Archive for the ‘Get (Into) What You Paid For’ Category

Yesterday, I posted my Top-50 Most-listened-to-by-me artists of the year. Today, I’ll follow that up with the same thing, but of the last four years. Five years, or ten years would be better but that data is unavailable. Anyway, here goes:

1. Queensrÿche – 3,205
2. Judas Priest – 2,776
3. Helloween – 2,039
4. Arctic Monkeys – 1,876
5. Protest the Hero – 1,845
6. Monster Magnet – 1,776
7. Gamma Ray – 1,776
8. Coheed and Cambria – 1,587
9. Clutch – 1,546
10. Deep Purple – 1,458
11. Motörhead – 1,399
12. Corrosion of Conformity – 1,359
13. Machine Head – 1,266
14. Ozzy Osbourne – 1,224
15. Jethro Tull – 1,224
16. Black Label Society – 1,213
17. Megadeth – 1,189
18. Rishloo – 1,185
19. Bring Me the Horizon – 1,178
20. Five Finger Death Punch – 1,146
21. DevilDriver – 1,134
22. Queen – 1,124
23. Parkway Drive – 1,118
24. Savatage – 1,091
25. Mastodon – 1,045
26. W.A.S.P. – 1,039
27. Iron Maiden – 987
28. Accept – 933
29. Hatebreed – 895
30. Saxon – 862
31. Anthrax – 859
32. Black Sabbath – 838
33. Lamb of God – 802
34. Radiohead – 799
35. Soundgarden – 793
36. Manowar – 789
37. Mötley Crüe – 779
38. Exodus – 776
39. Porcupine Tree – 751
40. Pantera – 740
41. Pearl Jam – 723
42. Marilyn Manson – 721
43. Dream Theater – 721
44. Metallica – 707
45. Architects – 690
46. Trivium – 687
47. Slayer – 681
48. Jimi Hendrix – 680
49. Van Halen – 676
50. Kiss – 652

Naturally, there are some factors to consider. Firstly, the data only starts August 2010. Since then I’ve listened to over a million songs (or listened to songs over a million times, to be more specific). You and I both know however that the time you usually listen to anything the most is when its new or when you’ve just bought it. Therefor bands I’ve gotten into in 2010 or later are unfairly advantaged here. I know for a fact I’ve listened to easily four times that much Pantera, Kiss, Marilyn Manson and Jethro Tull.

Secondly, artists with longer songs are unfairly disadvantaged. I’ve listened to the same number of tracks by Dream Theater and Marilyn Manson here… but that means I’ve listened to Dream Theater for way more time since their songs are so long.

Thirdly, artists with bigger discographies are advantaged. Look how much Queen and Deep Purple I listened to, but those guys have like 20 albums each. You could listen to each of their songs only once and already be in the high triple-digits. Rishloo and Protest The Hero by contrast each only have four albums, so comparatively I’ve listened to those waaaaaay more.

Still; I find these lists very interesting. Sometimes it gets you to listen to things in a different way. This morning for example, I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden all morning because I want to push them over the “1,000” mark, so that I now have a 27th artist with over 1,000 plays. It also lets you see if you’re getting your money’s worth. You buy an album, you can check how much you’re listening to it, and how that compares to everything else. Its good for a supernerd like myself.

Sometimes you’ll find real surprises. Look at my top 20 albums for example:

1. Protest the Hero – 04 Volition – 519
2. Protest the Hero – Kezia – 513
3. Protest the Hero – Scurrilous – 501
4. Queensrÿche – Empire – 493
5. Mastodon – The Hunter – 493
6. Coheed & Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension – 473
7. Rishloo – Feathergun – 437
8. Arctic Monkeys – AM – 429
9. Babyshambles – Sequel To The Prequel – 423
10. Parkway Drive – Deep Blue – 414
11. Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free – 381
12. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance – 374
13. Bring Me the Horizon – Suicide Season – 372
14. Arctic Monkeys – B Sides – 365
15. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See – 363
16. Trivium – In Waves – 350
17. Motörhead – Ace Of Spades – 348
18. DevilDriver – Beast – 347
19. Rishloo – Eidolon – 345
20. Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2 – 335

Empire? Empire is my most listened to Queensryche album and Mindcrime is less than DevilDriver’s Beast… how in the hell did that happen. I can’t even remember a single song off of Beast but Mindcrime is emblazoned on my soul note-for-note. Babyshambles new album is somehow higher than some of my absolute favourite albums ever? How did that happen? Surprises.

