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I’m Coming Out… As a Flexitarian

So I’ve realized that when it comes to my daily chow down, I am actually a “flexitarian.” What the Hell is that? Like everyone else, I love complicated labels most people haven’t heard of that I get to explain the meaning of to people. Gives me a feeling of superiority.

In my infallible understanding, Flexitarian is similar to semi-vegetarianism in that they consume meat very occasionally – usually 10-5% or less of their weekly food intake. In my case that applies to dairy products as well.

Unfortunately it means that I can’t claim a moral high ground over other people now with my very small percentage of dairy/meat consumption. I always find it interesting how many vegetarians and vegans forget that people choose that “lifestyle choice” – oh damn is that a buzzword these days – because of the dietary implications rather then a save the animals plea.

Will I become a vegetarian and vegan eventually? Despite my respect  and understanding for their food choices – quite healthy – when you think about it , I don’t think I can give up deep dish cheese pizzas quite yet.  

One thing to admit is that living with my parents – both vegans – makes being a flexitarian very easy considering I have to eat out to get any meat or cheese. Considering I like to save money on food, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, and rice/beans are phenomenal food choices.

Parting thought: You either pay your grocer or your doctor. I definitely lean toward the former.  

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The Role Government and Christianity In helping Others

This isn’t meant to be some sort of infallible essay. It is meant to be my personal reflection on the world I see around me.

 

      Many people from every spectrum of politics constantly ponder and debate about the role of government in politics.  Now I suppose what each of us might believe that role entails depends on our worldviews. Most of us can agree their are many problems our society faces: Homelessness, corporations who get special tax breaks and subsidies that small businesses don’t,  a foreign policy that arguably encourages many people to hate America, income inequality in which people struggle to live,  people who are treated differently by our justice system, .ect.   (No, I’m not a Liberal.)

Well, how do we address them? What do we do? As a libertarian, I question the ability of the government to address these problems on a widespread level without suffering from the same problem it always has in history; the government and its power being bought by the richest and most influential in society.  For instance when the government gives “handouts” there are always strings attached – usually ones that involve voting for the person giving you the handouts. Regardless whether handouts are a bad idea, good idea, ect there is a very direct reason to keep that person in power as well as to make sure they can take from others for whatever reasons the public deems acceptable. Currently the rich are a favorite target, but what makes it okay to take from them and give to others? Assuming someone worked their *beep* off, became rich, and didnt get every special tax break and subsidy under the sun that their competitor didnt get, why is it okay to take from them? Should wealth be a reason to take from? If we did it for reasons of race, ethinicity, ect it wouldn’t be appropriate, but why is it all of a sudden okay to take from them because we think they have too much?

Alot of the rich in our country have become rich because they have been able to buy power and legislation which directly benefits them and hurts their competitors. And its not just them. Its almost every profession and class trying to get what they can for themselves at the expense of others who are deemed to be “acceptable targets” for whatever the reasons. Look at lawyers. There are so many laws now and those laws are so complex that lawyers are now needed for almost every case. They get rich, and the poor and minorities who cant afford them get screwed. Justice becomes a normal thing for the rich.  The poor are left to fend for themselves.

Beware: Indictment and reflection of Christian Church and its failings:

Now, I actually agree with liberals that the rich should share their wealth with others, specifically the less fortunate and the poor of our society. Why? Because Biblically the rich are supposed to take care of the poor. The homeless. The widows. The orphans. I see this as the responsibility of Christians, the Church and the overall Christian community. However, if I value the idea of liberty and freedom, should I just impose my beliefs on the rest of society through legislation even with the best intentions in mind? As liberals would say, we are not a theocracy.

The church here in America has become decadent. We care about money and political power. We’ve forgotten about the homeless in our towns, the poor striving to get by, and the single mother who we are willing to mandate that she shouldnt have an abortion, but are unwilling help her raise the child when she has it through. We have become willing to maybe throw out a handout here or there, but we refuse to make the time to teach people how to fish instead of giving them a fish.

We’ve refused to bother to help teach people how to raise crops for themselves (hydroponics, aquaponics,  local organic farming) so they can eat healthy and not be subjected to the horrid cheap food of today. We’ve refused to take part in helping the single mother raise her kid if she chooses not to raise them as a Christian, depsite what the Bible says about helping the poor. (Note it doesn’t say, help these people if they become Christians or are willing to go to Church, it commands us to help them regardless, because they are who the Kingdom of God is for and the love of God and his commands for us apply to the destitute of society) We dont have time to take in that kid afterschool, help teach him a trade, impart what knowledge of skills we have to him.

