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Doom Metal Metal Music Uncategorized

[Metal] Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (50th Anniversary Release)

Today marks the anniversary of the freshman album by Black Sabbath, released in February 13th (a Friday none of the less) 1970. This album is an important in the history of modern music, as it is considered as the milestone album, “the mother of it-all” of the whole metal genre, and to the doom metal sub-genre in particular.
50 years and this album still keep its freshness. It is also an album that kept its roots into its era, it has this psychedelic rock vibes, as an extension of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin sound, yet also infused several key elements that will define the metal genre.
The album is about 39 minutes, and has different iterations depending of the re-issue and edition. The album I own is the North American CD version and I will make my summary out of it.
We are entering the album with the eponymous track “Black Sabbath”. Dang! Listening to it in a retrospective fashion, it has all the element of doom metal: slow pace, monotonous guitar, dark thematic. Ozzy is just awesome in this track, depicting and end of the world to it. It is dark, it is occult, but damn it is.

The second track “The Wizard”, for some reasons always makes me think of “Electric Wizard”, a flagship stoner metal band that is considered as representative of the stoner doom metal, the cousin of doom that runs on weed (it is all about weed with stoner metal). Kind of a more classical rock vibe, but an okay song for me.
The third track on the edition I own is “Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sheep/Bassically/NIB”, a quatuor of proto-metal songs, blending old tunes of their time but also experimenting some features that will define the metal genre, including the drumbeat (deviating from the R&B, and more into a synchronized and regular tempo),  heavier guitar riffs, and inclusion of melodic riffs.
The fourth track, “Wicked World”, is interestingly the one that has the closest sound of modern heavy metal in its backbone and its structure, with a very complex solo guitar played to Tommy Iommi, that will become a staple for almost every metal song to come.
The fifth track “A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning”  is also a good track, starting wiht an awesome guitar solo before the drums and the bass take over.
Today was also a big revelation about the mysterious figure of the original album cover. (https://loudwire.com/black-sabbath-cover-woman-black-figure/). A mysterious figure that haunted and led to the widest speculations and conspiracies. The woman in question is named Louisa Livingston. After all these years, the album is keeping its freshness.
It is so much fresh then it perfectly blends with modern cover, for instance my favorite being the live cover of it by Within Temptation, giving it this modern feel in a circular fashion, as performed in their Black X-Mas concert few years ago:

 

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Gothic Metal Metal Music Uncategorized

[Metal] Lacuna Coil – Black Anima (80%)

October was also the same month of the release of the latest album by Lacuna Coil “Black Anima”. At the helm, we have Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro as usual keeping the ship exploring and wandering over the years. It is a 14 tracks album (iTunes version, that is inclusive of three bonus tracks in the total I provided) spanning over 59 minutes of music.
We get into it with “Anima Mera”, a cryptic song that is pretty interesting and setting sort of the whole album. The second track, “Sword of Anger” is pretty okay but nothing really hooking much, as well as the third track “Reckless”. For some reason, I find this track pretty unattractive to my ears and even would sound like one of the weakest of the album. The band has a videoclip, so you can judge by yourself. The videoclip is indeed much better and is deeply inspired by Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”:

Fortunately things become interesting for me “Layers of Time”, the fourth track. Tha’ts the Lacuna Coil stuff I was looking for, that’s a song I really like that it became an earworm through these last two months. Again a videoclip to share, so enjoy the listening of that track:

