Epic * The Definition
A look into western classical music
Lassical music is often considered tedious and boring, with only Mozart and Beethoven being household names, though it is rare to find someone who has actually heard their compositions. But here's the catch - most of today's forms of music, say rock or metal, are heavily influenced by classical music. From soothing or haunting to fast, technically prodigious playing - classical music has something for everyone. So here is a list of some of classical pieces recommended for anyone who wants to give it a try.
Swan Lake Op. 20 Suite 1 Scene (Swan Theme) - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
With all the recent hype about The Black Swan, people should be familiar with Tchaikovsky's swan theme. The whole ballet is brilliant but this piece stands out. The music is beautiful and soothing but there's always the haunting mystery brooding on the notes.
Bouree in E minor - Johann Sebastian Bach
Even people who have never heard of Bach know this wonderful piece in The Pick of Destiny (remember Jack Black singing 'can't you see he's the man'?). It is a favourite with classical guitarists - even Jimmy Page has been known to play it in one of Zeppelin's concerts. You cannot help but nod your head and tap your feet along with this piece.
Caprice 5 in a minor -Niccolo Paganini
Paganini is most definitely the first hard core shredder in the history of music. You thought Malmsteen and Marty Friedman can play fast? Listen to the 5th caprice for a taste of the fury of whizzing notes on a violin, done almost 200 years ago. It might already be familiar to guitar fans who've seen Crossroads, featuring Steve Vai. Guitar gods such as Jason Becker and Malmsteen have all played this piece some time or other.
Eine Kleine NachtMusik - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Now for the badass rock star of classical music: Mozart, the man who started composing at the age when other children learn the ABC song. Eiene Klein Nachtmusic, despite its weird name, is one of the catchiest classical pieces. It's something you cannot get out of your head once you have heard it. It should be familiar to many due to its use in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and The Simpsons.
Toccata in D minor - Johann Sebastian Bach
The haunting music of this toccata has been used in quite a few places. Deep Purple has been known to use this song at the beginning of their classic Highway Star. The music has a deep solemn feel to it and the best part is it reminds us of Scooby Doo.
Ride of the Valkyries - Richard Wagner
In Norse myth, Valkyries are warrior-maidens of the Gods, who guide soldiers who died in battle to Valhalla. And true to the name, The Ride of the Valkyries gives you the feeling of riding a horse into a battle field; it makes you think of armour, blood and swords. This piece was shot to fame by the movie Apocalypse Now, during the helicopter attack scene. Wagner is often credited by metal bands as a major influence due to his dark, deep toned music.
Fur Elise - Ludwig Van Beethoven
A piece that has been converted into ringtones, calling bell tones and every other possible use for it, this composition is known by people who haven't even heard of Beethoven. It is as beautiful as it is technically proficient. The gradual increase and decrease of volume throughout the song combined with the change of tempo and rhythm gives this piece a really soothing ambience.
Dies Irae (requiem) - Giuseppe Verdi
Dies Irae which means the wrath of God, is literally terrifying, and makes you feel death is close by somewhere. Verdi's most famous piece, it is from his Requiem Mass which is considered one of the most terrifying requiem masses ever written - it is a must listen to anyone who likes dark music.
Hungarian dance no 5 Johannes Brahms
Brahms composed 21 dance pieces of which this is the most popular. It is a piece with many variations. It is usually considered the most famous of Brahms compositions.
By Munawar Mobin
The Crow is a graphic novel written by James O'Barr back in the late 1980s. The story revolves around a man by the name of Eric. His fiancée Shelly and he get harassed by a bunch of thugs one night after their car breaks down on a highway. The crooks proceed to shoot poor Eric in the head, and somehow Eric doesn't die and is left paralysed to watch the thugs abuse Shelly and finally kill her.
A Crow resurrects Eric and brings him back so that he can get vengeance and 'justice'; don't stop reading, it may sound a little childish but it really is the exact opposite, which is something that should have been mentioned before. This novel is for mature readers. Unlike the FBI warnings on piracy, please do pay heed.
So a Crow resurrects Eric in order for him to get his vengeance on the thugs who ended everything he had. That's the feeling you get as you begin to read and get deeper into the mind of Eric. When he isn't hunting down the thugs (whose names he had caught before dying), he stays in the house where he used to live with Shelly. In those moments, the Crow seems to talk to him and tell him to stay away from the painful memories, but each time Eric enters the house, there are flashbacks of his times with his fiancée.
The novel wasn't a novel at first. The series was initially penned down by the author as a way of mourning and coping with the loss of his girlfriend who was killed by a drunken driver. It was later adapted into the graphic novel and even made into a film. The Crow is always dressed in black and has white powder all over his face, black mascara covering his eyes and a permanent smile painted with lipstick on his face. This isn't anything like the Joker though; think of the band KISS and how they put up a lot of makeup before performing. The Crow is kind of like that. Keeping in mind that the book was written in the era where makeup on men wasn't all that queer, the Crow is a pretty badass character. The book is also riddled with poems, song lyrics and rhymes of all sorts which makes it a very interesting read.
