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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Within Temptation's "Fire and Ice" video

Within Temptation's new video comes from their most recent album "The Unforgiving". The video features live footage and video footage shot especially for visuals used in The Unforgiving Tour.

I must admit I learned to appreciate this song. But the video is big disappointment for me. I really think angels are so overused, overrated and cheesy in videos, not only in the case of Within Temptation. So yes I can say, I don't like the video at all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CanuckFan's Best of 2011

It's that time of year!  Here it goes.  Feel free to add any of your own lists in the comments.

Top 11 Albums of 2011 (this was very tough and the list went through several drafts before I got to where I was comfortable with it):

11. The Metamorphosis Melody - Midnattsol
10. Fall from Grace - Borealis
9. The Corruption of Mercy - Sarah Jezebel Deva
8. The Writ of Sword - Crimfall
7. Terra Incognita - Coronatus
6. Slovo - Arkona
5. Meredead - Leaves' Eyes
4. The Unforgiving - Within Temptation
3. The Awakening of Gaia - Crysalys
2. Eirwen - Dama
1. Imaginaerum - Nightwish

(honourable mentions: Imperia's Secret Garden and Visions of Atlantis's Delta)

Top 11 New Finds of 2011 (in no particular order):

1. Dama
2. Arkona
3. Echoterra
4. Arven
5. Amaranthe
6. Draconian
7. Liv Moon
8. Where Angels Fall
9. Weeping Silence
10. Crysalys
11. Akoma

Best ballads of 2011 (in no particular order):

1. "Rainy Roads" - Dama
2. "Let Down" - Imperia
3. "Turn Loose the Mermaids" - Nightwish
4. "Beyond Horizon - The Poem Part II" - Visions of Atlantis
5. "Slow, Love, Slow" - Nightwish
6. "My Dear Friend" - Arven
7. "Amaranthine" - Amaranthe (well, it's kinda ballady...isn't it?)
8. "Goodbye" - Midnattsol
9. "Scarlet Thoughts in Room" - Dama
10. "Where is the Edge" - Within Temptation
11. ???

Best Covers of 2011 (in no particular order):

1. "Live to Tell" - Dama
2. "Maria Magdalena" - Visions of Atlantis
3. "Zombie" - Sarah Jezebel Deva
4. "Primo Victoria" - Van Canto
5. "To France" - Leaves' Eyes
6. "Nemo" - Spythriller

I couldn't think of 11. top 11 most played songs of 2011:

1. "Storytime" - Nightwish
2. "Rainy Roads" - Dama
3. "Live to Tell" - Dama
4. "Sleeping Sun" - Nightwish
5. "Faster" - Within Temptation
6. "Sinead" - Within Temptation
7. "The House of the Rising Sun" - The Animals (don't ask)
8. "Wildfire Season" - Crimfall
9. "Sacrament of Wilderness" - Nightwish
10. "Let Down" - Imperia
11. "Rain" - Dawn of Destiny top 11 most played bands of 2011:

1. Nightwish 
2. Dama
3. Leaves' Eyes
4. The Decemberists (yes, I realize they're not metal, but they are still awesome)
5. Within Temptation
6. Crimfall
7. Dawn of Destiny
8. Tarja
9. Where Angels Fall
10. Loreena McKennitt (see #4)
11. Amaranthe

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Finds

This last week has been great in terms of discovering new bands.  I'm lucky to write for two web zines so I not only find out a lot from my fellow writers, but I also have access to promo copies of new albums, which is a lovely bonus.

Band #1 I've discovered recently is Arven, and their debut album Music of Light.  I just did a review of it for Sonic Cathedral and you can read it here. This almost all-girl band (the only male is the drummer) has some great material, and I totally recommend them if you like melodic, sort of medieval-y, sort of folky metal with great lyrics and catchy songs.

Another band I got really excited about is Weeping Silence.  Hailing from Malta, this Gothic sextet is really, really good.  I reviewed their most recent offering, Theatre of Life on Black Wind Metal, here.  I love Gothic metal and this album is a great example of what this genre is really about, which is not poppy, watered down crap.  WS is currently working on another album due out in 2012.  Can't wait!

