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 12, 2013

Come Cover Me: Australia's Chaos Divine Covers Toto's "Africa"

Just found out about this band from Perth, western Australia, tonight on Facebook.  A friend posted this cover they did of Toto's "Africa", a song I have loved since I was in like grade 3.

Check it out:

Chaos Divine has some great stuff, I have to say; I was really impressed by the few tracks that I heard.  You can find out more about them on their Facebook page here.

Here is Toto's original:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Within Temptation's new album Hydra

Within Temptation will release their 6th studio album 'Hydra' on January 31st, 2014. This is what the band
has to say about the album: The Hydra, a mythological serpent creature from ancient Greece couldn't be killed. When one of its heads was cut off, two more grew in its place. Commented by Robert Westerholt: "Hydra is a perfect title for our new album, because like the monster itself, the record represents the many different sides of our music."

We will also get the chance to listen to several guest musicians such as Tarja Turunen, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, Howard Jones formerly of Killswitch Engage and US hip-hop icon Xzibit.


1. Let Us Burn
2. Dangerous feat. Howard Jones
3. And We Run feat. Xzibit
4. Paradise (What About Us?) feat. Tarja
5. Edge Of The World
6. Silver Moonlight
7. Covered By Roses
8. Dogs Days
9. Tell My Why
10. Whole World Is Watching feat. Dave Pirner
11. Radioactive (originally performed by Imagine Dragons) (BONUS TRACK)
12. Summertime Sadness (originally performed by Lana del Ray) (BONUS TRACK)
13. Let Her Go (originally performed by Passenger) (BONUS TRACK)
14. Dirty Dancer (originally performed by Enrique Iglesias) (BONUS TRACK)
15. And We Run - evolution track (BONUS TRACK)
16. Silver Moonlight - evolution track (BONUS TRACK)
17. Covered By Roses - evolution track (BONUS TRACK)
18 Tell My Why - evolution track (BONUS TRACK)
19. Paradise (What About Us?) feat. Tarja  - Music Video exclusive to iTunes premium version

Track 1-10 new album tracks of Hydra
Track 11-19 bonus tracks iTunes premium version

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Come Cover Me: Elvenking Does Belinda Carlisle...?

And now for something completely different.  Thanks to one of my colleagues at Black Wind Metal, I just found this very...interesting cover of Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth" done by power metal outfit, Elvenking.

Who says you can't take an 80s pop song into a piece of power metal?

Elvenking hails from Italy.  Check out their FB page here.

Here is Belinda Carlisle's original:

Here is Elvenking's version:

What do you think?  I'm a little stunned...

Friday, October 18, 2013

MaYaN's new album Antagonise out in January

Dutch symphonic death metal band MaYaN will release their second album "Antagonise" on January 31st, 2014. The album contains 11 songs and features guest musicians Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ReVamp, After Forever), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) and Greek violinist Dimitris Katsoulis.

According to the press release, the main album's concept is based on "the current state of the world which is going totally insane".

Touring members Henning Basse (Lingua Mortis Orchestra) and Laura Macri became permanent members back in September.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Floor Jansen stays in Nightwish

Nightwish stated numerous times that we have to wait until 2014 to learn the name of new vocalist. But
apparently plans changed and on October 9th Floor Jansen was officially announced as new lead vocalist. Also, Nightwish has no more 5 members but 6! Troy became new full-time member of the band.

Here is the press release:

Ms. Floor Jansen is a keeper.
Also, we will be a six-piece band from now on, as Mr. Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, low whistles, vocals) will become a full-time member of NIGHTWISH.

Originally we were going to wait until 2014 to make a decision about the future line-up of the band, but the past year has clearly shown us that Floor and Troy are perfect matching pieces of our puzzle, and we are really
grateful of the bond that has grown between all of us. We love you guys.


Commented vocalist Floor Jansen: "Words cannot describe what I feel! This union is beyond everything and I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to continue this amazing journey with my new brothers! Once I had a dream....and this is it!!!"

