Electronicore recommendations

In this post I thought I’d write about a genre of music that I’ve been getting into in the last few years – Electronicore. This is a fusion of metalcore with elements of various electronic music genres, such as trance, electronica and dubstep. The most popular bands in this genre would probably be Bring Me The Horizon (with their newer stuff), Enter Shikari and Asking Alexandria. I love these bands but I’m going to be talking about some bands who are less well-known, suggesting a few of my favourite songs which I would encourage you to listen to if you’re curious about the genre!

Without a doubt, my favourite band within this genre is I See Stars. Particularly their newer two albums New Demons and Treehouse are two of my favourite albums in general, not just within this genre. From an electronicore perspective, virtually all of their songs have a perfect mix of metalcore and electronic elements, with both screamed and clean vocals in a dynamic fusion. The newer album Treehouse (2016) has significantly less screamed vocals if you are less into this side of it, but it still has a lot of the intensity of their previous albums. Here’s a link to the ‘Calm Snow’ music video from Treehouse – even if you decide you hate this kind of music, it’s worth watching for the visuals 😉 especially if you like the Targaryen look…
The I See Stars songs which most excited me about the electronicore fusion would probably be songs from New Demons – ‘Ten Thousand Feet’ and ‘Violent Bounce [People Like ¥øµ]’ and ‘Murder Mitten’. In particular, the opening to ‘Murder Mitten’ has an awesome mix of heavy riffs and electronic beats which is really buzzing! It is worth saying that New Demons also has a whole separate remix album, where they go even further into the electronic side of the songs and collaborate with other artists.

We Came As Romans are another band who make some amazing electronicore music. If you get annoyed by high-pitched vocals like in I See Stars, which I know some people do, this is quite different. Although their older music fits into this genre better, two songs from their 2017 album, Cold Like War, that are really great are ‘If There’s Nothing To See’ and ‘Wasted Age’. We Came As Romans always have very climactic, slower and less heavy choruses which is what you want with this type of intense, manic music. Another song I would recommend from this band would be ‘Through the Darkest Dark and the Brightest Bright’ from Tracing Back Roots (2013). I love the electronic elements of this song, especially in the second verse and just before the end.

Another favourite within the genre would be Jamie’s Elsewhere. Particularly, ‘Giants Among Common Men’ stands out for me in terms of electronicore. This song is mostly clean vocals, from Aaron Pauley (now in Of Mice and Men, who has a great voice in my opinion), but when the screamed vocals kick in, together with some very energetic electronic riffs, the song really becomes awesome. From the same album, I also really like ‘The Lighthouse’.

One of the bands who first got me into this kind of music is Woe, Is Me. Although they’ve split up now, I don’t listen to them very much anymore and they have some admittedly very dubious songs, they are a good place to start in the genre. They have more of an R&B feel, as well as electronic. I would recommend ‘Vengence’ and ‘Fame>Demise’ . ‘Vengence’ may seem really quite erratic and overly heavy at first, but once you listen to it more it starts to make sense and the second half of the song really comes together. I had a large obsession with song at one point, trust me it’s worth giving it a chance.

Finally a band which is a bit less heavy but still combines the same sort of elements as these other bands is The Word Alive. Their 2016 album The Dark Matter is brilliant from start to finish. I would say to listen to ‘Face To Face’ for a more mellow song; great contrast between the verses and chorus. For more electronic songs their album REAL. (2014) is a better place to look. ‘Broken Circuit’ and ‘The Fortune Teller’, for example, are much more synthesised. The breakdowns in ‘The Fortune Teller’ are some of the best.

So that’s it – hope you like the songs! Let me know any reactions and if you have any other suggestions that you think I might like.



Bryan Cranston/ Walter White Live Talk!

So last week I got to see Bryan Cranston in the flesh!! He came to Cambridge to speak to students at the Union Society, and he was just great; really funny, charming and inspiring. What a legend this guy is. The event, on 19 January 2018, was held almost ten years to the day that Breaking Bad hit our screens for the first time, so it was very appropriate timing as well as being an exciting one-off opportunity to hear how this incredible actor made his fame.