Similarly if we go for top-20 songs:

1. Queensrÿche – Silent Lucidity – 89
2. Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine? – 76
3. Protest the Hero – Mist – 71
4. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – 70
5. Queensrÿche – Queen of the Reich – 63
6. Protest the Hero – Tandem – 62
7. Protest the Hero – Blindfolds Aside – 61
8. Mastodon – Black Tongue – 61
9. Coheed and Cambria – Goodnight, Fair Lady – 60
10. Arctic Monkeys – Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair – 59
11. Protest the Hero – Sex Tapes – 58
12. Stratovarius – Hunting High and Low – 56
13. Rishloo – Scissorlips – 56
14. Mastodon – Curl of the Burl – 56
15. Protest the Hero – Underbite – 56
16. Protest the Hero – Nautical – 55
17. Protest the Hero – Turn Soonest to the Sea – 55
18. Protest the Hero – No Stars Over Bethlehem – 54
19. Protest the Hero – Heretics & Killers – 53
20. Protest the Hero – C’est la Vie – 53

Silent Fucking Lucidity? How? Don’t get me wrong I love the tune for all its Roger Waters-esque charm, but I can’t remember the last time I even heard it. I feel like I listen to “Revolution Calling” and “NM 156” every bloody day and they’re nowhere near “Silent Lucidity.” “Goodnight, Fair Lady” higher than “Domino The Destitue” ? How in goodness’ name did that happen? Domio was the bloody single! I’m not even sure how “Goodnight, Fair Lady” goes off the top of my head!
“Scisorlips” feels like it should be a lot higher too.

Perception is a very strange thing. I remember (I’ve written this before) how the first time I heard Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes I thought it was a Nu Metal album similar to Spineshank and Ill Nino, when really its a brutal record closer to Chaos AD and heavier than Vulgar Display Of Power.

I remember the first year I owned Mastodon’s Leviathan I thought of it as an Extreme Metal album, I thought of it as a super heavy super abrasive album for Death Metal fans, but now, I don’t see it as all that different than the super accessible commercial cleans of newer Mastodon.

Then there’s misheard lyrics… sometimes you think a band are singing one thing and they aren’t. You think Hetfield says “and a fake apple pie” instead of “and the things that will bite” – the famous joke example, but real life is full of these misheard lyrics… just like when you see your socks on the floor out of the corner of your eye and think they’re a huge spider.

I’ve even heard drumbeats wrong. Most people think John Bonham is playing completely different beats than he really is. A lot of people can’t even figure out what the hell Vinny Paul is playing because his toms sound like kickdrums. Sometimes you listen to Korn and you mistake the bass guitar for the bass drum.

Different people concentrate on different bits of songs. I listen extra to the drums, you may listen extra to the bass, or the keyboards, or the guitars. Especially if you play that instrument. But viewing the song through each of those focuses, makes it sound different. As does listening to it on different EQ settings or different quality audio equipment, or concentrating vs distracted.

I bring all this up because, think of the cumulative effect. Two people could hear the exact same song and hear completely different songs within their mind.

We all listen to this music but are we even hearing what the band think we’re supposed to be hearing, or are we more or less making up our own records just loosely based on what the band are doing to their instruments?

Perception… interesting one.

So its nearly the end of the year. I’m going to give you a glimpse into how I’ve been spending it musically. The following is a list of the “Top-50 most listened to by me” artists for 2014, as counted by LastFm which tracks all the music I intentionally listen to (so not counting random pop songs in the supermarket, but counting everything I chose to put on):

