Posts by eaglenews1

We are Eagle News, the student-run news source at Robert Morris University's Chicago campus. Check back regularly for the latest reviews and news from our talented content creators.

The Poison: Album Review

Jesus A. Lara

Bullet for My Valentine is a Welsh heavy metal band formed in 1998. The group is composed of 4 members since then and have had some former members as well. They started under the name of Jeff Killed John and started their music career by coverings songs from bands such as Metallica and Nirvana. While under the name of Jeff Killed John they recorded six songs that were never released. Fortunately, two of these songs were later worked on under the name of Bullet for My Valentine.

Bullet for My Valentine’s debut album The Poison, was released on October 3, 2005 in the United Kingdom and on February 14, 2006 in the United States. This album entered the U.S. billboard 200 at number 128 and considered certified gold for the Recording Industry Association of America. This band also toured with Rob Zombie at this albums release and opened for other bands such as Metallica and Guns N’ Roses in the summer of 2006, making them a big hit not only in the U.K. but here in the U.S.

Many songs in this album feature meanings that are important to the band and not only obstacles that they had to overcome, but advice they would love to give their loving fans to learn and grow from it. This album also features their hit song Tears Don’t Fall. During an interview regarding The Poison album, Matt (Lead Vocals and Rhythm guitarist) mentioned that he lost his voice near the end of the tour and talked about how heart breaking it was not being able to do his job. He took speech therapy and vocal coaching that got him back up from a hard downfall in his career. He described it as a psychological battle and inspired him to keep fighting and not giving up which was partly what the Poison’s album was about.

Personally I believe a band like this has gone through a lot but still stands strong and they keep fighting which tends to motivate the fans in their own personal lives to overcome obstacle that get in the way. They are definitely great artists that put their hard work in their albums and are a great inspiration to other similar artists within their genre.

Overall this particular album would be ranked 4.5 out of 5 stars considering they were at their peak of their career and won them a world tour. My personal favorite songs in this album are “Tears Don’t Fall”, “All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)” and “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)”. If this is an interesting album review you seem to be interested in, I would check out other similar bands that revolve around their genre such as Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trivium.

RMU ESport’s New Addition: Overwatch

Lav Patel

Overwatch is a first-person, cartoon shooter game that was released last year for Blizzard Entertainment. It focuses on picking a hero from a pool of heroes with a variety of different skills and completing different objectives that appear on the game maps. Its popularity in the eSports has grown considerably since its release and it has found a way into our very own Robert Morris University eSport program. It was an official club through our program last year, but through hard work and being invited to a regional tournament, our Overwatch team has shown that they have what it takes to be the top Collegiate Overwatch team. Starting this year, Overwatch joined League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as a varsity eSport and have been given their own private practice computers in the Varsity Arena.

Most of the team was originally created out of students who were in the eSport program for other games that we support. The team’s captain and main offensive player, James Moffit, was a part of the division two Counter Strike: Global Offensive team. He was recruited when his fellow freshman, friend, and the team’s off-tank player, Lav Patel, decided to create an Overwatch team for the school. Once they were given the okay to make the team, they recruited two League of Legends players, Kevin Cardenas and Chris Broadnacks, to play the games support role. The next recruit was Varsity Hearthstone player, Darien Zhao, as their main tank player. The final pick up was the soon to graduate, second offense player, Evan Tipton. Together as a team, beat many of the teams that they faced off against during the year and were eventually asked to play in a regional tournament against the other teams that have been gathered from all over the country. They lost one round before the quarter-finals, but they showed how far their rag-tag team had gotten for just being a club eSport.

As this year began, they were not only given the title of an official eSport for Robert Morris University, but were moved from club to Varsity. The reputation of the game and the team had been raised to a new height. Sadly, they had to say goodbye to two of their original members and friends Evan Tipton and Darien Zhao. Luckily, the new reputation of the team brought forth two new members that were more than eager to join the team. Stevin Meers moved from Counter Strike: Global Offensive to join the team as the new support player and Joel Sanchez transferred from Rockford University to join the team as the new offense player. Lav Patel became the new main tank and Kevin Cardenas became the teams new off-tank player. This year has shown the team is as strong as ever and only time will see how this new and promising team does.

Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, A Review

Jesus A. Lara

Black Veil Brides is an American rock band based in Hollywood, California. The group formed in 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio and is currently composed of Andy Biersack, Ashley Purdy, Jake Pitts, Jinxx and Christian “CC” Coma.  Black Veil Brides are known for their use of black makeup, body paint, tight, black, studded clothing, and long hair. Which were all inspired by the legendary stage personas of KISS and Möetly Crü, as well as other 1980’s glam metal acts.

