Album Review: “Bleach” (1989) by Nirvana

Band/Artist: Nirvana (Vocals/Guitar: Kurt Cobain, Bass Guitar: Krist Novoselic, Drums: Chad Channing)

Album: Bleach (1989)

Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock, Hard Rock, Indie Rock

Label: Subpop

Hello everybody, this my review of the album Bleach by grunge rockers, Nirvana. Bleach was the first studio album by the Seattle band and boy does it rock hard. The album is made up of eleven tracks and I will be speaking about each of them individually and then the album as a whole. Bleach did not chart on it’s initial release but the critics were impressed by it. Before Nevermind was released in 1991, Bleach sold 40,000 copies in North America alone. After Nevermind came out though and Nirvana became the one of the most popular bands of the nineties, Bleach became certified Platinum by the RIAA and has went on to sell 1.9 Million copies and that’s only the United States. Now this review may be a little bias as Nirvana are my favourite band of all time and Kurt Cobain was an inspiration to me growing up. Funnily enough, Bleach was the last Nirvana album I purchased after Nevermind and In Utero. So here is my run down on each of the songs:

  1. Blew – Blew comes in with a very strong start for the album. That initial bass line really gets you into the song and then the rest of the band kicks in with the hard drumming and dirty, grimy guitar playing. Kurt Cobain’s singing is on point in this song, but for me the bass line has to be the winner. Overall a fantastic song!
  2. Floyd the Barber – Another grimy and very raw song that is more about feeling then technical work. The drums are very vibrant and raw and make you head bang and along with that guitar it is a match made in heaven and then it suddenly gets to the chorus and you can hear the talent from all three members of the band, But Cobain’s singing really steals the show at the chorus.
  3. About a Girl – One of the more technical songs on the album, it is not a hard song to play, but boy it is fun. The band seems to really come together and they make something really special. Chad Channing’s soft drumming throughout the verses for it to come alive during the solo really adds to it. The bass line by Krist Novoselic is superb in the background and Cobain’s guitar playing and vocals are absolutely top notch. Definitely one of my favourite Nirvana songs.
  4. School – One of the more raw and grungier songs on the album. This song gives me the feeling that you are only meant to rock out to it instead of really listening to it. The hard pounding of the drums to the roar of the guitar during the chorus really gets you in the groove. Cobain’s voice in really good and it really gives you the angst vibe you usually get with Grunge.
  5. Love Buzz – This is a cover of a Dutch band called Shocking Blue and Nirvana really made it their own. The bass is absolutely fantastic, not overly crazy but it definitely adds to the charm of the song. This was the song that was released on Nirvana’s first EP and it released as their debut song. Truly I feel like everything is secondary to the bass line in this song, not that everything else is bad, god no! But the bass line is so good that it just makes me bop my head back and forth. Excellent song.
  6. Paper Cuts – One of the best songs on the album. The tone of the song is so raw and dirty and grimy and one of the hardest hitting songs on the album! Cobain’s voice blew me away on this. There is something about the shout at the end of every line of the verse. I feel like the band were pulling out all the stops for this song and it really shows. A true grunge song.
  7. Negative Creep – This song will definitely get the crowd going. The pace is faster than other songs on the album but none of the instruments hit any less and Cobain sings a lot fiercer. There seems to be a lot of feeling and emotion to this song and you can feel it from each band member doing their job and doing it well. Amazing song!
  8. Scoff – Another technically impressive song. There is a lot to this song, from the boppy verses to the droning chorus, its a song that has a lot of parts and each of them work well as a whole. My personal choice for the bits that stand out have to be the drums though. The drumming throughout is absolutely fantastic and definitely makes the song.
  9. Swap Meet – From the awesome guitar to the excellent singing from Cobain, Swap Meet is a very fun song from start to finish. The chorus is where is stands out though. It really ties the song together from a sort of monotony to a chorus that really bites. A very fun song and one of my favourite on the album.
  10. Mr. Moustache – Personally I am not a big fan of this song. It is okay, I feel if they slowed it down a tad it could have worked better. Nirvana were still finding their feet in terms of the punk scene so some of the songs lean more towards that. The thing is I like punk but I just feel that this song is a bit messy. Not a bad song, but not great.
  11. Sifting – A fantastic song! Really atmospheric and ticks all the right boxes for me. Another very raw song with a lot of angst attached to it. Cobain’s voice is absolutely on point in this song. The band compliment each other and you can really hear the contribution from each member of the band. For me the chorus is the best part, it is an absolutely awesome track and a strong ending to a tremendous album.