From a social standpoint its become worse. As much as I personally consider abortion to be a form of murder, many of conservative christian friends are willing to forsake the idea of liberty and insist that the government has power over your body, whether its to choose to have an abortion or do drugs.  While I understand the reasons, I dread the additional power we give to the government for the best of intentions.   (Isn’t it possible to discourage abortion without government intervention into the matter? Especially on a communal level?)

We’ve gotten caught up in some “culture” war in which we’ve completely abandoned the idea that the Kingdom is for the “scum” of society. Its for the muslims, the “homosexuals”, the domestic abusers, the rapists, the murders. (I’m not equating homosexuality with that, just saying that we treat homosexuals like the scum of the earth and we forget that the Kingdom is for them as well) Yes we want people to turn from sin, but first they need to know that they are significant, important, and loved because they are made in God’s image.

I’ve seen my fellow Christians say HORRIBLE things about “liberals”, the president, people who disagree with them. I think to myself, “How could you say that?” This is someone made in God’s image. They may be a sinner, but the Love of God specifically applies to them no matter what “sins” they commit or what we think of them. As Christians we’ve become obsessed with material possessions and money. One key failing that we are reeling from is that we’ve abandoned the concepts of freedom and liberty which are concepts I would argue come from the core of Christianity, especially considering we believe that man is fallen and sinful. How exactly can we trust ourselves to not abuse authority especially in the light of history? (Assuming legislation is someones morality enforced on the general public.)

I firmly believe I and many others in the Christian community have to go back to the drawing board. And this is where I believe the government on a small level can play a role. (My libertarian bias is going to show.) Too many parts of our society are convinced that they know whats best for everyone else. California thinks Texas should adopt its educational curriculum and vice versa. We want to insist that we can “legislate” problems away. That however has never worked and never will.

I have enough faith in people to believe that they know how to address the problems that affect them directly. Some of these can be on a national scale (I blame the government.) but many problems can be tackled at the local level by a community, and not through legislation necessarily. In fact legislation should be our last resort, rather than our first. 

Many conservatives have dissed the president for being a “community” organizer, but since when did that become a bad thing? It is the communities that solve problems. A community with whatever kind of safety nets they’ve set up know when abuse is happening, know when their neighbor needs help, and their representatives can be spoken to without a campaign donation in the streets, at town meetings, ect.

From a Christian standpoint, our call to help our communities is very important. If all our wealth that we have, every penny is given to us by God, should we not be helping not only our own poor, but the desolate, the homeless, the widows, ect who God has commanded us to? People however have become in love with their money. I guess I am emphasizing a change of heart as being the key to helping communities.

School shootings, suicides, bullying, ect happens because we are not invested enough in helping others and actually caring about them, not just giving them something from the food pantry and pretending we’ve done our penance for the month. If someone in our community has been treated so poorly that they need a specific label to call themselves (Trans, Queer, ect.) to feel comfortable and like they matter, what does that say about us in general? Especially Christians? Everyone is made in the image of God, and regardless of whether they are “sinners” or not, they MATTER. They are important and they are significant in the eyes of God and should be in ours as well.

To often our response to lets say a “homosexual” is, “Hey repent vile sinner, turn from your sin, and stay away from us and our kids!” WHAT? Yes, to repent you must turn from sin, but you matter no less in the eyes of God. To those who I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with, have differing opinions on sin, or even acknowledge it as a concept, my first response should be, “You my friend are loved. You matter. Your life is important and your wellbeing. If you need a place to stay my home is yours. IF you need a job, I will do what I can to give you one. If you need food, I will feed you.”  Mathew 25 is very specific as to what Christs commands as our duty to those around us, especially our own fellow Christians. (The urban poor Christians of Chicago?)

However we’ve let “politics” jade us, makes us say horrible things about people dying, who need medical help, shelter, a job, a reason to live. It saddens me to the point of making me want to cry. What can I do? I won’t bother with the government, as I don’t have cash to make campaign contributions. Instead I will go directly to those in need. I will encourage my fellow Christians to embrace our roles to help our communities, both in the resources we have as well as our time. If we can strengthen our communities, and I mean truly strengthen them, the amount of laws and government we need will be minimal and the potential abuses from strong government for good intentions will be reduced.

Alot of my fellow Christians especially liberal ones, are fed up with alot of the problems they see. They have been ignored often by their fellow Christians. They see injustice, whether it be from the police, lack of education, ect. This is where I advocate for a solution that emphasizes the community, specifically the Christian community to rise up and help those who are desperately in need. Their problems should be our problems. They are part of the Church and should be treated as such.