The fifth track “Apocalypse”, is also a decent track and straight into the band direction. “Now and Never” reminds me a lot like “The House of Shame” of their previous album, so good stuff again from the band. “Under The Surface” is also pretty good overall. “Veneficium” is probably my second favorite track. It starts with Cristina starting a capella into a sort of chorale, following by Andreas lyrics, some of the heavy stuff that has something connecting the old fans to their old stuff, it has this wavy feeling that is so pleasant to my ears. “The End Is All I can See” is a bit strange but very fascinating to my ears. Another good track of the album.  “Save Me”, the 10th track, is pretty okay but in my opinion nothing too pretencious, something more like alternative metal. “Black Anima”, the last official track is another good one, with Cristina in my opinion being the best of her in this album, with hitting the highest notes she can.
What about the three bonus tracks? “Black Feathers”, the first of the three extra tracks, is a damn good one, I would like to have this one in the regular album in place of some weaker songs. Same for “Through The Flames”, very good one. “Black Dried Up Heart”, the last track (and the last of the bonus tracks) is also pretty decent and wished was part of the regular album tracklist.
As this album marks about 20 years of discography of the band, where does it stand? I would say still pretty well. The band went back to their heavyness a scale higher, they also embraced darkness at a higher level than their discography of their second decades. There are some good songs, and some weak songs. It is not the crush album, it takes some times to get into in and appreciate. It is overall a pretty good album and love to see the band after 20 years still being dynamic and produce some quality albums, where other bands crashed on the shores or simply let the wrenched sea become their graveyard. My only regret was missing on their North American tour that was not clearly advertised and that’s honestly disappointing. Lacuna Coil is one of these bands that performs well both in studio and live and wished I could finally see them live after this incessant game of cat and mouse.

Categories
Melodic Death Metal Metal Uncategorized

[Metal] The Agonist – Orphans (90%)

Thanksgiving is finally here, meaning for me the end of the frenetic fall semester and able to take some time on my blod and foremost write reviews on the albums I have purchased and listened during my grants and manuscript writing . Because of the glut of albums to reviews I will keep them sweet and short.
Among the pile of albums, came the latest one from the Canadian metal band The Agonist titled “Orphans”. After facing some issues I would not enter into details, it finally came out mid-October and available on the Bandcamp webpage of the album.
Third album with Vicky Psarakis at the helm, I have to say this is an album that marks a maturation of both the band and from Vicky. It is brutal, harsh, bombing and pretty homogenous just like I like them!
It is a pretty short album (45 minutes) but sweet albums with 10 strong tracks. We start into it by ramming the big door with “In Vertigo” that for some reasons reminded me some tracks of the band from the early days with Alissa. The band makes us a gift of a videoclip for the song, so listen and enjoy:

A pretty good introduction track that ramps up towards to track 2 “As One We Survive”. Here comes the cannons of Navaronne, some of the firepower of the band in combining the brutality and the melodics, while Vicky show her able to steer both cleans and growls in a same track.  My favorite part? The second half of the song, this crescendo of riffs bringing an increase in tension as the music become heavier until it peaks. The brutality of the song is nicely translated into the videoclip of it, check it out:

The third track is “The Gift of Silence”, keeping up into the frenzy of the second track, this time bringing the pace to a much faster pace, also a damn good song. And another clip for your eyes and ears:

The fourth track is a continuing streak of good track from the band, with “Blood As My Guide”. What I can say? It is the gift that keeps on giving with good stuff, with special mention on Vicky singing a whole verse in Greek (I would assume from her Greek heritage), if anyone can give me the translation of the words that would be great. I did my best to guess using my French to do some bastardized translation but nothing speaked much as a  tragedy unforlding than listening to Vicky singing.
The rest of the album is also damn solid with “Mr. Cold”, a bit much chill than the rest;  “Dust To Dust” which also quite good only got me into it by the second-half of the song (I hate the first-half, like the second-half); “A Devil Made Me Do It”, a sick as hell track by its sheer speed and brutal drums ; “The Killing” which is pretty good but kind of left hungry; “Orphans” (9th track) that is my second favorite song of the album, starting soft and building momentum as we go through. “Burn It Down”, the 10th track of the album, concludes this almost perfect streak from the band.
What I can say? Man I love to see how the band came together over the years by constantly refining their artistic direction and getting this unique sound making them standing out from the crowd. Vicky certainly reached a point of maturation making her a definitive asset in the band. This winning formula is certainly the one that should and must make this band becoming a flagship for the Montreal metal scene, and the Canadian metal band. It is so good to see the band unleashing itself after navigating tumultuous waters in the last few years. The band came out of it stronger than ever and ready to conquer new lands.

