Slipknot is a nu metal band (every few days a fan vandalizes their Wikipedia page, changing their listed genre to “death metal” or “thrash metal”) from Iowa. They achieved great fame and worldwide success in the late nineties. That’s how bad they are.

Random, garbled riff explosions that are so downtuned and steeped in fuzz they just register as farting noises, endless drum masturbation, a dual tough-guy/clean boyish vocal approach that makes no sense, hideous “art” songs…welcome to modern metal, I guess.

The worst part is the drumming. Slipknot utilizes three drummers, and after a quick listen, it is apparent why no other bands have picked up on this idea. The album drowns under superfluous percussion. “Liberate” and “Surfacing” have some semblance of a coherent beat, but “(sic)” and “Eyeless” (among others) sound like three different drummers playing to three different songs. The wall of snare fills and tom rolls never ends, and combined with the “raw” production it’s borderline painful to listen to.

“Wait and Bleed” and “Spit it Out” are obvious radio biscuits with annoying clean vocal parts that sound like Linkin Park, and they stick out like a sore thumb. On “Spit it Out” we get “break it down, homie” rapping and turntable scratches. But they’re thrash metal, I swear. The rest of the album is a mishmash of crappy Korn dribble and hideous noise. This is one of those albums with no riffs, the guitarists just sort of chug away in a despondent stew of uselessness. Often the actual song ends within two or three minutes, and they then stretch out the ending with free-time noise and endless drum soloing (I nearly misspelled this as “soiling”, which would actually fit). I swear that half the album doesn’t even have songwriting. 

This is terrible. If you enjoy Slipknot, suck-start a shotgun and pray that your aim isn’t as bad as your taste.

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After pulling the ever-popular “fire your entire lineup” trick, Powerman 5000 put out this album in 2003. It’s more of a straight-ahead alternative rock/punk rock blend, although not overt enough to belong to either genre.

I miss their old sound, but this isn’t bad. It doesn’t have anything as good as “When Worlds Collide” or “Danger is Go”, and in general it plays it a bit too safe. Conceptually, the band explored the stars. Musically, they wore knee pads and padded helmets. In their quest to not put a foot wrong, they don’t particularly put a foot right, with everything staying at a designated level of inoffensive.

Highlights are “Free”, “Action”, “Top of the World”, and “A is for Apathy,” which are all catchy and hard-rocking. “The Shape of Things to Come” is weird and trippy. When I first listened to it the final couple of minutes were buried under a wall of clicks and distortion. I actually got excited, thinking I was listening to some kind of experimental sonic collage. Turns out the mp3 had become had become corrupt.

Carbon-copy an idea enough times and it eventually degrades. This is seen here with some harmless but really boring songs like “Hey, It’s Nuthin'” or “I Knew it Was Right”…I can’t even distinguish their titles. “Stereotype” is the same, but remove the “harmless” part. It’s fucking horrible. It’s like a warmup for the all-out country song on their next album.

But basically Transform is OK and interesting. They rounded everything out and made it all sound the same, but it’s not awful. Strategically apply the skip button and it’s actually a good CD.

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This is one of the books Arnold published before he became a household name. Although, considering he’d racked up an unheard-of six Mr Olympia wins by 1977, that isn’t true if we’re talking about a household of bodybuilding fans.

It ticks all the boxes. Semi-literate but inspiring monologues about following your dreams, advice on picking up girls, pictures of the Austrian Oak lifting weights and posing on stage, scientifically questionable training advice, and so on.

The Education of a Bodybuilder starts off with Arnold’s life story, which (at that point in time) meant going from being a teen in Barely-on-the-Map Austria to the world’s most successful bodybuilder. He talks about his motivation for getting into bodybuilding, how he reacted to success and failure, and even some pretty blunt tirades against Catholicism. It’s remarkable that this book wasn’t used against him in his political career.

Sometimes it’s sanitary enough to be untrustworthy (his dad was never anything more than a police chief! Don’t ask questions!), although there’s some fun details about how a gay gym owner put the moves on him. Good to see that muscle schmoes were as common in the 70s as they are today.

But that’s the good half the book. The second half is a generic “How to get big muscles fast” manual that’s way worse than just reading random articles on the internet. In one part, he says that if you weigh 150 pounds, doing a push-up is as good as bench pressing a 150 pound barbell. Earlier in the book he talks about an exercise called “the Arnold Press” and says he’ll explain what it is later in the book. The Arnold Press is never mentioned again. In another section he emphasizes that you must do calf-raises with a lot of weight, but in the accompanying picture he’s doing calf-raises with a meager four plates.

Otherwise, it suffers from vagueness. He talks constantly about “tuning” and “tightening up” your body. What does that mean? Bigger muscles? Less fat? He talks about the power of the mind and how to have the will of a champion, and while that’s useful, I think new bodybuilders would be helped more by an explanation of macronutrient ratios and correct posture and form. Needless to say, all of his training advice must be viewed in light of the fact that he’s a steroid user with really good genetics.

You can find used copies of this for thirty bucks. Read the bio. Do whatever you want with the training advice.

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