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posts about metal.

the twentythird video is lumessakahlaajat (german: schneewanderer) by the finnish band timo rautiainen & trio niskalaukaus. it is about the finnish-russian war (though i also read that it is about the yugoslavian war, and the video seems to back this up), when many finnish people had to leave their towns behind and flee into the forests, leaving them with the only two choices of dying or leaving their heimat. a really depressing song. the finnish lyrics can be found here, and the german lyrics here. the video here is the finnish version; in case you want to prefer german: the german version can be found here.

this is metal. you might like it.

[[for legal reasons, i do not want to include youtube videos here anymore. please click on this link to watch the video at youtube.]]

i like it because… it is a very sad, very moving story, about the dark side of wars, about the endless suffering of the civilians. i think this is really well delivered by the rather plain, but intensive style of the band.
the band usually makes finnish songs, but they have two german albums, with translated songs. the results are very remarkable, and sometimes pretty strange, especially the first album, “in frostigen tälern”. schneewanderer can be found on the second album, “hartes land”.

the twentysecond video is alive but dead by rage. this is a live version of a song from a metal band for an orchestra with amplified guitars, played with the lingua mortis orchestra from minsk, belarus. other bands did such projects earlier, but this is still one of my favorite orchestra and metal combinations (next to waltari, but more about that later ;-) ). the lyrics can be found here.

this is metal. it also has an orchestra. try it if you want.

[[for legal reasons, i do not want to include youtube videos here anymore. please click on this link to watch the video at youtube.]]

i like it because… it’s a really good blend of classic and metal. in my opinion, one of the best. i also first heard this on the dark winter nights sampler, which i already mentioned several times during this series :-)

i just read an article on torturing of inmates of, say, guantánamo bay and american prisons in iraq by exposing them to too loud, repeatingly played music, for example songs by metallica, nine inch nails, eminem, etc. this is really shocking, but what made it way worse was the last paragraph, which states that while bands like rage against the machine and massive attack are opposing the misuse of their music, metallica apparently likes it.
first i hoped that the article was somehow wrong, that they meant it in an ironic or sarcastic way. then, i started searching the web, and found a video interview on blabbermouth by 3sat with james hetfield from metallica and an article in the guardian. some quotes:

“if the iraqis aren’t used to freedom, then i’m glad to be part of their exposure”

“we’ve been punishing our parents, our wives, our loved ones with this music for ever. why should the iraqis be any different?”

“part of me is proud is because they chose metallica because he [mohammed al-qahtani] thought he was hearing the sound of satan”

“it is just a thing — it’s not good or bad.”

this already sounds pretty bad, but then i read this and watched the video, from 4:45 starting. sorry, but i really had to think, “what kind of idiot is this guy?!” if you compare listening to phil collins on the car’s radio for a few hours to constantly listening to the same piece of music with a very high volume for a whole day, you’re either a complete idiot or you talk without really thinking.
in any case, shame on him.

posted in: daily life music
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on saturday, i visited the rock 2008, a one-day festival held on königstein fortress, located in the beautiful landscape of the saxon switzerland, together with a friend. here are some pictures from the fortress:

after strolling around the fortress interior a bit, we walked near to the stage to watch the first band, krieger, a german hard rock band. usually, the first band(s) playing on a festival have the ungrateful job of killing some time, while most of the crowd hopes they’ll stop soon. often, they aren’t exactly experienced or aren’t too good. but not krieger; they played a pretty solid kind of hard rock, maybe not exactly my style, but it was good and we enjoyed it. some photos:

after krieger, a short break took place when the stage was prepared for lacrimas profundere, a german gothic metal band. the break went on pretty fast, and the band entered the stage. i haven’t heard them before, just their name. i think i have to listen to some of their albums before i can give a better judgement, but they sounded pretty good. a photo:

a very noticeable thing about this festival was that all stage reconstructions were done very fast, and the sound quality was really good all the time. i haven’t seen this combination ever before; often, it seems that the reconstruction times were eternal and the sound quality still really bad.
another admireable thing was the strict adheration of the time table. the first two bands had like 30 minutes, and the whole festival was planned to be over by around 23 o’clock, and so they managed to do. even though the doors opened a few minutes later than planned. (well, please admit it, have you ever experienced some festival or concert without any delay?)
anyway, the third band was schandmaul, a german medieval metal band. i know a bunch of people who like them a lot, but this doesn’t change the fact that i managed to not know a lot of them except a few songs, maybe. schandmaul did a very nice show. they managed to get the last bits of the party rocking and rolling. definitely a very good live band. some photos:

