2015 – good riddance

2015 – where even to begin? It has been such a horrific year really. I mean we have had a surge of terror acts throughout the world. To single out a few would be meaningless. They are happening all over the world, Europe, America, Asia, Middle East, Far East, Africa and Australia – and well – there seems to be no end of reasons to kill and terrorize each other. There have been so many despicable and heinous acts committed so I will only touch upon a few of these. Also, this year we learned exactly how many mass shootings USA have and how damned many people fall victims for this. We learned just how strong the EU was to have one common outer border and how committed we are to help each other out in a crises situation. Well that worked out well didn’t it? And more surprisingly – people are surprised that some countries behave as ass-holes according to them. We are separate nations with very varied history and development and experiences that have put its mark on us – Facebook or twitter regardless don’t erase all those centuries of history in a heartbeat.

Well, lets delve into what was 2015 – and please note that these are my very own musings ideas and idiocies.

MUSIC 2015
What really got to me…
Taking up the list of albums bought in 2015 ranges wildly, and regret and joy both strikes me. I have “XXXX: Bad Magic” Motörhead – and of course that pains a bit since Lemmy passed away so recently. I’m both sad and envious – he seems to have lived a life on his own terms. So I raise my glass to him and I’m glad I got into his music and read his memoirs. I hope you and Philthy Animal see each other and have a blast where ever you are. Of course, Phil Taylor left us this year as well.
I see “Blaster” by Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts. Which of course leaves you with a bitter after-taste. A good album and such a waste of talent to see Scott die of overdose. Really sad and such a waste.
There is “Zipper Down” and my anger flows at the weird policies of terrorists gunning down innocents enjoying themselves. Cowardly deed and so many fellow Eagles of Death Metal fans dead for what? Nothing significant as ever. EODM is still going which is a feat in itself and have made a wave of commitment among fellow musicians and fans alike. To support the victims of Paris was this years “of course” moment as soon as I saw an action online. Just when I thought U2 had become a shadow of their past, they go up and put EODM on their stage. Great job U2! That’s fucking Rock!
I see the “Live at Royal Albert Hall” by Nick Cave and still as a father my heart aches for him and his family for the loss of one of their sons this year.

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Simply on the list…
I see both Lana Del Rey and Heather Nova in the list. Both good albums but Heather’s really moved me more. I see Dr Dre who finally made it back with a good album for Straight out of Compton. The Arcs, Billy Gibson and the BFG’s, Hollywood Vampires and Neil Young. All have made it on the list and have made good albums. Chris Cornell made a nice little gem with Higher Truth.

The Hell yeah list…
Repentless” by Slayer is a kick to stomach and a great album. Hard as ever and since they too have lost members is extra fun to see them still standing and doing it so great!
Straight out of Burbank” and “Meanwhile in Burbank” by Stone Sour are great fun to listen to. Cory Taylor is showing promising things wherever he shows up lately and with one of the best albums last year “.5 The grey chapter” with Slipknot – I’m really psyched for what Stone Sour will release 2016!
Greatest Hits, vol 1″ by Teenage Time Killers shows that punk isn’t dead. A nice album and a nice collection of songs and artists. Have some high and some lows but as album – it’s a nice surprise 🙂
Saint Cecilia EP” It was free and came from a band who gave me my live concert memory high so far. This year I saw them live at Ullevi, Gothenburg – yeah the place where Dave took a nosedive from the stage and broke his leg. Got up and came back – TWICE – and played like a possessed man. Truth to tell, the first songs were a bit over-excited – which he admitted to in one of his speeches to the audience – but afterwards – it is amazing to be back at all but it was also super-great performance. Simply fucking amazing. And then during tour release an EP with more material sounding like “Wasting Light”.