Categories
Metal Symphonic Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Symphonic] Epica – Design Your Universe (10th Anniversary)

Today marks the 10th anniversary release of Epica fourth album “Design Your Universe” on October 16th 2019. What can I tell about this album? Epic album from Epica, certainly the best album from their discography, it is standing on the pinnacle in my opinion. It is also hard to tell, as we are splitting hair with their discography, a constant quality-crafted work by Mark Jansen. like a Rembrandt paint every single time.
This is an album made of 14 tracks, totaling 79 minutes of bold and heavy symphonic metal. It starts with an overture named “Samadhi” which is here as a launching ramp for the second track “Resign To Surrender”. And I hope by that time you are all buckled up, becasue the rollercoaster ride of awesomeness is just starting. That brings us to the third track “Unleashed”. If you have to summarize the awesomeness of the band or resume Epica to a song, that would be it, give it a spin and listen:

Excited about Epica following “Unleashed”? Wait, there is more! If someone would have asked me, “Do Epica has a wall of death song?” I would have said nope, until listening to the fifth track “Martyrs of The Free World”. I remember it while attending their concert in Dallas in 2016. Mark splitting up the crowd for a big and beautiful wall……of death!
Heavy tunes, heavy-loaded lyrics on denouncing terrorism and indoctrination.  Thats the signature stuff from Epica. My favorite of the album! We continue our musical rollercoaster ride with “Our Destiny” that is more mellow than our previous listening experience but only to allow us to enjoy the voice of Simone Simmons. The seventh track, “Kingdom of Heaven” continues where we left with “Martyrs…” but brings us to a brigther side.
To help us recover from this rollercoaster ride, the “Price of Freedom” is an interlude that allows to transition to the second half of the album that is as epic as the first half. Track 8 is “Burn To A Cinder”, good stuff. “Tides of Time”, the ninth track of the album is like the slow tide, calm and washing us ashore, a breeze of calm before the tempest. That comes us with the 10th track “Deconstruct”. My second favorite of the album, some level of awesomeness packed. “Semblance of Liberty” is another fast-paced one, and has the famous Georges H. Bush “read my lips!” quote at the end! “White Waters”, the 12th track album is the calm song, this one feature Tony Kaiko from Sonata Arctica! But Mark let the plat de resistance to us with “Design Your Universe”, the opus magnum of the album. Dichotomic, starting with a crescendo, and blowing our mind away. The track of the album!
“Incentive” is the last one of the album, quite good but felt a bit too soft and lacking flavor after coming out of “Design….”.
What can I say? If you dont have it yet, rush to your record store as Epica re-issued it for the 10th anniversary. Get this album!

 

 

Categories
Doom Metal Melodic Death Metal Metal Power Metal Progressive Metal Uncategorized

[Music/Metal] 2018 as seen by my album picks

2018 was, in retrospective, a year in which quality trumped over quantity. Not many albums (and EPs) got picked this year, but a good lot of digging of new horizons, some surprises, some disappointments and some “fairly good” stuff.  I hate trying to set my Top 10 of the year, for many reasons. But here are my album picks for this year, ranked alphabetically.

 

Clouds – Dor

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I love listening to doom metal, because it is a genre that allows me to undergo an introspective meditation, allow some of my melancholy to resurface and think about those that I loved and are no more existent. This album spoke straight into my limbic system and heavily touch my feelings. It is something that rarely musical pieces are capable to achieve. Dor is an honest work from the author that is intimate and sincere.

Ex-Libris – Ann (Chapter 1 EP)

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Dianne strikes back with her prog metal band Ex-Libris and damn it is just pure bliss to listen to her in something more cocky, more proggy, more versatile, in other words more “Ex-Libris”. Sure the EP is only three songs and kind of let you thirsty for more but surely looking forward to listen to the rest. If you like Dianne’s voice and ready to embrace some nicely crafted prog metal, you should grab this EP.

