This is turning into a workout journal, huh?
Well, not completely, but I suppose that's been taking up a good number of my blogs of late.
So, then, here it comes...yep, the workout element.
My system's bearing up well to increasing levels of cardio tribulation. All the levels I'm hitting on my cardio workouts are going up. I burned, for instance, 363 calories in 15 minutes on the elliptical machine yesterday, over 100 in 15 minutes on the recumbent bike, and, well, an unknown amount during my arms and shoulders routine. It was an "aces" workout. My arms and shoulders were pumped to a level they haven't been in some time.
My basic lifting idea is to keep it quick, simple, and challenging. Here's my routine, as it stands:
Day One: Chest and Back (All exercises 3 x 10, unless otherwise noted)
Chest Press (incline)
Cable Pull Down (Wide Neutral Grip)
Cable Pull Down (Wide, Behind Neck)
Dumbell Bent-over Rows
(Plus abs and cardio)
Day Two: Legs/Trunk
Leg Press (6-8 sets, ascending weight)
Calf Presses (sets as above, x20 reps)
Weighted Back Extensions (6 x 10)
(Plus abs and cardio)
Day Three: Shoulders and Arms
Front Raises (one set)
Lateral Raises (one set)
Rear Shoulder Raises (one set)
Dumbell French Press (or barbell skullcrushers)
Supinating Biceps Curls
Dips (or reverse grip cable push-downs)
So, I devote three exercises to most muscle groups, with four going to legs and arms. I take the absolute minimum of time between sets and exercises, to keep my pulse high and my muscles on the ropes. In general, I like to have the weights and cardio done within 1.5 hours, at the very longest.
Currently, I sometimes throw in another cardio workout if I can, and there's a bending/crushing routine, generally on Thursday or Friday. I hope to add in a sandbag lifting workout at some point, but I'm trying to figure out where it could be done without negatively impacting the rest of my workout days. Sunday would be the natural day for it, but I'm concerned that it would overload that part of the week. Hmm. Pesky time.
On to other things: Music!
I've been going back to the early days of the "Gothenberg Sound", in regards to Melodic Death Metal. I've been a big fan of Dark Tranquility for years, but the oldest CD of theirs that I'd heard was "The Mind's I". I'd heard a lot about "The Gallery" being their definitive work, and I'd been interested in "Skydancer" and " Of Chaos and Eternal Night", as well.
I went ahead and picked those up, and have been listening to them this week. My early impressions are as such:
Skydancer is much different from later DT stuff. Totally different vocal sound (different singer) to begin with. I prefer Stanne's voice, to be honest, but it's interesting stuff. The musical formula had not been solidified at that point, and so they were trying a variety of motifs. Sometimes they work, other times, they're a little odd. There is some female singing, and some clean singing by Stanne on this release, but it's not as well integrated as in later stuff. Production, while pretty good, is not as elaborate and powerful as later releases.
Of Chaos and Eternal Night is a short EP that shows DT beginning to find their sound. It's a bridge between what they were and what they would become. I think that Century Media has a release that encompasses both Skydancer and Of Chaos... For the melo-death fan, it's a worthy purchase.
The Gallery really does show Dark Tranquility finding its groove. Much of the hallmark sound is there, though The Gallery, to my ear, sounds as if it uses more of the stop/start technique that can be heard in other sorts of death metal and metal in general than any of the other releases. Probably more dual guitar leads here, too. Really good album. I don't think it towers above the others, as some would assert, but because it's the seminal release that helped create a genre, it's worthy. A must-buy for fans of the style, and probably for metal-heads in general.
I also picked up the other melo-death lynch-pins that are often sited as having created the genre: "Slaughter of the Soul" by At the Gates and "The Jester Race" by In Flames.
These releases are very much "of a piece" with the DT stuff of that era. "Slaughter of the Soul" is much more straight-forward. Like a punch in the face from Kerry King of Slayer. This is intensified, death-vox thrash. Good stuff. If you like Slayer and want something similar, albeit with grim vocals, this is your record. The re-release has a neat cover of "Captor of Sin", too.
"The Jester Race" is much more varied musically. As death metal goes, it doesn't get much more catchy. The songs have musical ebb and flow, acoustic interludes, and inventive riffing. I'm not a huge fan of the vocalist, honestly. Some of his screams have that agonized quality that I'm not into, but it's far from a deal-breaker. This is an "important" album, and any metalhead who can deal with death vocals should pick it up.
Okay. That's a long blog. I'm stopping now. I'll have other news for you soon.