then, finally, it was time for the big stars of the evening, the finnish cello rockers apocalyptica. i’ve already seen them last november in zürich, and they were one of the main reasons why i travelled so far for this festival. the stage design was as usual: four large metal chairs, formed like skulls, with a huge drumkit in the middle:

their performance was, as usual, excellent. it’s always amazing how eicca and perttu manage to combine heavy head banging with playing their cellos perfectly. unfortunately, antero wasn’t playing with a burning cello this time, though. besides that, they managed to let the crowd freak out, and played lots of great songs, including some of my very favorites like prologue (apprehension) from reflections and the norwegian black metal classichall of the mountain king from cult, featuring paavo stomping around the stage while playing the mountain king. simply great. here are some photos:

after maybe one and a half hour, everything was over. we took a peek at the merchandizing booth, where the guys from lacrimas profundere were waiting for their fans to talk, being photographed, autographing and talking. then, we took the bus down to the city of königstein and walked back to our hostel, where its owner, lutz, was waiting for the concert attendees at a nice bonfire.
well, i think this concert/festival qualifies for being one of the best i’ll attend this year. the technical stuff was marvellous, the timing good (except that at least lacrimas profundere should have played a bit longer and, well, apocalyptica could have played the whole day anyway :-) ). all four bands were ranging from good to excellent, and in particular the last two made the crowd go crazy. (even though i still don’t get it why on earth one wants to have a mosh pit while a gothic metal band is playing. but then, hell, kiddies aren’t exactly predictable…)

yesterday i stumbled about the gathering‘s latest live dvd, a noise severe, recorded in march 2007 in chile. a few months later, their singer, anneke van giersbergen, quit the band. (which, in my opinion, is the end of the band; if they will continue, they will be something very different…)
the dvd contains a lot of songs from their older albums, like the “debut” mandylion (their first album with anneke and, in my opionion, their best one), nighttime birds, how to measure a planet? (which i don’t like too much) and if_then_else. the first two can be more categorized as atmospheric doom with progmetal and gothic influences, while how to measure a planet? drifts off into a very experimental alternative rock/prog direction; the last, if_then_else, is more into a trip rock.
well, so much about the facts.
i’ve already mentioned several times that mandylion is really good. and i’ll do it again. it’s one of the few albums (next to sentenced‘s frozen) where i like every track, to which i can listen for hours, again and again. so filled with energy, groove, raw power, emotions. so beautiful. (my favorite song is probably leaves, whose music video you can watch here.)
well, mandylion is their best album, i’d say, but they also have other good ones. one which i don’t really know—shame on me!—is nighttime birds, mandylion‘s successor, which seems to be very good, too. and there’s if_then_else, which has several really good tracks, like the melancholic saturnine or a beautiful instrumental called beautiful war.
somehow it’s really a pity that i never managed to see them.

“the day you went away
you had to screw me over
i guess you didn’t know
all the stuff you left me with
is way too much to handle
but i guess you don’t care”

from saturnine by the gathering.

just found something very cool on blabbermouth: on a guitar workshop, alexi laiho and roope latvala from the finnish melodic death metallers children of bodom played vivaldi on their guitars! more precisely: summer: presto (op. 4, concerto no. 2, mvt. 3) from the four seasons. check it out:

[[for legal reasons, i do not want to include youtube videos here anymore. please click on this link to watch the video at youtube.]]

here i want to write a bit about doom music, as a huge part of the music i listen to can be counted to this category. in general, it can be characterized as slow, heavy music with dark lyrics, dealing with depression, death, despair, gloom, dying, doomed/unhappy love, and despair. it appears in various shapes, blended with many different genres, including death metal, ambient, noise, gothic music and jazz. even though non-metal doom music does exists, most of doom music is probably metal.
(note that i like all the bands i mention here quite alot, except probably the older stuff of celtic frost which, i have to admit, is mostly unknown to me.)

one of the more traditional doom metal bands is candlemass, with their 1986 album epicus doomicus metallicus being a major landmark in the doom metal genre. the album is opened by the song solitude (“please let me die in solitude”) which is, in my opinion, one of the best doom songs.

an important crossover doom genre is death/doom which is, surprise!, a crossover between death metal and doom music. usually a bit faster than other doom styles but still being way slower than usual death metal, it features death growls, sometimes mixed with clean vocals, and certain playing styles from death metal such as fast double bass kicking. two bands in this genre i like are swallow the sun—one of my most favorite bands; see here— and novembers doom. notably are also the older works of bands as anathema (see here), now playing atmospheric metal, the gathering (see here), now playing progressive/alternative/trip rock, and sentenced—another one of my most favorite bands; see here—, who later turned to more gothic doom or plain heavy metal, before disbanding 2005.

