2009 in music from a certain somebody's point of view (tl;dr)

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9 Ene 2010, 15:11

2009 in music from a certain somebody's point of view (tl;dr)

INTRO
2009 was my second year with Last.fm. A lot has changed in my life as I graduated from gymnasium and enrolled at a college. In music, however, I less or more continued in the line of the previous year. Many new releases by bands I already knew kept supplying me new music, so I didn't have much to discover. Maybe I lost something that way, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Now, stats time:

BEST BANDS
Simply the bands I enjoyed listening most in 2009

1. Trail of Tears
~2190 plays (1st) / ~10100 minutes (2nd) /
Top song: A Fate Sealed in Red (6:26; 147 plays; 4th) and Faith Comes Knocking (4:32; 120 plays; ~15th)
Top album: A New Dimension of Might (2002)
Comment: Trail of Tears is a not much known band that I discovered through Last.fm in the first few months I was on the site. Their music is difficult to listen, so it won't catch one's ear at first listen. But when you listen it over and over, you find the hidden beauty. The band has undergone a complete lineup change after the release of Existentia in 2007. The returning singer Cathrien Paulsen took in friends from her other band, Lucid Fear which is also very good though they only have one EP. And in 2009, they brought us the first thing written by the new people, Bloodstained Endurance. It turned out great.

2. Draconian
~1930 plays (2nd) / ~11300 minutes (1st) /
Top song: The Cry of Silence (12:42; 195 plays; 2nd)
Top album: Turning Seasons Within (2008)
Comment: It took them over ten years to get a record deal, but that time also helped them to develop a unique style. Draconian are a wonderful example of something slow that still has unbelievable energy. I don't know how they do it, but the atmosphere is wonderful. Doomy gothic metal at its best. I need to say that I'm not much into doom metal and the fact that something so heavily influenced by it can make it this high alone proves their general high level.

3. Moonspell
~1600 plays (3rd) / ~7400 minutes (3rd) / /
Top track: Moon in Mercury (4:22; 100 plays; ~20th)
Top album: Night Eternal (2008)
Comment: Moonspell are the only band to defend the podium since 2008. They are also the only band to reach the podium in a year when I saw them live.
Moonspell play a weird mix of music that's hard to define with a genre tag (not like that's required if it sounds like this). Their power lies in many different kinds of songs that sound awesome, ranging from almost rock soft ones to heavy sounding black metal influenced pieces.
They came to [event=]Folimanka[/event], Prague in April together with Cradle of Filth and this time, the show was absolutely perfect. Above all stands their last album, Night Eternal, one of the best two ever for me so far.


2009 was a weird year when it comes to stats. From the beginning, my charts were dominated by four female fronted metal bands - Draconian, Trail of Tears, Sirenia and Nightwish. The sooner two would run away from the rest by a huge margin and if it wasn't for a new album by Trail of Tears, Draconian would have completely owned the whole year despite being totally unknown to me in 2008.
These four stayed on the top till the end and were only eventually joined by Moonspell halfway. Sirenia once again failed to get in top 3 after being close for most of the year.



BEST SONGS
The songs I enjoyed most :)

1. Draconian - The Cry of Silence
12:42 / 195 plays; 2nd
Album: Where Lovers Mourn (2003)
Genre:
Comment: There's something about epic songs owning my charts when they're good. This song packs all I need in music. Beauty and the beast vocals, guitars and stuff. However, there's more to it. The song starts slow, absorbs you and when it has all your attention, it strikes with a beautiful powerful heavy part.

2. Arch of Hell - Utopia Treasure
4:49 / 201 plays; 1st
Album: One Day (2009)
Genre: /
Comment: Straightforward "dynamic" metal bomb. There's not much to describe once you heard this. It's just great. Also, it's a prdocut of a local band.

3. Nightwish - Ghost Love Score
10:01 / 144 plays; 5th
Album: Once (2004)
Genre:
Comment: Last year, I called this the best and most epic song of all time. I can't change much about this statement. I found out that certain parts of it are very simple and based on the arrangement, but that doesn't change the fact the overall feel is perfect. It's leading my overall charts with a margin.





BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE
I attended more shows than the previous year. I saw several bands again and I enjoyed it all. However, the highlights did not stand out as much as in 2008.

1. Moonspell
~1600 plays (3rd) / ~7400 minutes (3rd) / /
17.04.2009 at The Darkest Tour 2009, Folimanka, Prague
This was the second time I saw Moonspell live. The first occasion was at MoR 2008; back then they had bad sound and there was a stinky drunken guy sticking to me all the show. However, this time, it was different. I heard that Moonspell played a bad show in USA where the fans whistled at them for the first time, so Fernadno swore to never play a bad show again and he stood up to his promise.
Moonspell played third - after Turisas and before CoF. It was already late in the night and as dark as it should be. I was close to the stage. This time, the sound was perfect. Moonspell could only play 9 songs because of the media-hyped CoF demanding more. But it was enough. Once again it revealed to me two good songs I fatally overlooked until that.
It was the most expensive single show ticket I ever bought. However, it was not so bad at all. I took it as half the price for Moonspell whom I like a lot, half the price for Cradle of Filth whom I also like and Turisas as an added bonus for free. Needless to say, the other bands on this show weren't good at all. Turisas sucked in comparsion to the first time I saw them. Cradle of Filth was a show, one of those where you can feel a wall between the stage and the spectators. Despite having a Czech drummer, they didn't even let him play a solo on the show in Czech Rep.

2. Arch of Hell + Secret of Darkness + Abstract Essence
13.12.2009 at Clatter Into Bloodbox Minitour, Exit Chmelnice, Prague
This was the best invested money by the end of 2009. For circa 150 CZK (~6 EUR), I got 8 hours of solid metal music, 7 local bands and 1 foreign one and on top of it, I discovered two very good music projects - Secret of Darkness and Abstract Essence.
I don't understand the logic of my friends who all decided not to go. Exit is a great club, but it's on the border of Prague so nobody ever comes there. Only once I saw a show where there were more spectators than musicians+club crew.
I had an interesting long music talk with an older guy who ended up sitting at the same table as me. I also enjoyed several hours of talking with the members of Arch of Hell. The printed funny white t-shirts, so I bought one and will use it as an orientation point for friends at future shows :P I also bought a demo-EP from Secret of Darkness, another young unknown Czech band. Later when it was out, I ordered the new CD from Abstract Essence. They're just too good so I had to support them even though I didn't know those two bands before!




BEST 2009 ALBUMS
1. Epica - Design Your Universe
74:44 /
Top track: Design Your Universe (9:29; 79 plays; ~35th)
Comment: My attention span is somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes, so I usually can't enjoy listening longer albums. However, this doesn't apply here. Because the album is cleverly splite in two halves with a short interlude.
This album reminded me of how awesome Epica was when this kind of music was still new to me. It made me listen them again. Why? It was a very good album. Symphonic metal with orchestra, decent looking singer with a funny name whose voice was better on the earlier records accompanied by growls and ultimately a new element to Epica - guitar solos! Where have they been until now? Musically, the album is good enough.
But that's not all! The album also has lyrical content. Something I usually don't pay attention to much. However, I bothered to look this one up. To sum up the idea, I will quote what Mark Jansen said about the album he wrote:
The album title, Design Your Universe, deals with new breakthroughs in quantum physics. It proves that we are all connected to each other on subatomic level. Also, it shows that we can create or at least influence matter with our thoughts… a very interesting fact. Because it changes everything for us, our whole worldview collapses once you accept these facts and integrate them in your lives. So this had to become the new album title.
When you discard the quantum physics thing, you will end up with an idea I had many years ago and used as a basis for my stories since then. Wow. Someone else got the same idea. It's a very nice feeling, more so from somebody I respect.
I thought about the topic a bit and sent a long philosophical mail about it to Mark (I never got an answer though). The key idea that sums up what "Design Your Universe" means to me in real life (taken from the aforementioned mail):
Everything we do affects us, our surrondings, our future. With every step we take, we design our own universe. Great power comes from making decisions. You may sit on the spot and wait for fortune to come in your direction, but it's not likely to happen. As I say, "If you don't make a move, tomorrow may never come." To make decisions means to be free.