Piper/whistleman, added vocalist Troy Donockley: "'Imaginaeum World Tour' was a revelation to me an in that time, I became aware of a growing unity and then, finally, a transcendence of all the usual nonsense that affects bands. A beautiful process. And since the idea, the musical dream that NIGHTWISH has been a part of me since before I was born, I am delighted to officially sail into uncharted waters with my brother and sister. Wondrous scenes Ahoy!"

The new line-up can be seen on the live / tour documentary Showtime, Storytime, released on November 29th.

Official "Showtime, Storytime" trailer:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Within Temptation ft Tarja - Paradise (What About Us?) single out now

Today, Within Temptation released an official video for their new single Paradise (What About Us?).


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Epica's anniversary DVD out on November 8th

Retrospect was filmed to celebrate band's 10th anniversary. The concert was recorded on March 23rd in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and consisted of a 70 piece orchestra, acrobats, special effects, former band members Ad Sluijter, Yves Huts and Jeoren Simons and guest vocalist Floor Jansen. Band introduced new song called "Retrospect" and played "Twin Flames" from "The Requiem for the Indifferent" for the first time.

The DVD will be released as 2DVD/3CD and 2Blu-ray/3CD version. Also there will be exclusive interviews with band members and behind the scenes footage from the show.

The setlist:

1. Introspect
2. Monopoly of Truth
3. Sensorium
4. Unleashed
5. Martyr of the Free Word
6. Chasing the Dragon
7. Presto
8. Never Enough
9. Stabat Mater Dolorosa
10. Twin Flames
11. Serenade of Self-Destruction
12. Orchestral Medley
13. The Divine Conspiracy - Anniversary Edition
14. Delirium
15. Blank Infinity
16. The Obsessive Devotion
17. Retrospect
18. Battle of the Heroes & Imperial March
19. Quientus
20. The Phantom Agony
21. Cry for the Moon
22. Sancta Terra
23. Design Your Universe
24. Storm the Sorrow
25. Consign to Oblivion
26. Outrospect

The official trailer:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Leaves' Eyes' new album out in November

Recently, Leave's Eyes announced that their 5th studio album ''Symphonies of the Night" is mixed, mastered and ready for release. According to their own words: ''Expect this album to be the heaviest and most epic LEAVES' EYES experience to date: it will haunt you, even in your dreams''.


1. Hell to the Heavens
2. Fading Earth
3. Maid of Lorraine
4. Galswintha
5. Symphony of the Night
6. Saint Cecelia
7. Hymn to the Lone Sands
8. Angel and the Ghost
9. Eleonore de Provence
10. Nightshade
11. Ophelia
12. Eileen's Ardency - Bonus Track -  featuring Carmen Elise Espanaes
13. One Caress - Bonus Track - Depeche Mode cover

Release dates:

13.11.2013 Spain, Sweden, Norway
15.11. 2013 Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg
18.11. 2013 UK, Rest of Europe
26.11. 2013 USA, Canada

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Within Temptation's new single Paradise (What About Us?)

On September 27th, Within Temptation will release new single 'Paradise (What About Us?) featuring Tarja Turunen as a guest vocalist.

'Paradise (What About Us?) will be released as an EP, containing four new songs. The songs are 'Paradise (what About Us?), demo versions of  three brand new songs 'Let Us Burn', 'Dog Days' and 'Silver Moonlight'.

Here's a little teaser:

New live DVD Showtime, Storytime by Nightwish

Nightwish have decided to release a new live DVD 'Showtime, Sotrytime' on November 29th. The DVD consist of live show recoded at Wacken Open Air Metal Festival with temporary vocalist Floor Jansen. Also, a 120 - minute long tour documentary 'Please Learn The Setlist In 48 Hours' and live videos of 'I Want My Tears Back' shot at Hartwall concert and 'Ghost Love Score' shot in Argentina. 

As Tuomas explained. The DVD was supposed to be only a tour documentary but Nuclear Blast came up with the idea of adding a live concert. Read bit more here.