1. Manowar 789 plays
2. Helloween 778 plays
3. Arctic Monkeys 773 plays
4. Protest The Hero 712 plays
5. Mötley Crüe 655 plays
6. Accept 603 plays
7. Dream Theater 580 plays
8. Paolo Nutini 479 plays
9. Queensrÿche 460 plays
10. The Fratellis 459 plays
11. Motörhead 451 plays
12. Dokken 437 plays
13. Saxon 431 plays
14. Pearl Jam 411 plays
15. Machine Head 399 plays
16. Judas Priest 377 plays
17. HammerFall 356 plays
18. Soundgarden 354 plays
19. Iced Earth 350 plays
20. Megadeth 348 plays
21. Poison 341 plays
22. Gamma Ray 335 plays
23. W.A.S.P. 316 plays
24. TesseracT 311 plays
25. Twisted Sister 308 plays
26. Ozzy Osbourne 306 plays
27. Sick Of It All 300 plays
28. Slipknot 290 plays
29. Bon Iver 286 plays
30. Alice In Chains 284 plays
31. Van Halen 277 plays
32. Babyshambles 273 plays
33. Black Label Society 266 plays
34. Michael Schenker Group 263 plays
35. Savatage 253 plays
36. Periphery 245 plays
37. Iron Maiden 240 plays
38. Pantera 233 plays
39. Slayer 229 plays
40. Monster Magnet 220 plays
40. Anthrax 220 plays
42. Pissing Razors 200 plays
43. Metallica 197 plays
43. Children of Bodom 197 plays
45. Five Finger Death Punch 195 plays
46. Thin Lizzy 185 plays
47. The Libertines 183 plays
48. Rishloo 183 plays
49. Down 180 plays
50. Bon Jovi 171 plays

The real winners here seem to be Power Metal, Prog Metal and good old fashioned Heavy Metal. There’s also a lot of Hair Metal/80s Rock; A bit of Grunge; A bit of Classic Rock and a bit of Indie – which I almost only ever play when I’ve got female company so you can see what a happy year its been.
Also in there is some Metalcore and Djent. A bit of stoner. A surprisingly good showing for the big four of Thrash even though my premium Thrash years were sorta 2003-2008 (so if I had’ve had LastFM back then, the true totals would show and the whole thing’d be maxed out on Thrash).

Surprises: I have to say I had no idea I listened to that much Pissing Razors or Iced Earth – I thought they would both be less than half that amount. I also thought Rishloo would be about double that amount.
I’m not surprised that Pearl Jam were high, but I am surprised how high they are in proportion to the rest of the Grunge bands… I’m sure I’ve listened to way more Silverchair, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains than them, but clearly not, ey?

Top countries here very clearly being the US & UK, with Germany, Canada and Finland very far behind (and no-one else placing at all).

Where the heck is Exodus? I feel like I’ve been listening to bucketfulls of Exodus and they aren’t here… even as Anthrax are and I feel like I’ve been neglecting Anthrax a bit. And how the heck are Testament doing so poorly? I feel as though I’ve listened to more Testament than Hammerfall. I feel like I listened to equal amounts of Madball and Sick Of It All… but that didn’t happen either. And where are Life Of Agony? I feel as though I listen to them every single day so where the heck are they?

Its weird how the brain works, ey?

Also a few other thoughts:
1. Extreme’s Pornograffitti is what would happen if Dream Theater were forced to make Dr. Feelgood. I don’t even just mean that in a thoughtless way and not just superficially. I mean really listen to it and think about what I’m saying and hopefully you’ll see it too.
2. I’m really changeable. I can’t think of a band I’ve ever hated more than Motely Crue and now look how much I like them!
3. Irreplaceable drummers aren’t as irreplaceable as I’ve thought. The new Slipknot drummer sounds like Joey, Fear Factory drummers sound like Raymond. Mike Magini is a great Portnoy replacement. Could Tool carry on without Danney Carey or Mastodon without Brann Dailor? Maybe!
4. Durable earphones are hard to find…. I’ve broken so many damn earphones this year. Upwards of ten pairs!

I haven’t listened to enough new albums this year to put together an AOTY list properly, but with the few albums I have heard I’d put them in roughly the following order:

1. Accept – Blind Rage
2. Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds
3. Slipknot – .5 The Gray Chapter
4. Corrosion Of Conformity – IX
5. Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls

However, Rishloo’s new album isn’t in there because its officially released next year (I only got it early by way of Kickstarter benifits), Mastodon aren’t in there because I’ve only streamed it but not bought it (if it was it’d be higher than Priest but lower than C.O.C) and based on their recent form and constant consistency, I’m sure that if I had have bought Gamma Ray, Exodus or Black Label Society’s 2014 albums, they’d be higher than priest too. But I didn’t, so I can’t be sure… maybe they were all disappointments?

