The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Within Temptation Baby News!

I love hearing about baby news! It was just announced today that Sharon den Adel gave birth to a baby boy named Logan yesterday! Little Logan was a tad bit early - five weeks - but mother and baby are reported to be well! Congrats to Sharon & Robert, and Sharon I wish you fast healing!

Full story complete with a picture of baby Logan here on WT's site.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Out Now: Imperia's "Secret Passion"

Here was yet another spring release that came out on Friday, Imperia's Secret Passion.  Here is a trailer with some snippest of the music, which sounds really good.

I haven't been able to find a copy to listen to yet, but I look forward to it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Some News!

1. Leaves' Eyes is offering a preview of one of their upcoming songs from Meredead called "Velvet Heart" and you can listen to it either on their Facebook page or on their MySpace page.  It's very different, but I do like it!

2. I just heard via Blabbermouth yesterday that one of my favourite metal singers, Sarah Jezebel Deva has completed work on a new solo album!  It's called "The Corruption of Mercy."  There is no release date mentioned but here is another album in 2011 I can look forward to.

3. And thanks to the miracle of Facebook, I heard from the folks of Satyrian, one of my favourite Gothic metal outfits, that they are working on a new album and already have half the material done!  Yay!  Their debut album, Eternitas, was released in 2006, so it's been five loooooong years.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CD review: The Unforgiving by Within Temptation

I know that Canuck already posted here her review but I will post my one as well. I must say that I agree in most of the things she wrote. Sharon sounds great! I read many comments bitching about the new direction of WT. But I absolutely don’t mind it. In my opinion the best what band can do is to try new things. Sometimes they fail but this is not a case for WT I reckon. They idea of an concept album was good after all. Also the orchestra fits in the songs very well. But I was like “here we go again” when I read, that there are at least 3 different releases of  the album. So I will wait some time, before I will buy this album. I don’t want to swear all over the place again if they release another "super deluxe version" after couple of months. And the cover? Well I was like wtf???? when I saw it for the first time. But as an album based on comic book series it is a logical consequence.

Why Not Me –  just a prologue.  

Shot In the Dark – this one belongs to one of my favourites ones. Very nice opening track with catchy chorus and about 30 sec long guitar solo.

In the Middle of the Night – when I heard this track for the first time I was a bit confused. It reminded me of a dance band and not metal band with very long and diverse history. But since it was said many time, that The Unforgiving is going to be different I am not surprised with all the new elements of WT’s sound and I like them.

Faster – the first official track, but second I heard from the album. I like it very much. In my opinion this is a rock song and not metal. Anyway Sharon has stated many times, that they consider themselves “a symphonic rock band” so I have no probs at all with this song. Acutally I would love to hear it live one day. It has a lot of  energy. Love it!

Fire and Ice – one of the slower tracks. I wish they made this one only as an acoustic/orchestral piece. It would be very nice in my opinion.

Iron – I can’t help myself, but this one sounds to me as some kind of warrior’s song at least the chorus sounds so. Ready to take the weapons and start the fight. :D

Where Is the Edge – I heard it many times now so I skip it but it doesn’t mean that it is bad. I like the acoustic version which was already posted here.

Sinéad – this is my favourite of all! I love the feeling of this track and chorus of course. It lights up my mood anytime I hear it. Also I think that this one will be a blast live.

Lost – another slower piece. I like the graduation of this track and the acoustic opening. Another favourite track of mine.

Murder – I don’t know how they did it, but the chorus of most of the tracks are so catchy. And this one is not an exception either.

A Demon’s Fate – this one is missing on my list of favourite pieces. It’s too long and I got bored after first chorus. Another track with “long” guitar solo.

Stairway to the Skies – the third slow track on this album and also the last one for the standard edition. I like it and in my opinion very nice track to finish the album.

The Last Dance – an amazing song in my opinion. The atmosphere is simply magnific! I wonder why it ended up only as an bonus track. Probably didn’t fit the concept after all.