2. Arch of Hell - One Day
60:37 / /
Top track: Utopia Treasure (4:49; 201 plays; 1st)
Comment: A friend introduced me to this band some time ago. They had one demo which was very good. They had an upcoming album. It was all very promising. Then they released one song for download on their website and it was totally kickass. In February, they played in Prague. Originally, it was intended to be the release party, but the company producing CDs screwed up, so I had to wait for my copy a bit longer. Needless to say, they were good.
Then I got my hands on the album and listened it. It was perfect. Sure, it had debut diseases such as some parts being unnecessarily long/repeated. But it was great. The first song (Rise to the Victory) was one of the best album openers I ever heard. It drags you in. And then it blends into the best song of the album (Utopia Treasure). There's a 8-minute instrumental track in the middle of the album. Overall, it's a great debut.
Too bad that Swarm, the songwriter and frontman, left the band after the release :(


3. Trail of Tears - Bloodstained Endurance
42:54 /
Top track: Faith Comes Knocking (4:32; 120 plays; ~15th)
Comment: I sort of already described the background behind this album when commenting Trail of Tears earlier in this post. Generally, there's no hit on this album, but there are also no weak songs. The album flows well and it a great listening experience.





JUMPER OF THE YEAR
1. Draconian
~1930 plays (2nd) / ~11300 minutes (1st) /
Top song: The Cry of Silence (12:42; 195 plays; 2nd)
Top album: Turning Seasons Within (2008)
Out of nowhere, Draconian rose up to the very top of my listening preference. I totally overlooked their great 2008 album, Turning Seasons Within, which I would in retrospect place second in that year's charts.

2. Arch of Hell
~970 plays (7th) / ~5500 minutes (7th) / /
Top song: Utopia Treasure (4:49; 201 plays; 1st)
Top album: One Day (2009)
Best Czech band. Young and promising. Rest was already said above.

3= Zonaria
~670 plays (~14th) / ~2550 minutes (~17th) /
Top song: Contra Mundum (4:35; 124 plays; 9th)
Top album: Infamy and the Breed (2007) and The Cancer Empire (2008)
Another young and promising band! I'm so glad that Satyricon brought them as support for their show in December 2008. Only thanks to them, I got to know Zonaria.
Zonaria plays novelty melodic death metal with awesome church organ keyboards. They're not like the million generic bandsi n this genre. They push it forward. Recommended.

3= Howling Syn
~650 plays (~16th) / ~2700 minutes (~16th) /
Top song: Black Moon (4:13; 79 plays; ~34th)
Top album: Devilries (2004)
How did a totally unknown band from a place as far as Quebec get in my charts? Elementary. Discovered through Last.fm! Very interesting band with talented lead person who sings both clean and harsh well and plays just about and anything that is not drums, and of course soprano female vocals. Howling Syn are so good that I even bought a CD from them. If I ever get to Canada in my life, I want to see and hear them.


DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR
1. Interitus
~680 plays (~12th) / ~2750 minutes (~15th) /
Top song: Sorrow (3:54; 76 plays; ~38th)
Top album: In My Hands (2009)
Once upon a time, I discover a really good local band. It's almost unbelievable that I didn't know about the existence of Interitus until I saw them at Masters of Rock 2009. Gothic doom metal with viola.

2. Samael
~490 plays (~20th) / ~1900 minutes (~24th) / /
Top song: Moongate (3:31; 45 plays; ~140th)
Top album: Reign of Light (2004) and Solar Soul (2007)
I can't believe that this band also plays black metal. The two albums I heard first from them were absolutely genial. I never heard something like that before. Also, I only discovered them by an accident.

