Music Review: Bring Me The Horizon

This week, I wanted to quickly review an album I thought was set to release next month. Oopsie. On Friday, Bring Me the Horizon dropped their latest album, Amo and figured I would give it a listen during my workout. After listening to every track, my response to is a disappointing “oomph”.

The band usually puts out several good songs and I even have a few on my Spartan playlist to get me motivated. Happy Song is one of my favorites from these guys, but this album had nothing that stood out. From a gym goer point of view, there was nothing to move to. No motivation. No inspiration. They kind of went with the electronica route with this one which I am NOT a fan of at all. If any of you heard The Amity Infliction with Feels Like I’m Dying, it’s a lot of that. Mantra and Sugar Honey Iced Tea are probably the only two good tracks which are also currently the only two singles out.

I really had no strong and positive feedback from this one. I was kinda let down. But if you’re into the autotune style, then give it a shot. I’ll just listen to their previous album and await for their next project to get released.

Don’t be a D-bag. Put Away your Gymbag

I have to share this pet peeve that I have and I know I’m not alone in this one. Even though we go to the gym to sweat and break our bodies down there’s still a code of ethics that we all follow to make everyone’s session convenient and overall stress free. But of course there are those few jabronis that HAVE to be selfish, making us sensible gym goers grind our teeth and curse that person’s existence. That was my experience the other day.

It was leg day for me, or as I like to call it don’t cry you’re a man day. I don’t really have a specific order in how I work my legs, or any part of my body for that matter, so as long as I get it all in for the day. I was close to finishing up my workout when I saw a dufflebag and a hoodie sitting on top of the hamstring curl. Thinking it was the guy standing next to it, I proceeded to do a different workout. After several minutes on the leg extensions, I wanted to finish my legs by hitting the previous machine. Still occupied. Fair enough, I have to throw work on my abs anyway. After completing my leg raises I turned around and the bag with the hoodie on top was STILL sitting there with the guy next to it. Is he lounging around? Am I on the same timerest as him? I’m about to hit my second to last workout of the day with ab crunches when I finally saw some activity by the hamstring curls. The belongings didn’t come from the gym loiter. It came from the guy using the punching bag. Are you f#$!@&* kidding me?! He wasn’t even near the damn machine, let alone using it. This isn’t Planet Fitness, I will judge you and consider you a horrible pos for leaving your disgusting Nike hoodie on a machine you weren’t even using, meanwhile other people with courtesy were waiting. Needless to say, I got my workout in, but I do hope this guy tears a groin muscle in his future. Savage? yes. Justified? Uuum, completely.

It’s really not hard to have a little gym etiquette when working out. Just show a little respect for the people working and working out and everybody will have a great day. No need to be a toolbag and leave your stuff around like it’s your dirty dorm room. That’s why they have locker rooms. I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty of gym ettiqute tips, because honestly, some of y’all gone learn

19 Year Challenge: Papa Roach Review

True Papa Roach will probably fact check me and say their VERY first album came out in 1997. Well, the problem with that is Amazon doesn’t have that album, I’m froogle, and didn’t know about that album until I was today years old. And I know it doesn’t have a smooth ring to it, but it’s close enough and 19 is a long time to be in the music business, especially when your fanbase is still as strong as ever. I wanted to do a brief comparison between their 2000 album Insects and Who Do You Trust since the latter just came out this past Friday.

Going back to Insects, the album had a brooding and somber vibe. The messages were sad, even suicidal and Jacoby Shaddix expressed an element of pain throughout the album which showed in Never Enough and of course their breakout single Last Resort. It was still a good album and I enjoy listening to some of the songs even today, but there was an absolutely dark tone.

Their latest album, Who Do You Trust still has their familiar tone, but with a much more positive outlook. Jacoby still has his larger than life energy that if you saw live, you’d swear it can generate power throughout the venue. The Ending is ironically a strong opening for the album and has a heavier than normal sound for the band. But my favorite would have to be Elevate because not only is something I can put into my training list (see my Friday’s post) but it’s overall an uplifting and inspirational song for anyone.

These guys have come such a long way from their earlier work, and after 19 years, they’re still very relevant and loved by their fans. I would definitely pick this album up as this one you can listen to anywhere from the gym to your car or even in your home while doing chores.

What’s Your Anthem?

Ok, I learned something. When you’re working on your blog from work, check the Wi-Fi status because otherwise you might not be able to upload your post. Oops. We’ll just call this Spartan Sunday this week.

If you’re an avid gym goer, you’ll most likely bring your music player and headphones, crank the volume at the highest level for your earholes without going deaf, and let the music take over your workout. Some of us train to electronica. Others workout to hip-hop. Or maybe it’s Britney bitch….or something in the pop genre. Or you’re just like me and tune in to some good old fashion metal. Music is a force like no other as it has the ability to make you happy, sad, angry, or inspired in a single song. And if you pick the right songs, it can motivate you like hell in the gym.