When he first walked into the hall and sat down I was amazed that he was actually there. An older, somehow better-looking, more relaxed and well-dressed Walt was sitting there just a few metres away from me. The audience quietened down and the interviewer immediately launched into questions about why he first decided to go into acting. He was so chilled; his answer to this was simply the word ‘girls’, which got a great amount of laughter from the crowd. He went onto explain that in one of his first acting classes he was paired with a girl that he fancied and he had to do a kissing scene with her. He thought she quite liked him, as she was getting quite into it, but when he asked her out afterwards she turned him down bluntly. Although he was highly embarrassed, this was when he realised that acting holds such a great power. He explained that he had originally wanted to be a police officer, and he was doing well at the academy; however he didn’t feel like it was exactly what he wanted and went travelling with his brother for two years to work it all out. He concluded that what he did really want was to be an actor, and he’s never looked back since. First being cast in small acting roles in his twenties, he explained that his big break came fairly late, at 40 years old when he was cast as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. Aged 50, he was cast in his most impressive role, Walter White in Breaking Bad.

He was asked what he thought made Breaking Bad such an amazing show. He explained that much of it was down to the fantastic screenplay written by Vince Gilligan, claiming that this was the genius behind it all. Bryan said that as soon as he had read the script, he was extremely keen to take on the role. He also praised Gilligan for allowing him to get the best out of Walt specifically. Not only was his writing was key to making a convincing character, but he also allowed Bryan to have his own take on how the character could be, for example choosing to grow a ‘silly’ moustache, and putting on weight for the role.
He was also asked if he knew that the show was going to be a big hit at the time, and he basically said that there is never a way of knowing as an actor. He thinks that its success was partly the great quality and originality of the show of course, but also a large amount of luck. He explained that the show coincided with the rise of Netflix; at this time, Netflix developed a new system, changing from sending DVDs in the post to streaming online. This was a revelation and definitely contributed to Breaking Bad’s success, as many more people were open to watching this type of programme.

He also went into some more detail about the role of Walt. He explained that he understood the ‘core’ of the character to be terrible depression which leads him to almost insanity. He found the role challenging, with the character changing throughout the series’, going from an unsure, plain-dressed, and fairly pitiful schoolteacher to a dominating and murderous gang leader. This change, he said, again praising Gilligan’s writing rather than himself, was one of the reasons for the greatness of the show. In so many TV series the protagonist is one who is always the same, someone to identify with and be a source of comfort. However, in Breaking Bad, this is completely turned on its head and you end up trying to identify with a man who you are not sure you even like any more and who has just killed someone.

I found it interesting to hear about how his daily routine and how he managed to stay sane through long hours of filming when he was working on Breaking Bad. He explained that it would often be 15 hours of filming in a day and that it was very emotionally draining. At the end of the day he would retreat to his dressing room and rub all the makeup, sweat and grime off his face with hot wet towels, then wrap it around his head, just sitting there for a while and becoming Bryan again. Once recovered he would drive home, have a quick dinner and retire to bed before getting up early again the next day. It really does sound relentless.

I enjoyed listening to him talk about the team behind Breaking Bad, and he explained that great friendships were built after 7 years of filming together. He told us that the last day of filming was very emotional, especially having to say goodbye to Aaron Paul (such a bromance!). They threw a party for everyone, with lots of food and drink, and he even asked a tattoo artist to come as so many of the team wanted to get Breaking Bad tattoos! Bryan himself even got one: the chemical symbols for bromine and barium (Br Ba), the beginning letters of the show’s title, between his fingers (in a discrete place of course, so that he could conceal it for other acting jobs). It’s clear to see how much the show means to him and how grateful he was to be a part of it.

He actually gave some really inspiring advice as well. He affirmed that it is important to find what you really want to do in life, no matter how long it takes. He said that if he had told himself, as many do, ‘I’m going to give this acting a couple of years and if I don’t get anywhere I’ll do something else’, he would not be in the same situation today. It took him 25 years at least to land the role of Walt, but he got there. Obviously, he said, this won’t happen to everyone and you have to be lucky, but you have to try. His experience basically outright proves that dreams can come true. In a world where everyone moves so fast and people don’t spare the time to really consider what they’re doing, we can often forget this. Just that day I had been over-thinking about the fact that I hadn’t been thinking about jobs enough and that I needed to find some to apply for quickly. But what Bryan said made me just chill out so much, it’s not about who’s the quickest or the richest, it’s finding something you’ll be happy with.

