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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you all will have a great time and loads of presents!







Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gig reviews: Katatonia live at O2 Islington Academy, 10 December 2012


Katatonia has always been on my ‘must see list'. Swedish alternative metal band performed on 10 December at O2 Islington Academy in London. I’ve been Katatonia’s fan since 2006, when I accidentally discovered them on MySpace.The first song I heard was ‘Dissolving Bonds’ and still remains one of my favourite Katatonia’s songs.

I have never heard of Katatonia’s support bands before. American rockers Junius were first to go on the stage and played 6 songs. I was positively surprised by this band and already ordered their latest album 'Reports From the Threshold of Death'. The only little disappointment was the inability to hear Joseph properly. Guitars and drums were too loud. So thanks to Junius and my own idiocy it's still ringing in my left ear. And I'm writing this after 10 days.  Here's my favourite song 'Betray the Grave'.




About 15 minutes later French Alcest were ready to play. Again, I had no idea what to expect from them and when 2 girls standing next to me asked if I don't mind to swop my place with them because they want to see Neige better, I didn't object. As Junius also Alcest played 6 songs and after 30 minutes they packed their stuff and left the stage. I must admit their songs didn't really make a big impression on me and the only song I checked later on is 'Percées De Lumière’.





As girls promised after Alcest finished, we swopped our places again. About 21:20 Katatonia came on the stage. They started with the song 'The Parting' from their latest album 'Dead End Kings'. I didn't check their setlist on setlist.fm so I had no idea, which songs will be performed that night. To my pleasure, boys didn't forget that they released some albums 8 years ago, as some bands play songs from their last 3 or 4 albums only, sometimes not even that, and included songs from almost every album they have released so far. Jonas sounded great the entire gig. Also I could hear him much better than Joseph and Neige. I was really surprised that although being on tour since November and playing almost 2 month in row, Jonas sounded exactly like on the CDs. A huge thumbs up from me, for sure. Anders, Per and Niklas were running around like mad. So good to see everyone had a blast. The highlights of the evening were my all-time favourite songs 'Omerta', 'Ghost Of the Sun' and 'Strained'.


All in all, it was a bloody brilliant night. Before I left my house I read on FB that the gig was officially sold out. Although, sold out means only 220 'people in the house, in this case it felt like there were thousands of us. Thank You Katatonia for great evening and see you as soon as possible!










Setlist:
 1. The Parting
 2. Buildings
 3. Deliberation
 4. My Twin
 5. Burn the Remembrance
 6. The Racing Heart
 7. Lethean
 8. Teargas
 9. Strained
10. The Longest Year
11. Soil's Song
12. Omerta
13. Sweet Nurse
14. Dead House
15. Ghost Of the Sun
16. July
17. Day and Then the Shade

Encore:
18. Dead Letters
19. Forsaken
20. Leaders

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gig review: Nightwish live at O2 Academy Brixton 5/11/2012


Nightwish played their only gig in London on 5 November 2012 at O2 Academy Brixton and I was there. The last time saw Nightwish was back in 2005. I was very happy to see them again beacuase I decided to skip the Dark Passion Tour. And of course I was looking forward to see Anette live. But as we all know by now Anette is no longer member of the band and Floor Jansen (ReVamp, After Forever) joined Nightwish to help them to finish the on-going Imaginaerum tour. 

So there I was queuing since 4:30pm waiting for the doors to open at 7pm. There was already a bigger crowd there. I actually felt a bit strange, because I decided to go on my own but I don’t regret it. The first surprise of the evening came before the concert itself. One guy started to shout that O2 network costumers will have a priority line so therefore will get inside sooner. Lucky me I am O2 costumer so basically I got inside the venue before the poor people who were freezing there in the cold longer than I did. Might be not fair but some witty people went to Poundland to buy O2 SIM cards. Easy solution.

The doors opened at 6:55pm and when I got inside the venue I could decide whether to go to 4th row or lean against a “bar’’ and be safe or go and sit at the balcony. I decided to play it safe and lean against the bar. It was also a practical solution in case I will need to take off my coat I could safely put my coat on it. And here comes the second surprise of the evening. It was rather cold in the venue.  Air-condition was on almost all the time so I wore my coat all evening. But I’m happy for that. I hate when venues are hot.
I managed to get a good spot. I was in the middle so I could see the stage without big problem. Even people in front of me were shorter so everything seemed perfect. But not for long.

Pain was the support act and the only one. They got on the stage at 7:45pm and played for 45mins. I am not very familiar with Pain songs. But I recognised two of them. “Dirty Woman” and my favourite “Shut Your Mouth”. The last named was also the last song of their set. I think Pain was a good support act. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but their performance heated up the crowd bit. Peter is very funny guy and he did interact with the crowd well. I might go and see them in February when they play in London again.


