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  • Review: Kamelot - Poetry For the Poisoned

    16 Sep 2010, 20:26

    Review #10:
    Artist: Kamelot
    Album: Poetry for the Poisoned
    Year: 2010
    Label: eARmusic
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. The Great Pandemonium
    2. If Tomorrow Came
    3. Dear Editor
    4. The Zodiac
    5. Hunter's Season
    6. House On A Hill
    7. Necropolis
    8. My Train Of Thoughts
    9. Seal Of Woven Years
    10. Poetry For the Poisoned: Pt I. Incubus
    11.Poetry For the Poisoned: Pt II. So Long
    12.Poetry For the Poisoned: Pt III. All Is Over
    13.Poetry For the Poisoned: Pt IV. Dissection
    14. Once Upon A Time
    Bonus Track(s):
    15. Where the Wild Roses Grow
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When reading the press release for “Poetry For the Poisoned,” we’re promised their most ambitious album to date, one that will raise the bar for others to follow. Following the postponement of the album multiple times, anyone would expect an album that trumps all of their previous ones.

    ‘The Great Pandemonium,’ the opening track, manages to uphold these expectations. Dark industrial influences, haunting vocals by Roy, grunts by Soilwork’s Bjorn “Speed” Strid, and one of Thomas’ best solos to date give the album a very promising start. This trend is kept and even improved later on in the album during ‘Hunter’s Season,’ dedicated to Thomas’ mother and accompanied by a fantastic solo from Gus G.; ‘Once Upon A Time,’ a song that would have fit easily on the Epica album, finishes the album with a bang. Finally, with ‘The Zodiac,’ Kamelot manages to surpass every expectation by bringing out a song that is one of their best in their 19 years of existence. The combination of Roy and Jon Oliva is a match made in heaven, with Jon sounding downright menacing.

    But that’s only one side of the story, because during the second song, ‘If Tomorrow Came,’ the first flaws begin to appear. The song sounds incomplete, with verses and a chorus that don’t fit together and vocal effects that mostly conjure up annoyance. And of course there’s the mandatory song where Simone Simons from Epica engages in a duet with Roy: ‘House On A Hill’ is only saved by its orchestration and the flamenco guitar in the end. Other than that, it’s a ballad like a million others, where both singers fail to make a lasting impression. Four part title track ‘Poetry For the Poisoned’ even manages to only gets interesting in the last part, ‘Pt IV. Dissection.’ The other parts have no suspense due to the lack of a build-up towards a climax. “Complacent” and “uninspired” are the words that come to mind while listening to these tracks.

    The weird balance between good and bad on “Poetry For the Poisoned” is very noticeable on ‘Seal of Woven Years.’ Although it begins with a fantastic intro that gives the expectation that it will lead into one of the best songs on the album, it all falls apart when the actual song starts. Suddenly, it’s like you’re listening to a completely different song that fails to impress for the remainder of the time.

    “Poetry For the Poisoned” is an album with two opposite faces. Unfortunately neither face steps forward, resulting in a decent album that fails to impress for the full 50 minutes. If Kamelot manages to continue in the direction taken in ‘The Great Pandemonium,’ ‘The Zodiac’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ they will easily remain of the top of their genre. If they decide to continue in the direction taken in ‘If Tomorrow Came,’ ‘House On A Hill’ and large parts of the title track, however, they’re in for dark times.
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    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.
  • Seen Live

    5 Sep 2010, 17:18

    I know I already had a journal like this, but I wanted to "restyle" it and thought it was easier to just make a new one. And besides: no one reads this anyway :)

    Alphabetical list of all the bands I've seen live!