Sadly, Anette will not be featured on this DVD. Here is the explanation from the DVD director:

Hello everyone,
We began shooting the Nightwish Imaginaerum - world tour documentary in January 2012. The shootings continued all the way until August 2013, so we ended up having tons of material from the tour. The material included, among other things, concerts, rehearsals and interviews from all the members of the band. The editing process of the documentary started already in early 2012.

However, in the beginning of March 2013 we received a message insisting that no visual (moving or still) nor any audio featuring Anette Olzon can be used on the dvd, this being her personal request.

This meant that we had to go back to the very beginning of the editing process. We respect her wish, and that's why Anette will unfortunately not be seen or heard on the "Showtime, Storytime" - dvd.

Ville Lipiainen

- Director

Anette made a comment on this issue as well:

Regarding the documentary- yes, I decided not to be a part of it since I no longer are in the band and therefore didn't have any influence on my participation in it which on the other hand the 4 remaining members had. Therefore it's better for me to not be in it to avoid any disappointments in either direction.

CD Review: Colours In the Dark by Tarja

After 3 years of waiting, Tarja released her new album 'Colours In the Dark' in August/September. Before the release of the album, Tarja teased us with lyric video 'Never Enough'  and official first single 'Victim of Ritual', which was released in July.

Personally, I'm not really surprised with the direction of Tarja's new album. In many interview Tarja anticipated, that her main influences were film soundtracks and American heavy metal. Although, the album has only 10 tracks, it doesn't seem to be necessarily a bad thing as some fans were complaining. Most of the songs are longer than 5 minutes anyway.

The album's opener is also the first single 'Victim of Ritual' which immediately reminded me of  'Anteroom of Death' from her second album 'What Lies Beneath'. Followed by '500 Letters', which is supposed to be the second single released sometime in September. This song is really catchy and is about Tarja's obsessives fans. I like this song along with more atmospheric 'Lucid Dreamer', which features Tarja's daughter Naomi, 'Mystique Voyage', where Tarja sings in 3 different languages. My personal highlight of the album is 'Deliverance'. A perfect combo of all Tarja's favourite musical styles which blend in together very nicely. 'Never Enough' and 'Neverlight' are the heaviest songs on the album and definitely bear the 'stamp' of American heavy metal which Tarja is so fond of. As with the previous 2 albums, Tarja decided to make another cover.

This time it is Peter Gabriel's 'Darkness', which along with the ballad 'Until Silence' are 2 songs which I tried to like, but failed to do so. Maybe they need even more time to grow on me, but in the case of  'Until Silence' it's not only the lyrics, which I find rather repetitive and boring, but the song itself sounds a bit dull to me. The last song of the album is a duet 'Medusa' featuring Justin Furstenfeld know as the lead singer of the rock band Blue October

Since I bought the deluxe version I received a one off download code for the bonus track 'Into the Silence'. When Tarja played this song for the first time during her 'What Lies Beneath World Tour' I wasn't really impressed with this song. I liked 'Never Enough' more. But this studio version not only has new intro added but also the middle part is changed and it became on of my favourite songs of 'Colours In the Dark'. I consider it to be one of her best ballads.

So to say at last. To me 'Colours In the Dark' is a very big step forward. It seems like Tarja found herself a style which she shines in and also record company, which helps her to improve and evolve. Also, I must not forget to mention booklet. If you can, buy the CD because the photos are just stunning! Tarja looks beautiful, relaxed and so natural. I always complain about her official photos, because she pulls horrible faces but these are just great. And if I ever get a chance to see her live, I will definitely go. Even though, her accent still bothers me a lot.

To find tour dates check here. If you haven't ordered your copy yet, do it here.

First official single: Victim of Ritual

Monday, July 29, 2013

Come Cover Me: South Africa's Terminatryx does Animotion's "Obsession"

I just came across Terminatryx, an industrial metal act from South Africa this morning, via my contacts at Sonic Cathedral. I don't mind industrial metal at all, and this is a pretty good cover of a song that was popular in the 80s, which of course I remember well.