And now we had this, what seemed to be never-ending waiting, for Nightwish. And now follows a little rant. Why the hell you 6 feet tall guy push your ass through everybody just to get better spot ending up in 8th row standing in front of 3 girls who are pretty short, who had stood there well before you came and when they dare to tell you to move a bit because they can’t see anything at all you start to swear at them?? And then standing there like a bloody statue taking a couple of photos and making faces like what am I doing here??? Thank God he didn't stand in front of me. But I was a bit unlucky as well. There was a tiny little gap in front of me and guess what happened? Another idiot came and squeezed there. This time it was girl who wasn't as tall as that guy but she definitely ruined my perfect view. But there was no point in saying anything. I just didn't want to end up with a black eye. 

At about 9:10pm the lights went off and the intro ‘Roll Tide’ started to play. From then on I experienced something called ‘the shortest 90minutes of my life’.

After the intro ‘Storytime’ was on. Floor came on the stage and a big roar echoed around the venue. I believe she just owned the whole evening. The setlist was the same one as they played in Manchester night before. Mostly, it was a mix of ‘Once’ and ‘Imaginaerum’ songs with a classic ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’. To be honest I was a little bit glad that Anette wasn’t there that night. Don’t get me wrong. I have always supported Anette and am curious to hear her solo album, but most of her ‘oldies’ versions were simply bad. She just lacks power. And power is a key point in most of the oldies. Floor did an amazing job on oldies. She might struggle a little bit with ‘Ever Dream’ but she didn’t use her operatic voice. Actually, she used her operatic voice only on ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’ and ‘Ghost Love Score’ but you could barely hear that. She also pulled ‘Imaginaerum’ songs off very well, too. One song I couldn’t stand live was ‘Amaranth’.  Anette struggled with it a lot but Floor managed to make this song listenable. She even added a little twist to the song. The way she sings ‘the Never-Fading Rain in your heart’ sounds really great. ‘Scaretale’ was the song I was really looking forward to hear live. Anette sings this one incredibly. After watching YT’s videos of Floor singing this song I was skeptical  I didn’t expect Floor to be able to pull it off the ‘’theatrical’’ way as Anette did. But she did it. She even growled! The acoustic set was very nice also. Many people complain about ‘Slow, Love, Slow’ and ‘Nemo’. I don’t really mind that. Another surprise of the evening was ‘Last of the Wilds’. When I listen to ‘Dark Passion Play’ I always skip this song. I find the studio version very boring but man it is a great live song. Almost everyone was jumping up and down. It’s really good song to add a bit of speed or even wake up some people after the acoustic set. Definitely, the highlight of the night was ‘Ghost Love Score’. Floor sounds really superb. Although, she doesn’t sing this song operatically throughout, she does add some operatic vocals here and there. 
‘Last Ride of the Day’ was indeed the last song played by band. I find this song to be a good one to close a successful night with. And Monday night was successful without any doubt. The band was all smiles throughout the night. Marco and also Floor were very talkative. Generally, they all seemed to be very relaxed and happy. I believe they enjoyed the night as much as most of us did.






Truth to be said, I didn’t miss Anette much or better said at all. As I said I have supported her right from the beginning but her live performance was just bad. Although, people say she improved her   live performance a lot since 2007, most of her ‘oldies’ versions were bad. I think I need only one hand to name the old songs I like with her vocals. With Floor on the board now, the justice was done to them, finally. And she doesn’t even sing them the ‘original’ way. I enjoyed Floor’s performance a lot. She is an incredible singer and knows how to put the show on.  The crowd loved her yesterday. And when I said that I don’t want her in Nightwish that was probably the biggest nonsense I have ever said. Being a witness to what happened yesterday I have to say I want her to stay with Nightwish. I will be disappointed if she doesn’t but whoever will be Nightwish’s new singer I feel sorry for her already. She won’t be compared to Tarja and Anette only but even to Floor. And given the circumstances Floor has had to face and how well she is handling it, whoever comes next will have it very tough. 

Setlist: 

Intro: Crimson Tide
1. Storytime
2. Dark Chest of Wonders
3. Wish I Had an Angel
4. Amaranth
5. Scaretale
6. Slow, Love, Slow
7. I Want My Tears Back
8. The Islander
9. Nemo (acoustic)
10. Last of the Wilds
11. Planet Hell
12. Ghost River
13. Ever Dream
14. Over the Hills and Far Away
15. Ghost Love Score
16. Last Ride of the Day
Outro: Imaginaerum

FYI: These photos are mine and since I took them with my BlackBerry mobile phone, they are very bad quality. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Imaginaerum film trailer


Today, we got the Imaginaerum film trailer! The trailer was supposed to be out on Oct 12th but we got it today. Better later than never. Isn't it? 

So enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bye Bye Anette!

Another chapter of the Nightwish story has ended today. Nightwish and Anette Olzon have decided to part company, in mutual understanding, for the good of all parties involved.

In recent times it has become increasingly obvious that the direction and the needs of the band were in conflict, and this has led to a division from which we cannot recover.