FT-17  – Verdun!

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FT-17 brought in his second album, right on the mark of the 100th anniversary of the final offense of Verdun, as the tide turned on “La Der des Ders”, thanks to the involvement of the American troops on the front, bringing new troops and new warfare. The album continues where we left our private Marcellin Trouve, now fully inside the hellfire of Verdun. The band nicely translated the fury and violence of the trench wars in their second album, that not only will satisfy black/death metal enthusiasts, not without getting a lesson on World War 1, and the atrocity (if not the plain futility) of this war that decimated a whole generation and set the world on fire for the next 100 year.

Ghost – Prequelle

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Ghost. Rarely a band has been so divisive and such a zebra for metalheads. Also, the media firestorm that engulfed Ghost by revealing the identity of Papa Emeritus (identified as Tobais Forge), the fratricide conflict that has hit the band. “Prequelle” was a good album, but honestly I was not as much blow away as I was from their first two albums. There are some good tunes such as “Rats” , “Faith”. Some very interesting and engaging experiments such as “Miasma” bringing 80s synths and jazzy saxophone into the mix. But also a good half of the album I could just toss because “meh”. Is the album good? Yes it is good. Does it deserve being #1 of metal of the 2018 Top 10? I think there are contenders for that position.

Hellight – As We Slowly Fade 

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This was a late-one coming to my ear. Coming from Brazil, an impressive doom metal album. When you think about Brazil, you think about colored beaches, carnaval, sunshine, futbol and samba. Well, you also have a lightbulb turning on with metal bands such as “Sepultura” and “Nervosa Thrash”. But getting into an album that bring the darkest tones of doom from Brazil is almost mission impossible. Yet, Hellight shows us that Brazil can impress us and produce some gems. If you are looking for some doom coming outside the realms of Asgard, you will have a secured pick.

Kalidia – The Frozen Throne

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Kalidia brought us their second album this Fall, showing us that slowly but surely the Italian power metal scene is getting hands on with promising rising star. It is a very nice follow-up of their first album, more focused, harder, louder, faster and full of vigor like a young wolf. You can find a more detailed review in my previous posts.

 

Lux in Tenebris – To A New Eternity

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Marion-Lamita is back, after going through tumultuous and rocky years, into the scene by experimenting new avenues. One of theme is “Lux In Tenebris”, an EP that is pretty good considered the limited access she had. There is some potential to grow here, most of the EP is pleasing to the ears and hopefully can set a ramp to something promising. I wish good luck to her and Thierry for having a transforming and prolific 2019.
https://youtu.be/ODGes7gG5VM

 

Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart

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Oceans of Slumber was another surprise, especially coming from Houston. What I can tell more about? Well nothing much, except to read the review I published on earlier this year. One of my favorite album I have for this year!. A must-listen album!

Ophidian Spell – Nux/Hemera

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This was really a random pick as my SO went visiting my family back home. I asked her to pick me some albums from local bands in my favorite record store in my hometown and this was one of the album pick really just by randomness (my wife hates metal, so it was really random and just guided by genres given). Result? A very interesting prog/technical death album that is a delight to hear. It is fast, it is furious, but it is also nicely set with “dentelles” around, giving a kind of the best of both worlds for me. Give a try to their tunes, this one from their track “Mental Universe”. https://youtu.be/jIr9pWVToOQ

Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold

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2018 was the year I kind of embraced Finnish melodic death. First it was Insomnium with their last album “Winter’s Gate” (in complete opposition to critics, I really really loved that one), then my second pick this year was Omnium Gatherum. A very good album overall nicely blending the brutality of death with a good ounce of melodics giving this escapism to Finland forest. You can find my full review on that one too in my previous posts.
https://youtu.be/cydhfda6rXI

Ragana – Let Our Names Be Forgotten (EP)
Another discovery this year. Ragana, coming from Oakland, CA. An interesting pick for sludge metal this year. Rough, dark and primal. I liked it.
https://youtu.be/wCI1Xxus3HI

Sytigian Crown – Through Divine Rite (EP)
Another EP discovered while wandering on Bandcamp. It has this Black Sabbath-esque kind of vibes, coming from the LA scene that I found very pleasant.