I’m going to share something that most people don’t know. Before I leave the locker room to start my training, I put on my Bluetooth headphones and turn on my Amazon music. I scroll under my custom soundtrack (It’s titled Spartan Mix) and search for Motorhead – The Game and for a brief moment, I feel like I’m HHH about to enter the ring minus the spitting of my water because that’s just unsanitary. You may judge, but plwase continue reading while doing so.

Every year I try to pick a specific song and make that my anthem during my time in the gym, especially if I’m training for something important. My very first anthem was an instrumental from The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack that I used when I ran my first OCR in 2013. It was Hans Zimmer’s Imagine the Fire and I chose that because it started off pretty slow, but intense, like you’re about to endure the biggest challenge of your life. But then the tempo picks up and Batman’s theme starts with a small twist in the percussion. Then about halfway in, the mood changes again with a more aggressive approach, almost like you’re about to hit a wall, but then it changes one time with a stronger tempo and in the background you hear a chant that can be translated to “Rise” When you think about it while running, it almost matches your pace and I thought it was pretty appropriate. Plus, it’s Batman.

Since then, I’ve used several tunes to make my “anthem song” of the year when starting hitting the gym on the first day of the calendar. When I started my first Spartan Race, I chose Godsmack’s “Whatever” out of dedication to my friend Sean who initially pushed me to run when we were teenagers. I think he would’ve crushed those races if he were still with us. Two years ago, before my injury, I chose Throne by Bring Me the Horizon simply because I wanted my medal. But last year was the most significant because this was my first run since my injury and as I mentioned a few Fridays ago, I needed my win back so I went with an unorthadoxed choice in Vengeance on my Mind by G-Easy. Not everything in my playlist is metal, but most are appropriate for the occasion. This year I’m going with Adelitas Way – Still Hungry. I have a few more races left in me and I intend on running a few this year so this was a solid choice. And I have a ton of other songs that are on my playlist (92 to be exact) that push me to finish a workout or a run. Shout out to Pop Evil for their songs “Waking Lions” and “Be Legendary” because those songs had EVERYTHING to make the finish line.

So whether you got Metallica blasting in your eardrums or Lady Gaga or Kanye West, it’s good to have a playlist when tackling the iron. When focused, you’d be surprised how far you can go in a session by listening to your motivational soundtrack. And personally, having that anthem fuels the blood even more because when the year is over and you begin to reflect, you can ask yourself “did I hit my goal?” Or “Did I meet my own hype?” Trust me, it feels good when you do succeed. It gives you another challenge and a new anthem to march to next year.

Supporting Locals: Steve McDaniel Review

To all my locals in the Poconos, I have a different music review today that you might be familiar with. Over the weekend I saw an old buddy perform at my favorite spot, Sarah Street Grill. His name is Steve McDaniel and he’s been in the local music scene for years as a solo performer and in his group The Steve McDaniel Band. He plays modern bluegrass which I thought I wouldn’t be into, but he really has some catchy tunes and puts a cool spin on some modern music. I met him through some friends back when I was still in high school and since then, I’ve watched him perform at local bars. His positive vibe and good tunes have made for great nights out in the bar scene.

He has his own original material, but I posted something he did with his buddy and bandmate, Steve Herring. For all you Queen fans, it’s Under Pressure and I love hearing these guys perform this song. My other favorite cover of his is Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. Have you ever heard bluegrass so G and still pull it off? Because Steve definitely does.

Anyway, Steve’s an awesome guy who loves his fans and greatly appreciates the support. Check out his facebook page and listen to some of his music on iTunes. Until then, Here’s a video of his version of Under Pressure.

I am Jason. I am a Resolutioner

Every year we run through the same formula; Jan 1 new year new me; Sign up for gym membership; workout for two weeks; and by February a select few are left standing with their goals. We see the memes all the times and us regular gym goers laugh because it’s true. I’ll admit, I laugh because I compare this time of year to the Royal Rumble where everybody bunches up in the gym, battling for a bench or a machine and when it’s all said and done, one person is usually left in the gym. We call these people resolutioners and I was one of them.

I started my weight loss goals the same way. On January 2011, I made the decision to join this gym not too far from me (shout out to 209 Fitness, RIP) and the process was EXTREMELY slow. I only went twice a week and even then I dreaded every bit of it. Having to wake up early to do cardio for 20, sometimes 30 minutes bleh. Why put myself through that when I can be at home eating a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich while washing it down with chocolate milk? But I kept looking at this picture of me and my gut hanging over jeans to which I said “nope! Back to the gym.” I really hated fat J.

So two a week became three times a week and by this point I developed a routine when I was working out. I focused on different body parts per day while maintaining a cardio exercise at the end of the session. I noticed the results very quickly but that was mostly in part because I was walking everywhere, especially when I was briefly living in NYC. You can say I overshot my goal by the end of the year when I weighed 155….oops. I did eventually gained some of that weight back and maintained a healthy 185 with the occasional holiday weight.

Personally, it’s ok to laugh at the occasional meme, but some people are trying to change their lifestyle and for some people it’s not as easy. So a quick tip: if you see a new gym goer or Resolutioner struggling in the gym, help them. Give them a quick tutorial in between your sets and show them how machines work. We all started somewhere.