Final thoughts:

A remarkable debut album that really added to the grunge scene in Seattle and abroad. While the album didn’t make Nirvana a household name yet and launch them into the stratosphere of stardom that would come down the road, this album really laid the foundations of what would become their magnum opus, being Nevermind a few years later. For those who want a raw, emotion filled, dirty grunge album, but at the same time has some technically impressive work filled with a lot of talent, then Bleach is definitely one to add to your collection. Almost every song has it’s own story to tell and it’s own way of telling it and no two songs sound similar. A real work of art and an album that is a joy to listen to straight out of the gate.

My favourite song on the album: Negative Creep

9/10

TV Series Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 1-6)

Hello everybody! This is a new segment in which I review tv shows. Some of the shows have a lot of episodes per season, so I will be splitting them into a few parts. Today I will be starting with the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars animated series is set after Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and before Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and it mainly deals with the clone wars in which the clone armies backed by the Republic must fight the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. The animated series came out in 2008, two months after the tie in movie and has had a fantastic run which produced seven seasons. The show deals more with the actual war and the clone troopers involved instead of just being about the Jedi and the Sith and you learn more about the actual soldiers that fight these battles and more background on characters you would see in the movies.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Ambush: Yoda and his remaining clones

Episode 1 Ambush: The Clone Wars starts off strong with both the Republic and Separatists trying to gain the favour of a neutral planet, Toydaria. Jedi Master Yoda is to meet with the king of Toydaria on Ragosa to form a treaty and have them become members of the Republic. But Sith assassin and apprentice of Count Dooku, Aseej Ventress gets there first and tells the king that he will be better protected by joining the Separatists. Ventress gives the Yoda a challenge. If he can reach the meeting place by nightfall, she will allow the king to join the Republic, which Yoda accepts. Ventress sends a droid army to stop Yoda and his small band of clone troopers, but they fail to stop them. Ventress attempts to kill the king instead but Yoda stops her just in time. Ventress escapes and Toydaria becomes part of the Republic.

It was a gripping story to start with and it had a lot of action. It also showed that Master Yoda knew his men, because when they were losing heart and losing hope he told them all of their individual strengths and how they could overcome adversity, which they did eventually. It was a nice moment as it showed that some Jedi do care about their men. It also showed how strong in the force Yoda was compared to Ventress as he stopped her from attacking only using the force and he kept her in place until he chose to let her go. Overall a good episode and a great starting point. 8/10

Rising Malevolence: Plo Koon trapped with his remaining clones

Episode 2 Rising Malevolence: Jedi Master Plo Koon is leading a small fleet of Republic cruisers looking for a Separatist secret weapon that is capable of wiping out whole fleets of Republic ships. Koon finds the new weapon which is a ship called the Malevolence. The Malevolence fires an Ion Cannon which knocks out all power on a ship and catches Koon’s fleet with it. With all systems down and no means to escape, the Malevolence, captained by General Grievous destroys the fleet. Koon and a squad of clone troopers make it to an escape pod but the systems are fried on the escape pod, meaning they have very little time before their air runs out. Grievous sends out pod hunters, designed to go to escape pods and kill any survivors. Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano believe that Koon is still alive and go searching for him in the debris, much to the annoyance of Anakin’s master, Obi Won Kenobi, as he was ordered to stay on board his cruiser. Anakin and Ahsoka eventually find Koon and his men and they barely escape with their lives. Grievous contacts his master, Count Dooku, explaining that he failed to destroy Skywalker and now the Republic will learn of the secret weapon.

