Friday, 8 December 2017

10 most astounding songs I've ever heard

These are not "the best" songs, although not far away from that term. These are the songs that absolutely blew my mind the first time I heard them. With one exception these were not the first song I've heard from that artist, so most of the time I knew what I was listening and I knew what to expect from the song.
But then the expectations were shattered, the song overwhelming me, stoping my life for those few minutes and leaving me speechless afterwards. Those are 10 songs that I recall that totally blew me away, often leaving me in tears and begging hard for relistens, despite being dangerous to my heart rate.

For the sake of this little fan article perhaps I should order them from 10 to 1, from the least shocking to the most but it's like comparing heart attacks. So maybe I'll order them from the first to the most recent instead.

10. Stratovarius- Elysium

Yes, let's start with the monster. After hearing multiple long, epic, everchanging power ballads from Sonata Arctica I thought in 2011 that no other long power metal track can blow me away, especially from Stratovarius, a band I believed back then was learning how to walk again after good but not amazing Polaris album. And then this happened, a three part monster that took a dump on everything Sonata made to this point and then added some more so that no other band could ever hope to match this song when it comes to power metal. Sadness, unsureness and hope presented by masterwork lyrics and Kotipelto's top vocals with several amazing solos here and there and the best outro ever recorded.

9. Litvintroll - Lipka

I ate my teeth on folk metal before 2013. Tons of Korpiklaani, Alestorm, Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Trollfest, Turisas and Wintersun to that point in time made me believe that I've heard the best there is in that subgenre of metal. Then comes a small, barely known band from Belarus and sings old folk song in Polish (I don't know the origins of the source song), blowing me away in the first 90 seconds with sad as fuck adaptation of that song, the bagpipes only adding a ton of sorrow to the already sad song sung by Andrei with sudden growl scream accompanied by a powerful guitar and keyboard solo closing the song. It was rare for keyboard solos to appear in folk metal and the mellow mood it set while closing the song was an absolute treat and perfection, making me tear up easily.
There are more bombastic folk metal songs than this one, but literally no one saw that coming from a little unknown band back then, and even though they disbanded it's still the best damn folk metal song I know, perfectly capturing that raw folk metal can be serious and powerful.

8. Dreamshade- Consumed Future

When I heard about Dreamshade for the first time I was at the age where I believed anything with -core in it's name can't be any good. I heard some metalcore and deathcore bands to this point, so when I heard  that there's a melodic metalcore/deathcore band from Switzerland that mixes some melodic death metal into their music I was VERY negative towards them when I looked them up on Youtube. And the first 13 seconds almost made me turn it off. "oh what a meaningful guitar intro, sooooo compleex, girls must be creaming themselves where listening to tha-......" and the moment I lost my voice was at the 14 second mark when the drums hit in heavily with a wall of sound made of perfectly in sync lead and rhythm guitar. Every transition bringing something new to the mix, changing the tempo and blowing me away even more. The build, the drums and the pure FURY in vocals made me an instant fan, ashamed as fuck of being negative towards it in the beginning. The slower and calmer outro felt like sloppy seconds after an intense orgasm. Afterwards I never judged a song just because of it's genre, I think. Except for thrash metal, but it's trash, huehueh.

7. Tuomas Holopainen - A Lifetime of Adventure

The only slow song on that list, it was magical when I heard it for the first time. Back then I still had somewhat mixed feelings towards Nightwish. I didn't hate them anymore, but sure as hell I thought they were heavily overrated. But when I heard my favourite finnish female vocalist was singing it I checked it out. And oh boy. I had the sweetest dreams for a week after hearing this song for the first time. I've never heard Johanna sing that softly before, the songwriting beats any movie score I've heard before, same with orchestrations. The lyrics capture perfectly the spirit of the Don Rosa's best comic and since I have treasured the The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck comic with an eleven bags of respect towards it's creator it truly felt like fiction coming to life, making it possible to feel it with other senses than sight. Absolutely wonderful.