    A
    Adagio (2x)
    Adept
    Aeon Zen
    Agalloch
    Agnostic Front (2x)
    Amenra
    Amon Amarth
    Amorphis
    Anaal Nathrakh (3x)
    Anaphylactic Shock
    Anathema
    Annatar
    As I Lay Dying

    B
    Baroness
    Barren Earth
    Battlelore
    Be'lakor
    Benighted
    Between the Buried and Me
    Biomechanical
    Blackguard
    Born from Pain

    C
    Caliban
    Callejón
    Candlemass
    Cannibal Corpse
    Carach Angren
    Channel Zero
    Children of Bodom (2x)
    Cirrha Niva

    D
    Dark Funeral
    Dark Tranquillity (5x)
    Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult
    Deadcell
    DeadLock (2x)
    Deathbox
    Decapitated
    Defcon One
    Defender
    Dejafuse
    Delain (2x)
    Demians
    Devian
    Devin Townsend Project
    Diamond Head
    Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
    Dornenreich
    DrDoom
    Dread
    Dream Evil
    Dream Theater
    Dylath-Leen

    E
    Eagles
    Endless Cycle
    Endstille
    Entombed
    Epica (3x)
    Equilibrium (3x)
    Ex Deo

    F
    Fear Factory
    Fear My Thoughts

    G
    God Dethroned (2x)
    Gojira (2x)
    Gorefest
    Gorgoroth
    Grave
    GWAR

    H
    Haggard
    Hail of Bullets (2x)
    Heaven Shall Burn (4x)
    Heidevolk

    I
    Ill Niño
    Impaled Nazarene
    In age and sadness (2x)
    In Flames (2x)
    Insomnium
    Izegrim

    J
    J.B.O.
    Jesus Cröst

    K
    Kamelot (3x)
    Kataklysm (2x)
    Katatonia
    Katra
    Keep of Kalessin
    Killswitch Engage
    Kingfisher Sky
    Kreator
    Krisiun
    Krypteria
    Kvelertak

    L
    La-Ventura
    Leaves' Eyes (2x)
    Legion of the Damned (2x)

    M
    Månegarm (3x)
    Manic Movement
    Marduk
    Massive Assault
    Mely
    Meshuggah
    Milking the Goatmachine (2x)
    Monolithic
    Moonspell

    N
    Napalm Death
    Nile
    NIM VIND
    Novact
    NoX
    Nuclear Sushi

    O
    Obituary
    Opeth (2x)
    Order Of Ennead
    Outburst

    P
    Pain of Salvation
    Paradise Lost
    Parkway Drive (2x)
    Pentacle
    Poisonblack
    Powerglove

    R
    Rage
    Remains
    Retaliation
    ReVamp
    Rompeprop

    S
    Sabaton
    Samael
    Satyricon (2x)
    Sauron
    Scenario II
    Schandmaul
    Second Relation
    Semargl
    Semiazas
    Serenity
    Shining
    Sick of It All
    Skeptical Minds
    Skyforger
    Slayer
    Slechtvalk
    Sonic Syndicate
    Stream of Passion (2x)
    Subway to Sally
    Suffocation
    SuidAkrA
    Suicide Silence
    Swashbuckle
    Symphony X (2x)

    T
    Tankard
    Terzij De Horde
    Textures
    Thanatos
    The 11th Hour
    The 69 Eyes
    The Amenta
    The Devil's Blood
    The Dillinger Escape Plan
    The Foreshadowing
    The Haunted
    The Hollow Men (2x)
    The Lucifer Principle
    The Monolith Deathcult
    The Outburst Grind Project
    Thee Plague of Gentlemen
    theNAME
    Thine Eyes Bleed
    Thyrfing

    U
    Unleashed
    Unsun

    V
    Vader (2x)
    Valient Thorr
    Van Canto
    Volbeat
    Vomitory

    W
    Walls of Jericho
    Warbringer
    Watain
    Weakling
    Wolves in the Throne Room

    Hmmm.... seems like I only need a Q, X, Y and Z to complete this alphabet XD
  • Review: Dark Tranquillity - We Are the Void

