SHOW REVIEW: Dethlehem / The Bloody Seamen / The Approach and the Execution


08/11/2011 @ Howler's

How cool is this flyer?

So, last night I broke my normal “school night” routine of hanging out at home (or at least getting home by a decent time) to check out a local show that I could not resist.  If you’ve read the blog, I’m obviously a Dethlehem fan.  In addition to those medieval fantasy knuckleheads, the Pirates that “crashed” their CD release party were on the bill; The Bloody Seamen (apparently known in some circles as The Flying Dutchmen).  I’ve been wanting to check those cats out for a while, so this alone was a no-brainer.  The other band was The Approach & The Execution.  They’re out on tour from Cleveland, OH… but we won’t hold that against them.  The place was Howler’s, and I know it well.  Bengt is a hell of a sound-guy.  I haven’t exercised my photography muscles in a while.  All of  the right ingredients added up to getting my lazy old musician behind out to a week-night show.

☠ The Approach & The Execution ☠

The Approach & The Execution

These guys were up first, and they just ripped it all apart right out of the gate.  I’m pretty sure there were 5,692 guitars on stage and their lead cat went through all of them… even knocking one from the stage to the floor at one point.  There was screaming, there was “woah-ing”, there was shredding, there was thunderous drumming, there was harmonizing vocals, there was dueling leads, there was even muscle flexing choreography.  The one highlight of the set for me is when the one dude on vocals & guitar was playing a show soulful lead… and the dude next to him was shredding circles around it.  It was later in the set, and I hope that song’s on the CD that I picked up, The Blood March.  These guys were incredibly tight, & played really well off of each other.  Apparently they had some setbacks in the way of van trouble and had to have AAA & some friends bail ’em out.  They had a vehicle-less trailer out front.  Hopefully they make it to their next destination tonight, so they can melt the faces of the next group of new fans!  (Interestingly, I popped the CD in on the way to work this morning… and heard keyboards & a chick vocalist… neither of which were at the live show.  I’m only 3 songs in so far, but I wonder what’s up there?)

☠ The Bloody Seamen ☠

The Bloody Seamen

These dudes are hardcore.  They show up in full pirate regalia, and don’t break character easily.  I even got a “business scroll” from Captaine Blackguts when inquiring about obtaining some recorded material!  For all I know, these cats really are pirates, and have a ship docked somewhere on the Allegheny river.  (Although, the one guitar player Cheswick looks a lot like the guy from Deathmobile/The It’s Alive Show…)  This is a band of buccaneers that knows how to work a room, and work it they did.  They definitely put a gleaming sharp metal edge on some really catchy drinking songs, with fighting, fornicating, plundering, and treasure thrown in for good measure.  They seemed to cross musical genres with some straight up rock and some more funky/groovy stuff.  Any band with a guy named “pipes” that plays the accordion, what  think was a fife or some kind of small flute, and the bagpipes alongside screaming guitars is cool in my book.  These guys know what they’re doing.  I bought a T-shirt because no CD’s exist yet.  I had sort of hoped they’d bust into “Friggin’ in the Riggin’” or “Whiskey in the Jar“, but alas… they were more original than that.  I will definitely be at more of these guys’ shows.  I just hope they weren’t distracting us with awesome swashbuckling metal as the rest of their crew picked our pockets and stole our women.

Dethlehem ☠

Dethlehem

Have I told you how much I hate these guys?  I mean, they have people that come out to their shows in costume.  How cool is that?  That’s fan dedication!  Bovice and Hildor make seemingly effortless movements across the fret-board that put me under a musical spell.  I wish I could unlock the secret to that power… or had the patience to practice like a madman.  Davidicus is indeed a wizard with the low-end, weaving together the ridiculous guitars and Brom’s pulverizing rhythms while managing to still have a voice of his own.  Lord Bonecrush commands your attention as he’s belting out tales of their conquests.  He even let a guest get up to help belt out “Blood Forest”.  Slaying orcs and harnessing dragons is hard work, but these guys have the time to do it, then to tell you about it.  They follow a rich oral tradition as old as the first hunter coming back and telling how he captured his prey to provide dinner for all, and you’d better appreciate it.  These warriors are going places.  I expect a cartoon series, live action movie, a graphic novel that transitions into a monthly series, and some damn stickers, patches, and pins soon.  I believe a side-quest with the Bloody Seamen is inevitable.  I vote that it gets put out on vinyl as well as digital download.

As stated above, I got some photos from the show.  I have them up on Photobucket and will probably eventually have them all on Facebook too.

Photobucket:
Grid View | Slideshow

Facebook Photos:
The Approach & The Execution | The Bloody Seamen | Dethlehem

Here are some Photobucket highlights:

Book Review | Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies


So, I had ordered the Allergic Girl book a while ago, and did finally finish reading it, but a lot has been going on in life lately so I didn’t have any time to sit down & give it the thoughtful review that I felt it deserved. Now, I have the time to do that.

Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies

Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well With Food Allergies

The author Sloane Miller has a popular blog, and is so very easily contacted via Twitter… which as I’ve remarked before, is easily now my go-to resource for any food allergy related news or information.  Twitter is how I discovered Sloane, her food allergy advocacy empire, and this wonderful book.  I’ll warn you now, this may read more like an advertisement than a review… but this is the first book of its kind that I’ve ever picked up… if there are even any more like this out there, and it really spoke to me.