Swallow the Sun – Lumina Aurea (EP)
Swallow the Sun simply outdid themselves by releasing an audiovisual wondering experience with Lumina Aurea. Get your best AV equipment and watch this!

Therion – Beloved Antechrist

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Therion. A band that keeps breaking the norms, that keeps experimenting and setting milestones in the metal scene, that their fan like it and not. They know how to do impressive stuff and “Beloved Antechrist” was would an opera metal would sounds like if it was a real theatrical performance. A 3 hour album. What? You did not get it? You have been missing something big. Again, I will refer back to my previous blog post.

Whyzdom – As Time Turns To Dust
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Whyzdom, my go-to French symphonic metal band that is playing now at the same field than juggernauts such as Epica and Nightwish, while having their own “French touch”. It is baroque, well-orchestrated and very pleasant to the ears. Again, you can find my review on this one as well. What? You never heard about Whyzdom? Listen to them and get a catch-up course ASAP.

Wolfheart – Constellation of the Black Light

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My second Finnish melodic death album of the year. A damn good album overall to listen. It is loud, fast, brutal yet again a road to escapism from Finland. Did I ever told you how Finland knows how to blacksmith their metal with such elegance? Enough said!

This was about my 2018 year in music, and the least I can say as I become older I become picky on my choices.  Lets see what 2019 will give me.

 

Categories
Metal Power Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Melodic Power] Kalidia – The Frozen Throne (80%)

Kalidia released their second full-album entitled “The Frozen Throne” on November 23th. I know it has been almost 10 days but I wanted to be sure I gave it enough time to give it a fair review.
How does it compare it “Lies’ Device” (their first album)? How does Nicoletta Rosellini vocals fare? Is Kalidia looking as a solid bet from Transalpine neighbors as an emerging band to watch for? Well I gonna try to answer all these questions. The album is a 11 tracks totaling 47 minutes. Overall, it is a solid album, comforting their first album and slowly but surely making Kalidia a band you should keep an eye on. It is growing slowly but surely, conquering lands and hearts one fiefdom at the time. I would say that maybe the band played it a bit safe and feels like the songs are sounding maybe too homogeneous in my opinion.
The first and second tracks are “Frozen Throne” and “Circe’s Spell”. Not much talking here, as I let the band sell themselves to you with their two official videos:


We start well, with some solid stuff that gives you fairly “la patate” while listening to them. The third track “Black Sails” starts with a “Pirates of the Caribbeans” feels and fairly decent. Good, but when I want some pirate metal, I bet my doubloons and my rum on Alestorm (and their anthem song “Drink!”). You can hear their song here:

The fourth and fifth tracks “Orpheus” and “To The Darkness I Belong”, are in my opinion are decent, but nothing giving me thrills. I don’t want to call them fillers, but feel like the weakest songs of the album. The sixth track “Myth of Masada” help us forget a bit these two songs, and gave us something decent to listen. “Midnight’s Chant” is maybe deviating from their power melodic tones and more luring into some Symphonic avenues. It is an okay song, certainly a good song to use in a radio station (as it is fairly accessible for a large audience). “Go Beyond”, “Amethyst”, “Lotus” are quite good power melodic one to listen to it, giving you some thrills inherent to power metal songs. “Queen of The Forsaken”, the eleventh song, sounds at times like a Nightwish song and nicely conclude the album.
Overall, this is a generally good power melodic album, and a fairly solid second release album from the band. Nicoletta gained comfort in her vocal style (singing in a lower tone than the usual FFM, which is makes it unique), the band gained experience and consistency, both marking an overall good outcomes in terms of the maturation of the band.
Yet, my major complains are that I feel we lost some of the risk-taking approach we had with “Lies Devices”, especially the keyboards seems to have taken the backseat in that album. The second complaint is that after a good start with three songs, we quickly reach a sort of “homogenous” middle that takes about the good second third of the album. It  sounds decent but feels redundant, repetitive, and playing artistically safe. I would personally think this album would have much more impact as an EP, as it feels the second third of the album as a weakness.
The band has generously uploaded three songs of the album on Youtube (see links) and I let you decide. I personally see Kalidia slowly but surely gaining ground in the Power Melodic Metal scene coming from Italy, slowly but surely conquering fiefdoms and hearts over time. Considering the double life of Nicoletta (she got her DVM recently, so congratulations Dr. Rosellini!) and likely the other band members, it is a nice piece of work delivered by a “little league band”. Remember, like any other little bands, they need support from you. You like it? Please consider skipping a McDonalds meal and invest in a melodic power metal band and buy their album.