out of death/doom, another doom crossover called funeral doom developed, by slowing down the music, resulting in something which is as slow as a funeral march, hence hinting where its name comes from. besides the lack of speed, the music is even heavier, but also features more ambient like parts. two bands in this category are tyranny and unholy (see here).

related to funeral doom is drone doom, abstracting even more by reducing to a kind of minimalistic music, mainly consisting of a stream of drones, i.e. very long lasting notes, while often lacking traditional music structures like rythm or melody, with vocals often so distorted that they are barely understandable. the songs usually last very long, from something between ten and twenty minutes to sometimes filling a whole cd with one song. two important bands in this genre are sunn o))) and boris (see here).

another doom genre which is pretty detached from metal is doom jazz or noir jazz, a blend of doom music and jazz. the only example i know is bohren & der club of gore, a german band who started mixing jazz with hardcore and ambient, resulting in some kind of doom music. later, when their guitar player left, they replaced him by a saxophonist, turning the band completely into a jazz ensemble. their current style is a very dark kind of jazz, without vocals, somehow almost more ambient, somehow similar to funeral doom.

a lot of other more experimental acts exist, like early the 3rd and the mortal (see also here) stuff, which can be described as experimental/atmospheric doom, or the zürich based metal legend celtic frost, whose last album monotheist could be in parts counted as a certain kind of avantgarde/experimental doom.

another, more “standard” doom metal approach is gothic doom, a mixture of doom with gothic metal. my favorite in this area is type o negative, and in particular their most depressing album world coming down. some bands which i would also count into this category are tiamat, lake of tears and later sentenced. tiamat evolved more to gothic rock and had included also different influences besides gothic doom. sentenced began with death/doom, switching to more gothic doom and finally more to a kind of heavy/gothic metal. lake of tears, whose origin lay more in the death/doom origin, went through a change between several different genres; the albums which fit best as gothic doom are headstones, a crimson cosmos and forever autumn, all being somehow different to each other.

after making a best of concerts list for this year, i decided to make a best of albums list for all albums i have bought until now. i divided this up into several categories:

  • prog;
  • punk/punk rock;
  • trip hop, alt rock;
  • other non-metal;
  • metal: atmospheric;
  • metal: death/black;
  • metal: doom;
  • metal: extreme prog;
  • metal: folk/pagan/viking;
  • metal: gothic;
  • metal: power;
  • metal: prog;
  • metal: other.

note that this list reflects a snapshot of my current interest and remembrance of most of the albums. it could already be different in a few days. but feel free to comment or discuss this with me.

prog.

  1. porcupine tree: deadwing.
  2. pure reason revolution: the dark third.
  3. frost: milliontown.
  4. opeth: damnation.
  5. porcupine tree: the sky moves sideways.

punk/punk rock.

  1. die ärzte: die bestie in menschengestalt.
  2. wizo: uuaarrgh!.
  3. die toten hosen: kauf mich!.
  4. die ärzte: planet punk.
  5. die ärzte: 13.

trip hop, alt rock.

  1. kari rueslåtten: other people’s stories.
  2. radiohead: ok computer.
  3. portishead: portishead.

other non-metal.

  1. kari rueslåtten: spindelsinn.
  2. nine inch nails: the downward spiral.
  3. eläkeläiset: humppasirkus.
  4. bohren & der club of gore: black earth.

metal: atmospheric.

  1. the 3rd and the mortal: tears laid in earth.
  2. finntroll: visor om slutet.
  3. tool: 10 000 days.
  4. anathema: a natural disaster.

metal: death/black.

note that i took out the prog death/prog black (avantgarde) albums into its own category, called metal: extreme prog.

  1. bolt thrower: those once loyal.
  2. moonspell: the antidote.
  3. wintersun: wintersun.
  4. amorphis: elipse.
  5. childen of bodom: hatebreeder.

metal: doom.

i think this is the category where i could have made the longest list. there are many really good albums missing, for example down and love and death by sentenced, the other swallow the sun albums, sunn o))) and borisaltar, some candlemass albums, unholy‘s the second ring of power, and some more.

  1. sentenced: frozen
  2. swallow the sun: ghosts of loss.
  3. type o negative: world coming down.
  4. tiamat: prey.
  5. unholy: rapture.

metal: extreme prog.

this category is dominated by opeth; therefore, i decided to list the top seven instead of the top five.

  1. opeth: still life.
  2. orphaned land: mabool — the story of the three sons of seven.
  3. opeth: blackwater park.
  4. distorted: memorial.
  5. opeth: orchid.
  6. borknagar: epic.
  7. edge of sanity: crimson (part one).

metal: folk/pagan/viking.