This is why I dont like prohibiting felons from owning firearms to protect themselves and their families, especially with how our justice system is an the amount of minorities that are felons. I truly believe the goverment doesnt care about minorities, only their votes. This may seem facetious and wreak of hubris, but I care about “minorities” and the poor because God says they are important and made in his image and he commands me to help them, not because I will get anything from it or that it will somehow directly benefit me.

No the concept of true Biblical love transcends that, “Scratch my back and I will scratch yours” that has permeated our culture.  Yes, we should attempt to make money, to excel in our jobs, to make music which people may end up throwing millions of dollars toward us for and all for His glory. We should however remember that all of our money is given to us by him and what he expect us to do with what he has given to us.

I will be the first to admit that I feel extremely hypocritical after saying all this. I’m selfish. I’m lazy. I want my time and I want it now. I would rather play video games and hang with my friends then really invest the time to help the poor around me.  However, I recognize my failings and will strive through the grace of God to utilize his time to the best of my abilities to fulfill his commandments.  Heaven may be a ways off, but the ability to create a “Shire” here, a little peace of earthly home for us and everyone around us should never be forgotten.

 

My friends and fellow human beings made in the image of God, you are loved.

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Detroit: ‘The Truth Hurts… Tough Shit’

In today’s society, people who tell it like it is are rare. Usually they don’t want to lose their jobs, have their reputation permanently tarnished, ect.   L Brooks Patterson, is apparently one of those rare people and he is taking some heat for it.  He made “controversial” comments – let the entertainment begin – about the city of Detroit.  In a recent interview with the New Yorker, he said the following:

“Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher,” he said. ”The truth hurts, you know? Tough s***.”

He goes as far in the interview to warn his children to stay out of Detroit to the extent of even avoiding to stop for gas because its a potential car jacking in the making.  Regardless of his chosen political party, Republican,  he is spot on. Detroit looks like world three happened to it and the residents who live there look like survivors of the war.

Yes, this is Detroit, not a third world country

I was in the Detroit back in January of 2012, and there is really nothing positive to say about the city. For all those who immediately shudder at the “Republican” buzzword, I’m not a republican and Patterson has aptly and correctly described Detroit. But don’t believe me, go and stay a night around there yourself – if you have the guts that is.  Apparently the Reverend Jesse Jackson isn’t pleased by Patterson’s comments and believes they they include elements of racial offense, because he is calling for a public apology. Why? Details, details as to those words of racial offense:

“He’s also quoted as saying a prediction he made has come to pass. He said, “What we’re going to do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.”

National Action Network’s Michigan chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II shockingly shared a similar opinion as Reverend Jackson. He found the remarks to be:

“repulsive -not just because Detroit is mostly a black city, but “because it is also a direct slight to the American Indians who occupied the land before Detroit was Detroit, and Oakland County.”

I do believe both Jackson and Willams III to be mistaken in their judgement on this “incident”, if you can call it that. Why?
1. The truth really does hurt. What the American government did to the Indians when they took their land and herded them onto reservations is essentially what Patterson is describing. Rough, but the truth should never be buried regardless of how much it hurts.

2. It’s irrelevant whether the city is mostly black, mostly white, mostly mixed, or mostly whatever; Detroit it still a place you don’t want to visit and should avoid visiting if you value your health, belongings, and those traveling with you.  Patterson has nothing to apologize for.

Let me make one of those dreaded internet admissions for all to see that might haunt me in the future:  When I was scouting out a hotel room to stay at, I realized I and those with me couldn’t stay in Detroit.  We would need to stay in the “burbs” maybe about 15-20 mins from Detroit if we valued our safety.   This video is an example of why you would want to stay in the burbs:

So I specifically looked at the racial population demographics of the towns near Detroit.  I found one that was 98% white or something close to that percentage and chose the motel there.   Pretty appalling right? Safety ends up trumping convictions sometimes.

What should really appall us is in what crime statistics show, especially in a place like Detroit and its outskirts. It is appalling at just how many laws we have to make sure poor minorities, specifically African Americans,  end up as part of those statistics.  It’s no accident that alot of people who live in Detroit can’t own guns to defend themselves and their families because they “broke” laws  ranging from drug possession to drug use to even robbery.   But hey, it’s not like the criminal element wont’ have weapons?