3. Blood Stain Child
~390 plays (~29th) / ~1550 minutes (~33rd) / /
Top song: Innocence (3:32; 44 plays; ~150th)
Top album: Silence of Northern Hell (2002)
Japan meets metal. Blood Stain Child started as a typical melodeath band, sounding like a mix of Childern of Bodom, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. However, they evolved into something weird as time passed. They added electronic music elements. It was innovative, it was original and sometimes it sounds really good.




FALL OF THE YEAR
1. Nother
3rd (2008) -> ~40th (2009) /
Norther fired their founder and frontman Petri Lindroos because he had no tiem for the band because of his engagement in Ensiferum. They got a better but less sexy singer instead. Let's see how that turns out. I still like them, but I found myself listening them very seldom in 2009.

2. Therion
10th (2008) -> ~49th (2009) /
Somehow, Therion has nothing to offer to me anymore. Lemuria was a wonderful album when I heard it first 50 times, but I just don't feel like listening it again. Gothic Kabbalah reminds me of power metal so much. Also, they disbanded in 2009 (however the band will continue with a new lineup later).

3. Sonata Arctica
14th (2008) -> ~43rd (2009) / /
According to me, Sonata Arctica only has one album (Ecliptica) and one extra song (Don't Say a Word). The released an album. They played a live show. Yet, they barely made it to top ten once in 2009.



CHARTS: TOP 10 ARTISTS OF 2009
Pos. - Country - Band - Plays - Time - Normalized position
1. Trail of Tears ~2190 plays / ~10100 minutes (2nd)
2. Draconian ~1930 plays / ~11300 minutes (1st)
3. Moonspell ~1600 plays / ~7400 minutes (3rd)
4. Epica ~1350 plays / ~6050 minutes (5th)
5. Sirenia ~1330 plays / ~6800 minutes (4th)
6. Nightwish ~1290 plays / ~6000 minutes (6th)
7. Arch of Hell ~970 plays / ~5500 minutes (7th)
8. Satyricon ~950 plays / ~5150 minutes (8th)
9. Arch Enemy ~900 plays / ~3800 minutes (11th)
10. Eternal Tears of Sorrow ~740 plays / ~3350 minutes (13th)

CHARTS: TOP 10 SONGS OF 2009
Pos. - Country - Band - Song - Plays - Length
1. Arch of Hell - Utopia Treasure 201 plays (04:49)
2. Draconian - The Cry of Silence 195 plays (12:42)
3. Draconian - Bloodflower 175 plays (05:32)
4. Trail of Tears - A Fate Sealed in Red 147 plays (06:26)
5. Nightwish - Ghost Love Score 144 plays (10:01)
6. Draconian - Morphine Cloud 137 plays (07:32)
7. Draconian - Serenade of Sorrow 130 plays (05:00)
8. Draconian - Earthbound 125 plays (08:10)
9. Arch of Hell - Rise To The Victory 124 plays (06:03)
9. Draconian - Silent Winter 124 plays (04:57)
9. Zonaria - Contra Mundum 124 plays (04:35)
9. Trail of Tears - Crashing Down 124 plays (04:35)


VARIOUS RECORDS OF 2009
Most plays per week: 208 Trail of Tears (01.06.2009-07.06.2009), Epica (12.10.2009-18.10.2009) and Samael (23.11.2009-29.11.2009)
Most consecutive weeks in top 10: 24 Draconian (05.01.2009-21.06.2009)
Most wins: 5 Draconian and Epica
Most consecutive wins: Epica 5 (05.10.2009-08.11.2009)
Most top3 finishes: 14 Draconian (5-4-5) and Trail of Tears (4-7-3)
Most consecutive top3 finishes: 7 Epica
Most top10 finishes: 42 Trail of Tears