I thought this was a very cool episode. The Malevolence is an almighty ship with awesome power and the fact that it can knock out whole fleets with one shot of its weapon makes it terrifying to deal with. I thought the pod hunters was a nice touch also, showing that Grievous was thinking about all variables and not being cocky enough to assume that everyone was killed. The pod hunters were vicious in the way that it destroyed a pod by smashing the window of the escape pod and letting the vacuum of space do its thing. Master Plo Koon is a competent leader who looks out for his men and commands their respect. Overall a very enjoyable episode. 8/10

Shadow of Malevolence: The Assault on the Malevolence

Episode 3: Shadow of Malevolence: The Malevolence continues to obliterate Republic fleets. Anakin wants to find a way to destroy it and he thinks he has with the new Y-Wing Republic bombers and hatches a plan to use them to destroy the bridge of the Malevolence, killing General Grievous with it. Grievous is planning to go after a Republic medical space station and kill the 60,000 wounded clone troopers that are on it. Anakin needs to catch Grievous so he forms Shadow Squadron and decides to take a shortcut which leads them into a Nebula that is full of Neebrays, giant space manta rays. Shadow Squadron come out mostly unscathed bar one fighter, Matchstick’s, whose ship was damaged. The Malevolence comes out of Hyperspace and fires it’s Ion Cannon at the fighters, taking out half of the Y-Wings. As it is preparing to fire again, Anakin and the remaining fighters attack the weapon itself and forces it to backfire, destroying a lot of systems on the Malevolence, including the hyper drive. Kenobi shows up with his fleet and starts attacking the Malevolence as it is trying to move back to Separatist held space.

The space battles were really exciting in this episode, especially the fighter attack against the Malevolence. Some of the graphics were beautiful, especially when the fighters were flying through the Nebula shortcut and seeing the Neebrays and the different colours that were in the Nebula. The theme of the episode was slightly darker as the whole plot was about Grievous going to attack and kill 60,000 wounded and defenceless soldiers in a hospital, which showed how ruthless he was. Also getting to know some of the clones, especially Matchstick and watching him get killed was also quite dark. I say this in terms of a show that is more marketed for children and/or a younger audience. Another enjoyable episode. 8.5/10

Destroy Malevolence: Kenobi and Grievous face off

Episode 4: Destroy Malevolence: The damaged Malevolence is being pursued by three Republic cruisers. Grievous needs time to repair his ship so Darth Sidious arranges for Padme Amadala and C-3P0 to fly towards Grievous’s ship, thinking they have a meeting with the banking clan. They get caught in Grievous’s trap and their ship gets tractor beamed and pulled onto the Malevolence. Padme, rigs her ship to explode hoping to kill Grievous before she escapes onto the Malevolence, but Grievous survives. Anakin, Kenobi and R2-D2 lead a mission to rescue Padme and C-3P0. Anakin manages to rescue Padme and just before they share a kiss, Kenobi tells Anakin that C-3P0 still needs rescuing. Padme tells Anakin that the hyper drive is almost finished and then Grievous will be able to escape. Kenobi goes to deal with the hyper drive but Grievous learns of his plan and sends droids to stop him. Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin make their way to the bridge, destroy the droids and use the navicomputer to set coordinates of the Malevolence to fly into a close moon. The good guys escape, pursued by Grievous in a fighter. Grievous tells the droids to send the Malevolence into hyper space, but when they activate it they fly directly into the moon, destroying the Malevolence. Count Dooku, contacts Grievous telling him that he is waiting for him and the Malevolence at the rendezvous point, but Grievous cuts contact and escapes.

