Archive for February, 2015

On December 29th, 2006, a geeky freshman attending Calumet high school was in his bedroom eating a box of goldfish snack crackers. Like, the biggest box available (giant elementary school milk carton). I mention this because ever since I fell in love with music, certain foods became connected to rock albums. My stomach was full of cheese, and my mind and heart were full of the greatest music ever composed. The black parade, like all of my chem’s records, resonates with people of all types; not just the alienated outsiders that the public associated this band with after their second album(Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge). Sure, the lyrical themes are chock full of darkness and nihilism, but there is also a staggering amount of hope, love, and inspiration. One reviewer, whose name escapes me at the moment, wrote that The Black Parade “contains every possible human emotion”. The album achieves this through being a concept record; a record that stands as a cohesive story (in fact, almost an epic, universal one).  Every member of the band is extremely talented, but Gerard Way(singer, lyricist) is freakishly so. His intelligence goes into everything and brings together each song, image, and design into an inseparable connection. It is impossible to listen to any of the record’s thirteen tracks without thinking of the music videos and album artwork that bring the story more into focus. For those unaware, this rock record’s story revolves around a cancer patient who dies at an early age and reflects on every aspect of his regretful life as death takes on the form of his most powerful memory: his father taking him to see a parade as a child. When you think about it, the patient is pretty much the Everyman. He could be you, he could be me…. Any of us. The lyrics really get you to think of how you are living your life and what you will be remembered for, especially on the final track, Famous Last Words. This bombastic and amazingly uplifting song will always be my favorite of all time. The chorus: “I am not afraid to keep on living I am not afraid to walk this world alone” is something that I believe should be a motto for everyone. It is a perfect song to climax this album, even though to me the record almost sounds like one really long track(yeah, it really is that coherent). But even so, each song still retains the ability to stand on its own and be its own story. It’s like a well written novel…no, more like a saga….with each song/chapter being a story in itself. But of course, the record is more than just inspiration for anyone going through rough times. It truly is genuinely beautiful music from start to finish. Ray Toro, whose classic metal guitar shredding is a hybrid of Brian May and Randy Rhoades, plays better than ever, as if he’s conducting an orchestra. That being said, it is fresh to hear music that can combine different styles and genres so efficiently. If Ray is Randy Rhoades, then Frank Iero(rhythm guitarist) is Greg Ginn and every other 80s punk guitar player with a unique melodic twist. Classic rock, stadium rock, punk, and hardcore don’t sound like they should all go together… But with this band, and especially on this album, they do so in every single riff and chord. Mikey Way(bassist) and Bob Bryar(drummer) make for a just as perfect rhythmic combination as well. The beats and baselines always hit hard, and they never fall short. To me, this made the band’s live shows sound like epic arena rock. Hell, it even sounded like arena rock in the band’s early career of basement playing. But still, the watermark is Gerard. In my opinion, he is the world’s greatest singer: unique, energetic, raw, emotional, and true. Like the other members, he put every ounce of his blood and soul into the making of this epic record that skyrocketed the band’s career. It’s a shame that they aren’t a band anymore, but this album is eternal to me. Five stars, greatest album ever made(I know, just my own opinion, except that it’s true). I feel like eating some goldfish.