    9 Mar 2010, 12:58

    Review #9:
    Artist: Dark Tranquillity
    Album: We are the Void
    Year: 2010
    Label: Century Media
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. Shadow in our Blood
    2. Dream Oblivion
    3. The Fatalist
    4. In My Absence
    5. The Grandest Accusation
    6. At the Point of Ignition
    7. Her Silent Language
    8. Arkhangelsk
    9. I am the Void
    10.Surface the Infinite
    11.Iridium
    Bonus Track(s):
    12.Star of Nothingness
    13.To Where Fires Cannot Feed
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trustworthy… according to Merriam-Webster:
    Pronunciation: \ˈtrəst-ˌwər-thē\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1714
    : worthy of confidence : DEPENDABLE <a trustworthy guide> <trustworthy information>
    — trust•wor•thi•ly \-thə-lē\ adverb
    — trust•wor•thi•ness noun

    I would like to add a new definition: Dark Tranquillity. Ever since “Skydancer” came out in 1993 they have managed to always improve on their previous album and take a step forward without losing sight of their roots. Add the very solid line-up (only 3 ex-members in 21 years if you count the Septic Broiler period) and you have one of the most trustworthy bands of the moment. And even when surpassed by bands that they were an (indirect) influence on (supporting Killswitch Engage, Soilwork or Heaven Shall Burn for example) they have remained true their roots.

    It’s this attitude and development of their sound that came together in “Fiction” in 2007. Their best album since the classic “The Gallery”. So it was with high anticipation that I was waiting for “We Are the Void”. Is it able to take the direction taken in “Fiction” to the next level?

    Yes and no. The album shows steps forward. But at the same time it reflects back on earlier albums. This is shown in a song like ‘I Am the Void’, it’s furious opening reminds of the days of “The Gallery” and “The Mind’s I”, but gradually turns into a song that would have fit on “Fiction” or “Character”. And that’s not a bad thing: it’s proof that Dark Tranquillity manages to always remember their past. ‘Her Silent Language’ is another example of this: it’s almost as if you’re listening to a song of the “Projector”-era that got lost in time. Atmosphere runs high on this one and it’s one of their best songs to date.

    But it’s not all memories and remembrance on “We Are the Void”, songs like ‘Dream Oblivion’, ‘Iridium’ and ‘Arkhangelsk’ are prime examples of Dark Tranquillity threading on new grounds. Soundscape is the keyword in these songs. Especially ‘Iridium’ with its post-apocalyptic atmosphere is a true gem and they couldn’t have picked a better song to end the album with (if you don’t have the bonus-tracks), as it leaves you small and humble. And talking about apocalyptic songs: if ‘Inside the Particle Storm’ was the prelude to the apocalypse; ‘Arkhangelsk’ is the apocalypse itself. With a sound aching to black metal Dark Tranquillity manages to bring themselves to a new level. I can’t wait to find out how this song is delivered when played live, because it has the ability to blow you away with full force.

    And Dark Tranquillity haven’t failed on another element: the new (live)classic. Where “Fiction” has ‘Misery’s Crown’, “Character” has ‘Lost To Apathy’ and “Damage Done” has ‘Final Resistance’; “We Are the Void” has ‘The Fatalist’. It has everything I’ve come to expect from the band: a melody that will be forever stay stuck in your head, fantastic lyrics and a chorus you’re singing along after listening it for the first time.

    When you purchase the limited edition you’re greeted by two extra songs.‘Star of Nothingness’ is a nice, but otherwise forgettable instrumental song. But ‘To Where Fires Cannot Feed’ is a track that Dark Tranquillity could and should have put on the regular edition of the album. The limited edition also comes with a bonus DVD, but this one is a bit of a hit and a miss. It contains an interesting ‘making off’ of both the album and the video for ‘Shadow In Our Blood’, but not the video itself, which I find odd. And you also get a trailer for ‘Where Death Is Most Alive’ and two live videos of that release. But why add this? Fans should already have this release. And you could say that they added this to introduce it to new fans. But I would have liked it more if they added something for the “old” fans.

    “We Are the Void” is another good and solid release in the history of Dark Tranquillity that shows both the trusted sound and some new ideas that worked out extremely well. But if you’re a Dark Tranquillity fan you didn’t need me to tell you that
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.
  • The year 2009 (work in progress)

    2 Dic 2009, 14:45

    With less than a month to go until the end of all that is related to 2009, I decided to make a small start on the obligate yearlist(s) journal. So this is in no way final, a lot of things can still change
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you ask me what I think about 2009 in regards to music, I'd say it's one of the best years of the '00 years. The amount of high quality albums and gigs to remember is astonishing. And what better way to reminisce about this year than to make some cliché lists?