The meh list…
“The Books of Souls” by Iron Maiden isn’t a bad album or a meh album – but the recording is. It sounds constipated and dull. That makes it a meh list entry and I hope that the tour 2016 will prove to be a better experience!
Montage of heck” Curt Cobain. The movie was ok, the soundtrack with a gazillion little songs is a meh. I mean it is interesting as a Nirvana fan to listen to of course, but really – a lot have little to low listening value. Feels like a chans to get some easy money IMHO….
Tracker, Deluxe” is a nice record from Mark Knopfler – but it sounds too much like “Privateering” to really stand out as anything but a meh entry. Still, not a bad album per se.
Physical Graffiti” a re-release of Led Zeppelin was simply more of the same. Not much to write home about. If you don’t have any Led Zeppelin albums or Greatest hits – it is a decent collection enough but for the fans who most likely own a lot – this didn’t add that much.
The Best of” Gammaray, ok, I bought this one only because of the fun Ritchie and Bollnäs Martin at a radio show here in Sweden had when they locked themselves up in the studio and played Gammaray. Gammaray have a few true hits, but in reality the best thing they did was to urge me to complete my CD collection of old and get Helloween Keeper of the Seven Keys 1 and 2. 🙂
Drones” by Muse was sadly, IMHO, a testament to what they have become and not to what they once were. I used to like Muse and still think they are a good band and good musicians but I really don’t like the droning music they play. The statement to get back to their roots ring as hollow with Drones’ as Linkin Park’s statement to wash out the EMO for their last album. None seems to happen in reality.

Music in 2015 has still been an important part of my life and my collection have increased outside of the new releases for 2015. I look forward to a strong year in music for 2016.

Well, gaming is of course important to me. This year I have dedicated much time to Battlefield 4, thanks to my great clan. I also invested in headphones and microphone for this purpose. More of that later. 21015 is also a very rich year for gaming. For the first time ever companies couldn’t get away clean with dumping shit on gamers. Batman Arkham Knight for PC was such a shitload of crap on fans. It was more than that. As a flagship game for NVidia new cards and a massive pre-sale campaign and “How games should be played” and showing off the latest and greatest techniques in graphic show-offery – it all fell flat when the dog-turd landed on our computers. If you could start of play it – you quickly noticed that it didn’t look much better than the previous games and also that textures and effects were not there. The PS4 and Xbox ONE owners must have had their laughs of their lives. Their games outshone even the most monstrous PC gaming rigs in graphic and playability. NVidia somehow got a pass in all this for trying to fix the game with WB crap studio and fuckers Rocksteady. Don’t leave your IP in the hands of amateurs unless you really want to piss fans in the face.

What more – oh we got a gem as well. The studio that can hardly make anything wrong gave us The Witcher 3. Such an incredible game. While there are debates on graphics being downgraded from pre-shows etc. The game looks and plays great. It had serious problems at release – but the team not only kept those patches coming, but added free DLC’s and listened to the community and improving their games with numerous small patches and additions. Great job!

It is also perhaps the year of comeback . for far too long people have laughed at us isometric RPG lovers and said that is a thing of the past. Blah Blah fuck you and a hefty piece of “Pillars of Eternity” to that! A great Kickstarting campaign game that not only is released, supported but also a massive success showing that single player games in isometric is still a valid option!

We had Fallout 4 come out, a game wildly loved by critics who played at building the weirdest settlements. And I understand that – because the story of the game is shit. The controls are as lousy as the ones in Fallout 3 and the story and world is such craptastic hoot of stupidity that the quests almost feels at home. ALMOST. Why a farmer with two children living next door to raiders and super-fucking-mutants are afraid of a bunch of ghouls living on the other side of the map while the trip back and forth will have you encounter tens of thousands of worse and more dangerous enemies is simply too stupid to swallow. The main story must be one of Bethesda’s worst so far and no – simply no. Fallout 4 doesn’t deserve to be named as a Fallout game in my opinion.

Kojima is fired, all hail Kojima – studios? Well, enough of that. I’m not that star struck and I found that after the multiplayer part of Metal Gear Solid V started – I quit playing.

I finally started to peek into MOBA, Hearts of the Storm made that easy. Easy to like and play. Easy to quit as well and that is a bonus to me. Star Craft 2 legacy of the void is in as well this year. Massive great RTS 😀

Killing Floor 2 came out as well and was also a good shooter. Better than the first game and still has content coming.

GTA V came out as well, and as with most games lately had some real trouble on launch. The massive download came without a check that the download files weren’t corrupt. Enter fans and modders as usually to give the helping tip out to people on how to fix their games and get to play them. GTA official support – download the massive amount of GB’s and hope your luckier. Fuckwits…. Fortunately the game was good and worth the hassle in the end.