From Greece, we have Meden Agan.  This is impressive stuff - symphonic power metal with a real opera singer, not a popera singer.  It's moody, it's bombastic, it's rich - it's fantastic stuff.  Singer Iliana, who is, like, 21, is an amazing vocalist with pipes along the lines of Chiara Malvestiti of Crysalys: powerful classical soprano sound that is just beautiful.  I highly recommend checking them out.  You can read a review of their album Erevos Aenaon on Sonic Cathedral here, written by my colleague Doctor T.

Narwhal Tusk is from Russia.  I'm in the process of tracking down a copy of their CD, but they do have four songs available for free download on their Reverbnation page.  I love what I've heard so far and look forward to hearing more.

That's all for now!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lacuna Coil's New Song, "Kill the Light"

This just hit the interwebs today.  It's OK.  I like Cristina's slightly more aggressive side in this, and the lyrics are all right.  It's kinda bouncy.  I think I like it better than "Trip the Darkness."

See for yourself!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Metallica's "Just A Bullet Away" thoughts and reaction

To be honest, I hesitated to listen to this track mainly due to the fact that their recent debacle Lulu was such an epic disaster! The first thing that caught me was the aggressiveness of this track. "Just A Bullet Away" really sounds like something Metallica would have wrote on Master of Puppets or ...And Justice For All, however it isn't quite up to par with any songs off those albums. It is basically a mid tempo thrash song with a clean bridge section reminiscent of "Master of Puppets". The guitar work is very thrashy at times, and the melodic solo during the bridge section is pretty impressive I must say. Overall, the song isn't super incredible but it is a hell of a lot better than that other crap they put out a month ago! I'd say it's a decent Metallica song. It's worth listening to if you are actually still a fan of the band after Lulu.

More than likely, I will review the entire EP Beyond Magnetic soon once I hear the other three tracks off of it. A recommended listen for a bit of 80's Metallica nostalgia.

2012 Releases

The spring of 2012 is going to be so excellent for me because a lot of my favourite bands are coming out with new stuff.  I thought I'd compile a list.  If you have any others you'd like to add, just leave a comment!

Nightwish - Imaginaerum (well, sort of: the North American release date is Jan. 10 but I think a lot of fans have already heard it)
Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline: Jan. 23 (I just hope it's decent...)
Xandria - Neverworld's End: Feb. 27
Amberian Dawn - Circus Black: Feb. 29
Epica - Requiem for the Indifferent: March 9

Announced but no dates as of yet:

Delain - We Are the Others (I'm assuming this is coming out in March-ish since they embark on a headlining tour in April)
Lyriel - something to be released in February
Sabaton - Carolus Rex
Liv Krisine - Libertine

Rumoured and/or teasing fans on Facebook:

Dawn of Destiny
Where Angels Fall

Others I'm not overly interested in but have dates others might be interested in:

Eluveitie - February 10

Some News

1. "Requiem for the Indifferent" is the title of  Epica's fifth full-length album . According to the band: "This title refers to the end of an era. As we are all connected; the universe, earth, nature, animals and human beings, this period in time will be the prelude to the end for those who still don't want to, or simply won't see it. 'A Requiem For The Indifferent', but also a possibility for a new beginning with great new chances!" The album will be out on March 9, 2012.

2. Another Dutch metal band Delain revealed the title of their third album. "We Are the Others" is also a song from the album, which will be out in spring.

3. Today, The Helsinki district court dropped all charges and compensation demands related to the Nightwish book. In other words, Marcelo Cabuli lost the lawsuit against publisher and author of the Nightwish's official biography. Finnish speakers can read more about it here. For the rest of us, here is the translation of the article.

4. Within Temptation decided to make a full length film about the concept of ''The Unforgiving". Since the comic does appeal to a lot of people and the short films were received very well the film should be out within next few years.

5. Couple of days ago, Lacuna Coil released "Trip the Darkness" music video. The single is from their upcoming album "Dark Adrenaline" due to be out January 23.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CD Review: "Imaginaerum" by Nightwish

 Now it’s my turn to write my thoughts about Imaginaerum. I must say I was among those, who had no problem to accept Anette as new lead vocalist.  This time I was looking forward to listening to Imaginaerum even more. Why? I liked the idea of the album and I was eager to hear Anette’s progress. The reviews highlighted Anette’s vocal performance a lot which was a good sign for me. Not that I had doubts but well. 