So as well as being absolutely star-struck, highly entertained and learning a lot about one of my favourite TV shows, I actually felt like this talk had made me feel much more positive about the future. And even better, he ended it with one of his best lines from Breaking Bad which the interviewer asked him to say for us all, exclaiming in a harsh and powerful Heisenberg voice: “Say my name!!”


(The sentiments expressed in this review are the writer’s own interpretation of the presented facts.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Review)

*Spoiler alert*

It has been a good month since I saw this but it’s still fresh in my mind. To be honest, this film is hard to forget! I found it was a great mix of light-hearted and tense action scenes which made it through and through the most amazing film.

For me, some of the best parts of the film were the ones with Rey on the island. Not only is she now a complete badass, but she is a very believable hero. The parts where she is called by the dark side were excellently done, not going overboard but making it seem different and more tempting than before. I especially thought that the cave/ mirror scene was really awesome. It was aesthetically interesting but also the whole idea of the mirror is great imagery for how the dark side can change someone into a more introspective and selfish person.

The exchanges with Kylo Ren were really intriguing. The way they did it so they could physically see each other, with multiple point-of-view and reverse shots in succession, made it very intense, as if you were stood there with them in some sort of trance. Adam Driver’s acting was on point throughout the film. He has some sort of aura which makes him mysterious; you never quite know what he is going to do next. The way his rage built up towards the end of the film made the climax of the film, the salt desert battle scene, even more breath-taking. I think we all enjoyed his little tantrum in the face of Luke which ended up being completely useless. However, at the same time it’s hard to wholly hate Kylo Ren and I think that especially now he has essentially become leader of the First Order, in the next film(s) he will continue to do an amazing job of keeping it fresh.

There were a lot of old characters coming back, which was great, and really what you want with Star Wars. It wouldn’t be the same without Yoda or R2D2, and I’m glad they kept them in. However, there were some new introductions and deaths which show that they are trying to move on to an extent. Particularly, the new character Rose was a great addition. The sub-plot sections with Finn and BB8 made fun little interludes and I’m glad that these characters got so much attention, as they made the film a bit sillier, in a good way. BB8 was such a hero! :3 There was a lot of cute moments in the film. They’ve introduced the porgs and crystal critters which are both adorable (great phone background material :P)! The crystal critters weren’t completely useless either! For me, there wasn’t enough of Chewy in the film but is there ever really enough!?

I’ve read that some people have been disappointed with Luke dying. I would say that rather being disappointed that he died, I was thinking that it was about time. That might seem harsh but the way that he saved the others is surely a good way to go out. I liked the way that he used the force to create an image of himself rather than actually going physically as I think it shows the important message of the film that the force can be used bring goodness and hope. I think it was nice to end the film with him vanishing from the cliff-side. It was admittedly a bit strange, and perhaps a bit melodramatic, but we needed that. The sunset was beautiful and I was genuinely emotional.

It is worth saying that the end scene in the red salt/ snow desert was incredibly stunning. The wide-screen shots of the imposing First Order army spread across the sand really brought a sense of awe. Once the action had begun I was really mesmerised by the red tracks in the sand. The camera changed constantly between close ups of pilots and the wider scene, meaning that you couldn’t help to be glued to the screen.

Nostalgic but innovative, fun but intense, beautiful and sentimental in all the right places. All in all I couldn’t have been more excited.

Beautiful Stained Glass Windows – Art/ Travel Post!

Random Art/Travel Post: (Because it’s holiday season!)

I love stained glass windows and I thought I’d put together a list of the best windows I’ve seen on my travels in the last few years. Unfortunately I’ve only been able to travel in Europe, let me know if you’ve seen any good ones that I haven’t been to!