Oh yeah, and I haven’t bought anything in the last two days. I’m tempted to go on iTunes and get Motely Crue’s “Primal Scream” but I can live without it for another month. Similarly, I want to check out the bonus tracks for Accept’s Blind Rage and Judas Priest’s Redeemer Of Souls… but, I’m not going to break the challenge over it. The hugest threat to failing the challenge is that I just realized Jetplane Landing (Their “Once Like A Spark” album is one of my favourite albums of all time and completely defined my teen years) reformed and released a new album! How the hell did I miss that… ok, it was last summer so the reason I missed it was because I was at work all the time and then massively sick. Still…. Jetplane Landing are awesome and I’ve been waiting years for a new album… I can’t believe they have one… I simply must own it! So… that is a damn tempting proposition. Its going to be hard not to buy that. I’ll try. But…

The other main “risk” is that I’ve finished my two volumes of Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Collection that my good buddy Paul gave me for Christmas, and they end on a cliffhanger, so I really want to buy the next volume to see the resolution. I’ll hold tight though, and instead read other, different gifts. Such as Gordon Of Gotham.

Oh yeah and speaking of Gotham… have you seen the new TV Show Gotham? Why do they always CGI the sky to be cloudy… it looks so unreal. Just shoot the sky! I get you want to make it feel dark and oppressive, but when it looks so silly, why not ditch it?

Howdy; welcome once again to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about the music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 27, so that means I’ve made it 27 days without buying any cds, dvds, comic books or videogames. The man who started this blog four years ago could never have gone this long without consumerism. I’m pretty sure back when I worked my old job in 2010, I probably bought on average about two cds a week for the entire year at a minimum.

I haven’t actually posted much this time around because for the first 75% of the month, I’ve been super busy working crazy hours and having to fit in lots of academic work at home too for my final year. The other 25% of the month has been spent with loved ones and crazily poor internet signal. So, didn’t want to be rude and spend family time blogging, and didn’t have a good enough signal to do it much anyway, or at least do it easily.

Normally, going a month without buying anything would be quite difficult, but with the whole Christmas thing, I get to buy other people gifts and that sates the itch, so its been much easier. Also, you don’t know what you may receive as a gift and then buy nothing incase you’re gifted with it.

I’ve been really tempted a couple of times though, because, hey… I’m me. I saw Stratovarius and Accept albums in HMV this month and they never had them when I went looking for them. I saw Manowar albums on Amazon for between £1 and £3 that I’ve wanted for a while but are always more expensive. A lot of bands I like put out new albums and I’ve not gotten around to getting them (this year I’ve been so bad with buying new releases I can’t even put together an AOTY list!) even after seeing some of those bands live.

There’s also been numerous temptations within the world of comics. Just before starting this new fifth round of the GITWYPF challenge, I discovered Comixology. I mean I’d heard of it for the last two years, but Digital Comics seemed like a bad idea… I like reading physical books and laptops hurt my eyes and are the wrong shape for stories designed to be read in the shape of actual physical comics (unless you put a laptop on its side). So, for the two years I’ve been reading comics I avoided it, but the fact that so much is unavailable or only available on eBay for crazy prices, but available digitally for about £1 an issue (with no P&P because its digital) kind of won me over, and I can fill in gaps using this. Its not even poor to read due to the “guided view” feature, which zooms and readjusts the panels in order and blanks out the other panels, allowing you to watch the comic like a powerpoint or a slow cartoon. As a service, it’s a bit addictive though, and so a huge source of temptation. You the read two issues you want and then it makes you want to buy the ones before and after, or older ones of historical importance. Its too easy, too tempting, damn hard to stay away from.

Also, being in bookshops for getting others gifts makes me walk past lots of comic books and that makes you very close to just slipping one in there with the rest of the less-selfish purchases.