Nightwish has no intention of cancelling any upcoming shows, and as a result we have decided to bring in a substitute vocalist starting in Seattle 1.10.2012. Her name is Floor Jansen from The Netherlands (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), and she has graciously stepped in to help us complete the Imaginaerum world tour.

We are all strongly committed to this journey, this vehicle of spirit, and we are sure that this will lead to a brighter future for everyone.
We forever remain excited about the adventures to come, and we are extremely proud of the two beautiful albums and the wonderful shows we shared together.

- NIGHTWISH & Anette Olzon

Saturday, September 15, 2012

DVD Review: Act I by Tarja

Act I the first live rock DVD of Tarja's solo career was released on 24th August. Tarja chose Teatro El Circulo in Rosario, Argentina as place where 2 concerts were filmed.

When Tarja announced that she is going to release live DVD and CD I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I was looking forward to it, since Tarja's concerts are always full of energy and her band members are great performers, on the other hand I was afraid  a bit how it will turn out. Lately I realised I'm no more a big fan of Tarja's live vocals. I really enjoy her vocals on CD but when it comes to her live performance I struggle to be able to enjoy it. And it's not only her weird pronunciation that bugs me. So when I received my copy of DVD I didn't have very high expectations.

My first thought when I looked at the cover art work was: "What the hell are these strings doing there? They're just ruining it!" Also shall I mention Tarja's boring facial expressions and never ending pouting? Come on Tarja, you are so beautiful and yet you manage to look so bad sometimes. Like on most of your promo photos. But apart from that the booklet is nice and simple.

But back on topic now. I paid £11 for my DVD and I think it is a really good bargain. Basically we get 2 concerts, photo gallery from fans and band members, some interviews with Tarja and band member and also the video "Into the Sun".

The choice of songs on DVD 1 is quite obvious. Songs, such as "Anteroom of Death", "I Walk Alone", "Nemo" and "Die Alive" just to name few, are the most popular ones and can't be missing on the setlist.
Also the iconic "The Phantom of the Opera" is present here with Diego Valdez's vocals. I must admit I didn't like him as Phantom. But to be really honest, I am tired of this song. Another song I was a little bit disappointed with is "Nemo". This song sounds bad live. It doesn't matter, whether she sang it in 2004 or 2012. I wish Tarja would choose other song from her Nightwish's days. Be it "Stargazer" or "Bless the Child" since she performed both during her final tour shows. But I understand that "Nemo" is a must. You will see how the audience goes wild when they hear the first tones of this song.
The rest of the songs sound good. Tarja sang her standard and 2 new songs from the forthcoming album "Never Enough" and "Into the Sun" are received by the audience very well. Especially "Never Enough" is very good, energic live song.

DVD 2 includes Whitesnake's cover "Still of the Night", 80's medley, Tarja's heaviest live song "Cirana's Well"  and my favourite songs "Crimson Deep" and "Tired of being Alone".

All in all this DVD was worth my £11.(Although while watching the DVD on my TV I got headache because of the horrible audio. I still don't think that mess was caused by my TV or DVD player and I know I said I want my money back, but hey, I changed my mind.). Teatro El Circulo is very beautiful. The light and laser show helps to underline the emotions of each song and together with amazing audience create a great experience that makes you to want to go to one of Tarja's concerts.
Also I can't forget to mention Tarja's band. Their performance was great. Energic running from side to side, interacting with the audience. It was a real joy watching these guys - Alex Schlopp, Kevin Chown, Christian Kretschmar, Mike Terrana, Max Lilja, Doug Wimbish and Julian Barrett - play.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Come Cover Me: Paradise by Within Temptation

Recently, Within Temptation did a cover of British rock band Coldplay's hit single "Paradise" to promote  their special 15 year anniversary show - Elements. The show will take place in Sportpaleis Antwerpen, Belgium on 13 november.

Coldplay's version

Within Temptation's version


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Bit of Fun

I came across this one a couple of days ago. I really like it! 



Friday, August 24, 2012

Imaginaerum film premiere November 10, 2012

Finally, we have some new info about the long awaited Nightwish's film Imaginaerum. According to nightwish.com, the world premiere  will be at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland, on November 10, 2012. Screening of the film will be preceded by a show by Nightwish themselves. Finnish theatrical release is set to be on November 23, 2012. As of now, we have to wait for further announcement if the film will have theatrical release in other countries than Finland.

Also you can already pre-order  the official soundtrack of the film 'Imaginaerum by Nightwish - The Score'.

Check solarfilms.com for more Imaginaerum film screen shots.  

Here are some soundtrack samples:  



Monday, August 13, 2012

Come Cover Me: Evenoire does Within Temptation's "Somewhere"

Evenoire is one of the many fantastic Italian bands I've been talking about recently here, and today they posted a YT video of a live version of their cover of Within Temptation's "Somewhere."  It's a lovely duet (not sure who the other singer is, but Lisy, Evenoire's vocalist, is the first singer you hear) accompanied only by the acoustic guitar.