6. Babymetal - Akatsuki

2014, a year when if You wanted to have more metalhead friends than before you just had to scream "I hate Babymetal". I've never hated them, since the beginning they were a fresh idea in a metal world, and their contribution to power metal was a very welcome surprise. But before buying the album I still thought of them as more of a gimmick than a real band. All of their songs were very silly, over the top and the vocal talent of Suzuka Nakamoto was still hidden behind 2 other girls. A sixteen years old girl, totally blowing me (away. Not talking about blowjobs from my 16yo ex girlfriend). Damn my jokes on this blog are hitting the rock bottom. Anyway, Akatsuki is the most serious song on the album, with beautiful and poetic-as-fuck lyrics and Su-metal is singing solo, sending shivers down my spine in the intro, just before the guitars enter the scene. When the chorus hits with that hellish drum warmachine and orchestrations and "even after thousand nights this love shall survive..." it broke me. And it only gets better after that, the vocals keep making my nerves thrash from orgasmic spams and the song tricks me with the slower parts making me think "oh, I think it's over.." and then going fast again and again. As expected from that band the outro is powerful and sudden, not giving a fuck about your heart rate.

me during Akatsuki

5. Stratovarius- My Eternal Dream

Oh look, a Strato fanboy that throws 2 songs of theirs on the list and not a single Galneryus song.. The truth is after the amazing Nemesis album I did not expect Stratovarius to top it with Eternal. And they didn't, actually. But the single to promote the Eternal album took me by surprise, I did not expect to hear one of the best power metal songs after like 12 years of daily doses of power metal. It's three times shorter than Elysium, goes straight to the point and the perfectly directed visuals of the music video make it ten times more meaningful and powerful. Fast tempo, the most extreme keyboard solo I've ever heard and the picture of the dying solider, spewing blood and a kid trying to save him with his own shirt hits hard as fuck. The last image and sound of hope perfectly close the song and the video. If You ever want to introduce someone to Stratovarius music then this song is the perfect choice.

4. Omnium Gatherum- Frontiers

The holy grail of 2016. Finally a song that captures everything that's beautiful in melodic death metal. Their previous album Beyond had a huge impact on my life as it was my crutch in the hard times in 2013-2014 and I was honestly scared that I'll be disappointed with the next Omnium Gatherum release. This song made the fear go away, and for those few minutes made my life right. Everything I did to that point in my life felt like the right choice. Me being a fan of this band made me feel for those few minutes complete, something not a single exgirlfriend of mine made me feel. It's the absolutely perfect melodic death metal song. We have a warmup, the heavy and fast juice with growls, headbanging, slower and instrumental bridge, singalong and softer chorus with absolutely outstanding keyboard background, an easy to follow structure that after second chorus goes to clean vocals, soft parts with keys and tears in eyes, goes back to a chorus and leaves the outro to a lead guitar and the solo. The solo that shuts mouths. So you can listen to the choir "Frontiers..." one last time. This is beyond mastery, it's virtuosity of melodic death metal.

3. Titanium - Delusive Skies

or as I like to call it The Life and Times of Frania Srania. Karol Mania's best song ever, that made me check again if I listen to the same album and band. I don't like to say "epic" when talking about music but it's just here, the most epic and powerful usage of background choirs in the chorus of this song and Konstantin Naumenko's (Koncio Nomnomko's) absolutely stunning vocal performance blew me away, along with the bells. More bells in power metal, now, please. This song also proved that the change on vocals was neccessary for the band to progress. There's just no way in heaven or hell for the previous vocalist to sing nearly as good as Koncio did here. This song was a ravine that separated a world class vocalist from a mediocre one.
Also not a single previous Titanium song could prepare you for this monster. And the whole song is about a bad weather on a trip.. Sadly it's still not available to the public outside of imported cds from Japan.

2. Insomnium- Winter's Gate

well technically it's a one song. And one album

2016 sure was a fun year. Omnium Gatherum and Whispered released great albums and Insomnium in the meantime was talking with their publisher like:
- hey, our bassist wrote a short novel, we would like to publish it if possible
- hmm, allright, but make some music along with it, ok? Doesn't have to be a lot of songs, like an ep. or something
- sure, I bet we can squeeze at least one song out of this material

que the most absurdly outstanding tracks in the history of melodic death metal. A 40 minute long monster with cold-as-fuck atmosphere that's warmed by a little girl Síne hugging a big viking guy. No one in the world could expect a move like that, especially after the amazing previous album. Insomnium didn't have to do something as  good as this track, but I'm sure glad they did. There's everything in this song, hookers, thai boxing and blackjack. It's been over a year and I still cannot fully comprehend this track, maybe I'm just mentally challenged?

1. Persefone- Living Waves

This one is unique here, as it took me some time to fully understand what's it about. At first it was a extremely solid progressive melodic death song with a long break/build-up in the middle and weird outro. But after reading the lyrics I understood it's some kind of a self-control mantra/prayer, and that repeating the 'chorus' helps me calm myself down. The lack of emotion of the vocals in the beginning and the growls that scream about letting go of anger only add to the otherworldliness of this song.

