I'm bored so here's a simple bit of fluff to keep it at bay an hour longer. I might go back to this and write up why I love the songs I chose if I get bored enough again. It'd most likely end up as a stream of superlatives though.
Ever since I heard Ayreon's Into the Electric Castle I've enjoyed the unique voice of Damian Wilson. His clear and incredibly powerful style immediately seperated him from the average metal singer for me and he became an almost instant favourite. Pursuing my interest I found that he'd done a full album with Arjen Lucassen, Star One - Space Metal, as well as being the original vocalist of Threshold, one of my favourite bands. I was especially surprised to find him with Threshold but at the time I'd only listened to them from Critical Mass onwards.
The major affirmation came when I saw Threshold supporting Kamelotat the Astoria 2 in '07. I'd only just found out that the vocalist I'd found Threshold with, Mac, had unfortunately left the band and Wilson was to replace him on tour. Damian Wilson absolutely blew me away. He was stunning, all of the songs played that night were Mac era but he'd learnt them in a remarkably short time and pulled them of almost without a hitch. This Is Your Life even seems to have become a signature song for him. He was much better at engaging the audience, I recall him stage-diving at least twice, you could tell he was enjoying himself immensely and the crowd got caught up in it as well.
Yet despite my rampant fanboyism, I never had a clue that he'd released four solo albums (and here we finally get to the point of my rambling). A couple of weeks ago Damian put up his albums online for free download and optional donation in the hope that more people would hear them. "My concern is not enough people are getting to hear the music. So I am asking that you download, enjoy the music and spread the word". I grabbed his albums and donated a bit for each of them and was surprised when he sent me an email in thanks, I had a short conversation with him over the weekend and he seems like a very humble, honestly down to earth guy who really deserves to have his music heard. The music's very different to his usual prog metal output, often accoustic and usually very upbeat, his lyrics are intelligent and heartfelt and over the last week I've listened over 120 times, a hell of a feat for a scrobbler who generally plays his collection on random.
He asks that we spread the word and I hope this journal will let more people find his beautiful solo works. You can download his music at http://damianwilsonmusic.com/, just click the album covers to get the download options.
Thought I'd have a little fun and search out my favourite five guitar solos. The guitar's an amazing instrument, able to convey countless emotions and feelings and it's ubiquity means it features in around 90% of my favourite music. There's lots of lists out there and I certainly agree with most of the top tens I see but here I want to list some that mean a lot to me personally. They may not be the fastest, most complex or most iconic solos but when I hear them I have to get on my knees and rip out some crazy air guitar. So with no further ado, ladies and gentleman, may I present to you...
5. f-zero gx - Mute City I remember having an all night F-Zero session with a couple of friends and looking foward to playing the Mute City track each time. I think maybe Daisuke Ishiwatari's Blue Water Blue Sky is a better guitar driven game track but the solo here is just great, soaring notes and the techno background make for a pretty fun combo.
4. Sonata Arctica - The Cage When I first heard this track I was completely blown out of the water, I'd had the volume up for the quiet ending to Graven Image and then this barnstorming solo comes out of nowhere. Thousands of incredibly fast notes in a perfect pattern of awe-inspiring glory, one of the best openings to a song I know.
3. Ayreon - Day Fourteen: Pride Arjen Lucassen's a great guitarist, he's pulled off some amazing work and his albums are laden with excellent progular solos and guitar-keyboard duels. I don't think this is actually his best solo, a couple of the songs on Into the Electric Castle have better, but whenever I hear this my head rises and I sit back and just let this one roll over me.
2. Queen - I Want It All This solo, for me, is the best party solo ever. It has everything, fast bits, long notes and Freddie's "oooooooooooh yeah-yeaaaah" at the beginning gets such a grin on my face every time. Easily my favourite Queen song and this solo is easily the best thing they ever did.
1. Dragonland - The Book of Shadows, Part III: The Glendora Outbreak Words fail me when I try and describe this but I'll give it a go anyway. This is, simply put, the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard. The long notes just soar away, pulling you with them and leaving you sky-high when it's over. If any song can instantly put my mood into happy it's this. Not many solos have a nifty little piano riff underpinning them either.
Well there we go, I've tried to put a little more effort into this than the other couple of journals I've done and actually explain why I like these instead of just filling out a meme this time.