Empty Eyes and I Don’t Wanna are another bonus tracks. Unfortunately I was not able to find them and just heard the sample. But they sound promising.

So all in all I LOVE this album! It was definitely worth waiting for it. Now I hope that I will be able to see them live soon. I do not expect them to play any near my country but as soon as I'll be in Britain and them too I'll go no matter what. This is a must go.
Here is the video of bonus tracks samples.


Friday, March 25, 2011

CD Review: Within Temptation's "The Unforgiving"

After so much hype and so much promotion, finally, Within Temptation's The Unforgiving is in stores - if you're in Europe. If you're anywhere else, you're SOL. Unless you have the internet, then you can download a leaked copy, which is exactly what I did yesterday. To be clear, I have ordered the physical CD, but I won't get it until May, when the new Leaves' Eyes is released; this is because I combined a bunch of orders together to save shipping costs. I just couldn't wait to hear this after all the previews that have been posted on YouTube, Facebook, and WT's site.

My gut reaction right off the top: FUCKING AMAZING! I am so impressed and thrilled I barely know where to start and what to say. WT has said from the star that this release would sound very different from all their previous stuff, and very different it is indeed. The Unforgiving shows a definite evolution in the band's sound. It's faster than anything before, for one thing. You can hear the influence of 80s and 90s sountrack music in it, which I love because I have always loved rockin' soundtrack tunes. There are a lot of symphonic elements in the songs, which are woven in so seamlessly and so deftly you might you cannot compare them to the symphonic elements to previous WT CD's at all. Sharon den Adel's voice is also a big change here; she's very powerful, and I can tell that she is utilizing a completely different vocal style than she has before. She's a rock belter in this case, and it works so well, reminding me somewhat of Heart's Ann Wilson. In a way, too, this album has a much heavier overall sound. Before, I wondered why they had a second guitarist; he never seemed to add much to the sound and at times I wondered why they even had him - he was barely evident in most songs. The music The Unforgiving makes full use of their rhythm guitarist, Robert Westerholt; his parts are more discernable and add a richness to the band's sound and vibe. Lead guitarist, Rudd Jolie, gets way meatier material and there are some great solos to be heard on this album.

The Unforgiving is a concept album based on a comic book written by Steven O'Connell and illustrated by Romano Molenaar. Accompanying the comic book are a series of short films that play into the concept. The first one, Mother Maiden, introduces us to some of the characters and gives some insight into the overall plot. It also includes the video to "Faster", the album's first single - unedited as opposed to the official "Faster" video which had to be dumbed down for those with shorter attention spans. Upon watching this first short film, "Faster" took on new meaning for me, and I started making connections already as I had just seen the second short film, Sinéad, a few minutes previously. The music video for "Sinéad" of course tells more of the story.

All in all, as an experience, this is great shit! There is an epic background story with a discernable plot (Tobias Sammet, take notes here; your concepts are shite in comparison) and when you see all the parts combining into a whole through the videos, mixed with the music, The Unforgiving is pure win in terms of overall concept, vision, and writing. I used the word "experience" pointedly; that's what putting all these pieces together creates, and I am loving it to bits.

My personal favourites on the CD are "Faster"; "Sinéad", which has as cool club music feel in the background, which makes sense if you watch the video; "Where is the Edge" which was made into this music video for the Dutch movie Me & Mr Jones; and "In the Middle of the Night". But honestly, there isn't a weak song on this album at all, IMHO.

I can't say enough positive things about The Unforgiving. I can't wait for my CD to arrive in the mail; I I have the special edition coming, which includes a DVD with a bunch of videos. So excited! I hope WT comes to a bigger centre in western Canada because they are another band on my bucket list I'd kill to see live!