Breathe every piece of the existence
And feel the entire universe inside of you
Evolution in compassion
Expanding boundaries where there are no more
Giving birth to a new way of being!!

I transcend
I flow
I am the ocean
I vibrate
Behold, the sound of a living
I transcend
I flow
I am the ocean
I vibrate
Behold, the sound of a living wave

I let go of anger
I let go of judgment
I let go of guilt
I let go of fear
I feel I'm nothing but a living wave

Those lyrics, the way they are sung and the very progressive sound all add up into this cosmic feeling that you should change for the better, discover something new, expand your boundaries, be something more. And don't write on your blog at 1 am again, because you start to write weird shit.

No links on the post because music is about exploring, so do some for once you lazy bastard. Also Titanium's song is impossible to find on Youtube. This is most likely my last post in 2017, thank You for another cool year and big, massive thanks to Anette Olzon and Nordheim for sharing their respectable album reviews and bringing more viewers here- it's been awhile since I was ashamed of the stupid shit I post here. Cheers!

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Dark Element - "The Dark Element" (The Dark Element): The Dark Element album review

Cool cover art, reminds me of Layers of Fear

There are people that I can trust with my money all the time. My parents, my sister and Jani-motherfucking-Liimatainen. My favourite
guitarist never released a crappy album and when I heard he's going to make a pop music album I dug up my ABBA tshirt that I had when I was 0 years old. Well, ok, it's not entirely pop- some metal got aboard. With his new girlfriend Anette Olzon and some Cain's Offering members: "The other Jani" and one of the Jonas Brothers on board, Liimatainen shows us how well he can write and produce a Nightwish album. Let's dig in.

Titular The Dark Element starts with some industrial motive that soon blends with more pop synths and vocals follow shortly after. A typical hit song to open an album, where vocals are driving the melody, but don't dominate the sound- it's easy to distinguish each element of the music. Some metal purists will shit on the synthetic-sounding mixing on this album just like they did with Cain's Offering, but in my opinion it fits this kind of music like a glove.
Despite being a hit song the structure is surprisingly complex, and I can say it's one of the highlights for the whole album, but for now let's jump into track number 2.

My Sweet Mystery was featured as a music video and I'm glad to finally be able to hear the album version on a cd quality. Anette's vocals sound softer in this song and lack the power/volume to break through the first verse's background, which is audible when played on a surround system. Thankfully the chorus doesn't disappoint. Another hit song with mid-fast tempo and a juicy guitar solo.

Last Good Day is something new, as it wasn't previously featured on Youtube. Starting more aggressively actually goes softer and slower during the verse only to speed up during the chorus. The most interesting part are Anette's vocals here, not only dominating the melody but showing her range and lungs capacity This only makes me wanna hear Mr. Kotipelto in a duet with lovely Anette. Sudden stop of the song only makes me want to listen to it again, what a great surprise this track was.

Here's To You goes back to what we heard on Youtube as an album promo. Another mid-fast tempo, catchy hit song where Anette's vocals are well supported by the drums, bass and guitars. But on the album version I have a hard time hearing the guitar solo during the outro, somehow on Youtube it was more audible?

Someone You Used to Know is another new piece and the slow start is a nice break from all the previous hit songs, allowing us to appreciate Jani's lyrics and blackoustic guitar. Oh, and Anette's vocals, if for some reason You haven't already.

Dead To Me comes back to the usual tempo where Anette yells at her ex boyfriend in a "I don't care about You, You're dead to me so here's a whole song on the subject" fashion, Taylor Swift style. But again- fast, catchy, interesting, begs for relistening. Main guitar motive is funny, sounds like Jani's having some technical difficulties.

Halo is something new again, going slightly slower than usual but still in the same fashion, although it failed to make a bigger impact on me, maybe in time I'll see something more in it.

I Cannot Raise the Dead is thankfully not only new but also has a few surprises. Synths and background are beautifully done here, lyrics also beat Halo by a huge margin. The chorus with guitar mixing with synths works very well with vocals melody, drilling down your brain so You can hum whole day pissing off anyone you are near. Great guitar solo followed by a softer break that descends to near silence before going back to chorus makes it my favourite track on the whole album just after the first listen. Holy fuck.

The Ghost and the Reaper goes faster and was previously shown to us on a second music video (and I'm glad Frontiers invests in another music video with this project, I pray this works in their favor in the future). Previously my favourite track, 9 is fast paced, has a nice complex build, hard headbanging & sing-along potential during the bridge and also a lot of breaks to catch a breath and allow us to appreciate bass guitar some more.