Categories
Doom Metal Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Doom] Clouds – Dor (95%)

The best musical compositions in my opinion are the ones that are capable to transcend the listener, to vehicle the feelings of the artist into the audience. The best musical compositions are the one that will not only stimulate your primary auditive cortex, but also activate secondary cortical areas, in particular your limbic system.
The limbic system, for those not familiar with neurosciences, is a complex and heterogenous brain structure encompassing different brain region that are below the brain cortex (what we refer commonly as “the gray matter”). It is involved in the memorization, but foremost is involved in the emotions: Joy, sadness, anger, calm…….
To me, the best musical compositions are the one that will make you happy, will make you sad, make you ballistic, or simply make you chill out and relax.
Amongst these four, sadness is my precious one. It revives dark periods in my life, periods that brought me emotional pain and somehow get hidden under layers of “everyday life” in priority. This is maybe why I have a natural attraction to doom metal. Doom metal helps unfolding and revealing this melancholy, brings back sad memories and sometimes makes me cry of reviving this sadness. Very few albums and songs reach that level but with the latest release of Clouds album “Dor”, it made me cry for 50 minutes. This is why it took me almost ten days and countless listening to be able to write down my review.
It is a 6 track album spanning over 50 minutes, yet you feel like it is a consistent album that would have been a single track. Clouds marvelously combine a chord piano playing on the bottom range, with ethereal melodic riffs, slow and heavy tempo. When you enter this album via “Forever And A Day”, you enter into a doomy and gloomy introspection into yourself as the melancholy comes in and unfold. Majestic!
The second track, “The Last Day of The Sun”, although still pretty good  feels like in my opinion the weakest one. With the third track, “When I’m Gone”, we have the featuring of Gogo Melone (Aeonian Sorrow, Luna Obscura). It is the first time I hear Gogo and her voice combined to the musical arrangement of Clouds reminded me the best years of Anneke Von Giersbergen and The Gathering. I am surely checking out her latest release with Aeonian Sorrow. Another remarkable track.
“Dor”, the fourth track, is the middle piece of resistance. It is being half-way drawing in the swamp of sadness and we do not feel to escape it. The band gives us an opportunity of an official videoclip, allowing me to share my auditive experience. Warning: get ready for a box of tissue and a bottle of liquor to drown these tears.

The two remaining tracks “The Forever Sleep” (featuring Pim Blankenstein) and “Alone” are in the same range and keep it on an excellent composition.
In the time as we see a glut of bands in some genres in the metal landscape that prime on quantity over quality, doom metal stands still and strong. It maybe not as dynamic as other genres (in which we have hundreds of bands), but each bands labelled as “doom metal” has their own sounds, their own artistic variations that makes them unique. And this is the case of Clouds. With the second album, the band show that simplicity of an acoustic piano is much better than an artistic composition mostly digitally created on a computer. Instruments should convey the feelings, let them be cold or warm. It is very frugal, but a very sincere and emotional listening experience in which we share the pain and the grievance of the artist behind. We relive our own grievance and sadness, as our limbic system opens up to the musical stimuli.
Rarely albums made me cry through the whole length of the album, and that tells me how excellent the composition is. Overall, it is an excellent second album that I strongly warns about the emotional content. You want to keep it for a rainy and cloudy grey skies day, a day you are recluse and looking for an introspection into your saddest and darkest memories. It gave me the chills, it let me wet tissues but it also helped me found some solace by allowing a catharsis of these emotions.