    The album top 10

    Might as well start with the most clichéd list you can think of for these kinds of journals: the top 10 albums of 2009! And the most clichéd list is also one of the hardest this year, never before did I had so much trouble putting together a top 10. Especially the top 5 was hard. And because this is not the final version, it will keep changing, so expect a different list when I make this journal final.

    So without further rambling, here it is.

    1. Ghost BrigadeIsolation Songs
    Top 3 songs: Suffocated, Into the Black Light, A Storm Inside.

    This album really took me by surprise. Based on the positive reviews I was expecting a good album. But an album this good? Never. The way they are able to blend the best elements of Neurosis and Katatonia together without sounding like a copy of both bands is a sign of talent.

    2. Epica - Design Your Universe
    Top 3 songs: Kingdom of Heaven, Semblance of Liberty, Design Your Universe

    I really didn't think they would top The Divine Conspiracy like this. Sure, based on the teasers and the 2 songs they released before the album came out I expected it to be better, but to blow their previous album out of the water like this was something I didn't see coming (and I think a lot of people weren't expecting it either)

    3. Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow
    Top 3 songs: Terror in the Mind of God, In the Constellation of the Black Widow, So Be It

    Extreme, more extreme, Anaal Nathrakh. Every year they release an album the world gets another soundtrack for its ending. And it's not just extreme for the sake of being extreme. By using different elements in some of the songs they make sure their sound stays fresh and unique. One can only wonder what will happen on their next album. But for now I will stay loyal to this gem.

    4. Sólstafir - Köld
    Top 3 songs: 78 Days in the Desert, She Destroys Again, Goddess of the Ages

    I don't even know what to say about this album. This is one of those albums that you just can't explain; you have to listen to it to understand what makes it so special. So do that. Because I'm not going to try and make something up so I can put something interesting here, it's just not possible.

    5. Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
    Top 3 songs: Awake!, Hyperdrive!, Resolve!

    He's back! And he never lost his touch. After releasing the mellow, almost intimate Ki (good album, just didn't make the top 10), Addicted rocks my socks! The combined vocals of Devin and Anneke (ex-The Gathering, Agua de Annique) are catchy as hell and I was singing along to the songs after I listened to the album once. 10 amazing songs with a very slight hint of Strapping Young Lad, I love it!

    6. Katatonia - Night is the New Day
    Top 3 songs: Onward Into Battle, Departer, Inheritance

    It pains me that I had to put this on the sixth place, because it's yet again an amazing album. But when the previous albums are better I have no choice. Katatonia released their best album with Night Is the New Day. It has all the elements that made their previous albums great albums combined with some new elements: multi-layered vocals, strings and a fantastic guest performance from Kristen Linder (Enter the Hunt), whose vocal contribution turns Departer into one of the bleakest songs Katatonia has ever written.

    7. Amorphis - Skyforger
    Top 3 songs: Highest Star, Majestic Beast, From Earth I Rose

    I lost sight of Amorphis a few years ago, but their performance at Summer Breeze earlier this year convinced me to get reacquainted with them. And it's a decission I will never regret. Skyforger is easily their best album with Tomi on vocals. Eclipse was fantastic, Silent Waters a small step back, but with Skyforger they are back with full force.

    8. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
    Top 3 songs: The Last Baron, The Czar, Crack the Skye

    You want a good summary of this album and the band itself? Listen to The Last Baron and you will know enough. From the passages that make you drift away like Pink Floyd are able to do to the freaky passages The Dillinger Escape Plan are known for. Mastodon has drawn the tin line between them. I never understood the amount the praise Leviathan got, it's good, but it was nowhere near as good as Remission. Crack the Skye on the other hand has surpassed that album.