Heaven of Your Heart starts slower again, with weird lyrics. Anette's trying her best to sing them, but I just cannot enjoy myself while listening to this mess. Don't get me wrong- I like to fuck with the melody with some well thought-out lyrics and I love when Devin Townsend is doing the opposite, fucking with the lyrics for melody's sake. But here the chorus is acceptable and the rest is a mess. Me no likey.

Only One Who Knows Me closes the album with a mid tempo softer track. "On your shore just like I did before" sounds like a bow to Cain's Offering's "Stormcrow" outro track "On the Shore" but maybe I'm looking into it too much. Just like Halo before this song lacks something to hook me up for good. The verses are fine but chorus doesn't work for me, even though the guitar riff on the outro sounds great and the solo closes the whole album perfectly with a Galneryus-like fade out.

side note- the more badass Jani looks the more pop music he makes

Well, this album definitely is a trip, reminds me greatly of the debut Babymetal album, where about 85% of the songs were hit songs and the album felt more like a "best of" compilation than a standalone album. Is it bad? No, for a debut album it's a perfectly valid idea to throw all the catchy melodies you have- some will stick, some won't. As Jani stated during the "making of" video- it's catchy, more poppy and simple than a Cain's Offering and he delivers what he stated perfectly, implementing a lot of ideas that are too soft for Cain's Offering, perhaps some Sydanpuu leftover ideas? He wanted to make something with female vocals and Anette sure gave her best with her performance- so many similar songs and she somehows can sing each one differently enough that we listeners are not bored. The other Jani and Jonas brother were also able to bring some good qualities to the album. Drum patterns are simple but enjoyable, there's a ton of fun transitions and the bass accompanies the melody very well, breaking on the foreground only when it's necessary. Almost every track has a instrumental pause, that allows the listener to catch a breath between all those hit songs and there are a few slower pieces to diversify the tempo on the album a bit.
Even though I didn't like each song on the record it spins very well and one can lose a track of time while listening to it.

 What I would like to hear once in a future (aside of Kotipelto-Olzon lovely vocal duet) is a longer track, with different moods and maybe a story to tell. But now only a quick summary before I jump back into listening to I Cannot Raise the Dead again.

Summary and points that totally matter:

Vocals:  10+/10 (Anette has a new fan in me)
Guitars: 10-/10 (surprised for the minus? More solos, damn it! This is supposed to be a debut album! Tons of solos are perfectly ok on debuts, stop being a mature musician, Jani!)
Bass:     9/10
Drums:  9/10

Additional bonuses:
+ Complex (as far as symphonic metal goes) songwriting, nice song structures
+ catchy as fuck
+ Cool lyrics, basically reading alone builds a melody in your head
+ great mixing
+ song placement on the album. Most artists don't give a fuck about that but I do

Final score: 107,5%. I want more already, Frontiers please invest in those 3 finns and a proud swedish woman :)

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Nordheim: RapThor album review

A typical personal intro story that doesn't mean shit for the review, so if You like being bored then read this shit, if not then skip for the main juice. Or just fuck this review, listen to the awesome music instead and do something better with Your life.
A decade ago I was a dedicated Finntroll fan, the first folk metal band I heard. After Ur Jordens Up I didn't really like the darker tone of the album and longed for less serious, more energetic folk metal.

Then the Trollfest came up, with drunk as fuck albums that didn't take anything seriously, with low quality production that fits extreme folk bands as much as it fits classic black metal stuff. And I loved it, they were instantly in my top 5 bands and I was their fan for 10 years before during Masters of Rock 2017 I parted ways with them. The last 2 Trollfest albums were definitely not for me, not  goofy enough, not extreme enough, not badly produced enough.

But just as Trollfest came to me as a messiah when Fintroll wasn't good enough for me this time Nordheim came up with their second album Refill, literally refilling my life with joy and raw, extreme pagan/folk music about drinking beer and fucking whores. The best part? These guys ain't even from Norway or Finland, these are Canadians. Canadians playing a better extreme folk metal than many other groups, the apocalypse is near!

This is their newest shit, RapThor, with an amazing cover art showing goblins and hoes drinking with guns while riding a dinosaur. We're in for a ride with this one.