Download the novel and if you get the chance, do watch the film too!
By Professor Spork
It's the 23rd century, and Mars has finally been colonised by humans. The Martian colony comprises of convicts from Earth; their main punishment the harsh environment, military rule, and exile from their home planet. The story follows Joe Maya, who lives with his father, and his dream of returning to Earth.
One fine day, Joe and his best friend, Mike Coil, stumble into a battle between two alien crafts, and subsequently are forced to hide in the fallen spaceship housing the Princess of planet Lodario, who is trying to escape from the Emperor of Zaboom and his army of humanoid robots. It is quickly discovered that Joe and his two friends (Mike and Renny, and later Damian) have the innate ability to operate the three super-robots that can fight Zaboom's forces, and they decide to travel with the Princess and her companions, protecting them on the long and dangerous journey to Earth, at a time when they can't even count all humans as allies.
And there's this mysterious robot Tobikage which only appears at the direst times, to combine with the three robots from the ship to form a single machine of unimaginable power. But Tobikage always disappears when the battle is over.
Yes, the names are funny. They sounded cool to a seven year-old, though.
There's a very high possibility that the mystery of Tobikage was supposed to be the centre of the story, but it only really plays a background role. Ninja Robots used to air on Cartoon Network before this writer even knew what anime was, or even what romance was, and thus at that point, all yours truly cared about was the action and the robots. And there was plenty of both. Re-watching it now, the story is still simple, but the animation is suddenly ancient and feels slow the way Dragonball Z feels slow. Even so, one thing is for sure: the action is still awesome. It's quite remarkable how much thought was put into such a simple storyline and characters, forming a background with fewer plot-holes than in most recent anime. The classic artwork adds to the nostalgia anime lovers of old will feel when powering through the episodes (because you really can't take it slow with this one). The robots are carefully detailed and intricate, and give you an idea of how Transformers might have been born.
If you want to watch Ninja Robots (highly advisable, guys), you'll need to put some time into searching for it. The most popular anime hosting and sharing sites don't have all the episodes and finding a torrent (with enough seeds) will be difficult. This could be due to the fact that it's a 1985 production with relatively few episodes, considering that back then the usual anime plot spun to 70+ episodes over several years, and Ninja Robots faded into obscurity.
If you are a fan of the classics, check it out.
By Shaer Reaz
Ragons. Magic. Monstrous monsters. Giant Spiders. Epic storyline. Biggest free roam map in a game. Infinite possibilities.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the most talked about game in the universe right now. Even non-gamers and newcomers to the Elder Scrolls series are gushing about it. It's the fastest selling game in the history of Steam (like i-Tunes for games). So what makes it special?
Elder Scrolls V takes us away from the setting of Cyrodill in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, to the massive new setting of Skyrim. The king of Skyrim has been assassinated, and the citizens of Skyrim are plunged into a civil war between those who are still loyal to the Empire and those who want to be independent.
As in other Elder Scrolls games, you start the game as a prisoner marked for death. As you're lead to the gallows though, a monstrous dragon appears and attacks the town, distracting the guards long enough to help you make your escape. The gamer is plunged into the lush open ended world of Skyrim, and you'll get to learn that your game character is the last Doväkiin (Dragonborn), a dragon hunter. This means you have the ability to absorb and use the powers of dragons.
The character selection process is simpler than it was in Oblivion, but there are still a lot of options. Weapon proficiencies, two handed versus single handed combat, magic on both hands or magic on one hand with a weapon on the other, everything is up to you. Finding an effective and well balanced combination is crucial, since the game throws trolls and dragons which are way higher in level than you are. For some weird reason it's easier to bring down a dragon (while you're on the ground) than kill a troll or a frost giant. Whenever you kill a dragon though, you have the ability to absorb its power, and completing quests and interacting with NPCs grants you the power of "Shout", which basically turns anything into ice cubes, including chickens and cattle. Beware of making an angry mob chase after you though, sometimes its not a lot of fun getting trampled to death by a horde of women because you turned their chickens into ice-cubes.
The gameplay is optimised for first person view but third person view isn't too far off the mark. Console gamers will have fun with this game, since a compact controller makes combat fun and addictive. The map is simply massive with beautifully rendered mountains, valleys, rivers and villages that are going to take your breath away. Mundane jobs like smithing and resource gathering are also quite important, giving you access to more advanced weapons and armour. All characters on the map can be interacted with in some way or the other.
Both the PC and console versions have a fair share of bugs, but most of these are small, few and far between. The patches have been released, not to mention quite a few interesting mods. I'd recommend the PC version over the console, since the first person view optimised game is always going to better with a keyboard and mouse.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the best games this year, not mention the last two to three years. If you're not a big fan of RPG's, I'd still say it's worth it giving Skyrim a shot, since it could potentially change your mind forever.
Oh, and I would have reviewed Skyrim earlier, but I took an arrow in the knee.