The first thing that hit me about the book is that it’s an excellent balance of “hey, you’re not alone” and “we’ll work through this”.  It’s a comfort & a guide all at once.  Of course, the writing style pulled me in right away.  In the prologue, you’re dropped into a situation that could easily be a sitcom plot (or your weekend), but the seriousness is not lost in the humor… it’s underscored by it.

The book then moves into accounts of discovering and dealing with food allergies, one passage in particular that I’m going to highlight before I give it to friends & family to read… it describes the anxiety that builds after just an inkling in your mind that a certain food is unsafe (or could be unsafe) for whatever reason.  I felt like Sloane had read my mind & put down my thoughts.  From the order of thoughts jumping to other thoughts, to the hidden (or hopefully hidden) panic, down to the actions in dealing with such a situation… it’s uncanny.  It’s a hard thing to convey to people, even if they are supportive & understanding.

The book covers dating, which can be harrowing… but luckily I have my incredibly supportive wife, and I don’t have to worry about that any more.  This is a great guide to anyone in a dating situation, or for younger people with food allergies about to get into dating… or any social situation.

Allergic Girl is thankfully chock-full of resources for everything from websites to support groups to products to help you deal with your food allergies.  There are also bullet-points at the end of each chapter, not unlike a textbook… they can work as a personal checklist for you.

This book will help you get organized… build support, learn to pick your food allergy battles, and maybe even to expand your comfort zones.  This is what I personally need to work on.  Dining out can be a paralyzing fear for me, and I need to learn to find people and restaurants that will work with me to feed me & keep me safe.  Whether it’s starting the dialog the right way, using chef cards, or making calls ahead… they are all viable options of acquiring a safe meal.

If you have food allergies, have a friend, relative, or other loved-one with food allergies and want to understand their situation a little more… you need this book.  No joke.

Last night’s Tubonegro tribute! (via Ernie and the Berts)


Ernie and the Berts did some crazy Turbonegro covers last night… “Suffragette City” (a cover of a cover), “I Got Erection”, and “Sell Your Body (To the Night)”. It was captured in photo and video.  It’s a good thing we have no shame.

Last night's Tubonegro tribute! One lucky Ernie and the Berts friend & fan who goes by the YouTube handle johnnyaUSA captured a very special moment last night.  Ernie got to live out 3 rock n’ roll dreams (a.k.a. “steps to becoming a man”) at the 31st Street Pub and it’s all captured here on video.  What are they?  Well, you’ll just have to watch and see! … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

Best Wendy’s Review Ever?


…Well, according to Digg.  It is pretty awesome.

A Review of Wendy’s

It’s also more insightful that my Wendy’s reviews. Ha ha ha.

Don’t tell me it’s too late… Slash solo album review.


Slash“Don’t tell me it’s too late” is a line from my favorite song on the album, I’m reviewing this well after it came out, and it seems like a running theme lyrically through more than a few songs on the album… so I felt that it was appropriate to work into the title of this post.

If you know my musical tastes at all, you know that Guns N’ Roses is near the top of my list in all-time favorites.  So, with some warning, this may be a little biased.  The basic idea for this record was for Slash to pull in session musicians and do the record he wanted to do that wouldn’t necessarily fit into any other mold.  He’s done session & guest work with everyone from ICP to Rihanna, it’s about time to turn it around.  (I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that Velvet Revolver is on “hiatus” and Slash’s Snakepit seems dissolve after each album.)

Since it’s such a diverse record (with and endless number of releases), I’m going to try to throw out my opinions track-by-track, and then wrap it all up.