Other things that failed were Mortal Kombat X and Sword Coast Legends. Mortal Kombat on controls and feel on PC and Sword Coast Legends in being a game for Dungeons and Dragons – if you didn’t like D&D you might have liked this game….

So what was good then? well we have a few favourites from smaller companies:
Broforce – a great fun game that set off the C64 memories in my head and have me laughing and cursing as 80’s action heroes in the BRO-naming appears. Great fun silly little game 😀
Warhammer End times: Vermintide – a really fun game in the style of Left 4 Dead. Concept being to smash skavens in hordes and solving quests together. Right players and a great game! The loot system is overhauled but still a bit too random.
SHADOWRUN, Hong Kong. I can’t for the world describe my silly love for these rather simple but wonderful games in my favourite future fantasy universe. Hong Kong is building on the earlier game – but small improvements all over the spectrum. The story and the world really comes to life. Great gem!

Of course there are more games, I haven’t played or own them all nor am I interested in them all either. Some games from 2015 I own but haven’t played yet like Hard West.

This year has seen me extend my range of headphones, and then also sold a lot off. Trading headphones in the hunt for the best headphones for gaming has been a new topic and one that has proven to be quit difficult. Gaming sound and listening to immersive music isn’t the same.  I have been thinking of writing something up on this topic and state some of my own findings that hopefully can help some people.

For me the year has been many Sennheiser headphones, the Momentum over-ear v2, the HD558, the almost bought HD650, the ever great PX 100-II, but also new speakers, a new little Blue Tooth speaker from Audio Pro, the T3 which is a great little speaker. The newly bought monster sized active stereo speakers ARGON 7460A.

The true gem this year though is the KZ ED9 in-ears. A very low-cost budget in ear headphone from eBay, preferably. Cheap, well sounding and works perfect with most styles of music.

Other gadgets have been the weird STEAM controller, the great RAZER Mamba Tournament Edition mouse that I have come to love. I bought the PHILIPS Fidelio X2 headphones and well, think they are good and works well for gaming – musically they leave a little to wish for still. Bought the incredible portable AMP HA2 from OPPO, had the absolute shitty headset RE300 from HIFIMAN, returned also the decent AD500x headphones from AudioTechnica, also returned a pair of Beyerdynamics DT880 250 Ohm (they weren’t as nice as I had hoped but still I’m thinking about getting the DT770’s..). I also returned the NVidia Shiled TV set, and got a new SHIELD tablet due to battery problems. The tablet outperformed the SHIELD TV in all but sheer power – but I could use my tablet in way more ways than the rather limited SHIELD TV. Only one profile in a family is rather stupid in these days. But I guess that it makes sense in the egocentric world we have lived in lately to only make things that work for one person even though it is clearly for a family sometimes..

HEALTH – or lack there of
2015 has also been a year where my health has left me on a total low. I feel in really bad shape and after working too much, too hard to in a too bad environment for far too long – it took is toll on me and left me like a wrung out dish-rag. 2015 is when looking back – not a good year – but I still have many treasured moments with my closet family who have endured this year with me.

2016, can’t come quick enough, but there are so many things we as individuals, persons of a community, people of a nation and participants of this great farce called life have to clean up for neglect in 2015. There are so many refugees that we need to help get to a better life, so much ignorance that has to be battled with understanding, knowledge and wisdom.  There is still so much unnecessary hate in the world. We all have to prove that just because it is simple – it is not right nor OK to always be an asshole. You have the power to choose, so please for 2016 – chose not to be an asshole and do what is right. I know – it is hard, it is not easy – but it is worth it. Take the little things – cause they are important. In your gaming chats – refuse to give in to shit talking people, belittling them or being a misogynist, to threaten them or being an ass because of someone’s race, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation.
2015 have left us with much reason to be angry and sad, and it is not without regret, futility and sadness I write this list remembering so much loss and hurt.
I leave you with this search on YouTube, there is a light in the darkness – it is up to us all to keep it shining.

About sketchywolf

sketchywolf(aka Foolwolf) is a blog where I will try different hobbies and document them on. Certain ramblings and may even start some story writing etc. I will also try to have a collection of my reviews of all things that I try and wants to share...
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