1.  Sainte-Chapelle, Paris


Source: https://lifeaperture.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/dsc0051.jpg

This one is by far the most beautiful one I have been to! I spent a month in Paris on an internship and I stumbled on this almost by accident. I was visiting the Conciergerie next door and the ticket included this as well so I thought I’d have a quick look and it turned out to be the most incredible place.

2.  King’s College Chapel, Cambridge


Source: http://media.architecturaldigest.com/photos/56380531a6f997a353b8888c/master/pass/worlds-best-stained-glass-windows-06-05.jpg

This is a particularly special one for me, as I have been studying at King’s College for the last few years. When I applied to King’s I knew the Chapel was famous, but until I actually visited I had no idea the scale of it.

3.  Casa Lis Museum of Art, Salamanca


Source: http://www.museocasalis.org/nuevaweb/wp-content/gallery/el-museo-casa-lis/fachada-sur.jpg

This art museum was such a find when I was in Salamanca. The huge stained glass front faces onto the river and is as lovely to look out of as to look at!

4.  Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Source: https://lifeand100books.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/dsc_0122.jpg

The stained glass in the Sagrada Familia is so different from traditional styles but I think the bright colours make the inside of the cathedral really beautifully colourful and magical.

5.  Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester


Source: farm7.staticflickr.com/6141/5987445482_6ff4c35b4c_z.jpg

The stained glass in Gloucester Cathedral are very interesting and varied. I grew up very near Gloucester and I guess it took me a while to appreciate how impressive the cathedral is! This set of windows is interesting because it has less of a colour range and less regular symmetrical patterns than most windows. However, I think the focus on cold blue colours makes it really stunning.

Thanks for reading!



Palisades self-titled album 2017: dynamic, unique, very addictive *beware*

I wanted to do a post about a band I’ve discovered fairly recently – Palisades, a post-hardcore band from New Jersey. After forming in 2011, they have now released three studio albums, most recently their self-titled album earlier in 2017. I only discovered this band shortly after the release of this most recent album. I was really struck by it; their music is refreshing and has a really unique sound. My brother actually heard me listening to it one time and said it was like “Bieber-metal”… I was outraged by this initially, but I sort of see what he means… and I’m embracing it! They have a really awesome mix between pop and metal; every song on this new album is an absolute tune. Usually I have to warm up to band before wanting to listen to their whole album at once, but I didn’t even need to with Palisades.

The stand-out song for me is ‘Better Chemicals’. There’s something about the chorus which is just really addictive. The synchronised mixture of clean and unclean vocals here sounds awesome. There is a sort of interlude the second half of the song which breaks down to a section of electronic, muffled vocals which slowly back up build to bridge section ‘Break me down, cut me up…’ and then back to the chorus, which I love. The lyrics of the song are also really important, about the way mental health can be reduced down to the brain’s physiology and chemical processes. The chorus goes ‘I need better chemicals, I know, Cause nothing helps anymore, oh no’, showing how difficult it is to fight against negative feelings when the brain has another agenda.

Other highlights from the album would be ‘Cold Heart’ and ‘Memories’. ‘Cold Heart’ has a vast contrast between the tones of the verses and chorus which makes it really dynamic. I love the opening riff of ‘Memories’ which then reoccurs later in the song. The end is very emotional as well, the vocalist screaming ‘I’m so lost / You’re so gone’ which then reduces to a simple piano melody for a few bars before ending.
A couple of the songs felt a bit too similar to pop music but after a few listens I no longer felt that way. The first song of the album, ‘Aggressive’ starts in a very simple (very Bieber-y) way which is a bit off-putting, but the song then redeems itself with the choruses ‘Can we disarm the loaded gun?/ Can we survive what we’ve become?/ The hate is slowly choking me/ American aggression for free/ Can we?’. The repetition of ‘Can we’ is really powerful, especially considering the political messages of the song. It also ends with a heavy riff which gives the song a lot of impact.

