• Albums Acquired in 2013

    2 jan. 2014, 20h26m

    1/2013:

    Bob Marley - Legend
    Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
    Domine - Champion Eternal
    Domine - Emperor of the Black Runes
    Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell
    Savage Grace - The Dominatress
    Savage Grace - Master Of Disguise
    Summoning - Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame
    Trick Or Treat - Rabbits' Hill Pt. 1
    Von Hertzen Brothers - Love Remains the Same

    2/2013:

    Gamma Ray - Skeletons & Majesties Live (DVD)

    3/2013:

    Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare
    Metallica - Ride the Lightning
    Witchfinder General - Death Penalty

    4/2013:

    This month confirmed that even if I knowingly decide not to order albums, I'll somehow get some more nonetheless. Thanks to internet nick names, and my friends, "Laava", "Asamael", and especially "MrChimney" for some great new additions to my collection! Miss you guys already, too! :(

    Gee, maybe I'll start "upgrading" my annual "Albums I bought in 20XX" journals! As in, if I feel like it, adding stuff like where did I get a precise album, why did I buy it, stuff like that.

    Cathedral - The Carnival Bizarre
    Diamond Head - The Best of Diamond Head
    Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (')
    Iced Earth - Days of Purgatory
    Metsatöll - Hiiekoda
    Sammal - Sammal
    Type O Negative - The Origin of the Feces
    Type O Negative - Bloody Kisses
    Type O Negative - Life Is Killing Me

    5/2013:

    Manilla Road - Crystal Logic
    Manowar - Sign Of The Hammer

    The order below is not actually even an order: they're all from a physical record shop. From Kotka Fucking City. And they were cheap too! Just WAT?! o_o

    Armored Saint - Symbol Of Salvation
    Blue Öyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
    Evergrey - In Search of Truth
    Manowar - Battle Hymns
    Sabaton - Primo Victoria
    Type O Negative - Slow, Deep and Hard
    Virgin Steele - Life Among The Ruins

    6/2013:

    These are actually from ANOTHER second-hand record seller from Kotka... What's up with this boring town suddenly having some awesome record sellers without me knowing?! Three euros a piece; would've paid nine from Lumsk's Troll alone! What a record it is when listened from start to finish!

    Lumsk - Troll
    Nightwish - Wishmaster
    Stormwind - Stargate

    7/2013:

    ELO Original Album Classics, excluding Time which I gave to my friend since I already had it. From a second-hand store I used to visit often as a kid, with mommy. :)

    The others were 20 euros the whole bunch. Yeah, just go ahead and order all your records from a big corporation! You could pay 20 from one of those!

    Electric Light Orchestra - On The Third Day
    Electric Light Orchestra - Face the Music
    Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record
    Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery
    Helloween - Treasure Chest (w/ Buried Treasure)
    Héroes del Silencio - Parasiempre
    The Kinks - You Really Got Me
    Manowar - Kings of Metal
    Manowar - Louder Than Hell
    Slayer - Show No Mercy
    Steel Panther - Feel the Steel

    8/2013:

    Avantasia - The Mystery of Time
    Hector - Yhtenä iltana...
    Jean Sibelius - Finlandia
    Kimmo Kuusniemi Band - Moottorilinnut
    Manilla Road - The Deluge
    Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
    Riot - Fire Down Under
    Uriah Heep - ...Very 'eavy ...Very 'umble
    Warlord - Deliver Us

    9-10/2013:

    A big order from Amazon.co.uk. :)

    Agalloch - The Mantle
    The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
    Blue Öyster Cult - Imaginos
    Falkenbach - ...Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri...
    King Diamond - Fatal Portrait
    King Diamond - The Eye
    Lost Horizon - Awakening The World
    Lost Horizon - A Flame to the Ground Beneath
    Mercyful Fate - Melissa
    Mercyful Fate - The Beginning
    Royal Hunt - The Mission
    Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn
    Testament - The Legacy
    Testament - The New Order
    Testament - Practice What You Preach
    Testament - Souls of Black
    Testament - The Ritual
    Timo Tolkki's Avalon - The Land of New Hope
    Vektor - Outer Isolation
    Voyager - uniVers

    12/2013:

    Harder Than Steel metal event, Tampere

    Running Wild - Black Demons on Stage
    Santa Lucia - Arktista Hysteriaa
  • (Given the financial situation of a poor student, too many) Albums I Bought in 2012

    23 jan. 2013, 17h37m

    1/2012:
    Blue Öyster Cult - Tyranny and Mutation
    The Doors - Strange Days
    Manowar - Fighting the World
    Moonsorrow - Tulimyrsky
    Seventh Wonder - The Great Escape

    2/2012:
    Judas Priest - Point of Entry
    Moonsorrow - Suden Uni
    Moonsorrow - Voimasta ja Kunniasta
    Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet
    Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty
    Blind Guardian - Memories Of A Time To Come
    Freedom Call - Land Of The Crimson Dawn
    Moonsorrow - Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa

    3/2012:
    Stormwitch - Walpurgis Night
    Stormwitch - Stronger Than Heaven
    Running Wild- Victory
    Edenbridge - Aphelion

    4/2012
    Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
    Moonsorrow - Tämä Ikuinen Talvi
    Savatage - Hall Of The Mountain King
    Sortilège - Sortilège
    Sortilège - Métamorphose