Categories
Female-fronted Metal Gothic Metal Metal Music Symphonic Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Opera Metal] Lux in Tenebris – To a New Eternity (EP)

After deciding to put an end on Darkonelly project band few years ago, Marion-Lamita have been working hard behind the scene to produce something different. The announcement back then left me skeptical and somehow disappointed. We can say that  her new project Lux in Tenebris has been producing something interesting. After releasing some solo titles on Youtube (that left me in a limbo, neither being enthusiastic nor being pessimistic about), Lux in Tenebris has released its first EP titled “To A New Eternity” last Friday. Because it is an EP, I don’t give a score but I will anyway give my thoughts on it. The first thing that strikes is the contribution of Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy, ex-Leaves Eyes). Liv has been always been supportive of small bands, in particular during their freshman album. Delain, Hydra…..
This is an EP of 7 titles lasting about 35 minutes with two interludes. We start the EP with  “Divine Mankind” bringing us Marion’s soprano voice, that same haunting voice from Darkonelly. What I like about, in this time in which female-fronted metal symphonic metal is facing a huge glut of bands relying heavily on post-production, is the very particular moderate use of the keyboards. The music in this one is okay, sometimes a bit cheesy. Tony is in the growls on this one, a first time for him. Fairly good for a first-timer. The second one, “Chaos in Beauty” is sounding in my opinion more interesting, sometimes reminding me of Therion. Thats a good track you should listen.
The third track “Mystic Euphonia”, is my opinion the worst track of the album. I don’t know, it must be the beginning of the song that induce some aversive reaction. I don’t like it. At all. The first interlude “Temple of The Soul” has this kind of tribal vibe that is not bad. “Triangle of Light” is my opinion, the best of the EP. It has this pharaonic vibes by the beginning of the song, a very good mixture of the guitars and the synthesizers. It gives me “la palate” so it must be good. Quickly follows the second interlude “The Imperator’s Arrival”.  The last song “The Grand Design”, again featuring Liv Kristine.  It is quite good, decent work here and I would definitely recommend listening to the song.

After almost four years since the disbanding of Darkonelly project, this is the first significative piece of work (in the form of a EP) to emerge from Marion’s effort during her transition into Lux In Tenebris. Although the EP is overall quite pleasant to listen, at this stage I consider it as a fairly rough and raw diamond. Considering it is a project mostly driven by Marion at this point, it is a decent EP to give a try on. It shows some potential, but at this time it needs refining to achieve an optimal shape. It also tells you that having Liv on board is likely that their artistic potential is here. Lets let the sunrise shed some lights and allow the project to emerge from the darkness into light, when opera and metal shed through the darkness.

 

Categories
Metal Music Thrash Metal

[Metal/Thrash] Metallica – …And Justice for All (30th Anniversary Review)