On October 8, 2012 the album cover art and album title: Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones were released. Their lead single in this album called “In The End” was also featured in one of the theme songs for WWE Hell-In-A-Cell, winning multiple awards. On October 31, a trailer was released, reveling that Black Veil Brides had planned to reveal a full-length-film, titled Legion of the Black, in 2013. Wretched and Divine is a concept album and the film is a visual depiction of the story within the album. On June 11, 2013 Black Veil Brides released the Wretched and Divine ultimate edition containing three exclusive tracks: “Revelation”, “Victory Call” and “Let You Down” along with the special Legion of the Black DVD.

The plot follows a young girl who is a big fan of the band, but no one understands her (“Wretched and Divine”). When she tries to fight back against everyone, she is placed  inside a mental hospital (“Lost It All”). The next portion of the album takes place in her mind as she tries to escape. A woman is running from a soldier of the organization called “F.E.A.R.” and is caught and killed (“I Am Bulletproof”). Andy, the band’s singer finds the girl and brings her back to his base camp, where “The Wild Ones” and the “Legion of the Black” hide (also “Lost It All”), and, along with the Legion, cremate her remains (“New Years Day”). The following night, soldiers of F.E.A.R. kidnap some of the members of the Legion (“Days Are Numbered”). Finally fed up with F.E.A.R., the group rallies together (“Resurrect the Sun”). Meanwhile someone gives the girl the key to her cell and she escapes to a church (“Overture”). They storm the tower where F.E.A.R. lays and rescue all their captives and defeat F.E.A.R.’s. Biersack tells that F.E.A.R. is an acronym which stands for “For Every and All Religion.”

Personally, many artists who incorporate a story behind their work and in their albums always seem to be much more appealing. Their music seems much more interesting especially with a theme implemented behind their work. This album shows a perfect visual representation of the story of “The Wild Ones.”

Overall I would rate this album a 4.5 star out of 5. Some highlights of this album and personal favorites are songs such as “In The End”, “Shadows Die” and “Days Ae Numbered”. This band is currently touring and will be in Chicago, November 20th, in the Resurrection World Tour. If this album review seems to interest you, check out these other related bands such as Falling in Reverse, Asking Alexandria, and Crown the Empire.

 

Psychology, Simpler Life?

Kre’aja Jackson

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Could psychology help you live a better life? Psychologists all over the world use scientific research everyday to better understand how people learn, interpret events, and make decisions. Think about it. The root of psychology is emotions! Learning how to time manage, control anger, spread positive vibes, and become more social, all could improve your life. Use these suggestions to try improving your emotional health on your own. Change is good and making them can boost your mood and add to your overall enjoyment of life.

Suggestions

  1. Getting more sleep
    Try to get to bed every day at a scheduled time, and practice good habits to get more rest. A very big percent of research has shown that sleep impoverishment has a significantly negative effect on your mood. Shutting off the television, cell phone, etc a hour before bed could be a better way of improving sleep habits.
  2. Exercise
    Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. Add small things to your daily routine to increase activity. Like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a walk. Our body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins before and after you work out. So add some activity at least 30 mins out the day as your  daily stress reliever.
  3. Open up to someone
    Finding positive aspects in others, help you become better at finding your own. More trust can increase your emotional well-being and help you think more positively. Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel.
  4. Meditate
    Not only does meditation teach your brain how to concentrate, it also lowers blood pressure and contributes to peace of mind.See how long you can sustain focus on your breathing and keep out all intruding thoughts. Relax.Breathe.Release.
  5. Listen to music
    As we all may know research shows music helps you relax. Music can put you in all different moods and without it image how the world would be. Music can sooth and uplift the soul. Try playing music when your mood is low or not at its best.
  6. Smile
    It’s no surprise that smiling makes us feel happier. Even though smiling may seem sincere it can be fake. Try not to fake it! Smile  like you mean it. Smiling can uplift your mood and spread positivity throughout your day.
  7. Get your hands dirty
    Breathing in the smell of dirt may lift your spirits, according to a study that found that a bacteria commonly found in soil produces effects similar to antidepressant drugs. So dig in! Get a jest of the environment.
  8. Write down your feelings
    Expressing  how you are feel can release a lot of stress. Often time we our stressed because we have a lot on our minds or a lot we have to get off our minds. Writing is a very powerful tool and expressing your emotions in a journal could reduce explosions in real life situations and stress on daily.
  9. Go on walks
    Exposure to sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which increases your level of serotonin in the brain.Plus, time in nature is a proven stress reducer. Go alone with a pair of headphone or tag along a friend.
  10. Forgive
    Even if it’s just forgiving that person who cut you off during your commute. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives. Forgive and Forget life is much bigger than what people assume.
  11. OrganizeGetting things in order beforehand is one of the best ways to guarantee that all will work out when the time comes to make your move.Get a planner and make not of  the things you may need for that specific day. Also follow up on it and make sure you go through with it. Being organized is a major key to life.