  1. “Ghost” – Featuring the vocal talents of Ian Astbury and the only other guitarist to appear anywhere on the album, the venerated and underrated Izzy Stradlin.  The song starts the album with a really nice melodic riff and Izzy’s guitar fills in just like it did back in the Appetite days.  Their work back & forth is unmistakable… and I’d love to hear more of it in the future.  While I like the guitar play in Velvet Revolver with Dave Kushner, Izzy and Slash are like a left hand & a right hand when playing guitar… they’re aware of what the other is doing without thinking about it.  Ian Astbury sounds awesome, and really fit well with this song.  I laugh every time I hear him though, as I once spent the better part of a day convincing a former co-worker that Ian Astbury & Glenn Danzig weren’t the same person.  I’ll never forget when The Cult’s “Fire Woman” was on the radio… he was all “You can’t tell me that this isn’t the guy who sings ‘Mother’.  It’s the same guy!”  At any rate… I hope this is picked up as a single, I’d love to see some live performances of this with Ian, or even a video.  It’s a nice unapologetic 80’s-ish rocker of a tune that doesn’t sound ridiculously dated.  Already you can tell that Eric Valentine‘s production on this album blows any Velvet Revolver stuff out of the water, because you can actually hear the guitar.
  2. “Crucify the Dead” – With Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, and somewhat inexplicably Taylor Hawkins on background vocals., this one starts out somewhat somber and ends up rocking.  It could have easily been on any Ozzy album from No More Tears on.  It’s somewhat odd to hear Slash doing the palm-muted power-chord chugging… and just the way that the guitars are layered.  I think that’s the point of this album though, to hear Slash doing stuff that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else.  It sets that right away with this song.  It would have been cool to have Zakk Wylde on this track too.  The one thing that makes it stand out as an Ozzy song is the lack of Zakk’s style of pinch n’ squeal harmonics.  I really love the melodic guitar lines here though.  I can imagine that Taylor was in the studio hanging out with Chris Chaney who plays bass on most tracks of the album (whom with he currently plays in Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders & they both played with Alanis Morissette once upon a time) and/or Dave Grohl and they just needed someone to do Ozzy backing vocals because he was too tired or didn’t know where he was.  This is the first of many incestuous rock n’ roll band relationships that are all over this album.
  3. “Beautiful Dangerous” – This is the song with Fergie.  Yeah, that Fergie.  Slash has done a bunch of live gigs with her, and she slays on some GN’R songs. In the first few seconds, I get an “oh no” because it starts off like a Rob Zombie song… but that’s quickly eaten by the guitars, bass, & drums.  It’s hard to hear a woman sing a rock song and not compare her to a small list of other rock singers…  This song has a Heart vibe.  I can imagine Fergie wouldn’t mind being compared vocally to Ann Wilson.  She’s got a strong beautiful clear voice… and I can totally hear an Axl influence.  You knew the A-word was coming eventually.  It’s not in the sound of her voice, but in the cadence and delivery of some of the lines… I challenge any GN’R fan to not hear it.  There’s a certain way they Axl holds on to & twists notes… Fergie does this also here… not sure if it was prompted or just came naturally with the style of riffs if she’s a GN’R fan at all.  This song is full of some nice solid riffs, and is one of my favorites off of the album.  My wife likes this one too, and she’s not the world’s biggest guitar-rock fan.
  4. “Back From Cali” Myles Kennedy takes up vocal duties on this song.  The feel of this song reminds me of It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere, and is definitely a Slash composition out and out.  It’s a pretty straight-up blues rocker, and Axl is again channeled at a mere 30 seconds into the song.  Myles will take vocal duties in Slash’s touring band, he’s probably as notable for being the guy rumored to sing for the Led Zeppelin reunion tour as much as his last band, Alter Bridge.  This guy has the pipes & range to hold it down well, no doubt.
  5. “Promise” – This one starts out a little strange, although this riff could have been on either  of the Illusions albums in a different context.  It really reminds me of Audioslave… maybe that’s why Slash called in Chris Cornell in the first place.  This is the first mellow one… and while it’s not a bad song, I think I have to be in the mood to listen to it.  It’s quite a haunting melody & riff, perhaps it’ll grow on me as time goes on.
  6. “By the Sword” – This is the album’s first US single, I think the video has been shot it’s just waiting for production, and they’ve been doing the lateshow circuit with performances.  Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother takes the vocal helm on this blues rocker.  This could have also easily been another Snakepit song… but I feel Stockdale does it real justice with his oddly whiny vocals.  Slash’s solo here (starting at 2:45 into the song) reminds me of George Harrison on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for some reason.  At first, I wondered why on Earth this was the first single as it wasn’t a straight-up rocker, but the more I hear it, the more I really like the song.
  7. “Gotten” – Having Adam Levine of Maroon 5 on the album is probably as shocking as having Fergie, if not more so.  I have to say, I really dig this track too.  The guitar is surprisingly nice & clean for the most part, a very gentle riff… this could be on top 40 radio if there is such a thing left.  It builds in a “Don’t Cry”-like crescendo, although the strings mayJudgement Day.) be a little much.  (Sorry, Again, you most likely have to be in a mellow mood for this one, but it stands as a good track.)
  8. “Doctor Alibi” – Old school metal fans are going to love this one… or at least I do.  Lemmy takes vocal and “distorted bass” (according to the liner notes) duties on this un-apologetically obnoxious rocking beast.  The opening riff jingles with bad-ass and descends into chaos with Lemmy’s story telling of visiting various doctors until he gets the answer that he wants to hear.  I vote for Lemmy as the next frontman to Velvet Revolver, ha ha ha.  This song is full of rock clichés and that’s OK with me.  This solo rips through you, reminiscent of the rambling in “Nightrain”.  It even breaks down to just vocals and drums before the rest of the bands comes back in.  This one is a keeper.
  9. “Watch This Dave” – I have to admit that I couldn’t wait.  I had to jump to this one the first time I popped the album into the CD player.  (Yeah, I bought the CD that came with the T-shirt from Best Buy on the day that it came out.) Why did I jump here?  Because it features Dave Grohl on drums and Duff McKagan on bass.  On some track listings, it’s simply titled “Watch This”… but my CD adds the “Dave”, so I added that here.  This is a timeless instrumental groove that just smacks you in the eardrums.  I miss Duff’s bass playing on the rest of the album.  No offense to Chris Chaney, but Duff has a definite signature that just fits with Slash’s guitar work like hot fudge on vanilla ice cream or ketchup on fries.  You don’t need it, but it’s always a perfect combo.  Dave pounds the drums like a madman, and they seamlessly string together patches of riffs & guitar wanking that swell an undulate into a heart-pounding mess of a ride that ends by just slamming you into a wall.  Parts of it remind me of the feel of Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” or “Orion”.  Slash does some shredding work here, something you don’t usually think of when you hear his name.  I for one would love to hear a whole album of stuff like this.
  10. “I Hold On” – This track has Kid Rock on vocals.  It could have just as easily been Myles Kennedy… and may have been better if it was.  It plays out like a mellow country/gospel inspired Kid Rock ballad.  I don’t know, I guess I just don’t feel it.  It’s by no means a bad, song, it just doesn’t make me say “wow” or anything.  Slash’s solo is great, but could have gone over anything with these same chord changes.  I would imagine that this would clean up on country radio.
  11. “Nothing to Say”M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold was a surprise guest to me… but I was also really anxious to hear this track.  I must say that i wasn’t disappointed!  I’m an A7X fan, and I remember thinking that they went form a Metallica influence on Sounding the Seventh TrumpetWaking the Fallen to a Guns N’ Roses influence on City of Evil and Avenged Sevenfold.  At first, I didn’t like it, but as time went on, it made sense.  I love both of those bands, why wouldn’t they?  Only AC/DC fans like the same album over & over again.  This was an excellent paring, as the riff is just more evil and menacing than anything  else I’ve ever heard Slash play… and I can’t imagine anyone vocally pulling this off any better. (For reference,  see “Chains and Shackles”.)  I really would have a hard time telling that this wasn’t a straight-up A7X song, and I can typically pick out Slash’s guitar work in just a few notes.  There’s more shredding here, within the blues context that Slash likes to stay in, and within the confines of the song… but again, I would love a whole album of songs like this form Slash.  It’s odd to hear him playing Metallica-styled palm-muted chugging even though I know he’s a big fan of theirs.  Speaking of Metallica… why wasn’t Lars or James on this thing?
  12. “Starlight” Myles Kennedy is the only one to feature twice vocally on the proper US album release.  This is another bluesy/gospel sort of ballad that could have easily went on either Snakepit
  13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” – Yeah.  I’m wholly unfamiliar with Rocco DeLucca who sings for this one… and really, I think I’m glad.  I mean, the guitar work is beautiful and quiet here… and shows great range… but I really can’t regard the vocals as anything more than annoying.  I’m sorry if it offends you, but I hate this kind of crap, and the crap  thatit reminds me of… like Dave Matthews and Coldplay.
  14. “Were All Gonna Die” – Slash dusts off Iggy Pop for this one which acts as the closer to the regular US release.  Iggy sounds bored, and the song is a little slow.  I’d actually love to hear Duff sing this one… and for the tempo to be upped a little bit.  Duff has a great punk sensibility, and like I said Iggy just sounds bored.  You’d think a song that stars out with the line “Gee I really like your tits” would be a little more raucous.  Maybe I just expected more from this pairing?  “Home” off of Iggy’s Brick by Brick album features Slash & Duff, and it hits a little harder than this one.  Still, it’s not a ad tune, and gets better with every listen.