Here is the original, by WT.


And here is Evenoire's version.  Enjoy!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Agalloch, with Eight Bells and Taurus, July 13, 2012

Yes, I went to see Agalloch a month ago.  Why have I not written about this sooner?  Well, it's been a trying summer for me and I'm behind with everything.  Obviously, it would be ideal for me to have written this closer to the time it happened rather than a month later, with things fresh in my mind, but alas, sometimes that doesn't always happen.

I went to this gig, at the Rickshaw, which is located in BC's most infamous neighbourhood, the DTES, quite spontaneously.  I didn't find out they were even playing until the Monday evening before, and I knew I had plans for early Saturday morning.  I was not keen on getting home by transit at 2am and then having to get up for another event only a matter of hours later.  But I was really wanting to see Agalloch, since I know they don't tour much.  I'm not even a huge Agalloch fan, but I have a friend who is and I know she adores them, and has even followed them around on mini tours in the EU.  This was a show that might be a one and only occurrence for me, and she encouraged me to go.  So, as my roommate packed up to go for a date, I prepared myself to go to the gig, alone, in the DTES.  It was a bit of a ride on the wild side, considering the transit trip home and the event next day.  But what the hell?  I had nothing better to do, the cover was $20, and I thought it would be a good experience.

Haley Weiner of Eight Bells 
And it was...an experience.  I walked through the DTES alone, something that isn't generally recommended, and got to the gig at 8:45.  I wasn't familiar with either opening act, the first being a band called Eight Bells, and the second being called Taurus.  Both were bands from from Portland, Oregon, where Agalloch is from.

In fact, these two bands turned out to be one of the most interesting parts of the evening.  Both are female fronted; in fact, Taurus is a female duo.  While neither plays my cup of tea musically, I was impressed with them both live.  Granted I came to the gig late and missed most of Eight Bells' set, but as soon as I sat myself down and started listening, I regretted not coming earlier.

But Taurus stole the evening for me.  They play a type of metal I am not into at all, sludgy, drony stuff that didn't seem to me to have much rhyme or reason, and very little in terms of vocals.  Basically, we have a guitarist and a drummer, and some electronic thingy making the vocals all echoey.  But the thing about it was that their set, which consisted of the two tracks from their EP Life (which I wound up buying eventually), included not only a visual component comprised of a silent video show on a screen to the side of the stage, but the music was bookended with a voice over narration featuring a guy named John Cage, apparently a composer of some distinction I'd never heard of before.  Well, I know who he is now.  The speaking parts in Taurus's set can be heard in this YouTube video, and when combined with the music of Taurus, I had quite the transforming experience.  The narrative by Cage provided a lot of context for me, and it really made the music make sense to me, whereas, had it been just on its own, I think I would  have been lost.  But I found the set quite mesmerizing.  I was really impressed by the sophistication and power of this band, and I appreciate that I was introduced to another metal subgenre in such an enjoyable way.

Agalloch
Agalloch came on stage at about 10:20.  This is where things get a bit weird.  The Rickshaw, I found out later on FB, was trying out there new fog machine that night (along with some new lighting, which was cool), but also, Agalloch is apparently into incense - big time.  When they were set up, a guy (who turned out to be lead singer & guitarist John Haughm) came onto stage with a bunch of stuff I couldn't recongnize, but I thought it at first to be candles.  I thought maybe he was setting up an altar or something.  But no, it was, it turned out, two very large pyres of incense.  Now, for reasons I don't know, the Rickshaw had curtained off about 2/3 of the seating in the theatre and there was only a narrow curtained hallway to enter and exit the gig space from.  The gig was very well-attended with a good 200+ people there, but we were all crammed into a very small space.  When I was there last for the Arkona/Korpiklaani gig in December, all of the seating was available and there were two entrances/exits.  It was as hot night, but if they were hoping to save on A/C I don't know how effective just curtaining off extra seating was.  But what I can say is that the air quality in the room was absolutely awful.  The new fog machine combined with the incense, plus all the humanity, plus the stench of booze and pot...the air was like a heavy stew you could slurp up and chew.  It was terrible.  And it really affected my enjoyment of the gig.

Agalloch's music was great to listen to live.  I'd heard some of their studio work, but their live performance was much more engaging and emotional.  Lead guitarist Don Anderson was very animated, and the bass player, Jason Walton, was also interesting to watch.

As I said the gig was well-attended, and it seemed to me to have an older, more mature crowd than I'm used to seeing at these things.  Previous gigs I've attended have included a lot of 19 year olds in odd make-up and dressed in scene kid type clothing.  This crowd was there for Agalloch and they obviously knew the band well and appreciated the show.  There was one woman there dressed in a skimpy dress, 5" stilettos, and a mink stole (of all things!) and one over the top metal chick who texted on her cell all night in a chair not far from mine, but other than that, the people watching wasn't that interesting.