Here is Animotion with the original.

And here is Terminatryx's cover.

Terminatryx should have something out soon, so the buzz goes.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rockin' With Cool Canadian Kids: The HMP Showcase Tour Comes to Vancouver

Earlier this month, on the 4th of June, I was invited to the HMP Recording and Development's showcase tour when it stopped in Vancouver's suburb of New Westminster. This cross Canada tour, which had a western leg and an eastern leg and literally went from one coast to another, showcased some of the talent this young and up-and-coming record label has to offer.  You can read more about HMP here; they are a Vancouver-based company with acts from all over Canada signed to them, with a large variety of music: metal, rock, pop, country, and even hip hop. I was grateful to get on the guest list so I could feast my ears on (mostly) new-to-me music.

There were 10 acts altogether, and New West's Columbia Theatre was abuzz with activity when I arrived and took my seat. Artists were to-ing and fro-ing all over the place, the door to the back stage and green rooms was in constant motion, and there was a big sound check going on, led by rock band JFR's front man, Jean-Francois Roy.

The showcase's co-headliner featured Edmonton industrial metal act KingDoom, which had a special guest playing with them for the western leg of the tour, Chris Vrenna.  Vrenna, if you don't know, was Nine Inch Nails' drummer and also drummer for Marilyn Manson, and he's also a producer, who actually produced KingDoom's new self-titled CD.  Apparently, he's a grammy winner.

The other head liner was Canadian hip hop artist, Poppy Seed.

But the big draw for me personally was seeing a band I've become quite fond of recently, Celestial Ruin, who signed with HMP in the late spring.

But before we get to that, let's go through the line-up and give some link love to the other bands on the night's bill.

The evening was emceed by Fall of Cain mainman Travis Dean, who was charismatic and very enthusiastic as he cruised through the evening introducing everyone.

Draaka Rouge
First up, a metal guitar soloist, Draaka Rouge, who hails from Victoria, BC, and who plays his own unique brand of progressive metal. His guitar playing was extremely impressive; his hand was a constant blur as he shredded it up!  He also had a very cool guitar, it reminded me of a Ferrari, bright red and shiny.

Next up was Vancouver hip hop artist Stray One, from Vancouver suburb, Langley.  AKA Nicholas James Bergeron, he performed a couple of songs (all the sets were very short leading up to the headliners) that were OK as far as I could tell - I am not a hip hop person at all, but I liked his subject matter.

Third was rock artist Joelle, who has a new album out called "Pillar of Stone", and fourth up was another rock act called Burning Daisy, featuring an Irish-born singer named Liz. I really liked this band a lot, be sure to check them out!

At the midway point of the evening, Travis went through costume change to sing for his band, Fall of Cain (their HMP page is here). Hailing from Victoria, this band sits somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal on the musical spectrum, and had lots of great stage presence.  Travis was a great performer and wore these funky steampunk-ish sunglasses.  This is definitely a band to be on the lookout for, they were excellent!

Following Fall of Cain, Jean-Francois got up to perform with his band, the HMP showcases house band, JFR. Based in Edmonton, this is another band to watch out for - they were great live and did a fantastic set.  They even have a music video out for one of their singles, "Take Me As I Am."

The seventh band was a last minute addition to the bill, a Vancouver-based band called Crashing Angels.  OK, this band actually surprised me.  Never heard of them, and when they were doing their set-up, I could tell that they were significantly older than all the other bands playing.  I was a little skeptical, when I saw them, expecting perhaps something more traditional and perhaps blander than what I got, which was an excellent set of hard rock!  Vocalist Dean Marshall Pilkey was purely awesome - he just killed it, and this was one of my favourite performances of the night!  This band has had the same line-up for 11 years, incidentally, and I'm going to have to see if I can catch them live again because I enjoyed them that much.