‘Let Down’ and ‘Personal’ are also worth noting. They are just real bangers. ‘Let Down’’ s chorus is a head-banger; slow heavy guitar chords, with the rest of the song being fairly chilled. I suppose this represents what seems to be the main theme of the album – emotional chaos. ‘Personal’ finishes the album solidly with a typically angry and accusatory song: ‘Don’t say you tried/ You’re just making it personal’. Accusatory songs are actually some of the best lyrically in my opinion as they have so much passion and are often easy to relate to, we all love blaming other people for things 😉 Anyway, it’s definitely a strong way to end the album.

So, I was really excited by this band. They are a bit different from what I usually listen to. I would usually go for pure pop punk like State Champs or Boston Manor, or something much heavier in the metalcore area like Memphis May Fire or Issues. The vocals are nowhere near as heavy as these bands, which makes it more accessible whilst still having a good deal of impact. It is definitely recommendable and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have next.

Grunge fashion picks Autumn 2017

I thought I’d do something a bit different this week as I have had a lot of essay writing for my uni course and I’m pretty exhausted so this post is a bit more visual (and less brain-taxing)!

I have put together a small list of a few of my favourite things on the market at the moment fashion-wise.

Firstly, this set of dungarees in incredible. I saw it initially on Luanna Perez’s blog and I wanted to buy it. Unfortunately it costs $495, so that’s not going to happen, but it’s from a shop called The Ziran and their whole collection is really amazing. Worth checking out.



I also really like this jacket from UNIF.  I love denim jackets and even more so when there’s green fur 😛 UNIF can be a bit hit-and-miss for me, but this is really cool. It is also fairly expensive at £115, but could be worth the buy!



Next, there is a new pair of Doctor Marten’s boots that they’ve just brought out which is really chunky and heavy-duty. Not really a day-to-day pair of boots but would look amazing on a night out.



Now for something slightly more affordable – £30 from ASOS! This denim crop top is a nice hybrid of a top and dungarees. In my opinion it doesn’t look right with blue jeans on the bottom as in the picture, but with some black skinny jeans and a couple of chokers it would look great.


http://www.asos.com/liquor-n-poker/liquor-n-poker-denim-crop-top-with-lace-up-detail/prd/8304712?clr=Midwash blue&SearchQuery=crop+top&pgesize=36&pge=2&totalstyles=1272&gridsize=3&gridrow=1

I haven’t been the biggest fan of embroidered stuff around at the moment but this top from Pull&Bear makes an exception for me. It is delicate with nice dark colours and a lovely back.


I have a slight obsession with checked things and gingham and I found this really cool mixed coloured gingham dress on ASOS. Would look good with some Doctor Martens.



And lastly, some jewellery I found on Etsy: Etsy is a good place to find jewellery that’s a bit different, good-quality and handmade. I really like this evil eye choker and vintage mood ring…



That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.



Blade Runner 2049 – A dazzling cinematic reflection on the concept of humanity

*Spoiler alert*

The first thing I have to say about the new Blade Runner film is that I think it is a very worthy sequel to the original 1982 film, which is quite a feat. I went to see it on the day after it came out in a fully-packed IMAX theatre and it was mind-blowingly stunning.

Firstly, aesthetically, the use of colour was a spectacular – from the swirly yellow lighting of Wallace’s space to the faded oranges of the radioactive zone. The city of Los Angeles, also, looked incredible, with neon lights, holograms and low-angle shots looking up to the imposing modern high rise buildings and skyline. The film did not hesitate to slow down the action to show this to its full potential. Slow zooms in and out accompanied by synthy, ethereal music provide beautiful periods of calmness amongst some face-paced action scenes.

The film doesn’t rush into action, just as it doesn’t feature the excess sentimentality and dramatisation of most modern blockbusters. The acting of Ryan Gosling, playing K, was understated and believable. The dystopian, cold world in which it is set is supposed devoid of emotion and the film captures this perfectly. An example of this could be the encounter between K and Deckard in which we expect to be full of revelations and emotional outbursts, believing that they are long-lost father and son at this stage. However, instead, we get a gun fight in the ruins of Las Vegas’ formerly iconic venues. The flickering projections of performers in the dark concert hall portray a sense of loss, sadness and memory, instead of a sense of warmness from a family reunion as we might expect.