I couldn't stay until the bitter end because I had to make sure I caught a certain bus home.  It turned out to be a very interesting transit ride home, but that is a story for another time.

I am very glad I went to the gig.  I had a good time even though I was by myself.  I had the delightful surprise of discovering two new female fronted bands, and I enjoyed Agalloch a lot.

Next up at the Rickshaw is Korpiklaani - again! this will be their 2nd headlining show in Vancouver in less than a year - WTF? - supported by Tyr.  I am going to go and see Tyr (Korpiklaani doesn't do much for me but I really like Tyr) on Sept. 9, and then on Sept. 21 Swallow the Sun is supporting Kreator.  I just hope the Rickshaw sorts out its air quality issues.  That was very unpleasant, but then again, I don't think Korpiklaani or Tyr or these other bands are known for their incense use.

The full Flickr set - such as it is; I don't have a fancy camera that takes good pics in these dim environments - is here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Move Over Finland

It's been approximately one year or so since I started reviewing for two metal web zines, Sonic Cathedral and Black Wind Metal.  The promo materials are ridiculous.  I haven't had to buy or download as much as I used to, which is great.  One of the big surprises for  me in the past year is the shear amount of metal coming out of that country mainly known for Lacuna Coil, Italy.  Italy is, I think, the new powerhouse of metal.  Here is a list of bands I've discovered in the past year that  have come from there.

1. Crysalys
2. Dama
3. Setanera
4. Evenoire
5. Ancient Bards
6. SinHeresY
7. Pursuing the End
8. Sound Storm
9. Armonight (not exactly total metal, but still good hard rock)
10. Regardless of Me
11. Synful Ira
12. MasterCastle
13. Silent Opera (there is a French band with the same name)
14. Maledia

That's 14 freaking bands I alone have come across - and there will be more, I guarantee you!  This is by no means a complete list of Italian bands.  I'm only trying to demonstrate how many I have discovered myself in one year alone.

If you have any recommendations for me, leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tarja's New 2DVD & 2CD "Act 1"

So we finally have new Tarja's live rock DVD and CD, which was recorded back in March 2012, Argentina. The release date is August 24th.

Since it's Tarja we are talking about, we are going to get 2 CD, 2 DVD and Blu-ray and every single release has it's own cover.

2CD track list & cover:

CD1

01. Anteroom Of Death
02. My Little Phoenix
03. Dark Star
04. Naiad
05. Falling Awake
06. I Walk Alone
07. Little Lies
08. Into The Sun
09. Nemo
10. Never Enough
11. Still Of The Night
12. In For A Kill

CD2

01. Boy And The Ghost
02. Lost Northern Star
03. Ciaran‘s Well
04. Tired Of Being Alone
05. Where Were You Last Night / Heaven Is A Place On Earth / Livin’ On A Prayer
06. Underneath
07. Oasis / The Archive Of Lost Dreams
08. Crimson Deep
09. The Phantom Of The Opera
10. Die Alive
11. Until My Last Breath
12. Over The Hills And Far Away

Blu-ray cover
2DVD & Blu-ray track list:

DVD1

01. If You Believe
02. Anteroom Of Death
03. My Little Phoenix
04. Dark Star
05. Naiad
06. Falling Awake
07. I Walk Alone
08. Orpheus Hallucination / Orpheus In The Underworld
09. Little Lies (band jam)
10. Little Lies
11. Into The Sun
12. Nemo
13. Acoustic Set:
  • Rivers Of Lust
  • DVD cover

    Minor Heaven
  • Montañas De Silencio
  • Sing For Me
  • I Feel Immortal
14. Never Enough
15. In For A Kill
16. Toccata And Fugue D-minor (BWV 565) / The Phantom Of The Opera
17. Die Alive
18. Until My Last Breath
19. Over The Hills And Far Away

DVD 2

01. Boy And The Ghost
02. Lost Northern Star
03. Ciaran‘s Well
04. Tired Of Being Alone
05. Where Were You Last Night / Heaven Is A Place On Earth / Livin’ On A Prayer
06. Underneath
07. The Reign
08. Oasis / The Archive Of Lost Dreams
09. Still Of The Night
10. Crimson Deep

+ Bonus: Photogallery, video clip, EPK

The Blu-ray track list remains the same.

Also Tarja is about to release her new single "In to the Sun", July 13th. This is will be only digital release, though.

If you have any questions regarding "Act 1" you can post your question here. Tarja will choose the most interesting ones and will blog her answer later on.

Here is "Act 1" trailer: 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review Roundup

Having been quite unwell lately, I haven't been producing as many reviews as I used to, and also, as you can see, this blog has been a tad bit neglected by me, too.  But I do have some reviews to share that I haven't yet posted here, so let's get to those.

1.  Perhaps the most highly anticipated album of the year for me this year was the new Dawn of Destiny release, Praying to the World.  I am happy to say that it is fantastic!  I even like their new vocalist, Jeanette! I reviewed it for Sonic Cathedral here.