    5/2012
    Stormwitch - Tales of Terror
    Accept - Stalingrad
    Axel Rudi Pell - The Masquerade Ball
    Axel Rudi Pell - Kings and Queens
    Axel Rudi Pell - Circle of the Oath
    Dragonland - Under the Grey Banner
    Dream Theater - Images & Words
    Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja
    Savage Circus - Live in Atlanta (DVD)
    Savatage - Gutter Ballet
    Savatage - Streets: A Rock Opera

    6/2012
    Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost in the New Real
    Van Halen - 5150

    7/2012:
    Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory
    Crimson Glory - Trancendence
    Devin Townsend Project - By A Thread - Live In London 2011 (4 DVD + 5 CD)
    Stratovarius - Under Flaming Winter Skies (DVD)

    8/2012:
    Overkill - The Electric Age
    Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
    Virgin Steele - The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell part I
    Virgin Steele - The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell part II

    9/2012:
    Axel Rudi Pell - The Crest
    Motörhead - The Wörld is Yours
    Roky Erickson & the Aliens - Roky Erickson & the Aliens (the same as The Evil One etc. ...or is it? -_- I'd actually like to know for real!)
    Saxon - The Very Best Of (1979-1988)

    10/2012:
    Blue Öyster Cult - Cultösaurus Erectus
    Edenbridge - Sunrise in Eden
    Helloween - Live in the U.K.
    Judas Priest - Stained Class
    Judas Priest - Killing Machine
    Queen - Live at Wembley Stadium (DVD)
    Sabaton - Carolus Rex
    Savatage - Sirens
    Savatage - The Dungeons Are Calling
    Savatage - Dead Winter Dead
    Savatage - Poets and Madmen
    Saxon - Wheels Of Steel
    Saxon - Strong Arm Of The Law
    Saxon - Denim And Leather
    Summoning - Stronghold

    11/2012:
    Ayreon - Timeline
    King Diamond - "Them"
    King Diamond - Conspiracy
    Sabaton - The Art of War
    Savatage - Handful of Rain
  • Some Artists That Are Still Possible to See Live That I Haven't Seen But Would Die…

    29 juin 2012, 4h08m

    Yeah, a random journal about who I'd want to see live. Just a couple of names that now spring to mind.

    Alice Cooper - They say his stage shows are always awesome. And of course the music is great. Plus I don't think there's too much time to see him live anymore, so it would have to happen quickly. I think I heard during the gig that them +Iron Maiden were here, like, a year or something ago. Was very irritated since Maiden would be awesome to see too! I think they only played songs from their new album, though (not counting encores). Poor Maiden. Must've gotten soooo outrocked by Alice and the band. :( He still really seems to have it.

    Axel Rudi Pell - Band that I've heard will never come to Finland as they're ridiculously expensive to get here! :D Figures; somehow Finland has like zero demand for power metal & related. I wonder why though. Such good music, and countries around us pretty much like it! Clearly I'm living in such a wrong place. :( Anyway, ARP are soooo good! They have like ridiculously little variation in their few types of songs, but heck, why not, as their only 1-3 songs are that fucking good?! :D About the only band around that I know that is really true to all things Dio / Rainbow / Dio era Black Sabbath / ya know. Completely unique, actually patient, visionary and classy as hell style and sound; me very much like!

    Virgin Steele - Same thing as with ARP above: no market here, apparently. Sheeeet! >:( Even if our local record shop has their own shelf for VS!1 Anyway, the only musical neighbour that comes to mind is Manowar. But VS are like better and more epic version of it. Barbaric-romantic metal indeed, completely unique, beautiful, wonderful, sexual, invincible etc. *add some random David DeFeis' adjectives of your choice*

    Arjen Anthony Lucassen / Ayreon / Star One / ... / ... .. . - Like that would ever happen. :( Arjen's not a friend of touring. However, there was humorous talk in his pretty recent interview about a live performance nightmares-themed album being a great concept for a record. Well, if Arjen ever really does that (which I doubt), heck, he would DEFINITELY have to play it live, for obvious reasons! :D Conquer your fears, Arjen, conquer your fears! (If he reads this. Then again, there's actually a small chance -- he actually comments to his fans, spends time with them in social media and thus really seems to care for them! - W000t? ;O Abnormal. Unheard of.) Anyways, pretty much the best musician there is! ^_^ Arjen, if you read this, I leave you a LONG, juicy "review" / opinion about the wonderful new record that is Lost in the New Real. :3

    Queensrÿche / Rising West - Well, actually I've seen them, last year. But well... It really isn't the same anymore. It's better. It will be better since goddamn Operation: Mindcrime! Obvious reasons for this as you all know. For real? You don't know? PLEASE check out their latest live shit and notice a certain change in the line-up. Todd La Torre should be the fastest rising star in music right now, no doubt -- if people really had any good taste to speak of! ;D

    Seventh Wonder - Amazing. As far as the singer Tommy Karevik doesn't just pledge himself to Kamelot & the fan gurlz (who don't even seem to have problems with oh the wonderful holy Khan leaving as they replaced him with The Singer!). However, there would be the risk for me to completely break down and cry during the gig. That wouldn't do! :E Not manly and appropriate at all! >.>

    Sabaton - For me, a great band that I just really don't listen to that much for some reason. A song here and there absolutely rrrrrocks, but I'm not all in for a whole album at once for them for some reason. Anyways, this minor dream to see them live should, after all, come true tomorrow! :3 Can't effing wait!