After a bit of an intermission, the three big bands were up next, starting off with KingDoom, accompanied by Chris Vrenna on a second drum kit. He was the big name "draw" of the night, and indeed the western leg of the tour.  KingDoom live was amazing, not ifs ands or buts. They were tight, intense, and you could tell that they'd worked a lot on their live performance because they looked and sounded very slick and well-produced.  However, I didn't see the point of Chris Vrenna being there behind the second drum kit...he seemed a little extraneous, and he didn't look to me like he had a lot of heart while playing, especially compared to the band's main drummer, Boom-Boom (at least that's what their FB page says his name is).  Apparently KingDoom is popular on the Edmonton scene as their show was sold out in that city (and also of note, that Edmonton show was shown around the world on pay per view).  I really enjoyed KingDoom's set; it was fun and energetic, and I even liked them so much I purchased their CD off iTunes.  It's a pretty good CD, though industrial metal is not exactly my thing, but I enjoyed it a lot.  Singer Lex Justice is an excellent performer with a lot of energy and presence.  As headliner, they played a full set and it totally got the place going.

Larissa Dawn of Celestial Ruin
And then my favourite local metal band, Celestial Ruin was up to play a four song set.  I have previously written about Celestial Ruin for Sonic Cathedral, and you can read about that experience here. As I mention in that piece, CR is definitely a band to see live because their live performances are fantastic. Singer Larissa Dawn was once again resplendent in a gorgeous gown and she gave a very animated and compelling performance.  Their set included their own metal version of Europe's "The Final Countdown" and a song that is not on their debut album, Awakening, called "Sense of Exile". This show featured the band's new guitarist Carlo Sepe, who was just recently hired shortly after the Cirque Nocturna evening I linked to.  He did a great job, considering he'd been with the band less than two months and his first show with the band was on the tour's previous stop in Victoria the night before. The band's set once again had the audience up and headbanging and hopping around, and was a lot of fun. I totally encourage anyone in the Vancouver area to check out Celestial Ruin live if they can; their next gig is at the Media Club in downtown Vancouver on July 14.

Finally, after about three hours of music, the final act was on, and that was the aforementioned co-headliner, Poppy Seed.  As he took the stage, a couple of scantily clad dancers undulated down the two aisles of the theatre and took up spots right up in front of the stage and started dancing away to something obviously choreographed.  As I said, I'm not a hip hop person, and I have to be honest, this was not a good way to end the evening for me.  I didn't enjoy Poppy Seed at all and found him rather slow and boring.  It was late, and I had to skytrain back to my suburban lair, so I ended up leaving during this guy's set.  I feel slightly guilty about it...But I did get to have a last-minute chat with some of Celestial Ruin's members and that was nice.

So overall, this was a great evening of music and entertainment!  Thanks to HMP for inviting me, and thanks to all the bands and artists for a memorable evening.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr dies at 56 (1957-2013)

Today is a sad day in the heavy metal world. Legendary heavy metal drummer Clive Burr died in his sleep yesterday at age 56. He has played and performed in a number of bands, but is most well known for his work in Iron Maiden. He recorded drums for Maiden's first three albums since he joined them in 1979. His style and work with the band has helped Iron Maiden become heavy metal icons and his drumming style is unmatched and timeless.

Clive has been battling with multiple sclerosis for a number of years and as a result his health has never been the same since. You can read more about this here:

RIP Clive Burr (1957-2013)
Burr in 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gig Review: Sabaton at The Venue in Vancouver, BC

Last night was a highly anticipated evening on my calendar.  Ever since seeing Sabaton kill it opening for Evergrey in October 2011, and being blown away by their performance, I knew I'd spend the money to see them again if they ever came to my part of the world.  And they did.  The gig was announced a few months ago and I put it on my calendar in big letters, hardly able to wait.  Last night's show in Vancouver was the only Canadian date on Sabaton's current North American headlining tour, and even though I was having a shitty day and nearly talked myself out of going, I'm so glad I pulled myself together and attended.  It was fucking brilliant.