2. SinHeresY's EP, The Spiders and the Butterfly.  Great metal from Italy, where a lot of fantastic metal is coming from these days.  Italy seems to me to be the newest metal powerhouse, which is great if you think Lacuna Coil is sliding down the tubes.  SinHeresY is a dual male & female fronted band and their EP is very promising.  I find myself going back to it again and again.  Again, I reviewed it for Sonic Cathedral, here.

3. If you haven't heard Akoma, Denmark's awesome symphonic metal band with a killer vocalist, you should definitely check them out!  I've been a fan for a while now, and they released a new EP this spring called The Other Side.  Check my review of that on Sonic Cathadral here.

4. I co-wrote a review of LA-based symphonic metal band Ashentide's EP here on Sonic Cathedral.  A very promising start from a young band with a lot of talent!  The EP is available for a free download from the band's site.

The next reviews are all from Black Wind Metal.

1. As Winter Falls' EP, available for free download from the band's site, was a nice surprise.  Hailing from Slovenia, this is as talented quartet, and my review of the EP, Road to Nowhere, is here.

2. Maltese metalers Rising Sunset were kind enough to send me a copy of their new CD, Equinox.  It was a little bit not my cup of tea lyrics-wise, and this caused some conversation in the comments.  Musically, it wasn't bad, though.  That review is here.

3. Switzerland's 69 Chambers released Torque this spring and I reviewed it here.  Again, not exactly my cup of tea.

4. Opera Diabolicus - awesomesauce!  I loved this CD, entitled +1614.  I couldn't say enough good things about it.  You can read my gushing about that one here.

5. Pythia's The Serpent's Curse was a great surprise for me since I found their previous CD milquetoast.  I really enjoyed this new CD, though, and that review is here.

6. From Nancy, France, Fenrir is a female fronted folk metal band, and I reviewed Echoes of the Wolf here.

7. I even did a review of a male fronted power metal band from Cyrpus, Winter's Verge.  Pretty good stuff, too.  That one is here.

8. Huntress is a band making a lot of waves on the scene these days and one that is gaining a lot of popularity through it's seemingly endless touring.  I almost got to see them at Paganfest in Seattle, but was sick so I couldn't attend the gig.  But I was particularly interested in seeing them.  Their CD is fun, though not exactly my cup of tea vocally or stylistically.  But I loved their song "Eight of Swords".  That review is here.

That's it for now!  Enjoy!

New Find: Downcast Art

Thanks to my colleagues at Sonic Cathedral, I came upon this very special, talented band from Croatia recently, and I've been constantly playing their CD, Forbidden Memories for days and days now.  I have a review of the CD upcoming on Black Wind Metal.

Listen, this is awesome, phenomenal, outstanding music.  Jelena's vocals are haunting, and quite frankly, some of the most unique you'll come across in the genre.  The music is complex, mature, and extremely engaging.  All of the elements of older symphonic power metal are there - "older" meaning that it harkens back to a time when there were way less genre crossovers as there are now.

Their web site has several songs from the CD available for streaming, and if you go here and scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see the entire CD booklet, which has the lyrics.

I really encourage fans of symphonic power metal and female fronted metal to check out this band!  Spread the word so they can get a freakin' record deal!

Here is their Facebook page.

This song is the title track from the album, one of my favourites.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Delain's New Video

As a follow-up to this post, the new Delain album, We Are the Others, will be released - finally! - at the beginning of June.  And here is the first single and video from that album, "Get the Devil Out of Me".  Enjoy!


Epica's "Storm The Sorrow" video

"Storm The Sorrow" is new song from Epica's album "Requiem For The Indifferent" which was released in March. 


Imaginaerum teaser trailer

First trailer of Imaginaerum was released today. Also we got new site www.imaginaerum.com. This site is only about the film and you can find there gallery, news and trailers.

So enjoy!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sonata Arctica's New Single

Here it is, and it's called "I Have a Right."


My first impressions are that A) it's a tad poppy with the keyboards and B) it's very repetitive.  Still, it's catchy enough, as SA usually is, and I think this might grow on me.  I'm definitely looking forward to the new CD, out in North America May 22.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Disappointment

Today Nightwish announced their North American tour dates.  Here is the schedule.  As you can see Kamelot is opening for them.

As you can also see, there are only two Canadian dates, both back east, one in Montreal Sept. 19 and one in Toronto Sept. 20.  As a western Canadian already alienated from the hub of the metal music scene (there is a west coast metal scene, but we still don't get as many big acts as the east does), I am supremely pissy about the lack of western Canadian Nightwish gigs.  Would it have killed them to include at least ONE fucking western Canadian city?  Calgary? Vancouver?  Even Winnipeg!  But no, once again, western Canada gets the shaft (we have also been given the shaft with Sabaton's current North American tour, amongst others).