On Eargasms, Goosebumps, and Spinetingling

My good friend Barb, who is a fabulous music geek with such an open mind she even enjoys metal from time to time after I sent her a mixed CD with some of my favourite songs on it (she in turn put me onto one of my greatest finds for 2010, The Decemberists) writes for BC Musician Magazine, and this month she has a really interesting article in the issue that I thought was quite relevant to this site. In her piece, she explores some of the scientific reasons why we have such visceral responses to our favourite music, why we get eargasms, why we get that feeling of goosebumps and shivers when we hear a song we especially identify with or love. I still get all goosebumpy when I hear Ghost Love Score, for instance.

Here is the article. Enjoy!

Midnattsol: Second Metamorphosis Melody Trailer Released

April 22 is the date set for Midnattsol's Metamorphosis Melody CD release.  So excited!  There is apparently a special edition being released, with a bonus track and a live concert DVD.  Exerpts of that can be seen below in this trailer.

This is turning out to be such an awesome spring!

"The Unforgiving" by Within Temptation

I am really looking forward to listening to this new album! I'm in love with the "Faster" single and I already heard the samples and also read one review, which was very positive.

Here are the release dates of WT's new album:

March 25, 2011: Australia, Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK
March 28, 2011: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Israël, Slovenia/Croatia, Mexico
March 29, 2011: Italy, Spain
March 30, 2011: Finland, Korea, USA
April 6, 2011: Japan (postponed release due to the earthquake)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guess Who's Going to See Sabaton???

Fuck yeah, babies!  My friend emailed me with a nice surprise this evening after I lamented I had no one to attend Sabaton with in Vancouver Oct. 3.  She bought tickets and will fly in from wherever she is in the States at that time to go to the gig with me!

Sabaton is opening for Evergrey, along with Quebec's Blackguard, and two other bands I've never heard of, The Absence and Powerglove.

I am so stoked!  This is one of my bucket list bands - and it will be my first metal gig ever!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"To France" Trailer Released by Leaves' Eyes

I can't tell you how stoked I am about the upcoming Leaves' Eyes release, Meredead.  Today, this trailer of the first single & video from the album was released by the band.  If the music in the video here is any indication, this is going to be one awesome fucking album!

Laugh of the Day: Sabaton Vocalist's Wardrobe Malfunction!

Going through my Blabbermouth feed this morning while waking up to my usual coffee drink, this headline caught my eye. Being a Joakim fangirl, I was of course curious, and it turns out it was quite a hilarious incident! He reacted quite hilariously, too. Here is the video, and the wardrobe malfunction happens at about the 3:00 mark.

This is one band I'd kill to see live - they are just so good. Sabaton - come to Canada!

Edit @ 8:52am: OMG! This just popped up on Blabbermouth!  Talk about "ask and you shall receive!  Sabaton, Vancouver, October 3, at the Venue.  My brother lives a block away and I was  planning a trip to Vancouver in October anyway. Yessssss!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Metal from Canada: The Whiteboard Project

I just got back from a trip to Vancouver, where I visited with my friend who went to see Ninjaspy in Victoria at the end of February. As I assumed, Ninjaspy was not his cup of tea, and he also did happen to mention that he was the youngest person in the crowd - and he is the same age as I am, which is 36. My friend did say, however, that he kinda of liked the opening band, a Nanaimo, BC, outfit called The Whiteboard Project. I have just listened to their MySpace offerings and I have to say that I am a little impressed! They are slightly -core-ish, but some of their elements have made me look over that little detail!

What I liked in particular was their emphasis on the bass; their sound is very bass-y and bass-centred. There are even bass solos! Marco Heitala take note! I also like their clean vocals. They also have good drumming.

I have a long history with the city of Nanaimo, so I think it's kinda cool that these guys are from there. Here is a video of them playing live, and the song is my favourite of the ones I heard on their MySpace page.

I hope they do some more promo because they have a lot of potential, I think! They don't appear to have an album out and are not on, though they are on Facebook, here.