The Awakening

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Greetings! My name is Shane Smith. I have never used a blog before; but I would now like to create a place where authors, poets, and artists of any kind can share their ideas with each other. That’s a big thing to me, personally; because, like I mentioned before, I’ve never used a blog to share my own ideas of fantasy, science fiction, horror, poetry, theology, mythology, and philosophy, with the rest of the world. With ANYONE. My domain is a place where fellow creators all over the world can come to express their own ideas and discuss the ideas and accomplishments of others. You can ‘slay the minotaur’ here, by having an outlet to let your creations just ignite, spark, and pierce like lightning through the mundane shell of existing; which, by the way, is not really living if you were born with ideas. I will be sharing information about my first novel, entitled, “THE FIRST AND THE LAST”, which will be ready for anyone to read very shortly. The book is finished, but I am going to work on building up this blog. Until then, I have an elevator pitch to post, as well as a short excerpt from the book itself. Feel free to contact me about putting up your own creations. Well, feel free to contact me about ANYTHING. I could go on and on about Alien, Predator, H.R. Giger, Gojira, C.S. Lewis, Joseph Campbell, comics, mythology, dragons, dinosaurs, My Chemical Romance (one of my next posts will be a review of their greatest record), metal music, punk music, worship music, intimate acoustic guitar performances, Friedrich Nietzche……well just about anything that makes us nerds 🙂 Thanks for checking out the domain! I can’t wait for all of you authors and artists to share your work with me! And like I said, it would be great to have someone tell me what they think of my book and my other creations. Well, there’s only one thing to do about it………Let’s slay the Minotaur, the demon of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, one heroic idea at a time.

THE FIRST AND THE LAST by S.D. Smith (elevator pitch; back of the book):

A man awakens to find himself trapped and alone within a world beyond the borders of imagination, consciousness, beauty, and nightmares. He is in the Jungle, a frightening place of intrigue containing horrors that threaten his very existence around every corner. His only hope is a beautiful maiden known as Happiness, who is imprisoned by the dark power called Omega. To save her, restore the jungle, and find his soul, he must receive aid from Alpha and Steer; noble souls whose purpose in life is to help him overcome his many struggles. Can the monsters of the Jungle and the demons of his heart be defeated? Find out in: THE FIRST AND THE LAST               Copyright 2015, by Shane Smith, All rights reserved

Here is a short excerpt from Chapter Five: Training

My head felt like it was spinning because of what he did next. He lifted a brown bag next to us and emptied its contents onto the table. They were the Omega plants themselves. It was at that moment that I first believed them to be conscious and have a will of their own; for even though I could hear no voices, I felt so strongly that they were literally begging me to consume them. As I stared at them with horror, everything and everyone in the room faded away from my perception. It was just me and the plants. Everything else was a sickly blackness. I reached down for them and upon touching them I heard Alpha speak; whether audibly or inside my mind I know not. “Don’t do it Warrior. Remember Happiness.” But I couldn’t resist. As I began to devour them, the darkness around me got even worse. All feeling was emptied from me, even the pain of my wounded arm, which had broken free of the sling I was wearing to bring the evil to my mouth. I couldn’t even think of Happiness. Then, after I ate them all, the darkness frightened me, so I ran to try to escape it.  But it was more than fear that propelled me. It was the desire for more plants. After running frantically for a while, I found myself outside. I knew this only because instead of the black, I saw gray, which must have been the sunlight distorted by my pathetically wayward soul. Everything was gray, but I could still make out the faint silhouettes of trees. I ran towards them, knowing that somewhere in the Jungle there were more plants. But then, I remembered that I didnt have to go very far. Frantically, I ran faster and faster amongst the trees to reach the road of purification. I was hindered for a moment by crashing into a couple of Frog Princes. I could only see their blurry forms for a split second as I tread upon their painful faces and heard their cries of surprise and anguish. Everything became clearer in my sight for a few moments. I was almost coming to my senses, almost feeling true contrition for trampling them, but that feeling went away quicker than it had arrived. Their faces became green and alive and then went back to gray as I turned to look at them briefly. Then, I forgot all about them and kept on running. I was in such a blinded state of blackened desire that the only explanation for being able to find the flowers of evil was that they were calling for me. it wasn’t an actual voice; but I felt something that sent sweetness to my heart just as Alpha’s singing would have.  It only took me a few seconds to find them. I could actually see their beautiful green colors against the backdrop of gray. Falling to my knees, I reached for them and shoved them into my selfish mouth. I hadnt consumed but a handful before I felt an immense pain in the back of my skull and fell to my face unconscious.

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