Videogames haven’t been a temptation at all, because I don’t have the time. It takes time to start up, time to shut them down or find savepoints, and your brain is abuzz afterwards so you can’t play them right before its time to sleep if you have to go to work in the morning. Compared to a book or comic book that you can just pick up and set down at a moments notice, its harder to fit them in. I got God Of War Ascension for my Birthday in the Summer and only managed to play it when Uni broke up about a week or so ago, and even then only for two days, and I still haven’t opened up Darksiders 2 which I got last Christmas. Theoretically I could now, but I don’t have a console with me at the moment, and by the time I get back to my term time address I’ll be hard at work again.

On the subject of God Of War Ascension, it was pretty good. I love that series, it is one of the most consistant and dependable series going. The combat is absolutely perfect, and its fun to see what vast-scale ideas they come up with next. It felt maybe like GOW 3 backed them into a corner and this prequel wasn’t just as impressive, but it was damn good regardless. I only got time to play one run-through of single player and no multiplayer, bonuses or second attempts, but on first impression it was very entertaining.

Anyway, the reason I right these things is to stop myself slipping up in the challenge. I may not have written many entries this time around, but I haven’t slipped up. I’ve stayed true, stayed the course (and whatever other “stay” phrases apply) and haven’t bought anything for myself since starting the challenge. Its been helped immensely by the Christmas presents.

I got the new Mushroomhead, Slipknot, Machine Head and Corrosion Of Conformity albums, as well as Helstar’s Nosferatu. I also got Spawn, Batman, X-Men and Spiderman comics. All delightfully nerdy gifts that stave off the “buy new stuff” urge very well. (Until I finish the comics and want the next in the series, at least).

Over the month, I’ve been really heavily listening to stuff I got for my Birthday, like the Tirivium, Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Helloween, Manowar and Savatage records I’ve already discussed on this blog ad naseum, in addition to Rishloo’s superb new album (of fucking course!) – because this year is going so ridiculously quickly that those still feel brand new despite being several months old – and in the last two days I’ve been blitzing those Christmas gift albums.

Did you know the Mushroomhead one has a cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It” ? I had no idea until the chorus came in on my first listen through. Quite the surprise! Usually, I hate when Metal bands cover pop songs, especially if they aren’t particularly old. Covering a current pop song is a bit cheesy. But this works. Also, I’m way less snobby these days – Five Finger Death Punch covering “Moma Said Knock You Out” and nailing it will do that to ya.

The new Slipknot and Machine Head albums are good, by the way. Really good. The Machine Head one in particualt seems like a bit of a min-masterpiece in fact. If I heard enough new albums to do an AOTY list, it’d be damn tough choosing the top spot between it and Accept’s Blind Rage. Slipknot’s new album is interesting, beforehand I could not have been more cynical about or suspicious of. I was convinced it would be rubbish. It really isn’t though. Its strong. Damn strong. Stronger than the last one for sure. It seems to be a grower. Even all the lyrics about Paul’s death aren’t as cheap and cheesy as I imagined. I’d streamed “Skeptic” a few times because I’d heard that it was about Paul and I really cringed at the lyric “the world will never see another crazy muthafucker like you” – it just felt so dishonest and cheap, as if it was purely written to get sang along with and to make headlines, but the more I listen to it, in context, with the rest of the lyrics… I think its actually honest. Especially given how Corey and Shaun actually talk in real life.

The rest of that album is really good too. Its heavy, there aren’t any real ballads, the songs with poppier choruses never have as poppy verses as anything like “Dead Memories” or “Before I Forget.”

Not that heaviness in itself is good enough on its own. The thing is that the songs themselves are actually good. Memorable, catchy, the solos that feel more natural and less “look, I’m soloing.” There are some real fun, satisfying riffs on there and the new drummer actually keeps up Joey’s unique flappy, skittery style of drumming so it doesn’t sound like a huge departure.

I’ve also been listening to Machine Head’s older albums too. Inspired by the recent concert, and the new album, its always good to break out the ones I already own. Through The Ashes Of Empires has some of my absolute favourite Machine Head songs on it. “Vim,” “All Halls Down” and “Wipe Away The Tears” are the perennial favourites, and the concert made me reevaluate “Descend The Shades Of Night” and “Bite The Bullet” which I’ve overlooked in the past.

Then there’s Blind Guardian’s Nightfall In Middle Earth. Its like a mixture between Testament, Gamma Ray and oddly, Gentle Giant. I highly recommend checking that one out.

