Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Live Thoughts: Chelsea vs Liverpool (Carling Cup)

I covered this match live. Here are my unedited thoughts when Liverpool took on Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup.

Hey there, welcome to another live thoughts feed. We're in the quarter finals now of the Carling Cup, and we're up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, in a rematch from the Premier League just nine days ago. And while we won that match with a pretty damn good display, this is a different kettle of fish. I'm really looking forward to this match actually. Kenny Dalglish complained (and rightfully so) about the stupidity of us playing two high quality matches in three days. It is silly. How are they going to keep up with the integrity of the cup if they don't give the first team the chance to recuperate? It's nonsense. So we'll see a lot of youngsters today I reckon, and Andre Villas-Boas has hinted he will too. So it's going to be a very interesting match, and I can't wait to watch it. Can we win? Well we did nine days ago, but just like it was then, it's going to be very hard, and some achievement too. Let's hope we get to the semi finals!

Here are the teams:

Chelsea: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Luiz, Alex, Bertrand, Lampard, Romeu, McEachran, Malouda, Torres, Lukaku. Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Ramires, Mata, Ferreira, Kalou, Anelka.

A weakened side for Chelsea, as expected, but this team can still cause us problems if needed. Lampard, Torres and Alex are the three players in the spine of the squad that can easily cause us issues. Wary.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Lucas, Spearing, Maxi, Bellamy, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Suarez, Kuyt, Downing, Adam, Skrtel, Flanagan.

A strong side. Not the strongest, Suarez, Kuyt and Adam on the bench, but a lot of these players saw decent minutes on the pitch on Sunday. Lets hope fatigue doesn't hit the squad and instead we show the same form we did nine days ago! Interesting!

2' - David Luiz fell in the box and gets a yellow card for diving! Was it a dive? It was Coates in the box for the tackle. He was definitely looking for the penalty, and it looks like the ref was right.

5' - It's nice to see Bellamy back on the pitch, he just has raw pace that is hard to be equalled in our squad at the moment. While we're on the subject, my thoughts are with the family of Gary Speed, what shocking, flabbergasting news on Sunday. Such mysterious circumstances.

8' - It's also good to see Carra and Spearing getting some first team football too. Carra obviously, recovering from an injury and Spearing finding it difficult to get games this season what with the abundance of options in the centre of the pitch for us.

10' - A nice tussle between Martin Kelly and Ryan Bertrand ends in a Liverpool corner, which leads nowhere.

12' - The crowd is absolutely dead at the moment, apart from the Liverpool away crowd booing Torres whenever he has the ball. Stamford Bridge is awful when nothing is going on, and the crowd roars only when there's good action. Naive crowd.

14' - Chelsea starting to get a bit of possession in and around the final third. It's not leading to any major chances yet but the signs are there.

17' - There's so much talk about Carroll and Torres, it's a little frustrating. Everyone but Chelsea and Liverpool fans care about the transfer fees. Let's get something clear, it wasn't about the fees, it was about getting Torres out of Liverpool, and us making the most of a crap situation. Carroll hasn't scored many goals but I think long term he'll be okay.

20' - PENALTY! An odd situation. We break and it ends with Alex and Carroll tussling and Alex handballs, with only Carroll really claiming for it. After around ten seconds, the ref awards it and Chelsea players protest.

21' - SAVED! Carroll shoots right down the middle and Ross Turnbull saves. Awful AWFUL penalty. I didnt' trust Carroll with that, his shot isn't very clinical, I'd rather had someone likle Belammy take it. Well, that's that over. We've apparently missed three out of four penalties this season.

24' - One thing the penalty has done is liven things up. The game is a lot more open now.

27' - The game as I said is a step up in intensity than it was, both sides are going for it. Not full throttle, but definitely second or third gear.

30' - While the match has stepped up there's a lot of sloppy passing from both sides.

33' - Florent Malouda goes in the book for a tackle on Lucas.

35' - Chelsea are just starting to get on top at the moment, it's not clinical but the possession is definitely there.

38' - Both sides are trying to break the other down with no major chances. There hasn't been any clear cut chances all match, apart from the penalty save.

40' - Jose Enrique takes a shot at goal from the left wing, and it's easily saved. Nice to see us try though.

41' - Chelsea Sub: Ramires comes on for McEachran, who has been struggling for a few minutes now.

43' - Foul for Liverpool as Lukaku tackles Henderson awfully. It wasn't him that got booked, it was Bertrand that got booked. Odd. It was an awful challenge and the wrong player got booked.

45' - Three minutes of added time.

45' - LUKAKU! Just wide of the post. Best chance in the game so far. A cross is whipped from the left wing and Lukaku meets it and heads it wide. Should have done better.

45+3' - Half time.

This was a pretty dire first half. Neither side took control, neither side looked like scoring for the most part. The good news is that we're matching Chelsea all over the pitch. The bad news is that penalty miss. It was an awful miss. Carroll shouldn't be taking penalties, he doesn't look clinical in the face of the penalty box, Bellamy should have took it. Lukaku's header at the end is the best chance from open play. Those two chances aside, very little happened in terms of good attempts at goal. Let's hope for a better game in the second half, and hopefully we can show to quality in our play. We're still more than in this.

48' - Haha, odd statistic, Bosingwa has played eight times against Liverpool and has never won. Also, Kenny Dalgish has never lost as manager against Chelsea.

51' - Liverpool under a little bit of trouble, Torres dribbles the ball into the box and there's a scramble, which we eventually clear.

52' - A decent Liverpool move ends disappointingly with Bellamy trying his luck from the right wing, it goes well over and wide. The game is a lot more open at the moment, let's hope it continues this way.

54' - Chelsea free kick ends in a scramble and hits the BAR! We're saved by our post.

55' - Maxi breaks free! Bellamy to his right but Luiz intercepts. There was a good chance there that wasn't taken.

56' - Jose Enrique handballs at the corner flag and Torres protests, nothing comes of it. It was handball to be fair and it wasn't given.

57' - GOAL! MAXI! Henderson releases Bellamy on the right wing and there's loads of space in the box! He puts the ball square to Maxi who slots it in! 1-0!

60' - I was about to suggest that Suarez came on before we score, as the game was opening up and it would be a game that suits him more. But now we're ahead I think we should refrain from using him for as long as possible.

62' - GOAL! Martin Kelly! An absolutely splendid cross from a free kick by Bellamy is plonked on Kelly's head and he finally scores for the Reds! We have one step in the semi finals!

63' - Chelsea Substitutions: Anelka and Mata come on for Lukaku and Malouda. Chelsea have made all their subs.

65' - Ramires tackles Lucas badly and goes in the book.

65' - Bellamy has a shot from distance and Turnbull saves it with ease. Kelly scores for us finally. He has been scoring with some ease for England, it's about time he scored for us. He kissed the badge too. I really hope and expect big things for young Kelly's career with us. Homegrown talent.

67' - Lucas is having some problems, he tackled Mata and came off worse. I hope he's okay.

69' - Lucas came back on the pitch and then fell back down to the floor. He's really not good. It's suggested that it might be ligament due to the way he's reacted to the tackle. I certainly hope not. Either way Charlie Adam is about to replace him.