Well, that’s all the normal tracks.  I’ve managed to hear all of the bonus tracks form the various albums, and I’ll give my run-down here…

  • “Sahara” – This one’s from the Japanese release and the iTunes release.  It features Japanese rocker Koshi Inaba of the Japaneze rock band/duo B’z.  This sounds like a Winger or Poison song.  It’s the closest Slash has ever sounded to that… and I love some Poison… but this is super-cheese.  This was the first single overall, released only in Japan.  I bet they loved this one… it’s #4 on the Japan charts according to Wikipedia.  This one can be found with both English and Japanese lyrics.
  • “Chains and Shackles” – I mentioned this before during the “Nothing to Say” review… basically it’s the the same base, with some slightly different ingredients… provided by Nick Oliveri,  of Kyuss/Mondo Generator/Queens of the Stone Age.  Had I not heard the other first, I may dig this one a little more.  This is a heavy hard-hitting song with some killer structures & vocals… but I just liked what Slash & M. Shadows did with it in “I Hold On” more.  Slash also talked about giving this one to Dave Mustane… I’d love to hear that.  This is on the Australian iTunes edition.
  • “Paradise City” – This is an odd collection:  Cypress Hill, Fergie, and Slash covering Guns N’ Roses.  This was a B0side to the “Sahara” single as well as being on the Australian iTunes, Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, and Brazilian versions.  (This is according to Wikipedia… I bought mine at Best Buy, and this isn’t on it.)  This wasn’t really a surprise, as I’ve seen  Slash, Duff, Dave Kushner & Matt Sorum do this with Cypress Hill before.  Fergie rounds out the vocals nicely imitating Axl.  This is Campy and fun, and really shouldn’t be taken beyond that.  I enjoy it.
  • “Mother Maria” – On this song, Slash teamed up with Beth Hart to help Linkin Park’s Music for Relief charity.  I have no idea who Beth Hart is, but she sure can sing.  This is a country-tinged blues song with a real nice groove.  It rides the mellow/rocking line… and feels like it could spill over in either direction any minute.  This track is available on the iTunes version of the album.
  • “Baby Can’t Drive” – This is apparently what happens when Slash, Alice Cooper, Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls), Steven Adler (classic GN’R drummer & VH1 reality show train-wreck), and Flea all get together.  I know Alice has always been theatrical… but this seems like a Meatloaf song with all the love & sex taken out.  I can see why this wasn’t included on the album.  Flea is known for being a wild/crazy bass player… and there’s no way you can even tell it’s him here.  It’s good to see that Adler can still play drums.  You can get this on the Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, Brazillian, and “Classic Rock Slashpack” editions.