    W.A.S.P. - Also will see them before this year ends, circumstances willing. Damn I missed their Crimson Idol tour a few years back by just by being lazy! :C (And didn't probably want to pay for the trip + ticks. Excuses, excuses...)

    Speaking of missed gigs that really irritate me, missed Thunderstone's last gigs with Pasi Rantanen on vocals. Again, by just being lazy, basically! ;EEE Outrocked Sonata Arctica to death... or sang them to swamp, like we would say here, referring to our national epic Kalevala. Wouldn't even like to see them without Pasi though. So: "Bring back Pasi! [6661]"

    Hardcore Superstar - Yet again I've missed them live for no apparent reason. :( Twice! That I know of! So probably like 4-5 times in reality! These guys should kill live though; that kind of new school Swedish energy rock that really IS hard rock in true sense of the word! And pretty much the best of those bands that I know (although there are other very, very good ones as well... Crashdïet, Crazy Lixx, H.E.A.T.... you know. That said, finally seeing Twisted Sister I guess wouldn't hurt, either).

    Wuthering Heights - If that would be possible anymore. The mastermind there's having serious back troubles. Oh damn it all the hell; they're like the ballsiest, outright BEST, and still helluva unknown power metal band around. :/ Wishing Erik Ravn and the band well!

    There's sumptin' alrigh'. Commentz R welcum. And if you feel provoked, then provoke me right back!

    (Might add more if I ever bother. Would also love to see other lists like this!)

    Some names added afterwards:

    Domine
    Kraftwerk
    Summoning
  • Albums I Bought in 2011

    26 jan. 2012, 17h07m

  • A Mammoth Babble About Symfonia - In Paradisum

    20 juin 2011, 3h40m

    SymfoniaIn Paradisum

    This might be an odd start to one of my rambles about a record, but bear with me. I’ve got to say I kinda like the graphics of the album this time around. Normally I’m a huge disliker of this genre's “must”, Derek Riggs-like graphic-that-looks-graphic, with unnaturally bright colors and huge amount of shining, and just something embarassing and clichéd on the cover. Crowns, kings, skulls, angels, devils... you name it. The worst in here for me is that these are made to look computer-made for purpose, and I don’t like that look, the shininess and lightness in them. These covers are like a still shot from a shitty Pixar movie that has its own conventions and try-to-be-humorous, forced jokes nowadays, not an honest Disney drawing that used some of the best voice acting and all-round imagination that I’ve ever seen anywhere, and that absolutely played with colors and sounds and gave children (and adults) everything they ever hoped to get from a tv show. Apparently, almost every new power metal record in the last few years has been pretty much the same to power metal what Pixar is to Disney’s legacy: conventional, trying to be power, but the spirit and vision are just not quite there. Whether this is one of those albums in my opinion remains a secret until you read this ramble for a little longer.

    Why I surprisingly like the album graphics is the contrast of this clear blue sky and untouched universe above a pollution cloud of a polluted but livable urban metropolis. These are exactly the two sides this album’s music represents to me. Almost all the time the expression is clean and clear like the sky itself, but then again there are those dirty little solos and intros especially that give some edge to this album. I’d have liked to hear more of that side, since those were basically the only things that were new or surprising on this album! As if Tolkki still has something up his sleeve he hasn’t shown us before, some even groove-metaly side steering that awaits to be discovered.

    Alright, this part was supposed to be the ending rant, but I think I’ll write it out now. With this kind of line-up, they should’ve been able to offer us something seriously new, not that tired Revolution Renaissance shit. Timo still used way too much of his overly used song billets, which I can only think meaning that he just cannot plain compose anything new anymore. However, there WERE new elements. Mikko Härkin especially took a lot of liberties to produce some pretty sweet solos, and so did Timo Tolkki on the guitar solos. Those two combined a pair of surprising mixes, and that’s what I liked about this album way the most. Those were the pollution cloud and the crowded city. That part needs to be awakened to its full prosperity in the coming releases if those are going to happen. Andre Matos can sing anything, yet he ONLY used his clean highs in this album! I think that was ridiculous – Tolkki wanted yet another Kotipelto or Kiske there. Just where was the roughness and creativity in Andre’s singing he’s shown elsewhere lately, especially on his solo album Time to Be Free? And why (if not the arm injury) was Uli Kusch used like a generic session guy, which he by no means isn’t? I think he was supposed to imitate Jörg Michael's drumming or something. Maybe just be out of the way, just play some generic "something" on "just" the drums. "You're just a drummer, we play the melodies here. Yours, Timo and Mikko" Either Mr. Kusch has completely lost his vision or his ideas were just silenced, or his arm was just too bad. Forevermore is the only song I hear even a glimpse of the Uli Kusch I know from Helloween.

    Now let’s finally go to the point. What I waited this album to be is yet another struggle from Timo Tolkki to contrivedly reclaim his throne in power metal music, a throne he definitely once possessed. He’s had his manners recently – somewhere after the album Stratovarius and around The New Era by Revolution Renaissance, he completely couldn’t compose anything new into his style of power metal music anymore. Apparently he did such in Age of Aquarius, but I think that’s completely for some other audience, or just a deep mood album I never had a chance to get into. That album appeared to me mostly as a very boring harp, with too long middle tempo songs with not much content.

    You could say there are similar problems with In Paradisum. The songs don’t feel that long this time, but almost every song’s structure is set in stone. Often, a song starts differently – the first time in God knows how long in Tolkki’s music – but then the promising start fades into a generic power metal verse with nothing own or special in them. I’ll go song-by-song to give you – and myself, basically – a better view of what’s happening In Paradise.