71' - Liverpool Sub: Lucas is stretchered off and Adam takes his place. I really hope it's not as bad as it looks. Lucas has been absolute boss this season, he's just Mr Consistent, a tacking and passing demon in the middle of the pitch.

71' - Torres takes attempts a header and it's easily saved by Reina.

74' - Anelka has space on the outside of the penalty area! Reina runs at him, Anelka nutmegs, the Reds defence block the goal and Carragher clears. Close one!

75' - TORRES! WHAT A SAVE! Chelsea Corner and it was a fantastic effort from Torres, but it was an even better save from Reina!

78' - Liverpool Sub: Dirk Kuyt is coming on for Craig Bellamy, who has been absolutely dynamite today. Probably man of the match for me. Dirk Kuyt is coming on, who's a better defender than the Welshman.

81' - Chelsea for the past five or ten minutes have been on top but without being clinical. They haven't really took their game that much better than the first half, where as we have and got two goals as a reward. But let's not tempt fate here, if they get one goal the game would be horrible to watch for us Reds.

82' - Coates has had some praise from the commentators, and to be fair he's had his best game in a red shirt. I've been quite critical of Coates in recent Live Thoughts feeds, but the truth is that he's very young and has a lot of time to develop. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

83' - The kopites are singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" a bit too early for my liking!

84' - Chelsea fans are leaving early. Good times.

86' - Torres tries to time his run against the Liverpool defence but he's just offside.

88' - Liverpool Sub: Martin Skrtel comes on for Maxi Rodriguez. A good move by Dalglish. Maxi has been effective for the most part and his goal was very important naturally. All the subs have been used.

90' - Four minutes of added time.

90+1' - We've beaten Chelsea three times in a row since Dalglish has been in charge. Isn't it wonderful?

90+2' - Now the Reds fans are singing "You'll Never Walk Alone", now is the right time!

90+3' - Torres is offside and he attempts for goal anyway, only to put it over the bar. I can't help but laugh.

90+4' - Full time!

We're in the semi finals! It's been a long time coming but we're finally in a semi final in a competition again. Let's hope we can win the Carling Cup! We beat Chelsea to get here, surely, on our day, we can take on anyone. We haven't lost to Arsenal, Man City or Manchester United this season, we drew them all. I have a good feeling about this competition. Let's hope my gut feelings are right.

As for the performance, well, it wasn't the best, we played well enough today, where as Chelsea were dire. We had a good rally in the start of the second half, and we were suddenly two goals up. After that, well, it was a crap game again. The first half was crap, and we missed a penalty. Carroll needs to keep away from the spot kicks I'd say. Bellamy is better. Speaking of Bellamy, he's my man of the match. He was quality all night, and his second spell at Liverpool is turning out to be much more worthwhile than his first. No he's not starting every match, but when he plays he's very often effective and sticking to his purpose with a maturity and quality. That's it from me, have a good night.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Album Review: I’m With You by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

“I’m With You” is just that – the Chili’s being with us, on CD, but definitely not in spirit.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ tenth major effort is called “I’m With You”, and was released three months ago. “I’m With You” is the first album since “Stadium Arcadium”, which was released five years ago, and was met with decent acclaim and excellent sales. It marks the longest break between two albums by the band, who have been active for twenty-eight years. Only Anthony Kiedis, lead singer, and Flea, bass guitarist, have been active for that long.

The album marks a major landmark in their career; influential guitarist John Frusciante left the band two years ago. He was with the band for a total of thirteen years, from 1989 to 1992, and then from 1999 to 2009. It’s safe to say replacing him was difficult, but the Chili’s chose Josh Klinghoffer, someone the band were very familiar with, as he had worked with Frusciante many times beforehand. Klinghoffer has been a tour and session guitarist for many bands, including PJ Harvey, Butthole Surfers and Beck.

The album starts off with “Monarchy of Roses”; the beginning is pretty cool with some distorted guitars and a nice drumbeat, but then it turns into every other Red Hot Chili Peppers song. That sounds critical, and in a certain way it is, but it isn’t a bad song, it’s just nothing different you would expect from the Chili’s. The disappointment really is that this is the second single off the album, and you would expect better when you compare it to other songs the band has released. After the balanced opener, we get “Factory of Faith”, which features a lot of the funk you’d expect from the band, without it ever getting past second gear. It’s one of the better tracks on the album as it sounds quite cool, but as I said, it just doesn’t step up at all, and remains a relatively upbeat song.

And that’s the problem with this album on the whole; it never goes to third gear or beyond. What’s on this album is fine, it truly is; it’s what you would expect from a Chili’s album, apart from that it lacks that spice that their singles usually pack. There’s no fantastic and funky song on here, like a “Give it Away” or a “Can’t Stop”, nor is their a truly beautiful and heart-pulling track like “Breaking the Girl” or “Otherside”.

The best song on the album is probably track three, “Brendan’s Death Song”, it’s a beautifully written, beautifully sung and beautifully composed song. The song builds up slowly as it goes on, once again it never takes off, but in this instance you don’t want it to. It’s very similar to a lot of the other slower songs on other albums, in the respect that it remains a rock song, but also has certain elements of ballad in there. It’s just a great track.

The seventh track, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, is the main single off the album but if you didn’t know that you wouldn’t have thought so. The song has no redeeming features that other main singles off other albums has. Compare it to “Dani California”, “By the Way”, or “Scar Tissue”. It’s not even in the same league.

The album is jam-packed full of dare I say it, generic Chili’s material. I can barely comment on most of the songs without stretching myself, something I don’t really want to do, as it sounds desperate. But I find myself doing so; track eight is “Did I Let You Know”, and it sounds quite good, but it’s further emphasis to the “slightly upbeat” Chili’s song. Oh, and there’s a nice guitar solo in “Goodbye Hooray”. See? I’m stretching myself.

Track ten, “Happiness Loves Company”, is one of the songs that stand out a little more than the others, it has some nice work on the drums and Kiedis’ vocals are particularly good here. “Even You, Brutus?”, which is track twelve, features some almost preaching vocals by Kiedis and it has a slightly on the cuff feeling to it and the chorus is quite fun, especially in comparison to what else is available on here. The album’s ending, “Dance, Dance, Dance” ends in a way that’s fitting for this album, a slightly upbeat (yes I used the term again) track that suggests you dance all night long. And if you want to dance half heartedly, then the song is definitely apt for it.

I don’t want to come across as bitter and disappointed but I’ve got to be honest, I am. This album was very disappointing for me. I’ve reviewed many younger artists than the Chili’s and I’ve reviewed artists that have been going on for longer than the Chili’s. And I can honestly say that this album feels the most lacking in effort that I’ve reviewed. Now, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a great band, and the quality is here. But it’s like a firework past its explosion. I find the album lacks the energy, the drive and imagination that their previous work has. I don’t want to call the Chili’s past it. I don’t even want to say it’s the departure of iconic guitarist John Frusciante that leads to this disappointment. It just feels the band haven’t tried very hard, and in turn, it leads to me not trying very hard to review it. “I’m With You” is just that – the Chili’s being with us, on CD, but definitely not in spirit.