Well, that’s it track-by-track.  Hope it made you more interested in the album if you’re a Slash fan, and certainly I hope I didn’t deter anyone from listening to a track or two.  I didn’t get to mention that Josh Freese is on drums for most of this album… I think he’s the only guy that does more session work than Slash or maybe Dave Grohl.  If you have a band, check and see if Josh Freese is a member.  I bet you he is, and you just don’t know it yet.  Josh holds it down nice & solid.  Oddly enough, he was also in Guns N’ Roses for a while, and played the title track on Chinese DemocracyTeddy Andreadis was on it playing the clavient & wurlitzer too.  So that makes 6 past members of GN’R on one album, 4 of them from the classic lineup?  Can we please, someday get our shit together, guys?  Before someone dies?

Conspicuously absent were Slash’s VR band mates Matt Sorum & Dave Kushner, but maybe that’s calculated and why it’s a “solo” project… although you know Duff  had to make it in.  Also, didn’t Sebastian Bach tweet about being in the studio & on this album?  I wonder if he ever recorded a track, or if he went all “Savage Animal” in the studio?  Also… what ever happened to Gilby Clarke?  I would have thought that Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee would have popped up here too.  I’d also like to have seen some more guitarists.. but this is Slash’s solo record, not mine.

Here’s the album trailer from Slash’s website

I’m anxious to hear if anyone agrees or disagrees with me on the song analysis… please, let me know what you think!

Nick Oliveri

Under the Golden Arches?


Wow, I think I got a reply from this faster than I was in line the last time I went through the McDonald’s drive-through.  You can read the original message with yesterday’s “O’Ffended“, or see the full text below included in their reply.

from McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 5:24 AM
subject Message from McDonald’s USA

Hello Eric:

Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s.

We appreciate your comments.  I apologize for your dissatisfaction with our company.  Please know that I have immediately forwarded this information to the appropriate personnel for further review.

Again, thank you for contacting McDonald’s. We hope to have the opportunity of serving you again soon under the Golden Arches.

Jessica
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

ref#:6711209

————————————————————————————————————–

Please do not “reply” to this email response. No “replies” can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at http://www.mcdonalds.com

————————————————————————————————————–

McDonald’s now has FREE WiFi at over 11,000 U.S. locations! Find out more at http://www.mcdwireless.com.

You wrote:

Hello friends, You may not know that “Mick/Mic/Mc” is listed in the Racial Slur Database as “Irish | Many Irish surnames begin with ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac.’ Many Irish are also named after the famed Michael Collins, making Michael (Mick) a very common name. Not as derogatory as Paddy.”  I was wondering, in an ever-increasingly politically correct society, why you would continue to use the “Mc” prefix on your items and promotions?

As an American of Irish and Scottish descent, I can’t hep but wonder if I should feel celebrated, or offended?

I mean, the Shamrock Shake is indeed awesome.  Who can get angry about those?  (Except maybe Grimace, who’s no longer around to promote them?)

I realize that the original brothers were named “McDonald”, but why the “Mc” or “Mac” in “McNuggets”, “McCaf??”, “Mayor McCheese”, “Big Mac” or any other McWord? ie – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McWords

Do you feel any responsibility for the Mc-inization of the USA?

Thank you for your time, I can’t wait to hear from you!

-Eric

I wonder who the appropriate parties are… and what do they mean by “under the Golden Arches”?  Is that where Jimmy Hoffa is buried?

Review: Dethlehem – The Ghorusalem Codex Vol 1: Enthroned Upon A Spire (2009)


Well, it’s not my review, it’s from All Metal Resource… but it’s a good review, even if I disagree with the part about the vocals.  These cats deserve attention.

Check out the review:  Review: Dethlehem – The Ghorusalem Codex Vol 1: Enthroned Upon A Spire (2009)

I should make my own review… but I’m really not well versed in newer metal, so I don’t know if I’d be drawing any of the right comparisons.  All I know is that when I pop it into the CD player or when it pops up in my mp3 player, I really dig it.

And check out the band…

You won’t be sorry!

(Another) Message from McDonald’s USA [ref#:6502666 & ref#:6521333]


I never got a reply from McDonald’s going any farther than the original “we’ll forward it to the appropriate party” email.  So, I decided to reply.  Nothing to lose, right?  Well, I couldn’t directly reply, because of the incredibly blunt “No ‘replies’ can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at www.mcdonalds.compart of their email.  So, back to the McWebform I went!  I even included the fancy ref#:6502666.

Well, it apparently worked!

