Matt Barlow is back with his new band Ashes of Ares which features Freddie Vidales who played in Iced Earth with Barlow and Van Williams of Nevermore.

This album is even better than I expected and sure to be a top three album of mine before the year is done. Barlow’s voice is still top notch, proving he’s still one of the best metal singers of all time. Freddie is killer on guitars, and holy cow Van is a beast on drums.

This is My Hell

Move the Chains

The Answer (all acoustic)


I don’t watch much television anymore. We have the TV on in the house a lot, but it is usually background noise. And if I do watch something, it is generally a sports game or some random show on DIY or Food Network. There are exceptions to this rule, but overall I just don’t watch TV series like I used to. I just don’t have time to get invested in shows. Plus, I think I’m still bitter about that second season of Heroes.

That being said, I’ve been a comic book fan for a long time, and even though I’ve always enjoyed DC over Marvel, I wanted to give Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a shot because after all, it does involve superheroes.

Below are my quick pros and cons.

- Agent Coulson – Had the best lines and overall the best character on the show. They’ve added a bit of intrigue behind how he survived The Avengers which I expect will be a plot point in future episodes.
- Special effects – Well done by Television’s standards.
- A few funny lines that made me chuckle.
- Melinda May – Very mysterious character, but had immediate presence. Could be a great figure if brought along correctly.
- Nice tie-ins to the greater Marvel universe rather than pretending the show exists on an island outside of the movies.
- Tons of little eggs that could potentially pay off in spades down the road.

- Outside of Agent Coulson, almost every character is a cliché or a stereotype. I didn’t care about anyone else except for maybe Melinda as mentioned above. Characterization is how the show will win me over so it had better do something to improve upon this glaring weakness.
- Like most Whedon projects, there are some whitty bits of dialogue, but there are also some really cheesy lines or even scenes. Those were definitely evident here.
- Not a very tight plot….tried to do too much in the pilot (as well as introduce too many people at once). Would have preferred a slower introduction into this part of the world.
- Several moments of what I felt was lazy storytelling.
- Too much cheesy/campiness at times.
- Everyone seemed to like the ending use of Coulson’s car but I honestly thought it was pretty dumb (especially when he threw on the sunglasses). I was expecting him to say “Roads? Where we’re going, we need no roads.” a la Back to the Future.

Overall, it was an ok pilot but nothing that blew my mind. Without Coulson, it would have probably lost my interest. I’ll give it another week or two before bailing, but I really need to see something better than what we were given in the first episode.

On a side note, It’s been announced that in 2014 we’ll see a Gotham Central television show which will follow a younger Detective Jim Gordon as he tries to clean up Gotham in a pre-Batman world. If it’s anything like the comics the show will be based on, I’m definitely there.

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Time for some old school Anthrax.

Man, I love the intro and main riff to this song.

Such an underrated track. One of my favs.

A.I.R. (Live)


One of my favorite albums of all time and one that too many people forget about. For those that remember the band, they think of Layla and stop. Don’t get me wrong, Layla is great but it isn’t even the best song on the album.

Bell Bottom Blues

Why does love got to be so sad? (my fav of the album)
Duane Allman is such an underrated guitarist. He owns this song. Just listen to the solo beginning at 1:17.

Key to the Highway


There have been a lot of infommercials lately for DVD collections of the Carol Burnett Show. I’ve actually stopped the channel flipping to watch them as it brought back memories of enjoying the reruns with my mom when my sister and I were kids.

This in turn led to me and Leah to watching clips on YouTube.

The Elephant Story is probably one of the most famous skits. As hilarious as the original story is, the outtakes here are even better.

Here are a couple more:

Anything with “Mrs Wiggins” is gold.

The Dentist


Such a great underrated band. Hard rock at its best.

Killing Time

Street Fighting Saviors

Dance of the Dragon King


Growing up, I used to watch a lot of movies on WGN each Saturday. For a while, this included martial arts movies of the 1970s. By today’s standards they probably will be silly to most people, but I loved them. In fact, as a child of the 80s I was fascinated by them.

One of those movies that still stands out the most to me is Master of the Flying Guillotine. It has quite a few awesome moments including the ending fight scene below where the master battles the One Arm Boxer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip of the master walking as I remember loving the deep rhythmic music that sounded with each step (very creepy).

Man, I wish they’d replay these movies again.

As a fun fact, the flying guillotine is actually based on a real weapon used at one time. It wasn’t thrown but rather dropped from a tree on people passing by. And yes, it did decapitate them.

I was late in getting this album, but since I bought it a few weeks agao, the album has been in constant rotation. Great musicianship was expected considering the band members. However, these guys sound like they’ve been playing for years. Great cohesiveness. Great hard rock feel. Strong emotion evoked.

One of my fav albums this year.

Time Machine

The Dying