Being back with my family for the holidays I’ve also been exposed to my brother’s music. I’ve gotten to check out the new Animals As Leaders and Skyharbour albums. That is some seriously good stuff right there!

Check out the Animals As Leaders song “Physical Education” – such a fun tune!

I’ve also got access to my CDs again, because in my own place – half a country away – I don’t have the space to keep my CDs. My iTunes copies of a few Porcupine Tree and W.A.S.P. albums had glitches and faults in them, so being back here I was able to re-rip them. Its great listening to the songs properly without it skipping and cutting off short.

The rest of the time has been spent on romantic trips with my beautiful girlfriend, huge amounts of scrabble with the family, and watching all three seasons of That Mitchel And Webb Look and a series of Peep Show. I can’t go anywhere now without hearing Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser’s singing in the back of my head.

Its been an excellent break. The final one of this life as I’ll be qualified by the next one and go from someone who works to someone with a career – I forsee this will be my last Chirstmas day off for a while. I’ve been lucky in that my current job and my last job didn’t have me work on Christmas day (although I’ve done it before in previous jobs to that). Its been nice getting homework done and weights lifted in the same building as family instead of hundreds of miles away, its been nice having the time off work and its been nice having the free time to read so much. The crushingly slow internet was a tiny bit inconvenient but there’s only so many blogs about heavy music or Batman that a person can read in a month anyway.

Plus all this time in the middle of nowhere with no shops and too poor internet to access iTunes Store or Comixology well enough is pretty darn good for sticking to the challenge.

You can look forward to new album reviews and Amature Batfan articles too, as a result of all these lovely gifts. Merry Christmas, blogosphere!

GITWYPF Round 5 – Warning Shots

Posted: December 1, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Get (Into) What You Paid For

As of today, I’m starting a fifth GITWYPF Challenge. Buying no music, comics, books, magazines, videogames, movies or any other form of media for a minimum of two months. I’ll take time to appreciate the stuff I’ve already got and I’ll blog about it all in this series as the time passes on.

So… look forward to posts about forgotten gems and under-appreciated gifts for the next two months.

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, three months).

Its day 90, so that means I’ve made it an entire three months without buying any cds, dvds, comic books or videogames. The man who started this blog four years ago could never have gone this long without consumerism. I’m pretty sure back when I worked my old job in 2010, I probably bought on average about two cds a week for the entire year at a minimum.

I’ve been trying to avoid spending anything these last three months but there’s been severe temptation, I just got into Manowar right before the challenge started, and boy-oh-boy do I want some more Manowar albums. I’ve also been really tempted to check out Blind Guardian… I’ve been listening to so much Power Metal over the last two years from the limited sources of only Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Hammerfall, Sabaton, Dragonforce (and now Manowar)… and it seems like a pretty obvious omission to leave out Blind Guardian. Its like listening to Thrash and not listening to Slayer.

You know what else, Accept… Russian Roulette and Breaker. I’ve been really heavily listening to Restless & Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart… its time to expand my Accept repertoire. I’ve got lots of Maiden, Priest and Saxon to listen to but only three Accept albums.

What else? Slipknot released a new album… I’ve been re-playing their back catalogue a heck of a lot this month to get in the mood. I’ve been getting reacquainted with the bonus tracks like “Scream,” “Don’t Get Close,” and “Snap” again, as well as the four main albums. I forgot how damn good Iowa is, especially deep tracks like “The Shape” and “Skin Ticket.”

What I really forgot though is how good Vol. 3 is. These days I tend to think of Vol. 3 as just “Before I Forget,” “Duality,” and “Vermillion Parts 1&2” and forget all the interesting stuff like “Virus Of Life” and “Opium Of The People.” There’s some seriously interesting music on there. Not that the hits are uninteresting, just… overplayed. To top it all off, I’ve also broke out 9.0 Live, the disappointing Live album that I never feel like I’ve listened to enough times.

I’ve also been really tempted to buy several comic books… My good buddy Paul introduced me to Ultimate Spiderman Volume 1, and the subsequent volumes have been screaming my name ever since. Also, Batman Zero Year part 2 has been released in the time I was under the challenge… how did I not buy that?