Tyr's new album release date revealed

Folk metal band Tyr just announced the release of their new album on May 27th, 2011. Here is the article confirming the date. All hail Tyr! \m/

Here is a clip of Tyr showing off some solos off the new album:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Come Cover Me: Oops I Did It Again by Children of Bodom

This is a cover of Britney Spears' Oops I Did It Again song which was released in 2000. In 2005 COB made this cover and released it on the second single In Your Face from the album Are You Dead Yet?.

I can't help myself but I really like this song. It's so entertaining and makes me laugh all the time. See even crappy pop song can be done as a very interesting melodic death metal piece. \m/ 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

CD Review: Sorrowburn by Charon

When I came across Charon couple of years ago the first song I listened to was “Colder” from the “Songs for the Sinners” and JP voice really mesmerized me. I have crush on deep male vices. So I went through their discography and I was quite surprised when I listened to Sorrowburn. It is definitely different from the following albums. It has death metal elements because Charon was supposed to be death metal act. Since I am not really fond of this metal genre I’m really happy that this is the only album containing death metal stuff.

I find the cover funny. Maple leaf! I have nothing against maple leaves, but I find it strange, that “death metal” act chooses maple leaf as the cover and also as a part of their font.

Burndown - nice 2 minutes long acoustic piece. This is my favourite song. Though it is somehow “out of place”, when you compare it to the rest of the songs. But it shows that the band is also able to make “soft” song and still it sounds great.

Wortex - this song has an interesting guitar solo and also some good female backing vocals.

Breeze - death metal piece and one of the heavier songs.

Serenity - another nice song, even though at the beginning it sounds like a ballad but as the song progresses it sounds much heavier at the end.

To Serve You - this one I skip, but it has catchy chorus.

Nightwing - bit of growling, but honestly I don’t mind it that much. Also I like guitars in this one.

Neverbirth - I find this song really sluggish, not because it is almost 7 minutes long, but because it fails to attract my attention. After 4 minutes it has really nothing to offer.

Kheimos - another growling here growling there. I skip it because growling makes me nervous.

November’s Eve - I don’t like this one.

Morrow - the longest song with interesting intro. During these 8 minutes the mood of the song and also its tempo changes couple of times, which is good in my opinion, because it keeps the listener’s attention. It belongs to my favourite songs of this album.

To be honest I don’t listen to this album a lot. Yes Burndown is among Charon’s songs which I really like, but this album with its “death metal” feeling isn’t really appealing to me. All I can say is that I am really happy that they decided to leave the growling out of the following albums.

Imaginaerum by Nightwish

I know that recently many interviews about the upcoming album and movie have been released but I came across this one today and it is one of better ones even though not many new things are said there. But there are some interesting news e.g. the first single will be released in late autumn and that the CD will be out in January and immediately the tour will begin, but also, that at the beginning the film was supposed to be without any dialogues etc. So it is worth reading it.

Thanks to The Enigma for the translation from official NW forum!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Borrowed Melodies: Je Porte Plainte by Tunisiano

I didn't put this under the title "Come cover me" because this song contains only the main melody of Ever Dream by Nightwish which is repeated throughout the song and the lyrics are different. So it's actually not a cover. Je Porte Plainte - This is a complaint - is a rap song by French rapper Tunisiano. The song was released in 2008 and straigh away Nuclear Blast opened a lawsuit for plagiarism since the melody had been taken without their consent.

Since I am not a fan of rap music there is really nothing to say about it. It's just a broken Merry-Go-Round blah blah for me. Same annoying music as the one which comes from this carousel. Just wanted to let you know that song like this exists out there.

In case that you are interested in the lyrics.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Various News-y Items

I subscribe to Blabbermouth's RSS feed, and in the last couple of days there have been some great items of note. Here are some that caught my eye.

1. Tyr. If you're a fan of these Faroese folk metallers, you'll be happy to hear that they'll have a new album coming out in late spring or early summer. I really like Tyr, so I'm looking forward to hearing their new stuff.