Rating: *** stars
Stand out tracks: “Brendan's Death Song”, “Even You, Brutus?” “Factory of Faith”

 Here's the video for the second single "Monarchy of Roses"...

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Q&A with Johnny Mercyside: Part 6

Hey there, welcome to my newest Q&A session. These questions are all taken off my Formspring account, which you can find here. These were answered a while ago, and I've changed the answers if the situation has changed since then. 

Before I start, I have some bad news. I'm not going to be covering the hopefully great match between Liverpool and Manchester City on Sunday. I'm away for the weekend. The plan is to post this, and then on Monday I'll be hopefully reviewing the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album. Anyway, enjoy Q&A Part 6.

Q: Who was the best boss you've ever had?
A: My boss before she retired in April, by some distance as well. I mean no boss is perfect but I did like her. It's difficult answering this, I have her on my Facebook, I'm not a kissass, it's my honest opinion.

Q: What music are you listening to today?
A: Music from 1994. I'm preparing the Mixtape for the "1994 in Music Review" which you will see posted here probably January 1st or 2nd 2012.

Q: Would you rather be a zombie or a mummy?
A: Zombie, at least I can move about easier, there is a chance I might spend a long time lying down if I were a mummy.

Q: What's the furthest you've ever traveled?
A: Argentina to take part in something that should hopefully be quite clear on this site in late January. Stay tuned.

Q: How many languages do you speak?
A: I speak fluent English and Welsh, although I am extremely rusty with my Welsh now. I haven't been in a first language Welsh school for eight years, and I haven't been in a second language Welsh school for four

Q: Would you rather have the ability to fly, or the ability to breathe underwater?
A: Ability to fly, easy, what views you can see from there...

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
A: I was huge on Roald Dahl as a kid. What an author.

Q: Do you consider yourself a good dancer?
A: Not really, I don't "have the moves", I can move but I can't do much with it. I also get embarrassed doing it too.

Q: What would be the best thing about being a vampire?
A: I suppose it would be the fact that it's harder to die as a vampire, as long as you avoid the common threats (ie wood, light etc).

Q: If you could go on vacation for the next month with an unlimited budget, where would you go?
A: Hmmm... probably Switzerland but I'm more interested in this unlimited budget than the 

Q: Who and when was your first kiss?
A: Jeez I can't remember, I think it was with a girl called Nia, when I was around 6 years old.

Q: What's the most delicious meal you've ever had?
A: I'm not really sure, I've had some pretty good ones, I don't remember meals often, more the food and if I like them I want them more often.

Q: If you had to perform at the circus, what trick would you do?
A: Definitely the Wall of Death, that's so kickass, it should be more popular than it is.

Q: What message would you want to put in a fortune cookie?
A: Be patient, too many people expect everything straight away. Good comes to those that wait.

Q: What is your favourite thing in the whole world, not a person.
A: Thing? Erm, food probably, I love food a lot. Then games.

Q: If you could have been the author of any book, what would it have been?
A: Probably Nineteen Eighty-Four, it's a fantastic book, and is very relevant for what the world is like today.

Q: What was the last book you read?
A: Dr. Dale's Zombie Dictionary The A-Z Guide To Staying Alive, which is a great book about, naturally, how to survive a zombie apocalypse. It's a must read for the inevitable.

Q: What's your favorite video game?
A: If I had to choose one, it's probably Final Fantasy IX, it's had the most impact on my life and as a gamer it's almost perfect in every way.

Q: What's your favorite school subject, and why's it your favorite?
A: My favourite subject through most of school was Maths, I was very good at it, I started to lose interest and struggled a bit more with it maybe GCSE onwards though. Then on, I started showing more interest in Art and English.

Q: Are you a member of any other social networking websites?
A: I have Facebook and Twitter accounts.

And that's my latest Formspring update. Once again if you want to follow me on Formspring you can do so here. As I said I'm away this weekend so this is my last post until Monday. Have a good one and take care.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mixtape: Best FIFA Trax

Hey there, welcome to my newest Mixtape. This one is paying homage to the music of the FIFA football games, something that has been a constant source of decent sound for some time. Now, if you know me personally or have been following my work on this site, you'll know that I love my metal. My interest in indie is nothing on metal, and don't get me started on dance music, electronic, RnB or ambience. These other genres for the most part don't interest me. But they are always evident in the FIFA games and quite often the songs that are chosen year upon year are great. So what I'm hoping you'll see in today's list is a different side to my musical tastes.

Not familiar with my Mixtapes? Here are the rules. 

A Mixtape is a playlist of a certain genre, band or era. The list is generally 80 minutes long, the same length of a blank CD, with further recommendations if some of the songs aren't to your taste. Remember kids, downloading is wrong! 

Okay, before I start, I'd like to say two things. Firstly, FIFA didn't really have long and productive soundtracks on their games until FIFA 2004 came out, and while certain games before it had one or two popular tracks, nothing was really substantial until then. Secondly, I haven't played every FIFA game. I've played most of them, so one or two games are missing from the list. But I cover most of the games, and I think you can appreciate the amount of games that are actually covered here. Enjoy!
  1. It's Only Us - Robbie Williams (FIFA 2000)
  2. 19-2000 (Soulchild Mix) - Gorillaz (FIFA 2002)
  3. Feels Just Like I Should - Jamiroquai (FIFA 06)
  4. Splitting the Atom - Massive Attack (FIFA 11)
  5. Stop the Rock - Apollo 440 (FIFA 2000)
  6. We Used to Be Friends - The Dandy Warhols (FIFA 2004)
  7. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro (FIFA 09)
  8. Ace of Hz - Ladytron (FIFA 11)
  9. Get on the Floor - DJ Bitman (FIFA 07)
  10. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House - LCD Soundsystem (FIFA 06)
  11. Switchblade Smiles - Kasabian (FIFA 12)
  12. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba (FIFA: Road to World Cup 98)
  13. Fit But You Know It - The Streets (FIFA 2005)
  14. Red Morning Light - Kings of Leon (FIFA 2004)
  15. Don't Give Up - The Noisettes (FIFA 08)
  16. Machu Picchu - The Strokes (FIFA 12)
  17. Tell Her Tonight - Franz Ferdinand (FIFA 2005)
  18. Drumming Song - Florence and the Machine (2010 FIFA World Cup)
  19. Song 2 - Blur (FIFA: Road to World Cup 98)
  20. Drama Queen - Switches (FIFA 08)
  21. Tell Me a Lie - The Fratellis (FIFA 09)
  22. Supermassive Black Hole - Muse (FIFA 07)
Here are five alternative songs!
  1. Myxomatosis - Radiohead (FIFA 2004)
  2. Take Your Mama - Scissor Sisters (FIFA 2005)
  3. Helicopter - Bloc Party (FIFA 06)
  4. Wele Wele - Angelique Kidjo (FIFA 07)
  5. Sly - The Cat Empire (FIFA 08)
And that's my playlist. If you like the genres mentioned above and haven't heard some of these songs give them a listen, the videos all link to Youtube where possible. I'm starting to run dry on ideas at the moment for future Mixtapes, so if you have any other ideas comment below, with some suggestions and I might cover them. That's it from me today, have a good night.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Live Thoughts: Chelsea vs Liverpool (Premier League)

I covered this match live, here are my unedited thoughts when Liverpool took on Chelsea.

