thing that really follows that is the Walking Dead comic. Dead Rising is about destroying zombies in crazy and funny ways, not about fear at all. Sharknado is a satire movie. The rest of the stuff... well, the shirt is like the opposite of fear. I got this crate because I'm a horror fan, not a 14 year old hipster.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let's Get Cynical! The Fappening II: Electric Boogaloo

PLEASE NOTE: Let's Get Cynical! is not intended to be a collection of rational thoughts, but rather a quick rant concerning my immediate reactions and afterthoughts. Please respond accordingly. 

I knew this day would come eventually, but not so soon.... never so soon....

Unfortunately for female celebrities, it would seem that even more naked photos have been leaked to the internet by the hands of an anonymous hacker. Multiple hackers, most likely, but it's not like I have any way of knowing. He was probably a systems administrator...

Anyway, this time around the targets are Vanessa Hudgens. Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Avril Lavigne, and Kate Cuoco, as well as some familiar faces such as Jennifer Lawrence and Victoria Justice. Personally, I don't even give a damn anymore, it's not like I can say anything that hasn't been said. What you're doing is evil and invasive and all that, but I'm fairly certain most participants are content with that. If you're looking for a more in-depth response, feel free to check out my initial reaction to the Fappening. After your done drowning your hard drives in obscene selfies, that is.

I'm honestly not sure how to feel about all this. I can't really blame the celebrities for taking the photos in the place (unless their passwords were 'password' instead of 'pa$sword'), and 4chan is anonymous so there's no individual I can really direct any of my feelings towards. I can blame the general public for encouraging this kind of stuff... wait, no I can't.

All I can say is this:

Enjoy your prey, you goddamned vultures. Just make sure the bloodstains don't set in as deep as they did in the Fappening Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Youtube Update: Official Goniloc Theme Song and New Stefan Sketch

What's up, fan(s)! It's been a while since my last video, and I apologize for the bite-sized hiatus. However, I return bearing good news: Courtesy of Chandler Myers, a musician I met on the internet cesspool known as Reddit, Goniloc now has an official theme song. Inspired by the soundtracks of horror games such as Amnesia and Outlast, this 30-second beauty will be playing at during the credits of nearly every Goniloc video from here on out. The Goniloc theme song is featured at the end of 'Anti-Drug PSA', the 9th Stefan sketch, which you can view in the embedded player below. You can go have a listen right now! Unless you're deaf. Or your computer/device doesn't have functioning speakers.

As you may have noticed, the Magnificent Clown played a prominent role in this video. The final installment in the Magnificent Clown saga is underway, but due to intense creative differences between the clown and I, it's taking a rather long time. I've got a whole bunch of stuff planned for October that I may or may not follow through with, so be sure to stay tuned to my Youtube channel and this putrid, rotting mass of words that I call my blog for the latest news! Until then, don't die. That's just a suggestion, though, don't take it too seriously.

- Goniloc

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let's Get Cynical! 'The Fappening' and #LeakforJLaw

PLEASE NOTE: Let's Get Cynical! is not intended to be a collection of rational thoughts, but rather a quick rant concerning my immediate reactions and opinions. Please respond accordingly. 

Earlier today, private photos of many celebrities (I'd give a solid number, but more are being added as I type) were leaked to the internet collectively. When I say private, I think you all know damn well what I mean. Celebrities such as Victoria Justice, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton, and Jennifer Lawrence have all been victimized by an alleged hacker who collected all the nude photos and uploaded them to 4chan and it has since spread all over the internet. I'm still trying to grasp this whole situation myself, to be honest. How exactly does something like this happen? As much as I hate to admit it, that's very impressive hacking work; not everyone can collect private, supposedly deleted photos from famous people and leak them to the internet all at the same time. Then again, I suppose that's why it's such a big deal, and why August 31st, 2014 has been dubbed "The Fappening".

Most people's first impressions of "The Fappening" are positive, even celebratory. And while it may seem that way at first, you need to consider that each celebrity is an individual, and these were all private pictures. It's one thing when a celebrity does that purposely, or even when one celebrity has a single photo leaked, but when literally hundreds of naked pictures of stars with otherwise clean records get stolen, it's a humongous invasion of privacy. I can't even begin to imagine how Jennifer Lawrence feels, as she was already hounded by fans online. Victoria Justice has even begun claiming that all the leaked pictures of her are fake (which was quickly shot down by a redditor who found similarity between the faceless nudes and photoshoot pictures of the star). Overall, it's kind of... gross, really. Even worse, the hacker is probably viewing his or her self as a Robin Hood type figure, stealing nudes from the rich, and giving to the masses. I haven't linked any of the obscene pictures of the celebrities, and I don't intend to. If you want to see the images, it's a google search away. But I advise you consider the celebrities feelings on this first.

Now, the leak is certainly a bad thing in general, and naturally, fans would want to comfort and reassure their idols. Sounds like a great idea, right? Let's go show our support for our celebrities in need! And that's the thinking that helped created #LeakforJLaw, which is quite possibly the most idiotic way anyone could respond to this. Basically, the logic behind #LeakforJlaw is that if women everyone post nude pictures of themselves online, it will drown out the hype around Jennifer Lawrence's nudes and make this whole situation not seem like such a big deal. Which is of course what happened, right? Heh, NOPE. All that happened was 'The Fappening' got more publicity and girls quick to jump on the bandwagon have screwed themselves over (but, in the process, gained hundreds of followers). I cannot even imagine the type of person you'd need to be to think that #LeakforJLaw would be effective. A common argument is "How dare you try and shame women's bodies!". It's not that it's disgraceful, it's just the principle... it's flawed at it's core and really doesn't make much sense. But hey, now a bunch of male and lesbian redditors have more material to download.

If people want to show off their naked bodies on the internet, I fully support that. You go right ahead, #LeakforJLaw participaters. But that doesn't change the fact that all the celebrities involved in the initial wave of 'The Fappening' never gave permission for this pictures to be distributed online. And things like mindless twitter campaigns and mongoloid TMZ reporting will only make this ordeal last a solid week longer than it needs to. The entire situation is wild, wacky, and super dooper quacky. I'm not sure who else will be violated, if the hacker will get caught, or if anything else notable will come out of this, but I do know that this calls for some reminders of basic modern human behavior:

1. Respect people's privacy. Seriously, consider the feelings of the celebrities, love them or hate them (Hell, I don't even know half of them).

2. If you're comfortable displaying your naked body and you want to do it in an appropriate environment, go ahead. But be aware of anything else you might be causing in doing so.

3. Don't... be stupid? Yeah, don't be stupid. Don't take naked photos of yourself that you don't want leaked on the internet, because if you're famous, they will be. Don't steal private photos of people just for the Hell of it. Don't support the stealing of private photos. If you get paid to manage millions of people's photos (coughcoughApplecoughcough), you better make damn sure that they don't get breached this easily. And for the love of salmonella, if you don't support the hacking, don't give it attention by posting more nudes in that context!

This has been half-assed public service announcement from Goniloc. What's your stance on 'The Fappening'? Good or bad? And would you ever consider supporting someone in a way similar to #LeakforJLaw? Leave a comment below. That's an order.