I don’t share Patterson’s opinion that Detroit can’t be saved, but hard choices, sacrifices, and an admission of what does and does not work will need to happen.  Until then, if you live in Detroit, you might as well wrap your fences in barbed wire, bring out the pit traps, and post menacing signs about how you own a firearm and will use it on trespassers.

Rant concluded…

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Political Tweets gone nasty: Why?

In today’s political climate, opponents usually refer to other opponents as child-killing deviants, warmongers, radical extremists, terrorists, fascists, “likely would have supported Hitler”, bane of humanity,  ignorant fringe religious whackos, socialist communist scum, and tea bagging nazis.

Unfortunately this political atmosphere proves to be as pervasive as ever.  Though I disagree with Ted Cruz on quite a bit, wishing for the death of his speechwriter’s children is just another example of the hatred that can consume people involved in politics.

Image

Later on Allan apologized and rightfully so. However in the internet age, something like this never expunges itself from your resume.  Let’s however ask an important question.  How did disagreements over political positions and ideology, even sharp ones, get this low and nasty?

Just because John Doe supports an invasion into Syria – a  position I firmly disagree with – doesn’t mean I should wish the death and destruction of war upon him and his family.   Just because the president has ordered drone strikes – which I consider terrible- doesn’t mean he is intentionally blowing up children and the same should be wished upon him and his family.

Yes, let’s disagree, and perhaps even quite strongly.  However, let us never allow our differences to reduce us down to the level of vitriol that Allan spewed in the heat of his anger. Let’s stop with the demagoging of one’s political opponents aren’t child killing genocidal lunatics who want to destroy the poor or the rich and enforce their will on society.  They are our fellow citizens, neighbors, and family members who are espousing what they believe to be valid positions.

I know political disagreements can be quite heated, but if you saw a fellow liberal, conservative, libertarian, statist, ect. lying on the ground dying, would you not help him or her regardless?
Love for our neighbors, family, friends, and those around us should conquer all differences; even the bitter gulf of opposing positions and disagreement that is politics.

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Offensive Humor Is Everyone’s Guilty Pleasure.

Have you ever heard a very offensive joke and then laughed maniacally and hysterically? Have you then said to yourself and/or those around you in a low voice, “Wow, that was really bad.” as if that would somehow cushion the reality of how bad the joke is? 

Well, I certainly have, and I can guarantee that almost everyone has done the same. There is just something about those extremely offensive jokes that you can say online – reddit – and with your “friends” group that you can’t say in public places – like your job – because you may get fired, have your reputation destroyed; all the outcomes that people dread in today’s “You will walk on glass” society. 

I was at a close friend’s house yesterday, and we literally spent at least 3 hours reading through this reddit thread of very offensive jokes and laughing our asses off. I was crying at one point.  After essentially every joke, I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Wow that’s really bad.”  No, these we actually really bad.  These were jokes that you would have to utter in the dark cobbles for fear of people overhearing them and shunning you. 

I’ll post a sample of just the Princess Diana jokes as well, those might only be very offensive to the British. Observe, and of course laugh:

What was the last thing to go through Princess Diana’s mind before she died? The stereo.
How are a cell phone signal and Princess Diana alike?
They both die in tunnels.
How are Princess Diana and Pink Floyd similar?
Their last big hit was the wall.

I couldn’t help post a few of these on facebook and at least one of my friends did not find these funny – or at least she doesn’t admit to it. She made a valid point however in that, “Nothing about someone dying is funny.”   From a moral standpoint, mine that it to say, she is right.  Some dark corner of myself however found all three of those jokes about someone dying to be absolutely hysterical. I couldn’t help but laugh. 

Is this just a guilty pleasure that I have? Should I be laughing at the misfortune – understatement indeed – of others?  Why am I so amused by the rather horrid nature of some of the reddit jokes I saw? I wonder if knowing how bad the jokes are makes them that much funnier because of just how bad they are. 

There is however a disturbing thought I have regarding comedy in general: The concept of comedy at its root is pointing to the misfortune of others at some level and being amused by it.   I think this is true of even the most “innocent” jokes. There is some sort of stupidity, ignorance, misfortune, ect that we are all poking fun at. Seriously, think about it. 

One final thought: Is comedy really an “all or none of the above” kind of concept? Either all comedy is off limits, or nothing is for comedy to truly be an art that can freely express itself? Beats me. 

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Sworn In blows up. Damn.

Say what you want about Sworn In, but never have I seen a band in our scene blow up this quick and this fast. It was probably the tours and those fests that played a major part, but to give at least some credit where credit is due, there is not much out there that sounds like Sworn In.  They have nailed the “I’m really pissed and angry,” sound like no one else I’ve heard.

