Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Summing up my last few days

Posted: December 12, 2012 in books, music, real life

This.

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Gary Moore, the legendary guitarist of his solo fame and Thin Lizzy, was found dead yesterday morning. I am not particularly familiar with his music, but his works that I know of are one of a kind. Reports say he passed away peacefully, other rumor a heart attack. It’s always sad when a top-class musician passes away. Here is something to relieve the pain:

HELLOWEEN – 7 Sinners

Posted: January 28, 2011 in music, review
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The album has been out for quite some time, but I must say I don’t follow the news as often as I should. As a result, seeing this album on the shelf was a pleasant surprise for me. It has not been long since I started listening to HELLOWEEN, but already I’m loving the precious seconds I spend listening to them.

After the classy silvery artwork, 7 Sinners shows that it was worth waiting 3 years for. As it may be expected, the lyrical theme is about the 7 Deadly Sins. The production values are top-notch, and the songs themselves generally manage to be memorable. It is heavy, with only 1 track providing relief, though that is not especially a bad thing. There are a plethora of exceptionally good riffs, and while I put the place of the solo in relation to the track above the actual guitar prowess shown in the solo, both are pretty good. The solos are not much memorable, but that may change in following listenings to the album.

In a quick run down of the tracks; Where the Sinners Go proves us the album will be nothing short of epic. From the first second we face a song that screams heavy metal. Oh wait, that’s the second song. Are You Metal? is the kind to become a fan favorite, though its tad bit cheesy. If the video and the lyrics are any indication, it might just be a subtle satire. My favorite track is, hands down, Who is Mr. Madman? Although the first track gets pretty close, it cannot match the bombastic sound of the third. The next track, World of Fantasy, lacks flair. It seems too generic. The chorus of Long Live the King is, however, bloody amazing. I can shout it all they long and still not get bored. Impossible not to headbang. The Smile of the Sun is, while not a particularly strong track, a welcome change of pace from the rest of the album. You Stupid Mankind might make more sense when listened to with lyrics, though I didn’t find it important enough to search for lyrics. If A Mountain Could Talk is just mediocre. The Sage the Fool the Sinner ranks little above the previous track, but I rather like the solo. My Sacrifice isn’t an instant hit, but has potential if I can get around listening to it for two-three times. Not Yet Today is… well, whatever. And Far in the Future manages to be an excellent closing track.

Though only a few songs capture my immediate attention, that is a result better than most. Deris’ vocals fit perfectly with the songs, and while I do miss the insanely high pitch screams, it is a reasonable trade-off. The guitars and the bass are above average, with several nice riffs, and actually audible bass lines. The drumming is great on most of the songs, though the rest sound like generic power metal drum lines. Understandable, but it would be nicer to have smoother adjustments to the varying tensions of the songs.

Overall the album doesn’t disappoint the fans and manages to be a genuine piece of art. It is neither best nor their worst work, and settles itself in a comfortable middle ground. I’m hoping, one of those who get better with each listen. Click the video below for a sample.

Being in Turkey does have its set of unlucky consequences. While it is a major cross-cultural hub, the music I believe is one of the lacking points of the country. Too much wrong westernization, and too little adaptation of said westernization. Just copying those styles from the US or Europe doesn’t work. Heavy metal is just one type of music so unappreciated by the general consensus that rarely did groups come and play here in Istanbul. One thing is sure, though, that it is getting better. So without further adieu, here are the major metal concerts currently announced to be playing here in the following months:

EPICA at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park:

They had come last year to Izmir, and now they’re back in Istanbul. Supported by DRACONIAN and TRISTANIA, the Dutch symphonic metallers will play in Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park in March 27, Sunday. Personally, EPICA is one of the first metal bands I’ve ever listened to and actually liked, before I had begun listening to metal this much, and it’ll be a blessing to see them live. The regular tickets are priced at €22 for now, roughly 44TL. Available at Eventbrite.

CHILDREN OF BODOM at Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park:

Not exactly my cup of tea, but the pioneering Finnish metallers will be here in 18 April. I rather like some of their songs, though not enough to warrant an immediate need for a concert. The tickets are sold at €32 for now, also available at Eventbrite.

BLIND GUARDIAN at Refresh the Venue:

Recently pushed back to May 4th in order for the concert to better fit in with the rest of their tour, Blind Guardian is one of the groups I was already expecting this year. I have no doubt that the concert will be downright epic, and have already gotten my ticket from Biletix. I wait for the day I’ll be able to chant the Bard’s Song with thousands of others and feel at home.

SONISPHERE FESTIVALS:

The behemoth that rocked Istanbul last year out of its sleeping state, and the sole organization to have united the Big 4 of metal, will be coming again to Istanbul at a yet unannounced date, around the summer. The rumor has it that the heavy metal legends IRON MAIDEN will be playing this time around, but we’ll have to wait and see. While IRON MAIDEN may yet disappoint us, an event at this scope surely won’t. More info to come later.

