Declination release strong new album, Human Blood

The stage lights dim, the monitors hum and tension builds as Joe West prepares to take the stage. He tunes his guitar and checks over his setlist, as he has hundreds of times before. West has been at it for years now, playing rock/metal shows, self-recording and releasing albums under the project name “Declination.” However tonight is special. For the first time he will be playing songs of his newly released album “Human Blood.”

Following the lead of his first E.P. “Abyss” (2012), “Human Blood” contains brutal, invigorating riffs, with technical breakdowns and dark, disturbing lyrical imagery.

“He is definitely stepping his game up with this album,” senior Chris Richter said, “The overall production quality of this album is fantastic, from the song structure and transitions, right down to the album art.”

The first track of the album “Prelude” offers a ghoulish and completely unnerving monologue to set the theme for the rest of the album in its twisted and tortured nature. The lyrical content throughout the next 13 minutes that make up the rest of the album is a combination of harsh social commentary and almost maniacal fantasies.

“The album (to me at least), is a reflection of human life, nature, and habits,” West said.

As someone who is not generally a fan of thrash metal, I have been surprised by Declination time and time again. I’ve known West personally for several years and have had the privilege to watch him grow as an artist. The musicianship displayed on this album, (and in live performances), is phenomenal and inspiring. Even if you are not a fan of metal or rock in general, I would definitely give this album a listen.

The album can be streamed offline for free at here or purchased for a donation of a dollar or more.

Despite murderous rampages, GTA V is captivating

Upon its release Rockstar Games “Grand Theft Auto V” sales broke $800 million globally within 24 hours.

Divide that number by 60, the average price of the game, and you get the number of people who jumped at their first chance to virtually assume the role of a hardened gangster.

Virtual gangster and senior Tim Ewen said, “The whole GTA series makes up some of my favorite games. I really like the upgrades from IV to V.  The graphics are better and the gameplay is more intuitive.”

Countless people gave the game such great reviews that I had to give it a try for myself.

Upon putting the game into my console I was greeted by a hooker on the load screen, followed by flashing photos of sketchy looking people.  To some one not seasoned by the cold hard streets of GTA I, II, III, and IV, this might seem inappropriate or even offensive.  I wasn’t too surprised.

The game started with some captivating and high-action missions intended to give the player a feel for certain new controls and give a little back story.  After completing the setup to the story mode, I got to dig into what I really enjoy: wreaking havoc on the city of Los Santos.

I noticed while playing that the driving is a lot more sensitive than previous Grand Theft Auto games which gives you more control over the things you can do.

Like the previous games, there are five stars in the upper in right hand corner of the screen.  A star illuminates for every level of how wanted you are by law enforcement.  I started my rampage by stealing some cars and plowing down people.

The fuzz came after me with full force.  My streak ended in a bloody shoot out with the police.  It sounds terrible, but there is definitely an addictive element to this game.  The release of the game caused many absences in school for a day or two to come.

“I didn’t sleep any more than five hours for the first three days,” Ewen reported, “It’s too addicting.”  The game takes about three days to complete if you’re a go hard like Ewen.

The game play is captivating, and the story is great.  We all owe Rockstar Games a thank you, for once again allowing kids and young adults to let out their murderous rampages virtually. My overall rating:  five out of five.