I’ve been following Sworn In since the day they released their Cartharis EP.  Out of the musical ilk that was Buried By The Ocean, came one of the most surprising EPs I had ever heard from a local band.  It’s been a few years and their sound has certainly changed, but as their most recent music video has made evident, people certainly like it.

Whether you love or hate Sworn In, the fact that they released this music video on August 15th and it already has 190k+ views is pretty damn incredible. I didn’t see any band from our scene ever getting this kind of exposure, but I’m glad I was wrong.  The people arguing back and forth on the youtube comments are something that every local band in the scene only wishes it had. All publicity is good publicity – or is at least publicity for that matter – which is hard to get in today’s over saturated music scene.

The Death Card

To enjoy Sworn In, you must appreciate this album and specifically this band for what they are, not what your preferred metal, hardcore, whatever tastes.   Their music is obvious and straightforward; it’s heavy and there to smash your face in.  The Death Card doesn’t wreak of technical riffs, catchy choruses, and ambient melodies because that is not who Sworn in is.  If you are looking for something that sounds Between the Buried and Me, Born Of Osiris, or whomever go listen to them instead.

What about Sworn In themselves? Did Sworn In overreact when The Death Card leaked? Yes.  That leak gave them invaluable and FREE exposure to amp up the release of The Death Card that much more. In fact, they have gotten plenty of negative feedback from people in our scene, myself included, but for once let’s support a band from our scene that is living their dream. I personally abhor the lyrics of Sworn In because of the negativity and the worldview, but if I want uplifting lyrics there are plenty of bands to choose from.

So when you listen to Sworn In, put all expectations aside and listen to them for what they are. Forget that you hate Tyler, preferred Gene’s vocals, or that Chris is a really nice guy and just listen to the music; no more and no less. Stay metal?

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MLK would have backed it?

“Obama: MLK would have backed “‘Obamacare’”, runs the headline on several news websites.  I get used to sifting through the usual anti-Obama headlines. I laugh at and enjoy the clever ones, shake my head at the name-calling ones, and attempt to find those rare somewhat impartial stories addressing the policy and thought of the POTUS. 

This story, through a quick look at the Washington Times, hits my negative bone. Not specifically because Obama said it, but rather because of the statement implies; an appeal to a person to justify something, rather then the ideas.  I call this hero worship. 

Our culture suffers from Hero worship.   In fact, it is plagued by it. We have given these heroes their own special pulpits.  Celebrities, superstars, admired historical figures, authors, philosophers, ect. are all being used to tell us that we should believe and advocate what they believe. I have and still do succumb to it myself.  

For one moment, let’s think about the implications of what Obama said,

“Oh, he would like that … because I think he understood that health care, health security is not a privilege; it’s something that in a country as wealthy as ours, everybody should have access to,” Obama explained.

I’ll be a bit extreme here.  If MLK had advocated genocide would we back it simply because, hey MLK thought it was a good idea?  If MLK had advocated brutal Stalinist measures in the U.S. would we still think its a good idea because MLK thought so?

Racism is not harmful because MLK thought and believed it was, but because of what the concept of racism is in itself. Look at the ideas behind a political policy, not the person who espoused it or may have. 

Unfortunately, Obama has been forced to use a “hero” like MLK as an appeal for what the POTUS advocates – Obamacare- because that’s all our society today seems to use as a litmus test for whether or not his policy is a good one.  Oh, by the way, did I mention I completely disagree with Obamacare? 

Just because Brett Favre wears Wrangler Jeans,  Matt Damon advocates climate change awareness, and Ellen DeGeneres advocates veganism doesn’t mean you should too just based on the fact that they are advocating it. Examine the validity of the ideas they are advocating rather then the people who stand by them. 

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Libertarianism – An Ecological Consideration

armenia4ever:

This is an incredible examination of the environmental question through a libertarian lense.

It’s a lot to take in so I will have to re-read this again in the near future.

Originally posted on appalachian son:

golden-carpet-flora

Industrial Utility

In the vast arid lands of the Arckaringa Basin in Australia a major shale oil discovery has been made. Linc Energy has discovered across 16 million acres of land an estimated 133 – 233 billion barrels of shale oil lies in the regions lithology. No matter how much of this oil is recoverable using modern technology, this discovery is sure to be valued in the trillions at current market value. Peter Bond, chief executive of Linc Energy, is marketing a deposit that has the potential to transform the global oil industry. This is an incredible finding with incredible consequences.

