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About Ian

Another post-Barthian Thomist Midwesterner growing weary of irony and exhausted by works righteousness but otherwise pointing up every fantasticity strewn throughout the 'verse. Thanks for reading!

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    New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

    New Blackened Dawn Approaching: Deafheaven as a Mirror in the Darkness

    There’s something deliciously ironic in the fact that a blisteringly hot summer such as this one should serve as a portal for bone-chillingly cold black metal in the form of a new Deafheaven LP. But yea verily, the underworld doth cackle at the fittingness of said album launching on Friday the 13th. Swirling within this nebula of polar opposites and apposite poetics is the culmination of Deafheaven’s development, an album whose cohesion and strange sonic palette shows the world they are more energetically themselves than ever.

    To date, Deafheaven have released three full-lengths: Roads to Judah (2011), Sunbather (2013), and New…

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    Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

    Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

    Spoilers ahead.

    Consider yourself warned.

    For ten years now Marvel has been patiently building a universe, populating it with heroes and heroines equal parts human and super-powered, propelling all of them towards a titanomachy we imagined they could be prepared for but in reality are largely powerless against.

    Avengers: Infinity War offers our protagonists (and, sympathetically, the audience) various electives of sacrifice—not to elect between sacrificing and not-sacrificing, but to opt for one of the alternatives in a series of cruel binary determinations. Infinity War requires the surrendering of one or another of our heroes’ convictions to perhaps save the universe, but holds…

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    If Only In My Dreams

    If Only In My Dreams

    I love Christmas music. I say that fully aware of the considerable aesthetic shortcomings that this love means I must endure, and yet every year as dusk falls upon Thanksgiving Day, I tune in like a character in a Lou Reed song waiting for their man. I find it easy to overlook the saccharine sweetness that under most other circumstances would be a disincentive, to say the absolute least: at no other point in time would I ever even consider sitting through an entire Barry Manilow song. But if it’s “Jingle Bells” with Expose then you bet your duff I’m…

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    The Failure of the Prequels and the Fidelity of Creators

    The Failure of the Prequels and the Fidelity of Creators

    The release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi has sent shockwaves of emotional heft throughout known space. Scores of Simeons awaiting the consolation of geekdom have found it in this latest installment, a truly surprising tour-de-force that delivers a similar blend of space opera wonder and classical tragedy the justly revered Empire Strikes Back administered thirty-seven years ago. Whether you left The Force Awakens wanting more or just wanting, rest assured: you will catch every one of the feels from The Last Jedi. The fact remains, however, that Force Awakens isn’t the dumpster fire…

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    Every Tear That Falls Must Converge: A Review of The Dusk In Us

    Every Tear That Falls Must Converge: A Review of The Dusk In Us

    After five long years, hardcore legends Converge are back. Their first album since 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind, The Dusk In Us is an aptly titled exploration of the hurts and promises latent within a world receding from the light. And while Converge have matured with this album, that maturation in no way implies a mellowing of their characteristically caustic delivery. Scabrous, frenetic bombardments of metallic guitars and hyperkinetic drums support Jacob Bannon’s gargling-with-broken-glass vocals in ways both more damning and more life-affirming than ever. For no other band in this vale of tears better encapsulates the law/gospel…

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    He Descended Into Horror

    He Descended Into Horror

    The approach of Halloween and Reformation Day begs an interesting question for the modern Tertullian: what hath Halloween to do with Jerusalem? As a rhetorical move, the implied answer is: nothing at all. In the eyes of many a pious Protestant, it is some rough beast that slouches off towards Halloween while soldiers of the five solas parade to the fanfare of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” “Trick or treat!” and “Here I stand” seem poles apart, incommensurately opposite. But what if the convergence of the two in one day presents an apposite moment for reflecting upon solus Christus…

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    In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

    In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

    Everybody!!

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story delivers magnificently on the promise Star Wars fans have known still lurked within the franchise but struggled to manifest over the last seventeen years of films. Yes, I’m hyperventilating a little–but so will you. Rogue One is so excellent it would be easy to drown the internet in superlatives praising it but part of the excitement that accompanies it is the sheer wonder of witnessing a story that celebrates heroism and hope without resorting to the stale devices that characterize so many blockbusters. Gareth Edwards has composed an elegy to broken human beings consecrated to…

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    Halloween Is For All the Saints

    Halloween Is For All the Saints

    Do I love Halloween because I love darkness? That’s a trick question, albeit an unintentional one. Do I love darkness? Yes. Every son and daughter of Adam loves darkness, John records for us in the light of Nicodemus’ bumbling nighttime interview with Jesus. Our inheritance as a race is a disavowal of the light and an embrace of gloom and death. So am I somehow an exception that escapes the charge? Not at all. But is this affirmation the bottom line for why I delight in Halloween? For some the answer will be an obvious “Yes”, but I think the…

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    Ian & Blake's Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

    Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

    Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. Here’s this year’s final spooky top-five! Before you dive in, make sure you don’t miss last week’s installment on the best introductions to horror for kids.

    5. “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James (1904)

    This entry is a spring-loaded little yarn from M.R. James, the early 20th century master of the English ghost story, and follows Parkins, an antiquary investigating the ruin of a Templar preceptory. While searching through the remains he discovers a whistle inscribed with Latin and translates the…

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    Ian & Blake's Terrifying Top Fives: October's Creepiest Urban Legends

    Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: October’s Creepiest Urban Legends

    Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. This month, keep your eyes peeled for weekly top-five horror lists–with blistering #hottakes below. Be sure not to miss last week’s installment on horror double features, too!

    5. The Man In the Backseat

    This urban legend, like many others, takes a mundane scenario (driving home at night) and downloads an entirely new operating system into it. It toys with our capacities to intuit danger by presenting us with the “obvious” threat–the truck menacingly tailing the protagonist, repeatedly flashing its high beams and following her every…

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    To the End of the Line: Captain America: Civil War and the Demands of Love

    To the End of the Line: Captain America: Civil War and the Demands of Love

    How far would you go for your friend?

    Not an acquaintance, not an associate, not a work buddy: a friend, your companion, the counterpart whom you love. To what length would you go to protect her? Is there anything that would compel you to hesitate rushing to his side? What if the entire world were arrayed against him? Would you consider what the world had to say for even a second? Or would you grit your teeth and absorb its fury like a lightning rod for the one you love? Captain America: Civil War poses this question and shows us how…

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    The Word Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, pt 2

    The Word Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, pt 2

    To read part one, click here.

    (End)notes From Underground

    As much as Wallace’s bottoming out (and subsequent halfway house rehabilitation) contributed to the figure we now recognize as DFW, what proved decisive for the transformation of his moral imagination was his discovery of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky modeled earnest engagement with moral matters without succumbing to stale, propagandistic kitsch. As with any icon, Wallace grew to resemble Dostoevsky the more he fixed his gaze upon him and identified his experience with Dostoevsky’s. Both were authors of promise who experienced imprisonments, brushes with death, and nearly complete losses of hope before the gift of…

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