Following the recent announcement of the final remastering of the fourth Metallica album “…and Justice for All” at its 30th anniversary, I thought providing a retrospective review of this album was due.
“…And Justice for All” is the fourth album by Metallica that is a milestone for many different reasons. First, it marks the slow but steady transition of the band artistic direction from heavy thrash into more refined (and maybe watered down) metal that we will get with the “Black album” (still selling 27 years after its release). Second, and more tragic trivia, this is the first album lacking the bassist Cliff Burton. Cliff Burton died during their 1986 tour during their bus crash accident in Sweden, occurring roughly two years before the release. Therefore, this album has this particular feel and sound due to the lack of bass. That did not stop Metallica to produce a good album (I have a preference for “Master of Puppets” and “Ride The Lightning”), with 9 tracks spanning a bit over 65 minutes.
We get into the album with the classical “Blackened”, a very aggressive track that really contrast with the rest of the album that have this more mellow feel. It is followed by in my opinion the average “…And Justice for All”.  The third track “Eye of the Beholder” is still sounding this kind of “fatigue” giving this average to this song. However, things change when we enter the fourth track “One”. Certainly the quintessential track of this album by its complexity and by the narrative. It really speaks up to any WW1 enthusiast. It starts with the guitar solo following by a crescendo in the guitars riffs and the drums.  James kicks in the lyrics directly taken inspiration from “Johnny Got His Gun”, an anti-war novel depicting Joe Bohnam, an American soldier prisoner of his own body after loosing his limbs, his sight, his tongue and his hearing. As the song goes comes in this fantastic musical trick of reproducing a machine gun sound with drums and guitars, musically accompanying the violent lyrics of James. “Darkness emprisoning me, all I can see absolute horror!” depicting Joe waking up from his comatose only to realize he is prisoner from his own body. The fifth track “The Shortest Straw” brings back the aggressiveness of the previous albums. A good one but still lacking the punch from the Metallica you expect. “Harvester of Sorrow” is a damn good track. “The Frayed End Of Sanity” starts with the thematic of the castle of the Wicked Witch, and “To Live is To Die”. There are good, but I heard better from the band. Finally, “The Dyer’s Dye” brings back on the fast riffs and frenetic pace encountered with their previous albums.
Now, the hope to see this album remastered with bass is vanished as Lars mentioned that their final remaster of “…Justice…” will not include bass and we may have to consulate ourselves with this fan-made remaster including bass.

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Metal Symphonic Metal Uncategorized

[Metal/Symphonic] Adrana – Pertubatio (10th Anniversary)

Few days ago marked the release of Adrana’s first album “Perturbatio” (according to Metal-Archives.com, it was released on June 8th 2008). What can I tell about from one of my favorite French metal band? That it was an interesting first album, that it can sounds sometimes goofy as any first albums but also also has some valuable gold nuggets, just by listening to the soprano voice of Anne is enough to bring it up into the ranking. And also because it has a lots of tracks sung in French, so thats another perk to add.
It is a 14 track album, totaling about 50 mins of songs. We get into it with an intro sequence “Enter Prusias” that sounds like a medieval swordfight (for me, it sounded like more a cutelry fight) which you can guess is a ramp to “Prusias”. With “Prusias”, you get insta-slapped by the voice of Anne, singing with her high vocal ranges really making the tone of Adrana over a “Symphonic metal” band and more into its own “Opera metal” subgenre.  Blending soprano opera feminine voices with metal riffs is my guilty pleasure and Adrana in my guilry indulgence. The second is the pace and musical arrangment, raw and not much relying on the synth keybaords. “Saneday” brings on with a piano solo and progressively introduce metal elements into the composition. “The Moonchildren” is one of the track that I found it a bit goofy, as Anne French accent betrayed her in the introducting narrative and it is quickly followed by “Mortelle Fourberie Infantine”, brining the fast-paced rhythm with Anne’s voice. One of my favoirte. It is followed by “The Nymph’s Corpse”, another of my favorite. But the “piece of resistance” is coming with the following track named “Gabrielus”. Oh boy, this is a battlecry song, that feel like jumping a ride on a white armored horse and raise your sword in the sky calling for the ultimate assault on the legion of orcs, all sang in French and with this might power metal tunes (the 14th track, is an acoustic version of “Gabrielus”). If I have to have someone introduced someone to Adrana, I would definitely use this track.
“Secret Gathering” is an another track that has some goofy elements, especially at the beginning. “l’Eveil de Marklus”, “The Lords of The Tapestry”, “Oprane” and “Ingalrian” are nice tracks but nothing transcendental for me. You can skip them without missing much in my opinion. But the one you should not skip is “Mortualia” that is almost an acapella/acoustic version of Anne with a baritone. Very beautiful if you are into opera voice.
In conclusion, “Pertubatio” is an album like any first album with some goofiness but also some potentials, both from Anne and from musical elements. Indeed, the band further blacksmithed their core element and perfected it with their following up album “The Ancient Realms”.