From: McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Wed, December 9, 2009 5:09:19 AM
Subject: Message from McDonald’s USA

Hello Eric:

Thank you for taking the time to re-contact McDonald’s Customer Service Center. I’m sorry you have not yet received a local response regarding your recent McDonald’s restaurant experience.

Please know we take your comments very seriously. I will immediately re-contact the franchise owner of the restaurant you visited and request that he or she follow-up with you as soon as possible.

Please be assured your complete satisfaction is our top priority. Thank you for your patience and for taking the time to re-contact McDonald’s Customer Service Center.

Jimelle
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

ref#:6521333

————————————————————————————————————–

Please do not “reply” to this email response. No “replies” can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at www.mcdonalds.com

————————————————————————————————————–

Are you finished with your holiday shopping? Even the person with everything gets hungry. An Arch Card makes a great holiday gift. For more information visit your local McDonald’s restaurant or our website at http://www.mcdonalds.com/archcard.

You wrote:

Hello,

Regarding my last message from Ashley at McDonald’s customer service… ref#:6502666

I was told not to reply to the email… hopefully that reference # can refer you to my earlier message.

I think it’s a very poor setup that you have… not being able to reply to emails.

Your message to me said “Because most McDonald’s restaurants are independently owned and operated, I have forwarded your comments to the franchise owner or local representative for follow up at the restaurant you visited. Please be assured that your comments will be investigated and, if appropriate, corrective action will be taken.

Secondly, although we did not completely meet your expectations, please know that our restaurant employees strive to maintain the highest standards of quality, service, cleanliness and value and it’s certainly nice to know that their efforts are appreciated. We want to recognize your complimentary comments and thank you for your kind words.

Was anyone at that McDonald’s contacted?

Will I get a reply?

And, then, it was followed up by this…

From: Sandra Jaeger sandra.jaeger@gmail.com
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Wed, December 9, 2009 7:07:00 PM
Subject: Fwd: Follow up of e-mail for the West Liberty Avenue Restaurant

From: Sandra Jaeger sandra.jaeger@gmail.com
Date: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 7:02 PM
Subject: Follow up of e-mail for the West Liberty Avenue Restaurant
To: [complete@misspelling.of.my.email.address]
Dear Eric

I am the Customer Service Representative of the West Liberty Avenue Restaurant. I unfortunately did not receive your first e-mail.  Please fill me in on the situation.   I am located in the Pittsburgh area and will address all issues to the supervisors of this restaurant.
Sincerely,
Sandra Jaeger

How cool is that?  Ha ha ha.  An actual response!  Funny that it “didn’t get through” the first time.  Very funny.  Also funny that it went to a complete misspelling of my email address, those of you who have it will find it amusing.  There was a “.” where a “_” should be as well, as a few incorrect letters.  (Not transposed, incorrect.)

So, of course, I had to write back…

From: me@my.email.address
To: Sandra Jaeger sandra.jaeger@gmail.com
Sent: Wed, December 9, 2009 10:00:58 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Follow up of e-mail for the West Liberty Avenue Restaurant

Hello Sandra,

Thanks you for the reply!  I have always wondered if the emails that you get in reply to webforms at sites like the McDonald’s one are anything more than a standard form letter.  In reply to my first message, the response said “I have forwarded your comments to the franchise owner or local representative for follow up at the restaurant you visited.”  I had wondered if this really was the case…  Apparently not, until I took the time to reply with a second message asking if it had really gone any further.  I’m glad I took the time to follow up!

I  find it amusing that my original comments did not make it to you.  It makes me wonder how many emails remain unanswered daily when filtered through the McWebform.  This is not your problem though, as you are obviously concerned and addressing this issue now.

My original comments were regarding a visit that I had over a week ago now, in an evening stop at the McDonald’s on West Liberty Ave. in Beechview or Dormont or whatever the neighborhood may be there.

My original message was…

The crew in the place tonight seemed to be operating well, were friendly, and quickly as far as the food was concerned, but the parking lot was full of cars for the bar next door, and the men’s bathroom was disgusting.  Please see this link for a review & photos: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346713/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/McDonalds-Pittsburgh

That pointed to a review that I posted on UrbanSpoon.com, which you can read here…
“Sadly, had the best service there tonight in years…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (98 reviews)
November 29, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Small crew tonight, decent night-time crowd, stopped for a late dinner, was served relatively quickly… fries were a perfect golden color and hot… burgers were OK, super-greasy but it IS McDonald’s. We were out at an event earlier, on the way home… had to use the facilities… but they were trashed. Stall #1 had no TP dispenser, the roll was on the back of the commode, and the bowl was chock full of the stuff. Stall #2 had a broken doorknob/lock mechanism. One hand dryer was stuck on, the other didn’t work, and both urinals were full of urine. I know they can’t control flushing… but periodic checks/cleanings and some repairs might be in order.  Just when I thought this place had their stuff together for once… My advice? When stopping here, use the facilities somewhere else. 1 person likes this review

…and these are the photos referenced:

Stall #1

Stall #2

I understand that the fact that at that time of night, there’s perhaps a smaller than usual crew, and that the West Liberty Ave. location is seemingly always busy.  I have been through the drive-thru at this time of night before, and it always seems slow, though it’s thankfully not as slow as the Wendy’s right down the street.  Those people have a whole different set of issues.  My friends and I call it “The Slow Wendy’s”.