  1. moonsorrow: viides luku: hävitetty.
  2. moonsorrow: verisäkeet.
  3. primordial: to the nameless dead.
  4. finntroll: jaktens tid.
  5. moonsorrow: voimasta ja kunniasta.

metal: gothic.

  1. lacuna coil: karma code.
  2. tristania: beyond the veil.
  3. lake of tears: a crimson cosmos.
  4. poisonblack: lust stained despair.

metal: power.

  1. nevermore: dead heart in a dead world.
  2. nevermore: dreaming neon black.
  3. symphony x: paradise lost.
  4. communic: waves of visual decay.
  5. nightwish: oceanborn.

metal: prog.

  1. dream theater: train of thought.
  2. the gathering: mandylion.
  3. ayreon: the human equation.
  4. dream theater: metropolis pt. 2 — scenes from a memory.
  5. dream theater: images and words.

metal: other.

  1. timo rautiainen & trio niskalaukaus: hartes land.
  2. rage: lingua mortis.
  3. samael: solar soul.
  4. annihilator: king of the kill.
  5. apocalyptica: cult.
posted in: albums
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i think it’s time to take a look at the list of concerts i attended this year and to list the best ones. at these two links, you can find a pretty complete list of the concerts i attended. i decided to divide the top list into two categories: prog and metal.

prog

for the third place, i cannot decide between three concerts, all which took place in pratteln in the z-7, namely, first, the spock’s beard gig on the 16.05.2007, second, the anathema & moondawn gig on the 31.05.2007, and, third, the fish gig on the 27.11.2007. all three gigs have been very good. most memorable was probably spock’s beard keyboardist, playing with both hands and feet, while his poor technician had to hold the keyboard construction together so it wouldn’t fall apart.

the second place goes to the blackfield & pure reason revolution concert, which took place on the 24.02.2007 in pratteln (z-7). i think this was the first concert where i really liked the opener, so much that i bought one of their albums. actually, i had to order it by mail, as the ones they had with them were sold out at the end of their concert (hence, i wasn’t the only one who liked it alot). the main act itself, blackfield, a collaboration between the porcupine tree frontman steven wilson and the israeli rock star aviv geffen, was also really good.

the first place goes to the porcupine tree & anathema concert, which took place on the 12.11.2007 in zürich (volkshaus). despite several people in the audience didn’t like anathema too much (“too boring”), i was pleased to see them again. for me, their music expresses simply too many emotions to be boring, eating up energy until bursting into the listener’s ear. the main act, porcupine tree, one of my favorite bands, was as good as i expected them to be. even though they played a lot from the current album, fear of a blank planet, which i don’t like as much as some of the older ones, they also played many classics. unfortunately, they didn’t played arriving somewhere but not here, which i would really loved to listen to. but, besides that, i still think this is the best prog concert i attended this year.

metal

again, as before, i cannot decide on someone for the third place, but i have two canidates in mind. the first one is the dream theater & symphony x concert, which took place on the 31.10.2007 in winterthur (eulachhallen). the second canidate is the apocalyptica & sturm und drang concert, which took place on the 09.11.2007 in zürich (volkshaus). all these bands are really good, and the shows they delivered were so, too, featuring many small details, as neat decoration. but both of these concerts also have their sides. namely, symphony x played way too short (but then, i’ll see them again next february as headliner), the location was strange (the wardrobe was outside), and dream theater could have played longer, too (i heard the rumor that the local organizer fucked this up by not registering the concert with the authorities, which in turn resulted in the police ordering the concert to be ended earlier). at the apocalyptica concert, i didn’t like the opener sturm und drang too much; they played really good and professional, but it simply wasn’t the kind of music which i really like.

the second place is filled by the amorphis, swallow the sun & insomnium concert, which took place at the 18.11.2007 in pratteln (z-7). (videos from the concert can be found here.) this concert featured three very good finnish bands, one of them, namely swallow the sun, being one of my favorite ones. their shows were good, the selection of songs was, too (i would have loved to hear some more swallow the sun songs, but then, i would probably have only been really pleased if they would have simply played all songs from their three albums, which is slightly unrealistic to expect from a co-headliner). i was headbanging a lot, met some friends, had a lot of fun.

the first place goes to the moonsorrow & swallow the sun concert, which took place at the 09.04.2007 (easter monday) in pratteln (z-7). actually, there was a third band playing as an opener, whose name i forgot. this concert was one of the most incluencal concert for me this year, not only as it introduced me to two bands, namely moonsorrow and swallow the sun, which i now count as two of my most favorite bands. besides that, the atmosphere was simply perfect, and so was the audience. i still remember headbanging with eric (a guy i met on this concert and on another one a bit later, who’s also an opeth fan), even though headbanging right next to the mosh pit can be pretty painful…