I acknowledge that I am close enough to Seattle to go there for a gig, however on top of the $35 (or possibly more) ticket, I have to pay $76 for a train trip, plus extras that come with going to another city/country.  Usually, I have a friend to stay with in Seattle, but this date will not work with her schedule, so that might be out.  Plus it's a pain in the ass!

Fuck you King Foo!!!!  I will go and see Epica instead November 10 - RIGHT HERE IN VANCOUVER!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sonata Arctica releases the "Stones Grow Her Name" album teaser

Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica released a new album teaser video on YouTube today. It is just a preview of some of the tracks that will be on the new album. Listening to some of these clips, it really is difficult to judge and critique anything right now since I only heard two and a half minutes of the actual material. It sounds like a mix of older and newer Sonata Arctica. Only time will tell how this album plays out. Like I said before, some of the song titles sound a bit odd, but the music is what really counts anyways.

So here is the video:

Sabaton Breaks Up

Oh, man, sad news from the Sabaton front, though I was kind of expecting this since there has been a rumour circulating about this for over a week now.  But it's official: Sabaton is breaking up.  You can read the band's statement here.

Only two of the original six members, who had been together for 12 years, will remain with Sabaton, carrying the banner: vocalist Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström.  The other four are all leaving.

Lots of big shoes to fill here!  It's impressive that this band had the same line-up for as long as it did, too.  I wish Joakim & Par all the best in replacing Rikard, Daniel Mullback, Daniel Mÿhr, and Oskar.

The next album, Carolus Rex, is due out in May.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some Stats

Does this surprise anyone?


This came from one of my friends who found it on Metal Archives.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Too True!

I found this via one of my colleagues at Black Wind Metal.

This NEEDS to be on a t-shirt!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Review Update

Busy times for us all here, but I have been keeping up my reviewing gigs with both Black Wind Metal and Sonic Cathedral.  Here is as summary.

For Black Wind Metal:

Epica's Requiem for the Indifferent
Amberian Dawn's Circus Black
Shear's Breaking the Stillness
Evenoire's Vitriol (the best of the bunch; it's really excellent & I highly recommend it!)
Effloresce's Coma Ghosts
Silent Opera's Immortal Beauty (the worst of the bunch; at 1/5, it's my lowest rating ever)

For Sonic Cathedral:

Lyriel's Leverage (awesomesauce!)


RIP Randy Rhoads, 30 years later

Thirty years ago, legendary Quiet Riot and Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhoads died while in a plane crash in Leesburg, Florida. His death really shook the rock and metal communities and was tragically taken too soon as a 25-year old young man. Today, people young and old still remember what he brought to the world of heavy metal. His style was something incredible and only Randy could pull off such a feat. His most memorable moment was with Ozzy Osbourne when they released their opus Blizzard of Ozz in 1980. That album featured metal classics such as "I Don't Know", "Crazy Train", "Suicide Solution", and of course "Mr. Crowley". His guitar style was unlike anything that was heard at that time and many modern metal guitarists consider him a major influence in their music. With his classically trained and shred guitar combination, it was no wonder that so many marveled at his abilities. To this day he is still missed as he was a rare talent that died way too soon. RIP Randy. Your music still lives on!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Come Cover Me: Lyriel's "The Star of the County Down"

Last week German folk metal band, a band I have long been a big fan of, released their fourth album.  I've had a listen and I think it's excellent and shows a really different side of the band and of Jessica's voice.  One of the bonus tracks is a cover of the Irish folk song "Star of the County Down."  I love that song!

My favourite version has been done my my favouritest musician ever, Loreena McKennitt, and it appears on her The Wind That Shakes the Barley CD.  Here it is:


Loreena can do no wrong in my world!

And here is Lyriel's metal version.  It's fantastic.  Take a listen:


I love how fast it is, I love how edgy is is, I love how you can headbang to it.  Great job, Lyriel!

Borrowed Melodies: Nightwish's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First"

Finally this is on the verge of official release!  Which means they actually got permission to use the song from originator Michael Nyman.  If you recall, there was some controversy after NW used this song as their outro for their final concert of the DPP tour - but as the saying goes, any press is good press, even bad press.  The iffy debut of "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" only created an intense longing for NW fans to have the song released.  And on March 2 it will be, as a B-side to the single release of "The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove", the second single from Imaginaerum.

But of course there's been an - ahem - early unofficial release, and here it is:

I absolutely love it.  I love how it builds and builds on itself, I love the lyrics, I love the power and emotion. There are no weaknesses in this song at all.  It was worth the wait.

And I am a big fan of the film The Piano and it's soundtrack. Here is the original version:


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who's Going to Paganfest 2012?

I am!  I just bought my ticket for the Seattle show and it was a very reasonable $20 plus $2.24 for fees.  The dollar is at par these days so it's an even better deal!  I have a friend in Seattle I can stay with, but she's not into metal (though she did accompany me to Sabaton/Evergrey in October) so I am going to the event alone.  But I'm cool with that!