 

 

 

Sources

Institute, The Seleni. “9 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 27 Oct. 2015, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201510/9-ways-you-can-improve-your-mental-health-today.

Brodwin, Erin. “Here Are 25 Habits That Psychologists Have Linked with Happiness.”Business Insider, Business Insider, 4 Aug. 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/simple-ways-to-improve-your-mood-according-to-psychologists/#5-get-your-hands-dirty-21.

 

The Emptiness: Album Review

Jesus A. Lara

Alesana is an American post-hardcore band from Raleigh, North Carolina. They were formed in 2004 and are currently signed to the Revival Recording and Artery Recordings. They have a musical style shifting between light and heavy sounds. Some of their influences told on one of their interviews are other bands such as The Beetles. Their fan base grew widely after their third album release known as The Emptiness released in 2010.

“The story told by the eyes of a sketch artist”. This album was this bands first concept album and due to their success they decided to keep writing more music like so. This album is considered that of a rock opera because of its in-depth story. This whole concept was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s last poem “Annabel Lee”. The band stated that it’s said on the onset of the 20th century and is expounded greatly.

The central character of the story, a sketch artist known simply as “The Artist” wakes up one day to find his lover, Annabel, dead, lying besides him. Heartbroken and terrified, he buries her in his basement and flees. He wanders aimlessly until he comes to a tavern, where he hears the sound of merriment and laughter. He decides that if he can’t be happy no one can and slaughters everyone in the tavern. After wandering through many places and finding Annabel’s killer, “The Thespian”, at the end of the story The Artist finally comes face to face with him to fight to the death. He is stabbed in his side with a dagger and finds himself in a room with Annabel holding a dagger in hand. From here on the story’s point of view switches from The Artist to Annabel where she explains that The Artist had slowly been sinking into madness all this while, he has become more and more violent. Though she loved him, in the end she had to take his life in the attempt to defend herself from him.

Many will overlook the meaning of these songs and believe that they have no meaning, but what I love about these artists is that they tend to tell a story throughout the whole album that many of us can personally relate to in many different levels. Although this album is telling a story, each individual song has hidden messages we can all relate to.

Overall I would rate this album a 4 star out of 5. Some of the highlights of this album are all around. My personal favorite songs in this album would be The Artist, The Thespian, and A Lunatic’s Lament. If this is an album review you seem to be interested in, maybe you will like other artists such as Silverstein, Blessthefall, Eyes Set to Kill, and Escape the Fate.

 

Saturation 2 Album Review

brockhampton-saturation-2Noah Elmore

2017’s hottest new boy-band Brockhampton has struck gold twice in one summer with Saturation 2. As a slight aside, this album is hard to both review and digest without having listened to the original Saturation, which released on June 9th. Different from fellow August 25th releases LUV Is Rage 2 and Cozy Tapes: Vol. 2, this sequel demonstrates its relationship with its precursor easily.

Brockhampton has marketed themselves exceptionally well. The group formed initially in 2012 and has modified themselves from then. They debuted with All-American Trash (which is skippable) in 2016, and then exploded over the summer of 2017, capitalizing on internet hype from lead man, Kevin Abstract.

The volume of work released is the most distinguishing aspect of this group. Releasing two full-length projects is difficult, not to mention doing so only in the span of two months. They’ve also promised a conclusion to the trilogy with Saturation 2, to be released at a later date this year. Jennifer’s Tour, which they are bringing to Chicago on September 6th, kicks off soon, and their YouTube page is frequently updated with music videos. It’s truly astounding what they’ve managed to do in such a short time.

Sinking your teeth into this project is an emotional investment. With a runtime of 48 minutes and 4 seconds and 16 tracks, there’s a lot covered here in a short span. You have to pay attention to the album, especially with the pretty layered production, but it’s assuredly worth it.