Hey there thanks for coming onto this page. Very important match tonight. If we win today itll be some statement, and will move us closer to the Top 4. A loss will mean we have some work to do, to catch the elite in the Premier League. Torres who? Nah, I'm through criticising him now. I just hope he has a rubbish game.

I was thinking earlier in the week, what are your thoughts about Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez up front in attack? I think those two have a great understanding, more so at the moment than Suarez and Carroll. It will also open up a space for Jordan Henderson for the right of midfield. Let me know your thoughts below. This is in general by the way, not just this match.

Here are the teams:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Lampard; Mata, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Romeu, Meireles, Sturridge, Anelka, Torres 

Strong. Very strong. It's possibly the strongest lineup they could do to be honest. Drogba's not on form at the moment thankfully, but their midfield of 5 can easily turn into a midfield of 3 and 3 attackers in an instant and they're difficult to break down as always. We have a strong test on our hands. Torres and Meireles on the bench.It means for a lovely reception later on of course, if Torres comes on.

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel , Agger, Enrique; Kuyt, Lucas, Adam, Rodriguez, Bellamy; Suarez. Subs: Spearing, Doni, Kelly, Carragher, Henderson, Downing, Carroll.

I think this is going to be 4-4-2 with Bellamy up front, and Maxi on the wing. Interesting. Carra and Carroll on the bench and Bellamy and Suarez will be tricky for Chelsea's defence, although it means that they'll be depending a lot on the midfield. Can we win? Sure, but it's not going to be easy.

1' - They're talking about Lampard scoring against Reina last week. There wasn't much Reina could have done about that, although some people feel otherwise. 

2' - Suarez almost let in Maxi and Terry brought him down, arguably a foul. Terry's hurt his arm. 

4' - This will be a good preview for when we take on Chelsea in the Carling Cup quarter final. We go away to Stanford Bridge for that too. 

5' - Haha, that's an interesting statistic, Kenny has never lost to Chelsea as manager. Different times now though, to the eighties. But it's still a cool stat.

6' - There's a "Just Can't Get Enough of Luis Suarez" chant, bizarre that we're making so much noise in Stanford Bridge. No wait, it's not surprising. I keed I keed! 

8' - Lucas and Charlie Adam double team against Ramires, it looked a little nasty. Unintentional though. 

9' - Malouda whips in a long, deep cross and Mata couldn't make the most of it. A lovely cross then by the Frenchman. 

11' - MIKEL! Saved by Reina. A stinging shot from about 25 yards out is pushed over the bar by Reina. It was a straight shot, but there was a lot of power in that. 

12' - The ball is laid nicely for Bellamy down the left wing who cuts towards the post, and tries to snap pass to Suarez, but Ivanovic intercepts for a corner.

13' - Glen Johnson has a nice run down towards the penalty area and almost scores! The ball ends up with Cech, in safe hands. A very open, attacking game so far, for both sides.

16' - Yeah, nice to hear about Suarez scoring for in a match for international duty. If only he can do it for us! That'd be awesome. Tonight please? 

17' - Charlie Adam, with pace, intercepts a ball into space and tries to cut the ball to Suarez who was free on his tod up front, but he was just offside. Shame. 

19' - Drogba takes on a few Liverpool players and falls down to a challenge. A little desperate, but it gives Chelsea a free kick in a dangerous position. 

20' - JEEZ! A lovely free kick form Drogba was on the wrong side of the post! Reina had no chance and looked absolutely no chance. Drogba thought it went in, everyone did! Thankfully it didn't.

23' - This has been a very entertaining game so far, both sides going for it, and both could have scored. Chelsea have been slightly better overall though, but if we score, naturally everything will change. 

26' - Black armbands are worn today by Liverpool players because of the unfortunate death of Brad Jones' son passing away from cancer. He was six. 

27' - Suarez is put through! But he had a few options, and chose the wrong ones and Chelsea intercept. Lucas then brings David Luiz down, who makes a meal of the challenge. 

28' - Lucas goes into the book for his challenge.

29' - Suarez tries to take on two or three Chelsea players and more options open up, but he's selfishly trying to take on all the players and Cech gets the ball. He's not making the right options at the moment. 

31' - Brilliant attacking play by Liverpool! We pin Chelsea back to the final third, lovely passing from Enrique, Bellamy, Suarez and one or two others! We pin them back, a nice roar of applause by the travelling Reds! Come on you red men! 

32' - GOAL! MAXI RODRIGUEZ! Adam intercepts off Mikel, passes to Bellamy who runs forward, a one-two with Suarez lets in Maxi, who pokes it past Cech! 1-0 Liverpool! 

34' - I saw Maxi on the starting lineup and I thought it was a bold move, but I also knew it could be one that would work, his trickery and scoring ability when on form is a constant threat for Liverpool. It's only his second goal of the season, that being said he's only played five times due to Bellamy and Downing being preferred.

36' - A corner for Chelsea allows Terry to get a header but it's put over for another corner. Ivanovic gets close this time but once again it's dealt with. Goal kick.

38' - All of a sudden our squad looks like it has good depth again. Not in the starting 11 are are Gerrard, Henderson, Downing and Carroll for attacking options. It's good.

39' - Lucas gets angry for a decision going against him. He needs to be careful, it does feel like the Chelsea players are targeting him today, in terms of getting him riled up. He needs to 'calm down, calm down', Scouse style. 

41' - David Luiz is in the book, he tries to take on three Liverpool players in his own third, loses interception and takes a Red down clumsily. How bizarre! Just clear the ball from your half mate! 

42' - Petr Cech has an adaption on his mask to protect his nose, he got hit by Yakubu when Chelsea took on Blackburn. I wouldn't be surprised if he wears a helmet next season. This should suffice.

45' - One minute of added time. 

45' - Glen Johnson brings down Malouda on the left wing. Last attack for Chelsea in this half. 

45+1' - Drogba takes it, Johnson heads it over, corner. Nothing comes of it and it's half time.

A great first half. From an unbiased perspective you've had two sides going for it not full pelt, but with enough energy that it's very entertaining. After around half an hour of back and forth action, we start to build a bit of lovely attacking play and get the goal. The last fifteen minutes was basically frustration for Chelsea, and us trying to get a second, not dominantly but with more ease than before. Hopefully this type of play will continue, and if Chelsea continue to implode internally, we can get the three points today. Come on!

45' - Chelsea Substitution: Daniel Sturridge comes on for Mikel, who had a pretty bad first half.

48' - DROGBA! Just over the bar! That could have been in! Thankfully not. 

49' - Juan Mata comes close by Skrtel makes sure it goes for a corner. Some strong attacking play from Chelsea in the start of this half. 

51' - Torres is still on the bench, Sturridge is on, I wonder if this is because it's Liverpool playing or because he's genuinely not considered the best option off the bench? 

52' - Some lovely footwork from Jose Enrique there, it didn't lead to anything really, but I just thought I'd go on record here by mentioning it. He's had a great season for us, flourishing as our left back. 

54' - GOAL! Chelsea equalise. Daniel Sturridge gets the ball in the back of the net, Florent Malouda storms down to the left of the penalty area, and whips a cross towards Reina's left post and Sturridge clips it in. Shame. 