To avoid buying new comics, I’ve re-read Hush, Hush Returns, Heart Of Hush, Hush Money and House Of Hush. (Which range from awful to brilliant). I really like Paul Dini’s spin on Batman. That makes me want to buy more Dini Batman comics though… it’s a terrible trap. Now I want to buy Streets Of Gotham Leviathan. Maybe I’ll learn more about the character “Abuse.”

I also re-read Arkham Reborn, which is absolutely fantastic. I really, really recommend that book to people who want to read Batman. It’s a stand-alone story that you don’t need to have read anything else to enjoy on one level, and a tie-in to Battle For The Cowl on another level. Its art is superb, the tone and pacing are good, and its not just the usual “high stakes problem gets solved in the nick of time” stuff.

Its not all been fun though, I re-read Dark Knight Vs White Knight… that one… that one is a stinker in my opinion. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

To top it all off, I read the Batman Vampire trilogy, a gift from my good friend Paul. It was very entertaining. I don’t know if I would call them good books, but they were very entertaining.


I’ve been looking back at older purchases all month to try and avoid making new purchases. Some of this stuff dates back to my earliest days of music fandom, some of if is a few years old, and some of it is a few months old. Some of this stuff I haven’t listened to in yonks.

Some of this stuff, man, I just never feel like I’ve listened to it enough. Made In Japan for example… I got it for my birthday in 2009 and I just never ever felt like I listened to it.

Some of them, like Periphery 2 and Trivium’s Ascendency, I listened to them a heck of a lot all in once but then really haven’t listened to as much recently.

Some of it just got lost amongst the better albums by the same band, like Saxon’s debut, WASP’s Headless Children and Dio’s Dream Evil. Heck, this month I even listened to Green Day’s Dookie again… when I was 11 years old, that was a daily requirement. For the past decade though, its been a once-a-year sort of thing.

I have to say, even though I’ve not enjoyed the not buying things I want at whim aspect just because I’m a spoiled westerner… these three months have been really entertaining. Its pretty nice to break out stuff I haven’t been listening to again. I mean, I buy all this stuff because I like it and want it, but then you pile so much up that it becomes impossible to keep up with all of it. Its nice to not be so focused on the NEWNEWNEW mindset and just enjoy what made you like it all in the first place. I don’t listen to Slipknot’s debut nearly enough. I don’t listen to Iron Maiden or Pantera nearly enough. I don’t re-read Batman books nearly enough. Its nice to just soak in the good stuff, y’know?

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 82. 82 days without buying myself anything. As I said last time, that’s a successful double challenge completed and I’m aiming for a full third month. Triple Challenge almost completed! Think of that like having 82 days clean and sober from the narcotic of consumerism. Well in fact, in real life I’ve got more than 82 days actually clean and sober, that’s closer to eight months (I don’t drink that often, and in general, wouldn’t drink willingly apart from being polite).

I’ve almost broke when finding super cheap Batman comics or relatively rare ones, but I’ve held strong. Also, almost daily, I almost buy some Manowar album or other, then back out at the very last minute. I am also tempted by the new Slipknot album and several other assorted musical bits and bobs (like Tygers Of Pan Tang’s second and third album or whatever).

To avoid spending… I’ve been revisiting the stuff I already own.

I’ve been mixing up my listening in a few ways, some days I’ll set up all my Thrash Metal albums (pre ’92 only, natch!) and shuffle songs from only there, catching a nice mix of stuff like Nuclear Assault, Sodom, Overkill, Anthrax, Testament etc.

Some days I’ll set up an individual Glam Metal band’s albums, and shuffle out of that, getting a mixture of Crue or Twisted Sister or WASP tracks from all different albums.

Some days I listen to something in its entirety that’s a newish acquisition for me, like the Hammerfall album or Down EP I got back on my birthday.

I’ve also been picking out things that I really rarely listen to (eg. Slayer’s Live Undead!) and giving them a shot.

The great thing about music is you can still do it when you are working (homework). Or at least traveling to work (job). I am trying to re-read Batman comics in the same way, but I don’t really have time, I can maybe sneak an issue’s worth a day if I’m procrastinating, but damn… my workload is abnormally high. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog… it’ll be a short one… I just wanted you to know I’ve made it 82 days.