    Fields of Avalon. Will the Sun Rise?-like riff. As if Jörg was on the drums; nothing Uli-like in Uli's drumming. During the first verse I got some cool classic Angra vibes though, when Andre sings one of his many definitely familiar-sounding vocal melodies – only those South American folk instrument sounds are missing. Still, this whole song keeps up the certain samba feeling in my opinion, and if the chorus was a bit boring in the first listen-through, it got better after that. I actually also love the Manowar-esque quick riff there is in the verses – one of those rare polluted city-like images I got I was talking about earlier. There’s some dirt in this particular song almost all the way through, and it’s actually one of my absolute favorites from this album, if not the very favorite. Also a good quick opener that showcases this band means business. The ending stretch of Andre Matos did bring goose bumps to my skin. Combined with a classical Stratovarius ending from waaay back, from the song We Are the Future or something, but with a true master high n’ clean singer, and with great harpsichord sounds in the background, I actually gasped my breath in disbelief and thought, “Wow, does this line-up really mean business?” I only felt that the song was a little plastic somehow, maybe it’s the current production conventions or I don’t know, but a bit tame. Still a great opening track!

    Andre singing that high didn’t come as surprise to me. I had the impression the guy can sing basically anything right now. But how easily he seems to get even those long high screams out and how effortlessly he sings in the upper register almost all the time (too much overally) surprised even me. Even though the Finnish Soundi magazine even tells that, according to Tolkki, Matos completely lost his singing voice just before the recordings, and even cortisone didn't help him out. The voice came back when Tolkki forced him to sing a song very loud (Soundi 3/2011). But people, after that, Matos' voice might be at its very best and eclectic right now, and that’s saying a lot! Too bad Tolkki isn't using it even nearly up to its full potential.

    I should mention how good a job Timo Tolkki has done with this album behind the producer’s desk. Yes, it's a bit plastic, but so is most post-mid-90s power metal. Nothing special, but, even if they were too clean and ordinary, I still like these sounds. They’re pleasant. They’re not as sharp and rolling as you’d often hear with Italian power metal bands, but close to them... I’d say around Kamelot when they were at their best. Just pleasant-sounding, if you get my meaning. Works well with the ultra cleanness in the vocals and goes well together with the album cover's heaven part. The sounds blend well with this usually light atmosphere (light, as in the opposite would be dark). There are also a few spots on the album where they’re using that very long, yet subtle delay effect for the singer that I especially like. The first of them is on this song, 1:57 in, when Matos stops a high note.

    Come By the Hills is one of those tracks that open very normally, nothing too special, except the lead. It’s from Germany I think, which is unusual for Timo's songs. Brought to my mind Gamma Ray – Valley of the Kings, Masterplan – Lost And Gone and for example Heavy Metal Perse – Talonpoikaisralli in Finnish music. Don’t remember Tolkki using that before though, or hadn’t noticed from new RR albums even if he did. I’m really not a fan of those.

    This second track of the album is actually the key example of the pleasantness I find in these less heavy songs of the album. This one would actually be a very boring track if it wasn’t for that pleasant “sky” feeling I'm constantly getting while listening to this album and looking at its cover. All the cleanness in this album is just very clear sky-ish. :) Also, a very short roaming solo and a chorus hook following it is a good change to that repetitive and boring keyboard melody and tempo, and anemic chorus. Towards the end, there was actually a fill from Kusch that was a ghost of his former self, but it was there nonetheless. Overally nothing special though. The song is a letdown after a good opening. But pretty pleasant. Did I say it already? I kinda think of this as a too straightforward, boring, repetitive song that has too little content in it – but it’s still pleasant! Somewhat the only hook of the album, after the post-solo chorus starts "late", doesn't save it.

    No comparison, the next track, Santiago, is EASILY the best track of the album! That guitar is going somewhere to Amon Amarth waters or something. Not at all near, of course, but you know what I mean. There is some ANGER and SPIRIT in Tolkki’s playing. THAT needs to get out in the future and become whole songs. This song is close. But why is Matos not using his rasp and is singing barely audibly more aggressively than before? This track demands some roughness to it, dammit! And I've heard Matos sing even like that in the recent years - but for some reason not here. Just cleans, cleans, cleans all the time. And high register.

    The chorus is pretty blah, very similar to the opening song. One of the most disturbing sides of this album in my opinion are the choruses, how "basic" they sound and how much they often resemble each other. You always come to expect much from choruses in power metal, but this isn't a good album example of very biting choruses. But I actually like the verses of Santiago. There are some cool singing melodies, a pretty aggressive riff and some other melodies to it, unlike in less heavy songs of the album.

    Definitely the best part comes when the songs silences into the acoustic part. That interlude sounds as much a separate part as any separate part can ever sound, which is not good. But when it stops and the solo starts, it’s the goddamn greatest harmony solo Tolkki’s created since... the Strato song Liberty? And then the song suddenly changes into that roaming, aggressive being again, and the craziest and best shredding solos of the album go off. These few minutes alone prove to me that Tolkki still has something to give to the metal scene, but he’s just have to let it all come out. That segment right there surely was tough as an urban metropolis at night. We were truly tossed off the sky for how long that lasted! Again, Andre sang the following chorus too cleanly, though, and didn't support the surrounding atmosphere. If they did that kind of things with passion and less elegantly, God, this might be a good band...