55' - Free kick in a dangerous area and DROGBA! Reina saves it very well. Our lead could have been made into a losing position in two minutes then, if it wasn't for Reina. Frustrating, things were looking so well 15 minutes ago. 

57' - Chelsea are definitely on top now, what a half time team talk can do to a world class team. We look like a shadow of the tenacious side of the first half. Come on Liverpool, shake it off! 

59' - Suarez goes for goal and it goes wide. Should have done better with that effort. 

59' - Malouda takes on Glen Johnson and whips in another dangerous low cross and Skrtel puts it over for a corner. Malouda's such a threat at the moment. 

61' - We try to break up Chelsea's play and successfully do. Skrtel storms forward and Ramires takes him down, and gets booked. Good stuff, let's hope we can break their play up more. 

62' - A long Chelsea ball is dealt with by Reina, kind of, Drogba challenges him and the ball ends up in the air, and Reina volleys it out of our third. Bizarre, but dealt with. 

63' - Dirk Kuyt goes in the book for pulling a Chelsea player back. 

65' - Liverpool Substitution: Jordan Henderson is coming on and Bellamy is coming off. He had a good first half. I think this means that Maxi is going to the left, and Henderson on the right. Kuyt up front? 

67' - The atmosphere is absolutely electrifying, we have a great match on at the moment and both sets of supporters are in good voice. 

69' - Malouda with the volley! Wide of the post! That was an exceptional piece of skill to control the ball in the penalty area, he chested it and tried the bicycle kick. It almost paid off. 

72' - The game has lost some of the excitement from earlier but it's still a good game. Chelsea look the more likely to score, although we have recouporated a little now. We look more defensively capable that's for sure. 

74' - Torres warms up to a mixed reaction. Chelsea fans still haven't warmed to him and let's not get started with Liverpool fans!

77' - Liverpool Substitution: Stewart Downing comes on for goalscorer Maxi Rodriguez. I think we're going for the draw now, or at least the less risky. 

80' - Charlie Adam with a free kick, it goes for a corner. Another corner won by Suarez. Chelsea clear. 

81' - Torres is looking likely to come on.

83' - Chelsea Subsitution: Raul Meireles comes on for Ramires. And Fernando Torres comes on for Didier Drogba. Mixed reactions... awkward...

85' - KUYT! Just wide! He just couldn't curl the ball past Cech's left post, gutted! 

88' - GOAL! Glen Johnson! What a solo effort! Johnson does one of his runs that usually don't end well, but guess what, this one does and we're back in front! Woo! He past both Ashley Cole and Malouda in that!

90' - Liverpool Substitution: Andy Carroll takes Luis Suarez's place on the pitch. All six subs made.

90' - Three minutes of added time. 

90+1' - It is true, all this talk of Torres and Meireles, and an ex Chelsea player scores. It's great. Johnson has been very good for us, despite not scoring often for an attacking pacey full back. 

90+3' - Full time!

What a win! We nabbed that in the end to be honest, Chelsea were all over us for the most of this half. Yet we dug in, dug through, and got the goals. Johnson's goal is probably the best goal of Liverpool's season so far, seriously, check it out later tonight if you haven't seen it. The way he drops the ball, cuts out Cole and Malouda and clips it past Cech is amazing. We were better in the first half than the second, probably outmatching Chelsea overall. In the second half we got pushed around and they could have scored three or four if it wasn't for better accuracy or our defenders and Reina being on decent form. And then we nicked it in the end. Excellent! A great statement! Let's hope we can go on a good run now! That's it from me, have a good night.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Game Review: I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1

At 80 Microsoft Points, seriously, get this game or get a free trial, it’s just something you have to experience if you have Xbox Live Gold.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 (I’ll now refer to it as Zombies!) was released just over two years ago and is an Indie title available on the Xbox Live Arcade. It costs 80 Microsoft Points (which is around 68p) and can be downloaded if you have Xbox Live Gold. Why am I reviewing this game? My wife thinks I’m silly for reviewing it. I’m simply reviewing it because it’s just such an amazing game, no matter how short or silly it is.
This game doesn't look like much, but trust me, it's not supposed to.
Zombies! is an action shooter of the simplest controls. Your two analog sticks are the only things you use, one is used to manoeuvre your player, the other is to shoot in your preferred direction. The game can be played by up to four people at once, and is viewed from an aerial perspective. You simply shoot your enemies that are coming by the hordes, towards you. You get points for each enemy you take down and your enemies kill you simply by touching you, causing you to explode. As I said, the game is very simple, but it’s what else Zombies! brings to the table that makes it stand out.

You see, there is just one level. That level is probably around 20 minutes long. As you progress through the level, more and more enemies come at you, which results naturally in the game becoming more difficult. As I said the game is for up to four players, and the more players you have simply means more enemies are on screen. I say enemies rather than zombies because as the level progresses you encounter more than just zombies. There are about six different enemies to encounter, first is the zombie, then you have these worm-like things that glow, and later blobs of green goo that explode into smaller blobs, little diamond shards and some random angry faces. There are also zombies that are a slightly different shade of green that explode on contact, so these are slightly harder. The game is just bizarre.
It's not just zombies that you have to take on. Look at those weird mouth things.
In terms of how to deal with the undead and peculiar, you shoot them with your gun. Now you can get weapon upgrades as the level goes on, there are many different varieties of weapon that do different things, one is simply a machine gun that fires more bullets and quicker, there’s a laser that slices through multiple enemies, there’s a flamethrower, there’s a weapon that shoots in three different angles, there’s more. As well as weapon upgrades there’s also a shield, this is used to protect you from getting hit by putting it as a radius around you, there’s something that makes you move faster, and there’s extra lives. You start the level with five lives and that’s five hits, if you lose if you score high enough you’ll get put through to the (offline) leaderboard. Extra lives are very important if you ever want to finish this game. And that’s the thing, finishing this game is actually quite hard. The game starts off nicely, but the difficult cranks up quite quickly, you have to dodge enemies and kill hem as quickly as possible.

What stands out most about this game is the song. As I said, the game is one level that is around 20 minutes long, but there’s transitions in the level that also change the song’s pace and sound, as well as the backgrounds that the level is played on. The song is just absolutely brilliant. Lyrically, there’s only singing in the beginning and the end of the level but what consists in the game for words is hilarious. The lyrics basically describe the song, the game, and the fact that it costs you $1 (in America) to pay. Without ruining it I don’t really want to put any lyrics down on here, but it’s just excellent and funny. The rest of the song is mostly metal and techno music, but it sounds very good, it’s not bad quality music at all.
And the hordes get even bigger than this. You get immense satisfaction for finishing this game.
Zombies! is just something you just have to experience if you have Xbox Live Gold. Seriously, get a free trial of the game, or just buy it, as I said, it’s 80 Microsoft Points and that’s only 68 pence. You’ll get so much out of this game for its price, a better experience than games that are coming out now for £20, £30, £40 or £50. The game is so good the person that made it (yes, just one person made it) has made probably close to $250,000 off the game. It costs $1 to buy it, and he gets 70 cents for each purchase. The game has sold over 320,000 copies so far, because it’s so good. It’s a bargain. The game is silly, stupid, pointless but ultimately simple, hilarious, and a snip at 80 Microsoft Points. Get. This. Game!