Using local support acts throughout the tour, last night's bill included Vancouver indy band Unleash the Archers and Kelowna's Empyria, a prog band signed with Nightmare records.  Doors opened at 8:00 and there was a modest line-up.  Because I've been sick, I didn't get to Scrape Records to purchase my ticket for $15, and instead plunked down $20 at the door.  Lesson learned: go get the ticket from the local metal shop instead of winging it on show night - you'll save money and support the record store.  In the end, the cost didn't matter; I'd plunk down twice that to see Sabaton again.

That first Sabaton show in Vancouver was also held at The Venue, located on the theatre strip on Granville St.  I'm not the biggest fan of The Venue - the floors are sticky, the floor isn't raked, and there is minimal seating for when you want to get off your feet for a while.  But I like I a hell of a lot better than the Rickshaw, where most metal acts perform when they come to Vangroovy.  But one thing that is good about The Venue is that the merch stands are in a common sense place, unlike at the Rickshaw where they are too close to the pit and always a pain in the ass to get to.

Anyway, bitching about the venue aside, as soon as I got inside I visited the merch tables of Empyria and Unleash the Archers, happy to see that Brittney Slays, UtA's vocalist, was manning the table.  I knew I had to say hi; my colleague at Sonic Cathedral, Robin Stryker, would have admonished me for not doing so, since Robin is a huge UtA fan and has had the pleasure of interviewing Brittney.  Also, my colleague at Black Wind Metal, Kevin, interviewed UtA for that site, so I had to go and say hi and introduce myself just to say that I had.  Brittney was doing her vocal warm-ups at the station as she handled money, and when I had the chance to speak to her, she was very lovely to chat to and very gracious.  In the end, I'm glad I got over some of my social anxieties and approached her; she is totally approachable, as is the band's bassist, who came to assist her.

Incidentally, I didn't recognize any of the house music that was playing before the show started, but there was one familiar song: Nightwish's "Storytime."  That made me happy, and I don't care who heard me singing along!

Brittney Slayes of UtA
Taking the stage first was Uta, and they did so at about 8:45.  For about half an hour, I'd staked out a spot to the right of the stage just under the giant hanging speakers.  This is a typical strategy of mine at gigs since I like to take pix.  When UtA took the stage there was a huge whoop from the crowd.  This band definitely has a following of significance and the crowd was happy to see them.  When Brittney began to sing, I was blown away.  She is so powerful she almost outsings the band.  I have all of UtA's releases (their most recent is an EP that's now available on iTunes) and let me tell you, she sounds so much more amazing live.  She is so dynamic and charismatic when she's belting out their tunes right in front of you.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I was blown away - it was a fantastic performance, complete with tons of windmill headbanging and the whole lot.  If you ever get a chance to see UtA live, DO IT!  They certainly won me over and Brittney how has a new fangirl.

My only beef about this set is that I didn't get many good photos because some 7 foot tall schmuck decided to plant himself right in front of me, obscuring my view.  Fuck man, if you're that tall, go farther back and let the shorter people see properly!

Next up was Kelowna's Empyria (pronounced empire-ee-ah).  Like I said, they're a prog metal band, and I thought they were OK.  Some of the members had very enthusiastic family members in the crowd, and that was fun to watch.  The music got better as they played further into their set, and I found myself getting into it more and more the farther the set went.  Overall, not exactly my cup of tea vocal-wise, but I respect this band for coming as far as it has in the time its been together, and it's definitely nothing to sneeze about to open for freaking Sabaton, so props to them.

And props to Sabaton for going the route of choosing local bands to open for them.  I think that's pretty classy. (Not to mention less expensive, which I totally realize.)

Finally, the set up and last minute sound checks for Sabaton were done, and the lights dimmed...and it was on.

As with the last Vancouver gig, the band chose fellow Swedes, Europe, to provide their intro music, and it was the same song, "The Final Countdown."  Loved it!  Then all went dark, and bursting onto the stage was Sabaton's new drummer, Robban Bäck, completely shirtless.  He took a bow then sat behind his kit, and then came the banging out of the intro to "Ghost Division."  Singer Joakim Broden jumped onto the stage and started belting out the lyrics and pounding around like he embodied the music.