    Unfortunately the ballad Alayna gives us a quick lift back to the clouds, in a bad way. On the other hand this is a good song and on the other hand not, imo. Let’s face it, this is Tolkki's Angel Ballad #3, but it’s not as shamelessly obvious as it was when we compare thew song Angel by Revolution Renaissance to the original Angels Are Calling he composed to a Finnish Idols winner Ari Koivunen... This is definitely off the same mold – again. Tolkki’s lost it with composing new ballads. Except that there is at least something different in this one, some more content this time. A quick guitar solo for example. And there is actually some sort of evolution in the song’s progression. Sadly that isn’t characteristic to the most tracks of this album. Most songs are even too non-progressive all the time. But at least something happens in this one. The song might grow, or jump into a quick shredding solo, or the ending Santana-style solo, except not even close as good. I don’t know why but I think the ending guitar note is fucked up. It doesn’t fit that supposed fragile atmosphere at all! This album's Angel song is luckily a bit extended, and in a pretty good way, but on the other hand it brings to my mind a below-average Scorpions ballad.

    I’d like to say how Angel #3 shit that chorus is, but I still find it kind of beautiful, mostly because I’m stunned of how fucking good Andre Matos just is. I think he sounded a little more fragile on this song than elsewhere on the album, and it was all fitting and good. As if his voice wasn't perfectly under his control, as if he was fucking some parts up on purpose. Great for a change, finally!

    Forevermore starts like a modern Stratovarius song X that I don’t remember, from the album Elysium. Or actually I think it’s the song Blind from Polaris. Might be just coincidental. I don’t think so, though, since this is Tolkki we’re talking about. You guys should know how many Finnish oldies, for example, he has borrowed in his music, or parts from early Queensrÿche, or Ritchie Blackmore...

    The idea is lost in this song. Separate “Blind part”, then the generic power metal verse, and the chorus that once again is very similar to that of Fields of Avalon and offers us absolutely nothing new. I mentioned Kusch getting a bit responsibility here, and that's a big plus. If only they used him nearly to his full potential all the time. Anyway, Härkin’s organ followed by Tolkki’s crazy shred solo is once again a really bright moment on the album. Or actually, not really bright, but the opposite. A descent to a darker, dirtier world from the bright clouds. Even Matos' voice might be least clean in this song, which is good again. I don’t know but I feel certain deliberation during those unlikely aggressive solos from Tolkki. Why he still keeps his compositions very strictly in order and doesn’t loosen like in the solos elsewhere in these songs is beyond me. Also, Härkin’s solo after Tolkki’s is great. Matos sings like an angel, but would that be news?

    Pilgrim Road is a cheap track that seems to build around that simple "folk" melody. I don't know what country's folk it tries to be, but it sounds like Turisas far worsened. There are other main parts in this song though, but the pre-chorus and chorus are combined very long and dull - nothing even seems to change between them, maybe I should only talk about one boring chorus here. The long repeat of the words "pilgrim road" are delivered with exactly the similar key and height as with "just follow me" are in Fields of Avalon, and this stupid recycling I can't stand. Also, he already used this "let's-build-a-song-only-around-a-folkish-sample" in the song Into the Future by Revolution Renaissance! :)

    Then it's time for your must-have "epic big song" of the album that usually quits the albums, or, in Stratovarius' case recently, are still followed by a ballad. Granted, this one is in the middle of the album, so it's even a bit surprising. But it definitely doesn't feel like a big song of the album. Or maybe it does, but c'mon, I don't want to hear THIRD SOULS OF A VAGABOND! Tolkki completely ripped his original song off in Revolution Renaissance, the song, already, and now he's using the same trademark melody for the THIRD time! Basically the same that happened with the Angel/Alayna ballads, but it's even clearer here. The verses are a bit minimalistic, like the one on Elements the song, but kind of fresh, and I freaking LOVE Matos' vocals that shine on the Paradisum choir! This canon singing somehow reminds me of Elements, the song, but Matos' stretches here are longer and also very clear, beautiful! The bad part at this point of the album is that we've heard very much of that ultra-cleanness already, and it's starting to get on my nerves. Just more changes would be good. Then this harmonic and bombastic feeling is once again interrupted with insane, quick, fiery keyboard and guitar solos. This once again makes me think that they should use this spirit elsewhere in the album, too. Then in comes the serene part of this most progressive on the album, luckily. It's beautiful. Prior / at the beginning of it some children are speaking some lines through a sound effect that sounds as if they're on the phone. I think this is straight from the Arjen Lucassen album Guilt Machine - On This Perfect Day. (Not that this album was necessary the original one using this, but I don't know of any others using this. The idea and "on the phone" sound effect sounds completely same, at least.)

    Matos' singing is at its cleanest, which is saying something, and he sounds unbelievable throughout the song. This guy sings like a freaking angel! Some say not an angel, but that he meows like an alley cat, and that's also a good analogue...

    The next song, Rhapsody in Black, is the "rough song" of the album. I like the strong, but maybe a bit ordinary riff, and strength and foot that start the song. The verses, though, tune this roughness down and leave just basic mid-tempo groove there. The roughness comes back in the chorus, which is otherwise sung in pretty dull melodies and doesn't really contain a memorable climax. This song has promise, but isn't quite there. Reminds me of newer Stratovarius stuff like Awaken the Giant and Leave the Tribe, which I find these kind of roughest moments on their respective albums. This song feels pretty big. If they only let this one grow and go to its own ways, make it freely progressive like the song Fantasia from Elements Pt. 1, this would've been a real monster. With its released form, though, Rhapsody in Black is just shaking, memorable track finally offering some variation to album's repetitive pattern of songs. Just that it isn't anything more. Uninspired chorus and too strict progression (or the lack thereof) water it down.