Rating: **** stars

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Mercy Side: A Golden Curtain Call

Hey there, I haven’t done any writing on wrestling for around six weeks now which is a shame. I just haven’t really found much in wrestling to write about, most of the stuff that’s happening is covered by other people already, and while I know I can write nearly as well as other people out there, I don’t really know what my opinion can contribute to on the grand scheme of things. So I just waited for a topic that was less likely to be covered by other people, or at least something that won’t be pinpointed as a huge talking point.
And then this morning I boot up the computer as always. Eat a jam donut. Drink some water from plastic bottle. Spit it out in the air and start posing like Triple H. Pretend there’s a camera in my face and growl at it. Make sure there’s enough water in my throat to spit at the camera and then proceed to do so. Now there’s water over my screen. Anyway, after wiping the spit and water off my screen, something caught my eye as I do my morning wrestling news and rumours gander. Goldust is campaigning for a match against his half brother, Cody Rhodes, for the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania. Now I know what you might think about that. It’s not a big deal. It probably won’t happen. Why would Cody Rhodes want to wrestle Goldust, who’s barely been relevant for many a year and not been on TV for months due to injury and working backstage? Well there’s a lot to gain from this match, and I’m putting my entire 18 stone frame behind it to happen.

You see, Goldust doesn’t want a normal match. He wants a title vs career match. Goldust is 42 now, he’s had many injuries recently and he seems happy backstage helping out the divas (with their matches, not physically, well I suppose it is physical but it’s not sexual... oh you get the idea) so he’s obviously on the foot end of his career. Goldust has many times hinted at retiring. You still might be thinking that this might be a bad idea, and I can understand if you do in a certain way. But believe it or not, Goldust can still go. I remember him having some great matches on the ultimately unsuccessful WWECW programme at its end. By great I mean great TV matches, not five star classics. He had very good matches with Sheamus, Zack Ryder (who was a heel at the time), William Regal and Paul Burchill. I know that on the grandest stage of them all, for a good 10 or maybe 15 minutes if they allow it, they could put on a great match. They’re both gifted wrestlers, Goldust has always been underrated as a wrestler, and can both tell very good stories in the ring.
Cody Rhodes’ light has never shone brighter than it has at present. With the charming gimmick, he had a good run, the gimmick wasn’t great but he made it work. Then he had a good feud heading into Wrestlemania with Rey Mysterio and started donning a mask to hide his ‘disfigured’ face.  The feud however fizzled out with a small pop rather than a bang, and so did Rhodes’ push towards the top. He never went down the card but he did temporarily stop moving upwards. While he wasn’t moving up the card he was doing good promos, and putting paperbags on people’s faces. It worked, it got him good heat and he started changing his voice to come across as creepy and condescending. His promos excelled. And then he got the Intercontinental title on August 9th, or the 12th as it was shown on TV then. Since then the man has been on fire, he’s had a very good feud with Randy Orton, despite Orton being occupied with Mark Henry, Orton helped Rhodes out immensely by putting him over a few times. The feud from what we can tell has now finished and Rhodes has lost his mask. He’s now got new music again. The time Rhodes stood out the most for me was at Hell in a Cell, October 2nd, when he started using the old style Intercontinental title. It was a huge move, and it made a great statement. It shows that Rhodes really cares about representing the Intercontinental title, a title that’s been passed around like mud recently, when it should representing a hot young wrestler on the up. That’s exactly what Rhodes is, and at 26, he’s got as much potential as anyone.

So Goldust wants a title shot at Wrestlemania for the Intercontinental title, and wants to put his career on the line. If Rhodes still has the title by then, he’ll be champion for nearly eight months. Eight months. Long title reigns are a rarity in today’s WWE, and this would be a heck of a statement. But I’m fully behind this. Rhodes needs that long title reign. I don’t think he should be WWE champion before Wrestlemania. I think it’s too soon. And you have Mark Henry, Sheamus and Orton to contend with, and at the moment I don’t think Rhodes has quite made it yet. There are a lot of rumours going around that Booker T will be having a feud with Rhodes soon. I say let that happen, let Rhodes go over Booker, and then prepare him for Goldust. Goldust can return at the Royal Rumble, and immediately start his feud with Cody Rhodes. He can easily be disrespected by Rhodes, for being a has-been, for being ugly, for being weird, for being ashamed to be his half brother. Goldust can make his TV return, and win a few matches against some lower card wrestlers like JTG, Primo and Heath Slater, while Cody Rhodes comes out and attacks him post match or runs him down with his excellent mic skills. Eventually Goldust explodes and beats up Cody Rhodes. They can go back and forth for two months and Goldust can request a title vs career match. I think making it personal, and making the audience aware that they’re half brothers adds spice to the feud. Maybe Goldust, the week before Wrestlemania, can wear no makeup and show the world what Dustin Rhodes is, and Cody can continue to mock him and call him ugly, before Goldust beats him down, ending the night on a high.
It’s a no brainer that Cody Rhodes should retain at Wrestlemania if this feud happens. It also should be a no brainer that after Wrestlemania, Rhodes should eventually lose the title and move onto the top of the Smackdown card. If Daniel Bryan actually cashes in at Wrestlemania and somehow wins, I’d love for Bryan and Rhodes to be the main event of Smackdown for Extreme Rules. That would be awesome. As for Goldust, he’d have a fantastic ending to a very odd career. A career that had some ups and many many downs, and a career that was overshadowed by a flashy gimmick rather than a wrestle who could actually wrestle well. But against his half brother, he will be putting over a great young talent and hopefully himself. He can wrestle. Rhodes/Goldust can work. And I think it is the perfect golden Curtain Call on Dustin Rhodes’ career. Thanks for your time.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Live Thoughts: England vs Sweden (Friendly)

I covered this match live. Here are my unedited thoughts on the match between England and Sweden.

Good evening, welcome to another Live Thoughts post. After the very defensive yet ultimately successful victory over world champions Spain, it's time for England to break more ground. We haven't beaten Sweden in 43 years. That's an incredible statistic. I never knew about it. We've had many many draws against Sweden and they've beaten us a few times, but we haven't beaten Sweden in nearly half a century. Let's break that duck tonight. We have the players and hopefully the confidence, and we're at Wembley. Let's do it!

Here are the teams:

England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Terry, Baines, Jones, Barry, Rodwell, Walcott, Zamora, Downing. Subs: Carson, Glen Johnson, Cole, Lescott, Parker, Lampard, Milner, Adam Johnson, Sturridge, Bent, Stockdale.

Quite an inexperienced side today, with Terry, Barry and Downing having the most experience. There's a few younger guys that get a nice start, Kyle Walker is someone that has impressed me a lot this season, him and Rodwell from the starting 11. This team is enough to beat Sweden on paper.

Sweden: Isaksson, Lustig, Majstorovic, Mellberg, M. Olsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Larsson, Wernbloom, Elmander, Ibrahimovic. Subs: Wiland, Bajrami, Svensson, Granqvist, Safari, Gerndt, Almeback, Holmen, Jonas Olsson, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson.