Oil is a highly sought after commodity, and rightly so, as it currently fuels much of the developed worlds economy – along with other fossil resources such as coal. Investment in this new discovery will suit well for investors, there is a lot of money to be made and…

View original 7,012 more words

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I’m offended! The Rise of the Keyboard Warrior.

These day’s it seems that no matter what you do, you are going to offend someone. Whether you eat a slice of pizza,  play GTA 5, listen to whatever music you prefer, say how much you like someone or a particular idea, someone is going to get offended.

Well, I’m sure plenty of people, including myself, are sick and tired of it. We’ve walked on glass for so long -both out of the goodness of our hearts and because we care about our reputations and future employment – that we’ve fallen through the glass, cut our feet on it, and have begun to pick up the smashed pieces in our hands with dubious intent.

The internet however has given us that avenue in which we can express our discomfort, displeasure, annoyance, and down right distaste for all.  No, don’t judge.  Having that “release” is essential to our continued and approved social behavior in every day life.  Bar fights over stupid things, blowing up characters backed by the voices of 12 year olds on Call of Duty, and stealing things in Skyrim without remorse are all examples of what we want to do but can’t.

So we hide behind our keyboards as anonymous posters on forums and message boards as we wreck havoc. Trolling is so addicting because it something that you can’t do in real life. 

Let’s face it, people want to say whatever the hell is on their mind without fear of consequence.  We’ve somewhat employed comedy to that extent, but not everyone is a comedian.  So where’s the release for the rest of us? It’s at our finger tips touching our keyboards – and our phones -  as we sling mud on youtube, cause strife on reddit, and secretly browse the /b/ board on 4chan.  Sometimes, you just have to let some steam go without fear of repercussion.

It is for this very reason that anonymity is so powerful and important.  There are of course people who get offended easily want to remove that shroud so they can get vengeance.  To them I say: “Get over it. “

To those wishing for increased anonymity to please their hedonistic darker urges; proxies are and always will be your friend.  Just make sure to always use at least 7 of them.  So sling some mud on a message board, troll on a feminist website, or post what you really think about a philosophical icon – it will feel incredible.

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We Came As Romans “Tracing Back Roots” a pleasant surprise.

I like surprises. They keep life interesting and smack you with a dash of of the unexpected.  For anyone who likes metal, whatever that actually constitutes these days, I’ve been rather pleasantly surprised with the new We Came As Roman’s album Tracing Back Roots.  In fact, I was somewhat blown away since my expectations were so low. 

Now before the metal elitists jump on the fact that I just dropped WCAR’s name and metal in the same sentence, let me remind you that Slayer hasn’t released a good album in 20 years, Gwar still sucks, and Megadeath is getting up there in years. The  newest wave of metal is “somewhat” here so get used to it. 

To you Deathcore/Beatdown advocates, perhaps bands have finally started to realize that vocalists who sound like a garbage disposal sucking down silverware with their “brootal” unintelligible screams doesn’t make the band sound bad ass. In fact it makes you look like you are still in high-school doing black metal poses and throwing in pig squeals for supposed good measure.   No, adding base drops to it doesn’t make it any better or heavier. 

Seriously, where did this album come from? A pleasant surprise indeed.

WCAR has improved on all fronts. Yea, I’m still shocked. Dave’s screaming is legible but still badass , the bass can actually be heard, and Kyle has finally learned to sing inside his range.   The band has somehow managed to put alot clean singing into Tracing Back Roots while still accenting it perfectly with plenty of screaming to give it that right handed K.O. power they’ve always possessed.  Songs like Present, Past, and Future, Ghosts, and I Am Free are still surprising me. 

Kyle’s improved vocals are of note here. Luckily he didn’t go down the I See Stars path where the tenor is so high that only dogs can hear it and there is not even the slightest hint of the Kellin Quinn voice that plagues my ears with unmanly pitches. 

The lyrics on this album just aren’t inspiring, they are also quite catchy to scream/sing along to. In particular these few lines really grabbed my attention:

Change the way you act, not just the way you think
Change the way you live, live the way you claim
Words are just words, until they’re put to work
And it will be actions, not words, that change this earth.

I see myself playing this album quite a few times as there might not actually be a bad song on this album and that’s something I can’t say about alot of albums. Did I mention how they actually sounded GOOD live at Warped Tour this year? I didn’t expect that easier.   To all upcoming music releases for  this year; keep surprising me. It feels good.