I was just wondering what kind of cleaning & maintenance policies that you have in place?  Does management or ownership do any kind of inspection or follow-up?  Do inspections my the corporation ever occur?  I mean, surely you can’t think the photos above are an acceptable presentation of your restaurant chain?

I don’t know about you, but when I “gotta go”, it’s urgent!  The urinals looked filthy, si I opted for the stalls… one was stuffed, and one had a door that wouldn’t close.  I like to do my business in private, no interruptions.  Closing doors are a good thing!  Also… the lack of a TP dispenser, & the roll just being on the back of the thing…  I cannot imagine what would have happened had I needed to use that.  I mean, how uncomfortable would it be to reach behind yourself like that after…  Well, after doing your thing?

Thank you for your time, and the follow up.  I appreciate the fact that you took the time to inquire about the issue.

Sincerely,
-Eric

Maybe I should have included a link to the Wendy’s incident?  Not yet, my friends.  Not yet. I can’t wait to see what kind of response I get this time.  I love when it gets down to a real live person in charge of something.

Message from McDonald’s USA [ref#:6502666]


Heh.  McDonald’s wrote back about my brief stop and UrbanSpoon.com review (posted with pictures) the other night.

Here’s the message below, that rides the “impersonally personal response” line quite well.

Someone got rid of the pictures at UrbanSpoon.com… perhaps they were flagged as inappropriate?  I can see that.  Oh well, no reason I can’t show them here.

Stall #1

Stall #2

Here’s my review…

photo prime
“Sadly, had the best service there tonight in years…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (98 reviews)
November 29, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Small crew tonight, decent night-time crowd, stopped for a late dinner, was served relatively quickly… fries were a perfect golden color and hot… burgers were OK, super-greasy but it IS McDonald’s. We were out at an event earlier, on the way home… had to use the facilities… but they were trashed. Stall #1 had no TP dispenser, the roll was on the back of the commode, and the bowl was chock full of the stuff. Stall #2 had a broken doorknob/lock mechanism. One hand dryer was stuck on, the other didn’t work, and both urinals were full of urine. I know they can’t control flushing… but periodic checks/cleanings and some repairs might be in order.  Just when I thought this place had their stuff together for once… My advice? When stopping here, use the facilities somewhere else.

1 person likes this review Recommend

And here’s their response with my message submitted through the McWebform following below…

From: McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com
To: eric_aixelsyd@yahoo.com
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 5:14:49 AM
Subject: Message from McDonald’s USA

Hello Eric:
Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s Customer Service Center to bring your recent experience to our attention.First, I hope you will accept my sincere apology for your disappointment in McDonald’s. I can assure you that we want you to be completely satisfied every time you visit one of our restaurants.Because most McDonald’s restaurants are independently owned and operated, I have forwarded your comments to the franchise owner or local representative for follow up at the restaurant you visited. Please be assured that your comments will be investigated and, if appropriate, corrective action will be taken.

 

Secondly, although we did not completely meet your expectations, please know that our restaurant employees strive to maintain the highest standards of quality, service, cleanliness and value and it’s certainly nice to know that their efforts are appreciated. We want to recognize your complimentary comments and thank you for your kind words.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s and giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. Customer feedback is very important to us as it helps us improve. McDonald’s is number one because of customers like you.

Ashley
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

ref#:6502666

————————————————————————————————————–

Please do not “reply” to this email response. No “replies” can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at www.mcdonalds.com

You wrote:

The crew in the place tonight seemed to be operating well, were friendly, and quickly as far as the food was concerned, but the parking lot was full of cars for the bar next door, and the men’s bathroom was disgusting.  Please see this link for a review & photos: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346713/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/McDonalds-Pittsburgh

Rarely is this kind of stuff ever followed up by the local chain. I don’t know if that’s indicative of stores nation-wide, or just in our area.  Then again… it gets me wondering…  I put my address in that webform… and my photo is up at UrbanSpoon.com.

Bad idea?

Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5


Heh. This is an older amusing one that wasn’t covered in my post about past W(aL)D insanity.

This one isn’t really completely in the W(aL)D category, as it’s a legitimate complaint… but still, it’s ridiculous enough to share. Below is the my initial email regarding the incident, and I actually broke my “no calls” rule to talk to a regional manager who was not amused.

You can see what she had to say as it all played out in a thread at PittsburghBeat.com.

At any rate, it pays to make problems like this known.

Enjoy!

-mE.
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

Forwarded Message —-
From: Eric Carroll <me@myaddre.ss>
To: dnstech@wendys.com; dnsadmin@wendys.com
Sent: Mon, January 26, 2009 11:45:04 AM
Subject: Wendy’s in Dormont (Pittsburgh, PA) – W. LIBERTY #5

Hello,

I’d like to share with you a review of my experience at a local Wendy’s (W. LIBERTY #5 according to the Wendy’s store locator), also posted on UrbanSpoon.com. I don’t have very many “bad” reviews up, but this Wendy’s location has gone slow and messed up my order countless times.