It's as strong as Sweden can be, they still have some talent in this team, Elm and Larsson in the midfield and Elmander and Ibrahimovic on their day can score against anyone. They woin't be easy but we should be winning today.

3' - England are on the front foot, completely different to when we took on Spain. 

6' - If you're wondering, John Terry is getting booed, but not as much as people expected. It doesn't matter anyway, let the police and the FA deal with that.

9' - Not much to report at the moment, it's mainly England trying to break down Sweden and failing. 

12' - Free kick in a very dangerous area for Sweden. It hits the wall and is dealt with.

14' - A nice little run from Walcott ends in a corner, one that we can't take advantage of. 

17' - Finally some activity. A nice run from Walcott feeds in Zamora who mistimes his first attempt, and tries to slide in a second and it hits the side netting. 

18' - Haha, only 12 goals have been scored from the 11 players on the England pitch, 6 of them goals have come from John Terry. At least it proves we're fielding a weakened side. 

20' - Wow another good statistic, Joe Hart has played 15 times for England and he's never lost a match, 10 wins, 5 draws. He is a brilliant keeper, I'm so happy we've resolved our keeper crisis.

21' - GOAL! England's 2000th goal (another statistic) goes to Gareth Barry, a lovely cross from Liverpool's own Stewart Downing lands perfectly on Barry's head and it goes into the bottom right corner! 

24' - Replays show that the ball actually hit Daniel Majstorovic last, so it could be an own goal.

27' - They just brought up the phenomenal goal Liverpool's Joe Cole scored against Sweden five years ago. Haven't seen it? Here it is.

30' - We had a decent spell after the goal for a few minutes, it seems to be dying down at the moment, let's hope not and we can hopefully build up for a 2 goal lead before half time. 

32' - A corner from Rasmus Elm almost goes in! A lovely curl on the ball, Joe Hart palms it wide. 

34' - After a pinch perfect cross for the goal, Stewart Downing takes a free kick way over the entire penalty area. Hey ho. 

36' - Kim Kallstrom puts in a potentially dangerous tackle on Kyle Walker and the whistle blows. Johan Elmander protests and goes in the book. A little harsh for a friendly.

37' - RODWELL! Close. It goes for a corner, and that corner is dealt with.

40' - Phil Jones is free of the defence and running towards goal! He tries to tap it past the keeper and it goes wide. Should have done better. 

41' - A difficult corner ends in a Swedish player hitting the post, but it was offside anyway.

43' - RODWELL! My god how did he miss! Downing takes on a defender on the left wing and whips in a lovely cross for an empty net, and Rodwell heads it wide to the right. Awful miss. Gutted. 

45' - Half time, no added minutes.

A decent first half display for England, we got the goal and tries a few more times. The game and the performance isn't anything spectacular, but it's been good enough. We deserve our lead. Let's hope we can build on it in the second half, as Sweden have barely been in it for long periods.

45' - Sweden Subsitutions: Ola Toivonen and Jonas Olsson come on for Olaf Mellberg and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

45' - England Substitution: Scott Carson gets his first cap in three years while Joe Hart comes off.

45' - Downing had a good run down the left wing and Zamora almost made it to his decent square ball. Close.

48' - Downing has put a few good balls down the left wing early in this second half, he's had a good game for the most part so far. 

51' - You know something, we criticise Fabio Capello a lot but he has the best win ratio of all the England managers in history. He's had 42 games so far, and he's won 26. That's pretty damn good. 

55' - Sweden start to gain confidence all of a sudden, and get a little move going that ends with Toivonen hitting it over the bar.

56' - A Swedish corner is dealt with nicely by Walcott who claims the ball, cuts the ball away from three Swedish players and clears it. Any right back would be proud of that. 

57' - England Substitutions: James Milner and Daniel Sturridge come on for Jack Rodwell and Theo Walcott.

58' - Daniel Sturridge has the ball outside of the penalty area on the right and tries to get into the box and three Swedish players top him, he eventually falls to the floor. He gets the points for effort. 

61' - The game has slowed down slightly for the moment, nothing much to report. 

63' - Leighton Baines passes the ball to Downing down the left flank and Downing squares a half volley to the path of Zamora who's shot is deflected for a corner. Nice move. The corner dissolves quickly however. 

65' - Stewart Downing storms down the pitch like a striker and his shot while decent, goes wide. He's definitely been the best player on the pitch today. 

68' - The game suddenly has become more exciting, both teams going for it at the moment. 

69' - England Substitution - Darren Bent comes on for Bobby Zamora, who had an okay game, didn't do anything great but tries hard.

69' - Sweden Substitution: Anders Svensson comes on for Kim Kallstrom. 

72' - As I said the game's quite open now, not that there's been any major chances for a while. 

74' - The ball gets passed back to Isaksson, the Swedish keeper, and Downing closes him down nicely and makes him kick the ball badly for a throw in. Good work from Downing again.

77' - They're still going on about the Barry goal possibly being put down as an own goal. It's because it was the 2000th goal. It's a little silly to complain about it I think, just because it's a landmark number. 

77' - Larsson takes a curling shot at goal and Carson thumps it awkwardly away from goal. It was a difficult shot to deal with and Carson did just enough. 

81' - A deep cross from Milner connects to Bent's head, but it goes over his head and over the other side of the penalty area. Not the right connection unfortunately. 

82' - Confirmation, Ireland have made it to the Euros! Very happy for our Irish brothers. Just in case you didn't know, I support all the UK and Irish sides, unless we face each other. Great stuff for the green men. 

85' - The game is slowing down, Sweden aren't really taking it to us and we're comfortable. Let's hope it stays this way.

86' - Swedish Substitution: Emir Bajrami comes on for Rasmus Elm.

87' - Kyle Walker wins the man of the match award, no problems with that from me. I think Downing has been the best player personally, but Walker has had a great game too, he's been a bit of a menace down the right wing and has defended well too. 

90' - Two minutes of stoppage time. 

90+1' - Wilhelmsson! Over the bar! It was a great cross and Wilhelmsson almost made it count.

90+2' - Full time.

We've ended our 43 year winless streak against Sweden! Woohoo! It was a satisfactory performance, Sweden barely turned up today and we dealt with them comfortably and professionally. We didn't give them many chances and we had a decent few ourselves. The one goal was enough. We end 2011 undefeated actually, that's pretty remarkable. We did a lot of poor draws in that time but to say we never lost a single match this year is cool. I think our confidence heading closer to the Euros has risen which is great. As I said, the problem with England is when we start turning that into cockiness. We need to be humble, respectful and confident, a hard thing to balance. Anyway, that's another night of football finished, enjoy the rest of it, whatever you're doing.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Music Album Review: Gold Cobra by Limp Bizkit

“Gold Cobra” is for the hardcore Bizkit faithful; it’s like they travelled back in time and remade their first album from scratch.
Gold Cobra is Limp Bizkit’s sixth major album release and their first in six years. The album was released back in June and marks the first album by the original Limp Bizkit line up in 11 years, when the band released their most successful album, “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water”. Before I go into the album review let me take you down memory lane.