    I Walk in Neon for me is completely uninteresting filler. Maybe cool, Strato-esque, cheesy lyrics, but otherwise this is almost exactly the same as the second track Come By the Hills was. I don't get it. Can't Tolkki even compose an album of even NAMELY different songs? He's way too stuck in his patterns. I say let the songs grow, do not restrict them, and use a bit more of that energy there are on many solos. And use the musicians to their potential. And, if you cannot compose, let Andre and Uli, for example. I need more variation even for my power medulz! Even though that genre isn't known of that much variation. Stupid track. The first part of the chorus is cool, but then it doesn't end there, but repeats it, even when it already got boring in the end of the first part. Argh!

    A song named Don't Let Me Go serves as a must-have final ballad of the album. It has a calm atmosphere. These kind of songs are what mostly could've used this album's calm atmosphere, all in all. Unfortunately this ballad doesn't offer anything special, similar to most tracks on this album. Again, the chorus gives me "fourth Angel song" vibes a little too much. Maybe it's just me stuck in my own thoughts and presuppositions, not seeing Tolkki is actually doing some strong, unique music here. I only hear him deep in his own patterns and clichés. So deep he can't get out. Only some progressive parts like those on In Paradisum, Alayna and especially Santiago seem fresh for me. And the fiery solos following a calm chorus was a fresh change at start, but even that got old when the album went on long enough. I'd use two words to describe this album throughout, pretty much: nothing special.

    Alright, I understand some people may actually like the album In Paradisum a lot. I mean, I kind of like it. It’s decent. It’s so basic, a bit plastic, cheesy, very clean, and its songs are very predictable songs (except for some progression and solos, and even the latter got familiar in the middle). Way too predictable for my tastes. No inner variation at all in them, basically. And good power metal has always had a hint of that. Not much happens in the songs at all, and when it does, it’s as if those were completely separate parts from the body of the song. The playing stops, the new part starts, period. Not much epicness really in that, there are mainly no passages to new content within a song – and there’s rarely even new content. Most of the choruses sound the same generic power metal; the climaxes of these album tracks are very alike, and they're not touching when you’ve heard enough already. Either I’m not a fan of music this straightforward or I know Tolkki’s past music just too well to find anything of interest in this worse album. BUT, as I said, I still kind of like it. While I think this album shouldn’t be so goddamn unpredictable and plastic and clean, its overall appearance is pretty calming actually. The album to me is a peaceful one, with a fiery solo here and there to wake me up, "to descend from the skies" every now and then. In Paradisum is like Elements Pt. 2 with much less inspirational and more repetitive songs. The album's graphics go very well together with the elegant appeal of the music. Especially the sky and universe part. And the pollution cloud represents the dirtier (solo) parts of the album that are stirring. If only the whole songs stormed wildly like those solos!

    Come next album, they’ll have to descend completely into that smoky metropolis and deliver us a dirty good old kick-ass metal album. No fancy pants Stratovarius wannabe (that doesn’t work), no Symphony X, no Luca Turilli. They need to experiment, since they have Uli Kusch who can hack the hell out of his drums almost against the sense of rhytm, but still being in rhytm; they have Mikko Härkin who surprised with a pair of twisted and low-key solos; they have Timo Tolkki who surprisingly did pretty much the same a few times in his solos, and let these impurities take a (too) small step into his “heavenly paradise album” anyways; they have Jari Kainulainen who... apparently is a pretty good bassist that just doesn’t have a lot to say; and Andre Matos who in the last few years has demonstrated he can be very dimensional, rough, dirty, and I’d even like him to try something like Jon Oliva-like approach to REALLY deliver us the experimenting descend from heaven down to that polluted city below, or maybe even into its shitty sewer system. Or, to hell with, straight to hell, if you will! There is a glimpse of fiery melodies there, and they just need to break free from Timo’s very strict power metal mold to do that. They sure have musicians who could pull it out, and in a surprising, new way. They can still be positive for all I care and sing about important things in life, but let’s hope they do that with more heavy metaly passion the next time, right?

    6/10 or 2/5 for being just too basic, yet pleasant.

    (I always think 3/5 is closer to 8/10 than 6/10 somehow... weird. Thus 6/10 and 2/5. :D)
  • My Top 10 Musicians / Bands at the Moment

    19 juin 2011, 21h36m

    Well, here's what's pretty clearly my top 10 right now, right off the bat. Artists that one way or another are superior to others at the moment, in my opinion. :) Based strongly on ability to compose, live gigs, and just plain who I feel are my favorite artists at the moment, intuitively.

    Arjen Anthony Lucassen
    Black Sabbath (Dio era)
    Blind Guardian
    Helloween
    Devin Townsend
    Moonsorrow
    Queensrÿche (Chris DeGarmo / Geoff Tate)
    Turisas
    Vangelis
    Virgin Steele
    Wuthering Heights

    I did this because there isn't much music nowadays that REALLY works for me, is close to god-like. Well, these are. It was actually easy for me to choose this top 10. As if no other artist I've heard comes even near at the moment...