Troll Riding a Raptor is straight to the point with the song title and the intro. Roll the dice and relax with the extreme tempo, brain bashing drums and classic "1997 Finntroll" guitars. I'm worried about other songs, because everything Nordheim is known for is already here, no healthy dosage just a supersize meal composed of alcohol, whores, goblins, guns and dinosaurs. What's left?
Shivering fear until the break od dawn
Cause the warrior's heart is as black as a moonless night
Ending on a such poetic note <3

Boobs and Bacon , YES! This is what I wanted to see after getting a taste from the album opener. Tempo doesn't slow down but the guitars leave some room for headbanging and the choir bridge gives some sing-along potential for future shows. Second song and I haven't heard even a bit of bass guitar, that means the wall of sound is so overwhelming or the production so raw that I'm going deaf, exactly what I wanted to hear from this band.
No need to be afraid
Fueled by bacon we can't die

Scroll of the Lightning Bolt sounds way more serious not only in the title but..
To kill a beast with claws bigger than a monster cock
ok, maybe not way more serious, but it's a slightly longer piece with more orchestrations, slower parts to catch a breath and an epic story about a group of adventurers facing a dragonlord, with their hopes put in a scroll of the lightning bolt. There's even a guitar solo in there somewhere and some choirs, so we're very close to power metal here, minus all the gay of course, this is music for manly men, rolling dices and talking about their elf warriors..Wait.

Black Witch Rises is next, starting slower but soon coming back into standard tempo, and here we abandon all the power metal stuff to focus on something more fitting the extreme tempo and growls- a horror story of the witch plans, cutting off limbs, spreading suffering and diseases to the world. A serious piece to show the world that Nordheim might be fun, but they are still capable of writing some darker and more serious stuff.
Thrills and chills to the sound of pain, none shall witness joy UNDER MY REIGN

I Wish You Were Beer on the other hand.. The title says it all. Nothing I can add to a hymn of folk metal. Reminded me of a conversation I had long ago.
- ... but  she doesn't like folk metal much.
- does she drink alcohol?
- no.
- then I'm not surprised.
Fighting naked while we pee, throwing bitches in the sea 
Cheering, laighing endlessly, that's a life for me

Strenght Became The Storm (love the error in a song title, these are rare) is similar to the Scroll of Lightning Bolt but sadly doesn't show anything new to the mix, it's mostly "more of the same", the lyrics also are a bit generic with a champion of light fighting a demon, I only like the ending part:
In the name of those who will fall
We drink to remember them all
Raise your horn and your sword
Among the stars they will hear our call

Blood's Shade is more interesting starting with a guitar solo, reminding me of the great Soulblood. The song definitely has a similar horror feel to the Black Witch Rises, but it's more powerful and has more tempo changes and guitar solos with a calm outro. Definitely the most melodic death-ish song on the album, serious in tone but interesting. Would be a great album outro, but we still have one more left.
Blood's shade now wakes up the past I long forgot
Blood's shade now devours and leaves the rest to rot

Dragonthorn is the longest on the album, but the major tempo and mood change in the middle doesn't make it feel as long. Serious again with one funny and stressed line:
A magical steel made by frozen flames

it tells a story of a dragon and a hero fighting and so on. While the song isn't bad I was hoping for a story including the dinosaur riding goblins with guys, especially when the tone of the song changed. A missed opportunity.

And that's Nordheim's RapThor, Thor not included (sadly). It's a good album to listen to while drunk, but I expected way more goofyness from it. There is some of course, but it's more like "hey, boobs and bacon! Do we have Your attention? Ok, now listen to a story about dragons". Nordheim can do serious songs well but I love them the most in the less serious songs. 
I want more of this ^. I want Josephine next to Thor riding a dinosaur fighting a dragon with a blade made by frozen flames. FROZEN FLAMES. Is it a sin to want more?

But I'll give them that- the lyrics are good, the music is flawless old school pagan/folk extreme metal with great high pitched and low growls, cool guitar solos and no signs of bass guitar. Basically I have to love it by default. Also some melodic death metal added to the mix, always cool.

There is one thing that makes it ten thousand times better than the last Wintersun album- energy. This album makes you so pumped that You want to punch the wall or tear your neck while headbanging. And if you don't like extreme folk metal then this "noise" makes you angry, so also full of energy - point proven. In that regard these guys are Kalmah of the folk metal world.

Check this out if You like boobs, dinosaurs and dungeons and dragons and power metal just doesn't do it for You anymore.


Vocals: 10/10
Guitars: 9/10
Bass: Josephine/10
Drums: 8/10
Keyboards: wait, there are keyboards in it?

Wonderful cover art
Very cool lyrics
+ Boobs
+ Bacon
+ Dinosaurs
- Not enough boobs
- Not enough bacon (NEVER enough)
- Not enough dinosaurs
- Josephine ;__; Where is she?

Total score that totally matters: 93% 
Please add more stupid shit next time, it's the most fun