I’d like to know how Wendy’s as a corporation feels about restaurants like this, and what (if any) measures are taken by corporate to see that this kind of thing doesn’t go on.

The full text of my review can be viewed here: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346715/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/Wendys-Old-Fashioned-Hamburgers-Dormont-Pittsburgh

But I will also post it here for your consideration:

4084prime

“Dave Thomas would be ashamed…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (63 reviews)

January 26, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Seriously. I know I”ve said these words before about McDonald’s… I get that it’s only fast food, it’s cheap, and that I shouldn’t expect much… but holy cow, is this consistently one of the slowest “fast food” restaurants that I’ve ever been to. Of course, like an idiot, I keep going back hoping that it might someday be an actual convenience. Let me share with you my latest adventure…

Sunday morning, my wife & I were on our way out to my Mom’s house in the ‘Burbs… so we thought we’d get a quick bite to eat. It was nearing the 11:00am mark, so I knew we were going to hit the breakfast/lunch changeover. We skipped the McDormontonald’s because the drive-thru line looked like rush hour in the Liberty tubes. Thankfully, Wendy’s appeared to be a ghost town. There was hardly anyone inside, and there was one car ahead of us in the drive-thru but they were all the way up at the window.

As we pulled up to the speaker to place our order, I asked if they were serving breakfast or lunch, & was informed that they were serving both. So, I ordered the breakfast chicken sandwich combo, and the wife ordered the #2 bacon panini combo.

After receiving the order in what would be considered a long wait in a normal fast food environment but translated to remarkably quick at this location, I pulled into a nearby spot to inspect the goods. (Sadly, a must any more.)We discovered that my order was fine, but the wife had received a sausage panini instead of the ordered bacon panini. I checked the receipt to see if I had mis-ordered the # of the combo. Nope. The receipt clearly stated BACON in that nifty dot-matrix receipt font.

My wife’s not a big fan of sausage patties, and she was reluctantly leaning toward just eating it because time was of the essence. I know I like to eat what I ordered & paid for, so I went inside to get what I thought would be a simple swap-out.

Oh my, was I wrong.

My first encounter was with the young girl at the cash register. I politely stated that we had just gone through the drive-thru and that I wanted to exchange the sausage panini that we had received for the bacon one that we ordered.

I was told that breakfast was over & that hey couldn’t make a bacon one. After a slight pause of disbelief and bewilderment, I told her that I had just been handed the sandwich less that a minute ago through the drive-thru window… and it had been made just seconds before that.

She then yelled for her manager, and I stepped aside so she could help the next customer.

Now, while never working at a fast food establishment, I do understand that changeover time is changeover time… something to do with eggs on the cooking surface and kitchen setup and all sorts of things that are surely beyond my comprehension as the average fast food consumer.

After a wait the manager (coincidentally the very same person who handed me the order through the drive-thru window) came over and I again explained my situation… and he looked at me. Yes. Just stared blankly at me. For an awkwardly long time. I actually started to wonder if he understood English & was capable of hearing. Compelled to break the silence, I even showed him the receipt that clearly said BACON. All caps. No confusion!

Again, I was met with “we’re serving lunch now, we can’t make that”. OK. I understand. I get that. The point now is what can you do for me?

I asked if I could get something else as compensation, and/or get my money back. (I think I was growing visibly frustrated by this point.)

I called the wife, explained to her the complexity of the situation, and she decided upon a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. So, I asked for one of those… and waited… and waited… While a guy who had gone in line in front of me had ordered during my exchange with the manager was waiting too.

After a while he exclaimed with multiple expletives that it was a ridiculously long wait, and how it was un-f’n-believable that a fast food restaurant with 3 people in it and a packed kitchen could go so slow.

I could hardly contain my laughter as I was also driven to the limits of my patience.

After what was surely sufficient time to cook & assemble 20 Jr. Bacon cheeseburgers, I received that, AND my money back for the sausage panini (which was now in the trash right behind the counter). So, I guess I got a free cheeseburger, hash browns & a drink.

I never did get any kind of apology, or admittance that they had messed up the order. (Which bewilders me that one can read bacon off of a screen and put down sausage… but I’m certainly not above making mistakes… so I can’t fault anyone for that.)

I just find it amazing that they weren’t apologizing from the start and presenting a solution instead of waiting for me to come up with one.

You’d think they’d have a “keep the customer happy” policy in place. Don’t they teach you any of this when you go to school to be a manager at Wendy’s?Take mom n’ pop shops… if they screw up an order or take too long, they’d give you a discount or a free drink or a coupon for next time… and they’re certainly taking more of a profit hit than a chain that would do the same thing.

At any rate, don’t go to Wendy’s in Dormont if you’re in a hurry, or if you actually want what you ordered.

I like Wendy’s. I grew up eating at the one in Murrysville, I frequent the one in Canonsburg for lunch. You have decent food for a cheap price, and I generally feel that the quality is better than that of other fast food chains.

I’d love to be able to eat peacefully and grab a quick bite to eat at the Wendy’s closest to where I live.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my experience, and I look forward to your reply.

Thank you for your time, and listening to my story.

-Eric Carroll

me@myaddre.ss

Insanity.

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers (Dormont) on Urbanspoon