The film examines the components which make a human similar and different from a replicant. The idea of the sensory experience is fervently portrayed as we see multiple scenes showing close ups of rain and snow falling onto the skin and a focus on K’s relationship with his holographic/android girlfriend where we see the longing for a sense of touch. The way that the replicants are showing a desire and a willingness to combat these differences make us consider how far this could go.

The film also brings in the idea of birth and memory as what makes something human. We hear many times that K is ‘special’ and that he seems more human than other replicants. The flashbacks of childhood experience are seemly his, which tricks the viewer into believing he is really human. Also, the fact that he is the protagonist of the film tricks the viewer into believing there must be something unique about him. The film then brings a sense of bathos when we realise that he is not actually the child. Although we do find out who the child is, we don’t get the same sense of satisfaction. We do not see much of Dr Ana Stelline in the film, which makes the final twist in revealing her as the child more of a surprise. We also don’t get to see the interaction between her and Deckard before the film ends. Although this is slightly disappointing, it is probably for the best, as these sorts of ‘I’m your father’ scenes have been done so many times and it could easily seem stale. It is also a thought that the disappointment of K actually shows us that replicants can have hope for their future. The fact that K believed he was part-human when he wasn’t shows that their minds can believe in new and subversive ideas against the authorities. We see this diversion from fate as a numb robot when he fails his tests and we see that his mind is in disarray, as a human’s might be. Therefore, perhaps the fact that K turns out not to be human is actually more promising for the revolution than if he were.

The most chilling parts of the film for me are the ones which dehumanise the female. The female replicants in the film are objectified: they are sex workers, holograms and billboards. Blade Runner shows us a world where woman are naked, nameless and disposable. Particularly the scene where Wallace confronts the newly created female replicant displays their vulnerability. She drops onto the floor, shaking and covered in some sort of bodily fluid. Wallace then proceeds to touch her womb threateningly and then slash it open, portraying his disrespect and displeasure with the being he has created. He is furious that the old version of the replicants have been able to give birth, or Rachel has anyway, and he has not been able to find out the secret to this.

The whole concept of the cold, hyper-masculine figure of the replicant draws out their machine like violence and oppression of women. This could be seen as a critique of the masculine, and actually show a crisis of masculinity and a sense of self-defence. Also, although women’s bodies are objectified, they are somewhat powerful. Rachel, in the first instance, became a femme fatale, changing the course of history and rebelling against the laws. This power is echoed by some of the female replicants in the film such as the incredibly clever and evil villain, Luv, and the leader of the revolution, Freysa. We realise that women are stronger than they appear. The posthuman idea of the cyborg also makes us think about the idea of otherness. Theoretically, if cyborgs are robots then they are different from humans. Then, if they are different from the human then we are more likely to consider the difference of species between the human and the cyborg instead of considering the difference of gender between the male and the female. In this sense, the gender divide is somewhat blurred and cyborgs are ungendered. However, the way that the film considers the difference between humans and cyborgs blurs this boundary as well, as the idea that replicants are able to reproduce, feel human emotions and rebel threatens the whole system. We see an increasing similarity between the two and an overall fragmentation of human identity.

Fans of the original Blade Runner will appreciate the various allusions made to it throughout the film. In fact, some of the actual audio from the original is used, for example we hear the dialogue between Rachel and Deckard when they first meet. The way that Rachel was brought back as a source of torture for Deckard was also brilliant. Seeing her sparkling new in the bright lights of Wallace’s chamber next to the aged Deckard is quite a spectacle. This respect and reference to the original is important and provides a profound reflection on the ideas of re-creation and artificiality which are so fundamental to the film.

The world which it depicts reminds us of our own and shows us certain elements which could be present in the future. With modern technology developing at such a fast rate, it is interesting to reflect on possibilities and consequences that it could have. In some sense, the film is located in a strange place between fantasy and reality, making us consider the known world from a different perspective.

Basically, this film is thought-provoking, action-packed and visually outstanding. It was understandable to be sceptical about a sequel being released so long after the original. However, this time gap actually provides the film with a new sense of perspective on humanity, memory, modernization and change which makes the film so ingenious.