    There are actually 11 artists but DeGarmo and Dio aren't around, so, they kinda make two halfs. Right? -_-
  • The Industry Should Look More After Buyers / Albums I Acquired in 2010

    4 fév. 2011, 14h20m

    Here are the physical albums I bought or some way received last year.

    12/2010:
    David Bowie - Hunky Dory
    Devin Townsend - Terria
    Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
    Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles
    Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus - Rajaportti
    Motörhead - Bastards
    Studio 99 - A Tribute To Freddie Mercury


    11/2010:
    Rage - The Missing Link
    Bloodhound Gang - Hooray for Boobies
    Freedom Call - [album artist=Freedom Call]The Circle of Life

    Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
    Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath
    Primal Fear - New Religion
    Virgin Steele - Visions Of Eden
    Running Wild - Blazon Stone
    Helloween - 7 Sinners
    Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age
    Virgin Steele - The Black Light Bacchanalia

    10/2010:
    Grave Digger - The Clans Will Rise Again
    Kraftwerk - Autobahn
    Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity
    Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
    Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine
    Kraftwerk - Computer World
    Kraftwerk - Techno Pop
    Kraftwerk - The Mix
    Kraftwerk - Tour de France

    9/2010:
    Ramones - Leave Home
    Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

    8/2010:
    Bal-Sagoth - The Chthonic Chronicles
    Bal-Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant
    Bal-Sagoth - The Power Cosmic
    Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic
    Bal-Sagoth - Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule
    Bal-Sagoth - A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria
    Kamelot - The Black Halo
    Running Wild - Pile of Skulls
    David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
    Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
    Blind Guardian - At the Edge of Time
    Dire Straits - Alchemy
    Grave Digger - Heart of Darkness
    Grave Digger - The Reaper
    Queen - A Day at the Races
    Seventh Wonder - Mercy Falls
    Stratovarius - Polaris + Live

    7/2010:
    Toto - Hydra
    Juice Leskinen - Kiveä ja sämpylää
    Danzig - Danzig III: How the Gods Kill

    5/2010:
    Wuthering Heights - Salt
    Sapattivuosi - Ihmisen merkki
    Sentenced - Amok
    Sentenced - Love & Death
    Beyond Twilight - Section X
    David Bowie - Best of Bowie
    Electric Light Orchestra - Time
    Freedom Call - Legend of the Shadowkind
    Highland Glory - From The Cradle To The Brave
    Ugly Kid Joe - America's Least Wanted
    Masterplan - Time To Be King

    4/2010:
    Gamma Ray - Somewhere Out In Space
    Avantasia - Angel of Babylon
    Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony

    2/2010:
    Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain
    Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus
    Haggard - Awaking The Centuries
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
    Nightwish - Oceanborn
    Ramones - Rocket to Russia
    Ramones - Ramones
    Santana - Abraxas
    The Music of Star Wars - 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition - Music Composed And Conducted by John Williams
    Steppenwolf - Monster

    1/2010:
    Freedom Call - Eternity
    Pink Cream 69 - Pink Cream 69
    Gamma Ray - To the Metal

    The fact that nearly half of these that arrived in mail had some sort of delivery problems really made me think... How can the music industry of today, with its severely weakened market and all, allow us rare buyers get these broken cases, delays, products that never arrived and sheer missing products? Shouldn't every link in this delivery chain sort of lick our mighty buyer asses that are getting few at this stage rather than NOT delivering the items at all, NOT refunding without the buyer asking it first, and NOT guaranteeing the product has everything it's been advertised to have? I find this very lax and ignorant behaviour.

    Mostly it's all pretty small things, like a broken jewel case or something. But once a product is missing or is late by the month (I'm getting REALLY much of these...), it's really began pissing me out.

    Now, I realize that most of these problems don't have anything to do with the record company (let alone artist; some of whom could be more interested in their album releases whatsoever) or whoever the seller might be. Still, I'd appreciate if they co-operated far better, to avoid us Holy Buying Customers getting disappointed - time and time again...
  • WHAT-IS-IT-CALLED, A GIG FROM THE SKY OF HEAVEN OF 911 OF DOOM?

    15 déc. 2010, 1h05m

    (Avatar... decently okay Gothenburghian scene band, we guessed :D) + Stratovarius + Helloween were heaven... Just perfect in any aspect! Musicians, music... everything. The two BY FAAAR the most meaningful bands in my life together in stage... it was unbelievable! Thank you for everything! Let's see again at Sauna Open Air (hopefully Stratovarius too, and with Jörg in full strength... ^_^).
  • Operation: Mindflow - About Being a Virtuoso

    5 oct. 2010, 16h29m

    Here are some random thoughts - comments, essay, letter; whatever this is going to be - I was about to write to a young German drummer about being a virtuoso. In our shoutboxes, we discussed about Blind Guardian drummers among other things. We both felt that the band's drumming has radically changes with the drummer change. Whereas Ehmke, in both our minds, is technically great and has this hard-hitting, accurate metal style, Thomen Stauch was more about passion, about the drive, vibe, groove behind the cans, the go-with-the-flow-type mentality. More relaxed. Who do you think is more of a virtuoso in his instrument? This relates to what I've been pondering in my own little head recently: has the classical sense of the word 'virtuoso' become completely dead, or otherwise irrelevant, semantically empty?