Positively, this album has a ton going for it. Each member of the group has a unique personality that shines through their verses. Kevin’s unabashed sexuality is what most think of when covering him, but his phenomenal ability to create melodies and rhythms should be discussed too. Ameer Vann’s voice holds your attention and his perfect enunciation makes for some great verses. JOBA is one of the group’s most unique members, with the ability to bust into buttery vocals or an insane verse at a moment’s notice. Dom McLennon brings the most technical ability to the table. Matt Champion showcases the effortless “cool” that the band displays. Merlyn Wood’s wild delivery is one of hip-hop’s most unique. Bearface’s vocals are such subtle additions that improve the album immensely.

The production truly is top-notch. Finding new wave artists that aren’t smattering their tracks with hi-hats and trap 808s is a challenge, but Brockhampton demonstrates some of the most diverse production of any new artists. From the plucky “JUNKY” to the heavenly “TEETH” to the summery “GAMBA”, Saturation 2 has something for everyone, hip-hop fan or not.

Saturation 2 is a project that requires some serious nitpicking to find any fault with. Sometimes the lyrics can be a bit repetitive, but both Kevin and Ameer have demonstrated they’re aware of this, and it comes across as tongue-in-cheek. The split between true hip-hop songs and summer almost-ballads can be a bit jarring for some, but does not personally cause any strife for me. A main critique with the original Saturation was that it felt like they didn’t truly have a lot to say, even though they spoke a lot. Even then, that’s been directly addressed with songs like “FIGHT” and “JESUS”.

In totality, Saturation 2 is a step-up and progression on what was already one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. It’s absolutely something that I recommend for everyone. The conclusion to the Saturation Trilogy will be wildly anticipated, and I can’t imagine it falling short in any way. If they keep doing what they’re doing, Brockhampton is deservedly on the track to truly being the biggest American boy-band of this generation.

Rate: 9.5/10

Favorite Tracks: TEETH, JUNKY, SWEET, GAMBA, SUMMER

The Autobiography by Vic Mensa: Album Review

Vic-Mensa-The-Autobiography-1500993962-640x640.jpg

Noah Elmore

Chicago rapper Vic Mensa’s long awaited debut album is an intriguing blend of rock sounds, hip-hop lyrics, and pop punk inspired vocals. Mensa’s well-received 2013 mixtape Innanetape and 2016 EP There’s Alot Going On set expectations high, and Vic meets most of them.

Fans of Vic’s spastic rapping that he flexed early in his career will probably be disappointed. Outside of a few songs, (“OMG” and “The Fire Next Time”) Vic mostly trades in his incredibly complex and technical rhyme structures for more personal and introspective bars. However, there are still plenty of moments on this album that are worth listening for.

The Autobiography features production from hip-hop legend NoI.D. and features from fellow Chicagoans Chief Keef and Joey Purp, as well as Ty Dolla $ign, Pharrell Williams, Saul Williams, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, and others. Sonically, there’s a lot to like. The integration of the guitar is a very nice touch at parts, and Vic’s vocals are pleasant enough for a rapper.

Songwriting is more of a mixed bag. The track “Heaven on Earth” features some of the best storytelling on a hip-hop track all year, but there’s also some clunky integration on lines like “I screamed like ‘Please stay in the bathroom / Whatever you do, do not leave the bathroom’ ”. There is definitely room for improvement, and Vic could do to leave out some of the simile lines that are plastered all over this album rather heavy-handedly.

Thematically, the concept behind The Autobiography is Vic’s story, and while all the tracks do focus on Vic, the idea for this album feels like something a rapper would do approaching the twilight of his career. Vic is only 24, and although he’s led an interesting life, it does mean some of the concepts can be repeated.

There’s a lot of touching honesty and vulnerability here though. Vic has always been a candid rapper discussing his life on his past releases; he’s particularly open on this album. He casts himself as somewhat of an anti-hero on this album: a redeemed soul who has struggled with cheating, drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, and depression. This is endearing, particularly from someone whose political views always portray someone who is attempting to do right, even if he makes mistakes in doing so.

Fans of There’s Alot Going On should definitely like this album, and it’s definitely something all hip-hop fans should check out, particularly fans of the “new wave Chicago” sound. The albums driving production is standout, and the lyrics are well intentioned, if a bit blatant. All in all, The Autobiography is a lot like Vic Mensa himself: ambitious, talented, but there are still some minor flaws present.