Imaginaerum is, as Tuomas calls it, a place where your imagination is being cured. And your imagination will be cured by a great diversity which this album offers. You’ll find folk song, jazz song, epic song, oriental song and many more.

 When I heard the first single Storytime for the first time my thoughts were just "wow." I still think this is one  of their best singles so far. And now happens something I thought  won’t ever happen. I actually prefer radio edit over album version. The bridge doesn’t fit the song at all, IMO. Also for the first time ever a children's choir is presented. 
Slow, Love, Slow is one of the songs I was curious about. I have nothing against jazz in general but I had no idea what to expect from this one. I admit I listened to the samples and after listening to the whole song it ended up on my favourite ones list. The others  are Scaretale, Rest Calm, Turn Loose The Mermaids, Last Ride of the Day and Song of Myself.
I would love to point out Anette‘s vocals on Scaretale. She just sounds great. She can be an evil witch and in a next minute a seductive singer singing in 1930’s nightclub. I consider Turn Loose the Mermaids my favourite ballad in general. I like Anette's warm, low vocals. Although, the "western" instrumental part with whistling sounded strange at first, I learned to appreciate it. Rest Calm is another favourite of mine. I like the sudden change from heaviness to softness and the combination of Anette and children's choir works great. Last Ride of the Day has catchy chorus and nice fast tempo. My only concern about this song is, if they ever play it live (pretty please yes!) will Anette sound at least decent? I hope so. Song of Myself an epic song with long dragging poem. I must admit I do skip the poem more often than actually listening to it. Yet it is nice to be able to hear Anette’s son, Marco’s twin sons or Tuomas‘ parents and many more recite the poem. I think this song is one of those you have to listen couple of more times to understand why the poem is included.   

Well now the list of  not so favourite ones  but still good songs. I really don’t think they are bad at all. It just took me some time to appreciate them. Arabesque  is the one I skip all the time. It was composed only because of the film and honestly I don’t care for that song at all. Ghost River is the one I had to force myself to listen to again. I like the dialogue between Anette and Marco. Also "We will go down we will drown drown, deeper down" sung by children's choir is my favourite part from the whole song. Nice dancy song I Want My Tears Back will be played live so I’ll see if it plays a trick on me. Taikatalvi, Birdie song and Imaginaerum are nice ones again and I expect them to grow on me later.

All in all I don’t dare to call Imaginaerum Nightwish’s best album. Although I dare to say it is miles ahead of Dark Passion Play. You have to listen to the album more than just once, though. I personally did it dozens of times.  Another thing that little bit bothers me are the bridges on Last Ride of the Day and Storytime. They seem to me so out of the place. 
But never mind. Lets put it straight again. I love the album much more than Dark Passion Play. I love Anette vocals. Also the booklet seems better to me. Generally, I really am looking forward to seeing them live one day. (Still waiting for the UK's dates to be announced!) AND I hope to see the film this spring. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Amberian Dawn!

Exciting news if you're a fan of Finnish symphonic metallers Amberian Dawn: their next album will be released February 29, and it's called Circus Black.  It will have a couple of special guests, too: Jens Johansson of Stratovarius and Timo Kotipelto, also of Stratovarius.

The album artwork has also been revealed.

Call me crazy, but does this not remind you of some other Finnish band's recent album art?

Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to the album because I love this band!

The track listing is as follows:

01. Circus Black (3:49)
02. Cold Kiss (feat. Timo Kotipelto) (3:31)
03. Crimson Flower (feat. Jens Johansson) (4:25)
04. Charnel's Ball (4:27)
05. Fight (3:21)
06. Letter (4:31)
07. I Share With You This Dream (3:37)
08. Rivalry Between Good and Evil (instrumental) (4:00)
09. Guardian (5:09)
10. Lily of the Moon (4:12)

The music was written by mainman Tuomas Seppälä and the lyrics were written by lead singer, Heidi Parviainen.

I just hope I don't have to wait for it forever to become available in North America.  End of Eden is still not readily available here, but I did order a copy of it from AD's Facebook offer, which included a T-shirt.   I hope that arrives in a timely manner!