    According to the word's English Wikipedia article, 'A virtuoso - - is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument.' Now how about that? What I feel is there are hundreds, even (tens of?) thousands bands with virtuosi these days! Every little guitarist boy can go, 'wow, this-and-that can really nail that solo!' Guys like Yngwie Malmsteen and have taken that quick shredding to extreme, serving as models for younger guys to eventually play even quicker still. This technical accuracy in very high tempos seems like an intrinsic value in some music circles, a goal to reach. It even seems to serve as a synonym for virtuosity in certain musicians' heads. Isn't it a technical feature to play quicker than anyone else? Of course it is. A technical feature.

    However, the point: there are so many guys in the business with that a technical feature that are "the quickest" that it's gone - or going - out of hand. In the classical sence of the term, it's as if there are as many virtuosi as there are neoclassical metal bands, for example. The thing is, some self-taught schoolboys might outmatch Yngwie in quick shredding these days! This certain direction, fashion even - call it whatever you will - has made it so there are more and more virtuosi, and not just in guitar, of course. That's only what's being talked about the most in general.

    What has been forgotten is that unexplained, undefined(?) 'feeling' that is there in some musicians' work. Going back to Stauch and Ehmke, I think Stauch was really that symphatetic casual chap that had this passion, this joy, energy. And it really reaches me, whether it's really there or just in my mind. It impresses me FAR MORE than technical superiority. (Though, I think partly because I am not musician myself, I admit.) I could never compare gimmicky Steve Vai type technicians to ones like Carlos Santana or Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), who are really one in a million, whose instruments just play - more like the instrument just makes wonderful noices on its own and the man is living in it, drawing energy from it and delivering it to the listeners! Shouldn't these passionate artist types be considered virtuosi more than the unfortunate every-men of this day who are technically sound? I do it anyway. Just think about it! :D

    This being just flow and not at all a parsed text, I realize I have been very strict and might've even offended someone, not to mention his/her music taste! For those I am sorry; apparently I lacked the terminology to keep things in theoretical level, so I had to drop names like Malmsteen, Vai and Ehmke to represent this technical musician school, for comparison. I like all of the musicians I mentioned though! Just that, should people think the term virtuoso all over again? Who is more virtuoso, the one who is outstandingly technical or the one that really makes you feel small as his (or her) unique music part rages on around you? Or makes you smile. Cry. Live. Reconsider suicide? Isn't a musician like that far more superb to the one who doesn't really move you, just is technical? All this is not to say technicality itself cannot move a listener though... What if there are listeners who are only moved by technicality? Quickness? Those shouldn't be synonyms in anyone's mind, anyway. :P But everything is subjective in music, after all, and here I am, hitting my head against the wall talking about one term that has been invented around it in ancient history, when there still were virtuosi in terms of technicality. - Join me! :D Are there those anymore?

    The one who namedrops Buckethead first gets a cracker. Somehow, I never got inside his things. He's interesting though - he's always either a genius who can master any playing style, or a mediocre guitarist who tries everything but cannot compose a pleasant song. :D Unfortunately, for me, he's more the latter. :( Cannot really comment the playing though. Maybe he's generally good for other guitarists but mediocre to romantic-esque listeners that like music by instinct or something..?
  • Some comments on The Black Halo - too many marks for Kamelot shoutbox

    4 sept. 2010, 10h51m

    This isn't supposed to be a complete analysis. Just a shoutbox message that went on too long. For once, I won't write three in a row, but a journal instead.

    I understand there’s a new Kamelot album coming and all, but let me tell you some of my views on an older one. I listened to The Black Halo first time, finally I might add, and wow. o_o

    The feeling on The Black Halo was way different compared to its predecessor. Both are very unique, though. Halo sounded good, somehow right every second. The best and most versatile vocals I’ve heard from Khan calmed the songs and intertwined with the music to bring up this warm, romantic, pleasant atmosphere only Kamelot can produce, only better than on any other album I’ve heard. They still managed to play some of their most offensive tracks every now and then, too, whenever lyrics demanded it. My praise actually feels pretty limited as to what the music really offered to me; I like TBH even more than I can say here. :D

    Thematically the album was a continuation to the great Epica album of course, even though TBH had more of this fabulous reading-a-book-in-a-cozy-armchair-feeling-warm-next-to-the-fireplace-on-a-cold-winter-evening feel. Lyrically I found it political as well, and some of their points of view were once again very nicely, poetically, romantically, written. I was supposed to give some examples here, but I think you can find your favorite lines and allusions yourself. For me there are many. These going together with the pleasant sound of the band, it’s no wonder how especially girls and some sensitive guys (me?! D:) like the band.

    The Black Halo seems to be a flawless album of romanticism, crystal clear inspiration and interpretation from the whole band, however. I think so anyway. It irritates me quite a little that my computer couldn’t read the CD all the way through but began cutting music in the middle of Memento Mori (which is proving to be the best Kamelot song of them all...). It’s fucking ridiculous to buy music since you only lose money, won’t get as many bonuses and stuff as with downloading, and you get these fucking corrupted CDs. It should be other way round. :D Though I think this would play in a CD player (or better drive) no problem. They all do. I also thought Interlude III was corrupted, but it turned out it was even supposed to start with chaotic-sounding backwards playing music after all... D:

    Anyway, I need to get my hands on Faust after this! :D Does anyone know which version inspired the band, or any version that would be recommended? I trust your taste since you guys basically like TBH, too, I take? :D

    Only a few albums ever have impressed me as much during the first listening-through as The Black Halo. I'll wait for an inspiration to go through Epica and it again soon enough. The Black Halo is just proving to be one hell of a great gestalt.