CHARTS: TOP 10 ARTISTS OVERALL
Pos. - Country - Band - Plays - Time - Normalized position
1. Nightwish ~3390 plays / ~15750 minutes (1st)
2. Trail of Tears ~3320 plays / ~15400 minutes (2nd)
3. Moonspell ~3060 plays / ~14150 minutes (3rd)
4. Sirenia ~2500 plays / ~12800 minutes (5th)
5. Epica ~2300 plays / ~10350 minutes (7th)
6. Arch Enemy ~2100 plays / ~8900 minutes (10th)
7. Draconian ~2100 plays / ~12200 minutes (6th)
8. Satyricon ~1920 plays / ~10350 minutes (8th)
9. Cradle of Filth ~1760 plays / ~9950 minutes (9th)
10. Opeth ~1730 plays / ~13850 minutes (4th)


CHARTS: TOP 10 SONGS OVERALL
Pos. - Country - Band - Song - Plays - Length
1. Nightwish - Ghost Love Score 261 plays (10:01)
2. Trail of Tears - Crashing Down 249 plays (04:35)
3. Trail of Tears - A Fate Sealed in Red 227 plays (06:26)
4. Draconian - The Cry of Silence 225 plays (12:42)
5. Trail of Tears - BloodRed Trance 207 plays (06:26)
6. Sirenia - A Shadow of Your Own Self 205 plays (05:58)
6. Draconian - Bloodflower 205 plays (05:32)
8. Sirenia - Sundown 204 plays (05:04)
9. Satyricon - Fuel for Hatred 202 plays (05:58)
10. Arch of Hell - Utopia Treasure 201 plays (04:49)


VARIOUS RECORDS OVERALL
Most plays per week: 225 Satyricon (01.12.2008-07.12.2008)
Most consecutive weeks in top 10: 28 Draconian (08.12.2008-21.06.2009)
Most wins: 9 Moonspell
Most consecutive wins: Epica 5 (05.10.2009-08.11.2009)
Most top3 finishes: 18 Trail of Tears (5-9-4)
Most consecutive top3 finishes: 7 Epica
Most top10 finishes: 64 Nightwish




OUTRO
A lot has changed for me over this year. I graduated from gymnasium and enrolled at a college. My grandpa passed away. However, in music, not much has changed.
Overall, 2009 was another metal year for me. I started to trash bands that are trash, but it's still a long way to get clean listening experience.
I turned away from power metal because it's too repetitive. Nightwish is no longer my #1 band, not even with Tarja on vocals.
The year also saw several returns (Rammstein and Epica for example). There were some discoveries, but the top was mainly what I already knew in 2008.

This year's report was late because I have to prepare for my exam term. I shouldn't even be writing this now!

Comentarios

  • Kirikami

    Is it really that good, Epica's latest, I mean... I did check one of their albums and, tbh, it sucked quite a lot... D: Whew, guess I'll DL it for great justice and see myself. Oh, and speaking of power metal, same here. I blame Hammerfall, they killed my boner with "No bla bla, No bla bla". :'(

    25 Ene 2010, 14:15
  • John_Beak

    It is great. However, I think that I might have been affected by being a fan of Epica. I'm not quite sure how will it work on a first time listener. It's symphonic metal with average female vocals and decent growls... and tons of orechestra. Aside from the Pirates of the Carribean theme on Unleashed, it's a very good album musically. My reason to give it gold grade was, however, the thoughts that come with it. Design Your Universe! Needless to say, I bought the Arch of Hell album, but didn't buy Epica. Why? I bought a hoodie from them instead. It was as expensive as two albums, and I'm going to make better use of it.

    25 Ene 2010, 15:12
  • Kirikami

    I sort of see your point, lyrical content and the idea behind an album, indeed, can add a lot of spice to it. The hoodie thingy - a practical choice, CDs are collecting dust in some corner most of the time anyway, plus, not only it keeps you warm, but also lets you promote the band, in a way - win-win. /Captain Obvious :'D

    25 Ene 2010, 16:08
  • John_Beak

    I can't but agree with you :) That was my motivation.

    25 Ene 2010, 18:08
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