Another interesting space battle episode. It was fascinating seeing the raw strength of the Malevolence in terms of the fact that even though it was completely battle damaged and on the run from three Republic cruisers, the cruisers could not penetrate the armour of the Malevolence. That is refreshing to see in a universe where most of the ships seem like they’re made out of cardboard and collapse at the slightest breeze. The humour in this episode was silly for one particular part which sort of annoyed me. During a sequence when the Malevolence was on fire, a droid fire crew was sent to put out the fire. Not only did they have firemen hats on, which I thought was ridiculous, but one fell over bringing the hose because the hose was too tight and another droid was launched into the air because he couldn’t control the power of the hose. I thought this was unnecessary and while I know the show was more marketed towards children, it really takes you out of the belief that the Separatist droid army is in ANY way a competent rival to the clone troopers. Otherwise a good episode. 7/10

Rookies: Clones fighting their way out of a sticky situation

Episode 5: Rookies: A squad of rookie clone troopers are stationed in a listening post on a remote moon which is meant to give the planet, Kamino, home world of the clone troopers a warning if a Separatist fleet is on the way. Commander Cody and Captain Rex are on the way to inspect the listening post. A meteor shower arrives and the listening post raises its shields, but the meteor shower has some droid ships hiding in it that are full of commando droids. The droids gain access to the listening post in a brutal fashion and kill most of the clones including the sergeant. Four clones escape to the surface through an air vent. The droids take control of the listening post and contact Grievous, who makes his way to invade Kamino. The four clones who made it are unarmed and they aren’t sure what to do. A giant worm attacks them and kills another member of their squad, leaving only Hevy, Echo and Fives. Cody and Rex arrive, but the rookie clones have no way of contacting them, until they decide to use a flare. Cody and Rex land on the landing platform where they are met by a “clone” which is just a commando droid dressed like a clone and mimicking his voice. The two officers are suspicious of the trooper as he uses the phrase “roger, roger” which is something that only droids say. The officers see a flare going off behind them which confirms their suspicion and Rex shoots the droid in the head. This begins a firefight which ends with the clone ship destroyed. The officers meet with the Rookies and they formalise a plan to pose as a commando droid using the head of one of the droids to gain access to the listening post. The plan works and clones gain access. They take back the listening post but they can’t get rid of the ‘all clear’ signal being broadcast which is allowing Grievous to move ever closer to Kamino. Grievous sends reinforcements and the clones decide to destroy the facility. As the clones are escaping, Hevy realises that the remote detonator isn’t working and goes back to destroy the base manually, alerting the Republic that the Separatists are near, but killing himself. The Republic sends a fleet which forces Grievous to withdraw. Echo and Fives become members of the 501st legion.

This episode was more clone trooper orientated which I really appreciated as we got to see clones acting on their own without the aid of Jedi. I thought the episode had some pretty brutal scenes, especially for a “children’s” show. There is a scene where a wounded clone trooper is trying to crawl towards his friends before he is surrounded by commando droids and mercilessly shot to death by all of them. Another scene in which a clone gets eaten by a giant worm was also pretty shocking to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, these things do not phase me usually but I don’t expect to see them in a Star Wars show aimed for a younger audience. This episode for me really set the precedence of what to expect going forward and I was looking forward to it. ‘Rookies’ was primarily about the war which I wanted to see more of and I felt it was one of the better episodes in the series. A thoroughly enjoyable episode. 9/10

Downfall of a droid: Assassin droid attack!

Episode 6: Downfall of a droid: Anakin sets a trap for Grievous, luring him into an asteroid belt where Anakin has walkers hiding on the back of the asteroids. Between the fleet in front and being attacked from behind, Grievous’s fleet becomes confused, so Grievous abandons ship on his fighter being pursued by Anakin and Gold Squadron. A piece of shrapnel hits Anakin’s ship and he passes out. He wakes up on the Resolute, a Republic cruiser. He is told that he is lucky to be alive but R2-D2 was never found. He tells Kenobi that he needs to find the droid as he never wiped the memory banks and R2 still has all the plans and tactics of the Republic in his memory. Anakin, Ahsoka and a new astromech droid called R3-S6, dubbed ‘Goldie’, go looking for R2 in the debris of the battle. R2 is already picked up by a salvager, Gha Nachkt. Skywalker and Tano boards the freighter looking for R2, but Gha says he is not on board, even still he allows Anakin to take a look around. Anakin hears R2’s beeps and goes to get him but Goldie accidentally activates two assassin droids. The assassin droids are very skilled and extremely fierce but Anakin eventually beats them. Ahsoka tells Anakin that R2 isn’t there and they leave. Gha contacts Grievous telling him that he has the droid. Anakin has to scout to see if Grievous has any listening posts and Ahsoka tells him to bring Goldie so they can bond. While out there, Goldie makes a lot of errors and almost gets Anakin killed including alerting Grievous to his position and destroying his means of escape. Anakin is saved by Ahsoka in the Twilight and they escape though Anakin is not happy with Goldie.