Sabaton takes the stage!
If there is one thing I can say about Sabaton live, and I realize this isn't particularly creative, but it's all I can come up with because words are hard to come up with for this stuff, it's that they are larger than life.  All their movements are so full of energy that their stage presence is nothing like I have ever seen before.  They are all so into their music that they literally embody it.

For those of you who don't follow the band, they have three new members after a split a while back, and I wondered how they new members would be on stage.  And it turns out that they were just as awesome as the previous incarnation of Sabaton.  Guitars are split between Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund seemingly pretty evenly, which was nice to see because it gave each musician a chance to shine in front of the crowd with their shredding abilities.  The only band member Sabaton hasn't replaced is Daniel Myr, the keyboardist; instead, they must be using a backing tape, which was fine.  I would like to see the keys played live, though!

The set list included all the usual faves, "40-1", "Primo Victoria", and stuff from the current album, Carolus Rex.  A few times, Joakim invited the crowd to help choose the songs, giving us a choice between two and taking a vote by most noise made.  "White Death" from Coat of Arms was chosen that way, as was the "Carolean's Prayer", which was sung in Swedish, since Joakim told the crowd that they'd had lots of feedback from fans requesting a song sung in the band's native language.  Other songs were "Poltava", "The Art of War" and "Gott Mit Uns."  I can't remember everything on the set list.

As for the crowd, it was ridiculous!  I'm so glad I staked out my claim early because I kept getting pushed forward.  It was nuts, but nuts in a good way.  There were no assholes doing the stupid wall of death or running around in a circle attacking each other with inflatable swords, hammers, or axes - thank God.  Everyone was very well behaved and there just for the music and the band, and it was great.  The band was very gracious about the reception, Joakim holding his arm out to show us his goosebumps.

Another great thing about this show was the simple lighting.  Some shows over light, IMO.  Sabaton keeps it pretty simple with not too much strobe lighting and not too much oddly coloured lighting, and a the lighting is mostly from overhead, which is very important if you're trying to take photos.  The Rickshaw has the worst lighting ever and I get a lot of crappy shots just because of the lighting.  Last night I got some OK shots but it wasn't because of the lighting, it was because no one on stage stood still long enough to get a decent pic!

Sabaton wound things up with "Metal Crüe" from Attero Dominatus (they also did the title track earlier on in the show).  And that was it.  It was over after about 70 minutes.  Joakim was so sweaty during his performance that he kept ducking behind the big skull curtain to towel off and re-hydrate.

On a personal note, I was very uplifted by this show.  It was the best show by far that I've been to (not that I've been to tons but it outdoes those that I have been to) since I started going to shows in 2011 when I moved out of the boonies where no one comes to play. UtA knocked it out of the park, Empyria was entertaining, and Sabaton were just too killer for words in this language.  And oh, the hotness of Joakim Broden!  Oh, how I wanted to burnish his breastplate!  But alas - I couldn't stay to hob nob at the merch table (if they even did that); it was past midnight and I had a long commute home on transit ahead of me back to my suburban lair.

I'm so glad I went.  It totally bouyed my mood, and it was the best $20 I've ever spent.  I will go and see this band at every opportunity I get because there is no show like it at all!

Edit @ 10:10pm, Feb. 20, 2013:  OMFG!  I just found out that the drummer at this gig was not Robban Bäck, but none other than Snowy Shaw!  I can't believe I saw Snowy Shaw live and in the flesh and I didn't even realize it!  I am blown away!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mike Oldfield ft Tarja - Never Too Far

A couple of days ago, English multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield released new remix album  'Tubular Beats'. The album includes Oldfield's most popular songs with new arrangements and sounds. A brand new song 'Never Too Far' features Tarja's vocals.

Not really liking it. Tarja herself sounds good but the song is just too long and too boring for my taste. I heard this song twice and can't see myself giving it another go. Sorry Tarja.