I think I’ll buy myself Batman – “Ten Nights Of The Beast” or Manowar’s Louder Than Hell when I finish the third month… you can’t expect someone as hopelessly addicted to material goods as me, to go a full quarter of a year (as in do a fourth month in the challenge) without buying something, can you? Can you!? Don’t be cruel!

Well, maybe… actually. I’m starting to believe maybe I could do it. Could I? Wait and see readers, wait and see.

Just to take the shakes off for definite, I’ve opened this birthday present at long last (been saving it to get me through the challenge). It sorta feels a bit like buying a thing, because its new fodder for my ever-hungry music collection… even if I didn’t technically do the buying myself (thank goodness for kind, generous flatmates):

I’ll let you know how I like it:

Have you heard it? How do YOU like it?

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 68. 68 days without buying myself anything. As I said last time, that’s a successful double challenge. Its a double challenge (Two full months) plus an additional week. I’m aiming for a full third month. Three entire months without buying myself something like a CD or Comic Book or DVD or whatever, will be the longest I’ve ever gone without doing so since I got my first job at 15-16 years old.

Last time around on GITWYPF, I mentioned that I was severely tempted to buy more Manowar albums and to be honest I’ve put Manowar albums in my shopping basket numerous times in the last week and very nearly bought them, only to come to my senses at the very last minute. Yeah, I’m learning restraint alright. I did however, go on Youtube this morning for some try-before-you-buy action, hoping it would “talk me out of” buying those Manowar albums, and nope, just the opposite. Now I feel like I need them. Need them. Like Oxygen and Glucose kinda need them. Yes, I am a big nerd. And spoiled.

Luckily (?) I am flat broke, and couldn’t afford a £2 Manowar album from Amazon if I wanted it, so that has been keeping me from going too far and breaking the challenge. Or indeed Blind Guardian’s Nightfall In Middle Earth for £4… (Stupid temptation!).

Also, due to said lack of cash, it looks like I will definitely not be a first-day-buyer of the new Slipknot or Machine Head albums despite massive curiosity on the former and a certainty-of-love for the latter. And, y’know, Exodus and everybody else with a new album coming will be pushed way back to maybe far into 2015, (like my very late acquisition of Trivium’s Vengeance Falls).

Last time around, I also mentioned that I’d open my birthday gift of the new Judas Priest album, Redeemer Of Souls a month late to extend the feeling of having new stuff. (Also, two months late for similar Trivium, Ozzy and Soundgarden gifts). Well, its been more than a month since my birthday and I have indeed finally opened that generous Judas Priest gift from my flatmates. I don’t know how I feel about the album actually… Its sort of stylistically on to a good thing, but I’m not sure if I can remember any of the songs when the music has stopped. Its not like the old albums where you’d get tracks in your head forever on the very first listen. Its not even like 2005’s Angel Of Retribution which has 3-5 absolute bangers. Nothing had me thinking “wow, this is brilliant.” Nothing at all had me thinking anything negative… but just, I don’t know… its good, but not speaking to me right now?

It made me go back and listen to Angel Of Retribution again. I really enjoyed that. It has some serious jams!

Otherwise, I’ve been mostly listening to 2013-2014 purchases to get my money’s worth. More Poison, Dokken, WASP, Motely Crue and Twisted Sister. That or NWOBHM like Motorhead, Saxon, Angel Witch, Diamond Head and Tygers Of Pan Tang. Which in turn has made me brake out more Priest and Maiden to fit the theme.

I’ve also broken out Kiss’ Monster, BMTH’s Sempiternal and Killswitch Engange’s Disarm The Dissent which I slayed last year but seemed to be taking an unintentional break from over the summer.

Other than that, its been a lot of the recent birthday acquisitions. Helloween, Fratellis, Manowar, Sick Of It All, Minor Threat etc.

What else, other than a ton of work and fitness stuff?
– I’ve watched Batman Begins again… which is better than I remember.
– I saw an episode of Gotham, which I’m unsure about so far.
– I’ve been to see the movie Pride on a date. (Doesn’t count towards challenge due to the non-selfsih nature). Pride is an excellent film. Go see it!

Can’t think of much else to say. (Other than “please send me free Manowar albums” of course, if you are some sort of Label Executive with random spares on the go.) 68 days, aiming for 90. Wish me luck.