2. Imperia, fronted by Helena Iren Michaelson, is getting set to release their new album, Secret Passion, on March 25. They currently one of the songs, "Fragile", streaming online here. I listened to it and really enjoyed it; Helena sounds awesome and she really shows off her lower and upper range equally well in it.

3. Leaves' Eyes. The track listing of their upcoming album, Meredead, includes a Gary Moore, namely of the song "To France." LE is currently filming a video for their version of it at a castle in Sweden. April 22 is the date for you lucky Europeans to keep in mind for the release of this album!

4. Xandria-ish-related news. Curious about what the two former Xandria singers are up to? Well, Kerstin Bischof, who replaced Lisa Middlehauve, is releasing a solo album. What is interesting about this is that she is collaborating with Lisa on the album's artwork, where Lisa's art and photography will be featured. Additionally, according to the Blabbermouth article, Lisa will also be performing live with Kerstin. Sonic Cathedral has an exlusive interview, here, about the album and how the two ex-Xandria front women became friends.

Nightwish released an Imaginarium-related update, but it's about the movie, not the CD, so...whatever.

Metal from Finland: Charon

They come from Finland and were originally a brutal death metal band but are now labelled as a gothic metal. Charon was founded in 1992 and since then has released 5 full-length albums and a compilation album. Currently there are 4 members: Juha-Pekka "JP" Leppäluoto, Lauri Tuohimaa, Antti Karihtala and Teemu Hautamäki.

The first full-length album Sorrowburn was released in 1998 followed by Tearstained in 2000.  In 2001 Charon released successful album Downhearted and did a lot of touring to promote this album. In 2003 they went on tour with Nightwish and After Forever. You might recognise this band from Nightwish’s End of Innocence DVD, when Marco ran half naked on the stage dressed like “angel” with torch while Charon was playing song Little Angel.

After several more tours Charon released albums The Dying Daylights  in 2003 and Songs for the Sinners in 2005. A compilation album A-Sides, B-Sides & Suicides was released in June 2010.

JP Leppäluoto, a vocalist of Charon and Harmaja, is also known from another successful project Northern Kings where he sings among great Finnish singers such as Marco Hietala (Nightwish/Tarot) or Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica).    

CD Review: My Winter Storm by Tarja

When NW parted their ways with Tarja back in 2005 I was shocked, because I saw them just 6 weeks before and nothing indicated that something is going on within the band. Well they are artists and their job is to pretend so not a surprise actually.

I admit I hadn't heard a single song from My Winter Storm until I purchased it. Ok maybe it was I Walk Alone but no more I swear! So when my lovely package from the biggest UK online shop arrived I was excited. I have an exclusive UK bonus track The Seer! (Discrimination! JK :D As far as I am aware, Universal released again regional version of MWS in my country with empty booklet).

Now I will rant a bit about the artwork and booklet. I like the cover and not a long time ago I found out, there are 3 characters included on the cover also, The Dead Boy, The Doll and The Phoenix. You just have to look pretty close. Cool idea. What I am not so happy about is the way, they put the lyrics there. I mean no titles on the top of every lyric. So people just like me, who tend to forget pretty fast what they read 10seconds before had to look frequently on the back of the CD to know, which lyrics they are reading now. The size of the font is ridiculously small. Writing from "one edge to another" is quite confusing, at least for me. I got lost so many times while trying to read the lyrics that I gave up and searched them on the Internet. Now you will tell yourself, that I am person who tries to find every bloody detail to complain about, but this who I am. Yes I do complain about it, because I see no sense in putting 4 photos in a row and then "sardine" poor lyrics and then do the same thing again. Why they couldn't simply put lyrics on one side each and on other photo remains a mystery to me. I would love to compare it to WLB but I can't. (Meh I really have to buy new WLB CD)

I didn't know what to expect from My Winter Storm to be honest. Since this was the very first full length Tarja's "baby" I rather expected nothing. As Tuomas says about AFF, that it's a demo and not an album, I would say the same about MWS. It clearly says (sings) from what kind of environment Tarja comes from and also draws the future musical directions of her forthcoming works. Another thing which remains a mystery to me (please feel free to enlighten me, my imagination sucks hard sometimes) are the intros. I see no point in having separate intros which are anyhow linked to the following songs since the longest one, Seeking for the Reign, has only 0:58sec. So I am not going to write about them.

