I Hope You Like Long Songs

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Ahh… Atmospheric Black Metal. If I had to pick an absolute favorite sub-sub-genre of music, this would probably be it. Why, you ask? Even though I discovered metal early on, I never really loved the most extreme and harsh metal. It got boring too quickly for me. I needed a dash of something else to keep interest. That something else was usually melodic or clean sections or atmosphere of some kind. Ever feel like music “transports” you somewhere else? I think atmospheric black metal really capitalizes on that feeling. Where it transports you will largely depend on your imagination. Even…

Blackgaze can be a term or genre that a lot of traditional metalheads shudder over. It combines black metal’s screeched vocals, blast beats, and extreme distortion with shoegaze’s ethereal, dreamy soundscapes. This may seem immiscible at first, but these two things blend together quite well. It has become one of my favorite sub-genres of metal and I think it has a lot of room to expand in the future. Blackgaze offers something a bit different than just atmospheric or ambient black metal. The sound seems more coherent and distinct. …

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My introduction to electronic music was not conventional, to say the least. When I was young, I knew in the back of my head I always would like electronic music, but simply didn’t know where to find it. I enjoyed a lot of video game soundtracks, namely Donkey Kong County, Zelda, Tetrisphere, Starcraft, Final Fantasy, among many others. Fast forward a few years, I did enjoy the occasional “techno” song such as Da Rude’s Sandstorm or Avicii’s Levels. I know these aren’t truly “techno” but that’s how I think of them. These songs never really pulled me into the genre…


Here’s How It Unfolded.

Pinnacles National Park. Photo by Author

2020 was going to be a big year. My wife & I had countless concerts, festivals, visits with friends, and small trips planned. Most excitingly, we were going to visit mainland Europe for the first time together. Three weeks in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. We bought new backpacks and started booking hotels and flights in February.

Needless to say, absolutely none of those fun things happened. By mid-March, our focus quickly shifted to our job security. Like most of the world, we hunkered down for a few months hoping this would all be over by summer. Our jobs were…

Travel Tips. Driving. Iceland.

Essential Driving Tips

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Iceland is a unique, beautiful country, and I would encourage anyone to visit there. However, you will most likely need to rent a car. There is very little public transportation in Iceland. There are some bus routes and bus tours, but you will be stuck to their schedule with many other people. There are no trains, and taxis/rideshares are limited. Nothing will give you the freedom and flexibility that renting your own vehicle will.

Renting (and Refueling) a Car is Expensive!

I don’t want to post specific prices because they fluctuate so much they’ll quickly become out of date. It…

Music is a Universal Language

The idea of listening to music in other languages can be completely foreign to some (see what I did there?). Why should I listen to it if I can’t understand what they’re saying? For me, I think it comes down to authenticity. For example, when you visit another country, do you want to eat at the same old restaurant chains, or do you want to try authentic local food? It works that way in music too. When a band is from another country, I welcome singing in their native language. It increases the authenticity of the music and helps promote…

Albums That Enticed Me Into the Genre

When I was first discovering metal, a huge aspect that lured me in was acoustic interludes. Bands incorporating folk-like acoustic passages in otherwise heavier material seemed so ideal. Naturally, I thought, there must be bands out there that are strictly this folk sound that I enjoy so much. Of course there were — I just needed to know where to find them. This is my journey of the most important and influential albums that helped me discover “neofolk” or “folk-noir.”

Photo by Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash

What is Neofolk?

Neofolk can be a somewhat broad term. Its origins date back to the 1980s England punk rock…

Travel. USA. Kentucky.

Learn to Love Bourbon!

Aging Bourbon Barrels. Photo by Author

I had never drunk a glass of bourbon before 2013. I doubt if I could even name one brand of it back then. I was never really a hard liquor guy. But that all changed when I moved to “Kentuckiana” (Greater Louisville) around that time.

Kentucky might not be known as much of a tourist destination, but perhaps that’s part of the charm. Distillery tours have become one of my favorite things to do when family or friends come to visit. It’s a great way to share part of Kentucky’s rich culture and history and have a blast doing it.

It’s a Musical Scavenger Hunt!

Photo by Author

As a huge music nerd, I keep track of many aspects of the albums and artists I listen to. One of those aspects is their country of origin. In a way, it combines two of my greatest passions — traveling and music. A long time ago, I set a goal for myself to own albums from 50 different countries. One of my “rules” is that I would never buy something just to have a new country — I must actually enjoy it. On December 19, 2020, I finally reached that goal. I’m going to discuss some of the metal bands…

Life Hacks That Helped Me Improve Sleep Quality

Photo by Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash

Like many people, I’ve had bouts of insomnia in my life. I’ve read all the articles and tried everything I could to improve this. Strangely enough, stress doesn’t seem to play a part in not sleeping well for me. I’m generally a very chill and low-stress person. If I am stressed about something though, it doesn’t seem to correlate with my sleep quality too much. Stress can absolutely be a big factor in not sleeping well, though. These are things I’ve noticed that personally work for me.

I have spent the last 7 years working as a freelancer. This is…

Jason Kolenda

Traveler, Photographer, Music Enthusiast

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