UNIROCK OPEN AIR FESTIVAL IV:

This is a festival I’ve missed last year, and I aim to make it there this time around. Spanning three days (9-10-11 September), the festival aims to be the experience of the year for all the metalheads in the country. Currently announced are BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, OPETH, KATATONIA and ELUVEITIE, and these are just a friendly reminder that this festival is going to rock your world. For now, I’m especially interested in the latter three; OPETH has always been an enigma to me, KATATONIA a band I just haven’t got the chance to listen, and ELUVEITIE, the group that made me appreciate the brilliancy (that a word?) of folk metal. We’ll see what the future will bring. Tickets at Eventbrite.

THERION Concert Photos

Posted: December 18, 2010 in music
Tags: , , , ,

What a concert it was, seeing this much talent in just two hours. I had been unclear as to which kind of music these guys played. Opera metal, definitely. Therion has changed much from its death metal days, and opting in to use 2 male and 2 female lead singers, Christofer Johnsson has made a choice that definitely suits me. Thomas Vikström handles the operatic duties very well, and even carries the aura of a nobleman with the way he looks at the crowd. I still miss Mats Leven, his voice is one of a kind, but I do agree that Thomas is a better pick for the band. Just, for the love of Joe Pesci, don’t try Blood of Kingu without Mats. At least get Snowy sing it or something. It just doesn’t work.

Coming to the other singers, Katarina Lilja is slightly overshadowed by the other singers , yet manages to get her sound across. And a body to die for, I might add, receiving a slight help from the corset-esque dress she has on her person. Lori Lewis makes the difference with her superb voice and by reaching those ridiculously high notes. I believe she even screamed in one instance, and she also plays keyboard. Her interaction with the crowd is way beyond average, and manages to sound very cute doing it. No wonder more than half the crowd (AKA, all of the men) is head over heels for her; she deserves it. But while she does great job between the songs, she can’t beat the interaction Snowy Shaw has with the crowd while singing the song. He uses every opportunity to help the crowd participate in the song, which is to say, very hard. Just as Vikström carries the detached persona on the stage, Snowy can’t help but smile upon seeing the crowd chant for them. The way he screams in those impossibly high notes, it is inspiring beyond imagination. And to think that he is primarily a drummer, he does a hell of a job singing in various voices, ranging from deep bass to high falsetto, and still managing to have a unique voice to top it all off. Often times he even makes you forget that it is actually Vikström that is the lead singer.

Unfortunately, most of the others are nothing to talk about. Christofer, with his hat and sunglasses of awesome, has the air that makes you feel that the man has accomplished something this wonderful, and he knows it. He knows that he made this group possible, and does not need to do anything more to be recognized. That, I admire in a person. The lead guitar duty is passed to Christian Vidal, who handles the job perfectly, while getting lost in the feel of his guitarwork. The solos maintain a uniqueness while still being true to their album sound. For the drummer and the base, well, I didn’t really notice them until they came in for the bow at the end. Not their fault, I suppose, since the frontmen of the group are so imposing that you tend to forget the others. Then again, that’s why we have drum solos; to remind people that there still is somebody playing the drums on the stage. That, and so the other members can catch a break.

The concert was better than I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. I came in without knowing most of the songs and managed to have fun. A good night’s fun, I suppose.

Oh, and the photos are up, just click the image at the top to get to the album.

More images to come when they’re properly edited carefully selected (no amounts of edit will make anything taken with a 5 MP phone camera acceptable), along with the exhilarating experience put into words.

Bearing the full title of The Cold Embrace of Fear – A Dark Romantic Symphony, symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire’s new album is exactly what it sounds like: a 35-minute epic that goes beyond a simple progression of songs. It is essentially one song divided into seven different acts as the music evolves. It is deeply connected to the story of Erian’s book, and as usual, Christopher Lee narrates throughout the whole album.

An album it may be, but The Cold Embrace of Fear is more along the lines of an EP, even though classified as a full-length album. One huge song, with many of the acts consisting of narratives alone,  it is a musical feast that is meant to be taken at one gulp, rather than in parts. To make a comparison, it is Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Turbulence with just the title track, meaning this album would’ve been better off to contain an extra CD of actual 4-minute tracks.

On a more technical point of view, the album’s sound is not particularly unique (if one is looking for such), but you can hear how much Rhapsody has evolved from their Legendary Tales years. The lack of uniqueness does not symbolize a drop in quality, but rather, how comfortable they are with their style at the moment. It also serves as an extension to their last album, The Frozen Tears of Angels, in the means of a musical progression. Lione’s vocals still retain their deep epic feeling, Turilli’s guitar-work can only be called a splendid use of his neo-classical techniques, Staropoli’s keyboards are indispensable in retaining the symphonic aspect of the band, Guers’s base is more defined than ever, and Holzwarth is still a beast on those drums. And lets not forget the narrator Christopher Lee, without whom help this album would surely not have existed.

In a nutshell, this album is a worthwhile listen for any power metal fan, and even to those who prefer the classical music to the metal sound of the band. As a whole, it is a song majestic in every comparison.

Rating: 4.25/5