So lets start with I Walk Alone - the first single was inspired by a musical motif in Requiem by Mozart. According to Tarja this song "describes her personality perfectly well and identifies her as a singer". I agree.

Lost Northern Star - for me this song is an attempt to sound as heavy as possible but it fails at times.

The Reign - it's nice slow song and I really appreciate that guitars were not included at the end of the song.

My Little Phoenix - another attempt to sound heavy. It sounds cool live though. But I skip it.

Boy and the Ghost - everytime I hear this song or see its title I grin. Why? Since I heard the original version of this song called Christmas card, I sing for myself instead of ‘’toy’’ ‘‘Christmas card’’. Just can't resist. This one doesn’t belong to my favourite ones. Skipping it.

Sing for Me - another slow song or call it ballad whatever. For me it sounds like "hey can you hear how high I can sing". I have this feeling of spinning head when she is singing “It’s getting hard to breathe” that is why I skip it. Just doesn’t do well to my health.

Oasis - the only song entirely composed by Tarja. I highly appreciate its Finnish lyrics. They add really nice touch to the whole song. In this song I don't mind "aaah ooooh". Maybe this is the reason, why I don’t like Montañas de Silencio, because MdS sounds like Oasis nr. 2.

Poison - makes me want to dance. Not headbanging. (my neck would simply not survive those movements) but another no-no cover in my opinion.

Our Great Divide – this is the most time-consuming song in my opinion. I feel lack of excitement in this song, that’s why I skip it regularly.

Damned and Divine - ok if my imagination is right now, it's about a vampire right? Well it would definitely fit into some crappy vampire-ish movies, soap operas etc.

Die Alive - the second single from MWS album. Well I like this song but I don't know how Tarja does it, but I have this strange urge to jump up and down or rock during the song. Great live song. One remark on this video. I can't stand it. The dogs, biting, ruined house. Waste of time for me.

The Seer - I heard the duet with Doro also. But I prefer more Tarja on vocals. It is nice, in my opinion rock song without any orchestra.

Minor Heaven - another ballad. Of all of the ballads I prefer this one. It sounds very nice live. I like the orchestral parts and mainly the beginning. I wish the guitar and drums were not included though. It would perfectly work without them.

Ciarán's Well - well this is definitely her heaviest song on the album. This one belongs on my list of the better songs on this album. I prefer when Tarja sounds "heavy". The high notes sound pretty good and I have to say it works pretty damn good live.

Calling Grace – this one is an acoustic piece. Nice but not breathtaking. It’s a filler song in my opinion. I would put it as a bonus track. It doesn’t fit with other songs.

Enough – this song was composed after MWS release and is included on extended version of the album. I had the chance to hear it live and it rocks my socks! I like it pretty much. This is the kind of song I would love Tarja to compose more. Also I find it laughable that Tarja is still denying the very obvious content of its lyrics. Suit yourself dear, but you won’t fool me. :)

Wisdom of Wind – I admit I have never managed to listen to entire song. I get bored after 2 minutes.

Tarja said herself many times that the guitars are not as heavy as they should be and I agree. When I heard most of these songs live, they sounded much heavier. (I am aware that songs do sound differently live!). Also I don't understand this strange urge to add drums and guitars to almost every ballad. They just spoil it for me and can harm the song more than help. 

In my opinion this is a good album to start with. Although I find the number of the slow songs quite high, it’s decent album. It has its positive and negative points but you won’t definitely find MWS on my list of favourite albums.      

My top songs are Minor Heaven, Die Alive and Enough.

4 characters of MWS

3 "hidden" characters on the covcer