It was interesting seeing a different side of Star Wars, being how the black market and salvagers work by going to scenes of space battles and picking up anything that is useful or valuable. The soundtrack in this episode is really interesting, it is sort of industrial and really fits with Gha’s ship, as his ship is dirty green and grey and there is no happiness or colour to his ship. The industrial music fits into the life of being a salvager, it’s all business. In saying that, the soundtrack to this episode is really good and one of my favourites in the series. It was exciting to see the assassin droids in action and in a way seeing how dangerous the Separatist droids can actually be if they were given half a chance. Yes, they were defeated but they gave as good as they got. Now my problem with this episode; the plot armour, oh my god the plot armour! If you don’t know what plot armour is, it’s basically when a character can’t die because they are too important to a story so they always get out of impossible situations. Now with that cleared up, this episode turns the plot armour up to eleven. So Goldie accidentally alerts Grievous to Anakin’s whereabouts, then the droid releases Anakin from his ONLY means of escape. Grievous shows up with two battle cruisers and launches EVERY fighter he has to take out Anakin. Not only does Anakin not get hit once, but Ahsoka shows up out of nowhere to rescue him in the Twilight, and hyper spaces out of there. Two battle cruisers and whole squads of fighters couldn’t hit Anakin once? I get it he’s a main character but at least make it somewhat believable. Otherwise, the episode was okay. 6/10

So that was the first six episodes. I will be continuing my review over the next while. I hope you enjoyed reading and as always, thanks for reading!

Damien Doomslayer’s gaming blog!

My namesake

Hello everybody, I’m Damien Doomslayer and this is my blog. My blog is going to be about games, whether they be video, board, card or role-play. I have been a gamer for most of my life. I grew up with a brother who was and still is really into gaming and that gave me the interest in the hobby.

My first video game memory is sneaking into my brother’s room to watch him play Doom on the PlayStation 1 when I was only about 3 or 4. The graphics and the game play absolutely astounded me when I was a child and to this day, Doom is still my favourite game/gaming franchise of all time

Doomguy kicking demon ass in Doom (1993)

My brother also introduced me to the world of Battle tech, Warhammer 40k and other war game systems. I started playing both Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy Battle when I was about 12. I loved both games but in recent times I have stopped playing them. I have switched over to Kill Team which seems easier to get a game in as I don’t need as many models or time. Other war game systems I have an interest in are Flames of War, Wings of Glory, Blood Red Skies, Rapid Fire, Stargrunt, Full Thrust, Star Wars X-Wing and Star Wars Armada.

The Crimson Fists Chapter of Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000

Card games are probably the first games that most children get involved with. I remember collecting and trading my Pokemon cards in the school yard and then moving onto Yu-Gi-Oh and finally onto Magic: The Gathering, all three which I still collect and play today, though Magic is my absolute favourite card game so that will be the one I will talk about the most.

The five colours of Magic: The Gathering

So this leads me on to why I want to do this blog. As I have previously stated I have a massive interest in the world of gaming and I would like to share this love with the massive and ever growing community that is out there. I will be doing reviews on games that I have played on various consoles and PC. I will be doing the reviews on games when I have played them so they may not be new games, just games I have finally finished. In my current video game collection, I have about 1200 games, 800 or so being physical. I have a lot to get through so there will be plenty to write about. Also, I will be talking about gaming news and giving my opinion on the state of the gaming industry, good, bad or indifferent. So please, join me on this journey. I will be posting quite regularly and I hope you give them a read and enjoy them.

So that’s the end of my introduction. Hopefully this is the start of something good. As always, thanks for reading!