Red, White and MetalSeven albums in, Lamb of God continues to tap its American roots and push the boundaries of heavy metal

NO ONE PLAYS just rock anymore, do they? Nowadays artists play blackadelia, extreme pan-world metal, industrial-jungle-pussy-punk and any other weird, genre-defying musical conglomerate they can fabricate to sound individual. But then there’s Lamb of God and their pure American metal, as bruising and forthright as a sledgehammer. From their beginnings in 1994 under the moniker “Burn the Priest,” to the release of their latest album Resolution, no one has stayed the path quite like the Richmond, VA band. It goes to show consistency may make you more unique than a sensational tag.

Continue Reading…

The Week In Entertainment, Vol. 24We discuss the songs, shows, flicks, and videos that caught our attention over the past seven days

This week, we uncover a classic bit of Cambodian psychedelia; Steven Tyler ruins our national anthem; Will Ferrell heads south of the border; The Office sends Dwight back to the farm; and Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally soar on the “Wings of a Dragon.” 

Continue Reading…

Textures: National GeographicAn alluring look at the elder statesman of globe-trotting periodicals

FEW PUBLICATIONS CAN LAY claim to a heritage as rich, expansive and intrepid as National Geographic. Every issue of the 124-year-old journal is a yellow-bound snapshot of our planet, a moment frozen in time. From the far reaches of the vast Gobi Desert, to the great skyscraping cities dotting our planet, the magazine has roved virtually every tract of land on Earth, both hospitable and inhospitable.

Leafing through archival editions of the journal demonstrates the slow transformation of not only the physical world, but our societies, cultures, and attitudes along with it. Chronicles of early 20th century Russian peasantry give way to articles depicting the slow modernization of former Eastern Bloc countries; tales of tiny Arabian villages, isolated and alone, become pieces revealing the dissonance of a region struggling to maintain its Muslim identity while keeping pace with the breakneck advancement of the surrounding world. Even the advertisements reveal changes in our technology, values and standard of living, be they hawking a Victrola gramophone, chewing tobacco, or the latest hybrid car.

I’ve been reading National Geographic for well over a decade, and remain fascinated by its inimitable role in tying us directly to our past. When my grandfather discovered my adoration of the magazine’s lush photographs of habitats across the globe, he gifted me a number of his incredibly old and rare editions. Stored away for years in an upstairs closet, some of these issues come from as far back as 1913—just 25 years after the publication’s inception. Each installment is truly remarkable: We can pick up this month’s glossy new edition and see the world as it is today, or look back at the yellowed photographs of issues past and witness it as it once was.

Take a glimpse and see for yourself.

Continue Reading…

The Week In Entertainment, Vol. 23We discuss the songs, shows, flicks, and videos that caught our attention over the past seven days

This week, Springsteen resurfaces with another patriotic anthem; The Mars Volta retain their experimental edge; the best reason to see Friends With Kids shockingly didn’t star in Bridesmaids; Alcatraz shows promise; and an inept professional manages to make bowling worth watching.

Continue Reading…

The Dissected NFL: Conference ChampionshipsWhich two teams will punch their tickets to Indy? Justin Tasch weighs in on another weekend of playoff action

We all felt it. We’ve seen this before. Déjà vu has engulfed the minds of football fans everywhere. Lightning is striking twice for the New York Giants, as they’re proving once again that timing is everything.

The Giants had no business even being in the playoff conversation after an uninspiring 23-10 loss at home to the Redskins in Week 15, dropping their record to 7-7. It was an eerily similar Week 15 home loss to the Redskins in 2007 that had people doubting the Giants’ playoff credentials.

And just as they did four years ago, the Giants walked into Lambeau Field in the playoffs and came out victorious, this time in much more convincing fashion. They were the trendy upset pick of the weekend, but nobody truly expected to see such a dominant showing from the Giants. Eli Manning silenced any doubters he had left, and the defense had Aaron Rodgers flustered throughout the game. After exacting revenge on the Packers for their regular season loss, the Giants will look to continue their redemption tour as they travel to San Francisco for the NFC Championship Game.

The Ravens, meanwhile, exposed rookie T.J. Yates in their divisional-round matchup with the Texans, and they won 20-13 in a defensive battle, exactly like I predicted. They’ll head to Foxborough for a date with the Patriots, who put an emphatic end to Tebowmania. The window of opportunity for guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is running out. Can they stop Tom Brady and Bill Belichick from taking another step toward that elusive fourth ring?

See who will emerge from football’s final four in Handlebar’s NFL Conference Championships preview. 

Continue Reading…