Limp Bizkit were on top of the world when nu-metal and rap metal was at its peak, the turn of the decade. Alongside the Bizkit was Linkin Park, Papa Roach, POD and others and they all churned out hits and rock anthems that were very successful considering the genre they were associated with. None of these bands got a #1 hit, apart from Limp Bizkit, who got to #1 in both the UK and Ireland with the now classic track “Rollin’”. “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water”, the album the song was on, got to #1 in the album charts in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and has sold at least 12 million copies worldwide. As I said, Limp Bizkit was on top of the world. However, as the years progressed, nu-metal was dying a quick death and was often a mocked genre rather than one that was considered ‘cool’. In the ashes of nu-metal raised another genre of music, that of emo music, which dropped a lot of the rap vocals and started mixing punk with metal, alongside modern ballads about youth and young love. A lot of the nu-metal bands started incorporating these themes and musical changes into their music to stay relevant and successful, and some since have remained successful, Linkin Park especially, where as others have struggled to keep up with the changing times and transitions in teenage interest in music, and have been dropping into the obscurities of metal music.

Limp Bizkit struggled to keep up with the times. “Results May Vary”, while on paper was successful, getting to #1 in many countries and selling well, started to show cracks in the band. There were band members that came and left and came back again, there were problems on tour, the band got mocked a lot due to the waning popularity and Fred Durst, the lead singer, became a bit of a joke. The band released “The Unquestionable Truth Part 1” two years later, six years ago, which barely hit the major music radar in any way at all. Limp Bizkit then went on indefinite hiatus. Both albums after “Chocolate Starfish” showed glimpses of the band giving baby steps into the world of emo, but it was always unsuccessful and often criticised.

Four years later, it was officially announced that Limp Bizkit were getting back together, with the complete original lineup. They did a few short tours and festivals, most of them were well received. Being out of the spotlight and thrusting themselves back in it was a bold move but it was one that seems to be working, the band’s tours are doing well and there was a certain reminisce and quirkiness about people seeing the band live again. They decided to enter the studio again and that’s where we are now, with “Gold Cobra”.

The album’s beginning, “Introbra” does very little but start to prepare you for “Bring it Back”, a decent little track that does a great job of set you up for what’s to come on the rest of the album. The first thing you’ll notice is the great music; something that Limp Bizkit have often done is produce decent sounding metal with the help of Wes Borland who has always been a good guitarist. Fred Durst’s rapping vocals are as fierce and venomous as always; the profanity in this album is definitely cranked to 11. “Bring it Back” is a good song, but the confusing element of the track is that the verses and the chorus are on two different speeds and it feels like the song jigs from a low gear to a high gear too quickly. It’s still good and transcends nicely into “Gold Cobra”, the title track, which was later released as the second single off the album. “Gold Cobra” is definitely one of the best songs off the album, and it’s a nicely polished song in comparison to what else is on here. Fred Durst claims he wanted as much rawness and as little polish on the album as possible and “Gold Cobra” does go against that intention, but that’s a good thing in a way, sometimes the better songs on these albums are the tracks that can work with a broad audience. “Gold Cobra” is a better track than some of the songs released as singles in the latter part of Limp Bizkit’s career and it’s like a mellower “Eat You Alive”, to compare it to another single.

I mentioned it before, but I’d like to emphasise there’s a lot of swearing in this album. Now this isn’t new for Limp Bizkit, they’ve taken this approach in nearly every album they’ve produced, but it does take you aback slightly when you compare it to the music around today. Not only is there a lot of swearing but there’s a lot of scathing lyrics and threats in the album, once again, this isn’t new, it’s something Fred Durst has done many times before. The reason I’m mentioning this is because it’s very reminiscent of the anger and malice Fred showed back in the late nineties when he was an immature man in his mid-twenties. Now that Fred Durst has hit his forties it’s a little surprising to see him using the language and lyrics he uses; the man is over twenty five years past his adolescence. But in a certain way it’s once again very reminiscent of the old Limp Bizkit that got them popular way back in the nineties.

There are two songs that come to mind when it comes to this type of lyrical content, the first is “Get a Life”, one of the hardest hitting songs on the album, where Durst screams “Get a life, get a motherfucking life, you don’t want to see what I can do with a knife!”. It’s a little tragic but there’s a certain aggression that sound good in the lyrics, it does bring me right back to when I started listening to the band a good ten years ago. The song, the lyrics aside, is actually quite good, and the lyrics are fine and unsurprising even, if you’ve listened to Limp Bizkit properly before. The other song is “Douche Bag”, a song that Fred Durst claimed he wanted released as the first single but for reasons more likely politics related rather than a change of heart, it was then pulled from single release. “Douche Bag” has a similar chorus, one that has “I’m a fuck you up, fuck you fuck you fuck you up” as it’s hook. It’s immature, it’s childish, it’s ‘naughty!’, but it’s really catchy at the same time. I can’t help but like these two songs I have to admit, but if you’ve not heard much Limp Bizkit, this type of lyrical content might come as a surprise, not many bands do this nowadays where it was a lot more commonplace in the early part of the last decade.

The first single was actually “Shotgun” in the end, and this is a slightly more raw track in comparison to “Gold Cobra”, but it’s nothing on the two songs above. “Shotgun”, a song that mixes in that threatening lyrical content of the use of a shotgun, and the neighbourhood having them, is quite a cool song. The song barely charted, actually, none of these Limp Bizkit singles have sold particularly well which is a shame, as the songs are nearly as good as the stuff that was released by the band in the early part of their career. I definitely like the ‘shotgun’ sample used later on in the track to work as a beat; the song is one of the best on the album.

My favourite track though, is “Walking Away”. Limp Bizkit usually have one or two of these songs on their albums where Fred Durst sings rather than raps or shouts. This is one of the best pieces of singing Fred’s done in his entire career, and the song really stands out in an album full of frenzied aggression. That being said, the song then twists into an angry output towards the end, and once again, it makes the song stand out even more.  Hearing the relatively nice singing clashing with the fierce screams in the same track work very well here. After “Walking Away” is another one of softer songs, a song called “Loser” which deals with either the difficult relationship with a loved one, or the end result of an old relationship. It’s one of the more mature tracks on the album, especially in comparison to what’s available on here, and deals with Durst contemplating what he had done and how he feels about what happened.

All in all “Gold Cobra” is a good album, not great, but good. There’s nothing really outstanding on here, but the album is consistent in its ability to be an album with good metal, decent rap vocals, lots of aggression and lots of nostalgia. This isn't Limp Bizkit trying to fit into the new 'emo' genre. In the end this is Limp Bizkit doing what got them their fame in the first place, rocking hard, rapping harder, swearing lots and sticking middle fingers up at anything and everything. If you liked Limp Bizkit’s old stuff, seriously, give this a listen, it’s like Limp Bizkit travelled back in time and remade their first album from scratch. If you don’t like Limp Bizkit, quite simply, this isn’t for you, and I wouldn’t even recommend this album if you like some of their material, it’s purely an immature indulgence for the hardcore faithful, and no one else. If you’re in the Limp Bizkit party, enjoy it motherfucker, if not, keep away because you’re not invited.

Rating: ***1/2 stars
Stand out tracks: Walking Away, Gold Cobra, Loser

Here's the video for the second single, "Gold Cobra":

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