The bill includes, as you can see from the poster, Turisas, Alestrom, Ex Deo (I have no idea who they are), Arkona, and Huntress.  I have seen Arkona live before, in December in Vancouver, when they opened for Korpiklaani. They were great live and I'm stoked that I'm going to get another opportunity to see them live so soon!

The Seattle show is April 15.  Can't wait!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Farewell Elis

Yesterday Lichtenstein's Gothic metal band, Elis, announced that they were calling it quits, just a few days after their new singer Simone Christinat announced to the band she was leaving Elis due to too much stress.  Simone also sings for Legenda Aurea, and she replaces Elis's second vocalist, Sandra Schleret, who herself replaced original vocalists Sabine Dunser, who died of a brain hemorrhage in 2006.

The statement from the band reads:


We have to inform you that ELIS has passed into history.  Simone told us a couple of days ago, that she will leave ELIS immediately due to too much stress. 
We have decided now to quit the band. Too much things happened during all these years to continue once again. 
But on the other side, there were a lot of good and lucky moments in this almost ten years of ELIS. Therefore we want to say thank you for your support, your dedication and your friendship through all these years!

But this will not be the end of our musical careers, some projects are already in the pipeline. 
You will find more information about these things very soon on this location.

Cheers and take care!
Max, Tom, Pete, Chris



It seems like Elis has had really bad luck with their vocalists.  Simone had only been with the band 8 or 9 months before deciding to depart.  I'm not sure why Sandra left, but the band only recorded one CD with her, the rather excellent Catharsis.

I really liked Elis so I am sad to hear this!  I loved Sabine, but I also really enjoyed Sandra's voice when she sang with them.  I was looking forward to hearing how they sounded with Simone. They had strong, evocative music I enjoyed very much.  They will be missed!  Best wishes to them all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Reviews

Today Xandria's new album is released in Spain, Sweden, and Finland.  The rest of Europe follows tomorrow and North America gets it's hands on it March 6.  But, thanks to my review gig over at Black Wind Metal, I got a review copy!  And let me tell you, this is one awesome fucking album.  I was so impressed, and I think fans of the symphonic power metal genre are really going to be impressed, too.  My review for Neverworld's End can be read here.

Also for Black Wind Metal, I reviewed the new Diabulus in Musica album, The Wanderer.  I was only so-so on that.  That review is here.

Finally for BWM, I reviewed Meden Agan, who hail from Greece.  This is a band I encourage you all to pay some attention to, because they are absolutely brilliant.  Their newest album, Erevos Aenaon, is so impressive, and I think Iliana, their operatic vocalist, is going to become a powerhouse on the scene.  That review is here.

More reviews coming up!

Some Metal Humour

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was appropriate.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Label Douchebaggery


For those of you who are fans of Delain, as I am, you might be interested in this interview my Sonic Cathedral colleague, Robin Stryker, did with mainman Martijn Westerholt and lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels.  In it, we learn why there has been such a long delay in the releasing of the band's third album, entitled We Are the Others.



Apparently, Roadrunner Records went through a major re-organization and is now being run by Warner Music Group, AKA WMG.  Says Martijn in the interview:




A lot of people left the company, were fired or restructured, etc., which meant for us that the guy who signed us and assisted us with our album process from the record company side was fired. They needed a new A&R manager for us. There was none in Holland, so it was quite a search to get the new structure working.  In the end, we had a new management, which also is the A&R and artist relations with Roadrunner. That took a lot of time, which meant that the whole album process was on hold as well.



The album was supposed to be released around a year ago, but to this day still has no release date, though late March was rumoured. The album is done and ready to go, and Delain is embarking on a headlining tour around Europe this spring.  The buzz around this album and the potential promotional opportunities such a tour would bring are huge.  Yet the label isn't onside with the record.



Martijn continues,



We heard that Warner Music didn’t want to release us because they just don’t get metal. They just don’t get it. They bought Roadrunner to get this metal DNA into their body, I would say. I have the feeling … I don’t know because I’m not in the organization itself … but I have the feeling that they are still searching for the right working method.  The Roadrunner company wants to release us, and there are several people within Roadrunner who are working to release us nonetheless. So actually, for us it’s a nightmare.




No kidding it's a nightmare!  I have no idea what WMG is thinking in doing this but it's ridiculous.  The album is mastered and ready to go, complete with artwork and the whole fucking shabang.  "Not getting metal" is a poor excuse - you're Warner fucking Music for crying out loud!  Incidentally, I have not failed to notice that WMG is one of the worst labels for yanking YouTube videos off YT for "proprietary reasons", causing them to miss out on numerous marketing and promotional opportunities.  I don't know the specific legal ins and outs of Delain's contract or what the label obligations towards the band are now that WMG has taken over, but it seems like utter douchebaggery to not release the CD because they "don't get it."  I don't get half the pop shit they release!



Anyway, I urge fellow Delain fans to join the "Petition for Warner Music to Release Delain - We Are the Others" page on Facebook to show their support for the band.  And let's hope WMG comes to its senses - quickly.