    9. Dark Tranquillity - Where Death Is Most Alive
    Top 3 songs: Insanity's Crescendo. Yesterworld/Punish My Heaven, Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)

    My favorite band releasing my new favorite live-album? No surprises there. Dark Tranquillity just doesn't disappoint me. The setlist is perfect, the band is in its best shape and the audience is just as enthusiastic as they should be, they add a substantial amount of atmosphere to the performance.

    10. Kreator - Hordes of Chaos
    Top 3 songs: To the Afterborn, Amok Run, Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)

    Four years after the highly acclaimed Enemy of God, Kreator still show no sign of losing quality. And for a band that's been around for as long as Kreator has that's a fantastic accomplishment. From the opening riff in Hordes of Chaos until the last tones in Demon Prince, there's no sign of any weak spots.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That's it for now, expect more lists in the days/weeks to come.
  • Review: Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

    6 Nov 2009, 17:41

    Review #8:
    Artist: Anaal Nathrakh
    Album: In the Constellation of the Black Widow
    Year: 2009
    Label: Candlelight Records
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. In the Constellation of the Black Widow
    2. I Am the Wrath of Gods and the Desolation of the Earth
    3. More of Fire Than Blood
    4. The Unbearable Filth of the Soul
    5. Terror in the Mind of God
    6. So Be It
    7. The Lucifer Effect
    8. Oil Upon the Sores of Lepers
    9. Satanarchrist
    10. Blood Eagles Carved on the Backs of Innocents
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Armageddon. Say goodbye to your loved ones, lock your doors, take cover and pray you will survive. Anaal Nathrakh have returned and they are not here to take prisoners; but they do come bearing surprises.

    The title track immediately puts you on the wrong foot with its mid-tempo opening. But as soon the track picks up pace it becomes clear what just happened: all we got was a false moment of security. That small glimmer of hope for a possibility to survive is shattered in mere seconds. After that it’s just hoping that you’re able to avoid the destruction of all that you hold dear.

    “In the Constellation of the Black Widow” is a huge improvement when you compare it with “Hell is Empty, And All the Devils Are Here”. It wasn’t a bad album, far from actually, but it all sounded a bit clean compared to the other albums. This time around the vileness is back in full force and improved. The parts where it feels like you’re being bludgeoned with every heavy weapon on earth while in a tornado sound even more threatening. ‘Terror in the Mind of God’, ‘I Am the Wrath of Gods and the Desolation of the Earth’ and ‘Blood Eagles Carved on the Backs of Innocents’ waste no time in stating their purpose: total annihilation of all that is sacred. But also the clean vocals provided by Dave Hunt aka V.I.T.R.I.O.L. are in the spotlights, they once again provide the false sense of safety in songs like ‘More of Fire than Blood’ and ‘The Lucifer Effect’. You think you’re finally save from all the mayhem around you, but it’s nothing more like being in the eye of a tornado: it’s a matter of time before your back in the storm.

    Like I said: Anaal Nathrakh come bearing surprises. ‘Oil Upon the Sores of Lepers’ for example is build around a chugging riff that just invites to participate in destroying some stuff. And in the brutal ‘Terror in the Mind of God’ there’s some room for a fantastic Maidenesque-melody. Or what about that breakdown in ‘The Lucifer Effect’? It’s because of elements like these that the album stays fresh, even after dozens of plays. Bands with a fast and brutal sound always have the risk that songs will begin to sound alike and will thus get boring after a while. Even though I think Anaal Nathrakh never had that risk on the previous albums, it’s a great addition to the already rich sound. In stead of trying to be more extreme by playing louder, they’ve succeeded in sounding more extreme by adding new ideas. Now if only more bands could think like that.

    Anaal Nathrakh have once again released the ultimate soundtrack for the end of times. Who needs the four horsemen of the apocalypse when you have these two foot soldiers?
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    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.
  • Review: Ghost Brigade - Isolation Songs

    15 Oct 2009, 9:34

    Review #7:
    Artist: Ghost Brigade
    Album: Isolation Songs
    Year: 2009
    Label: Season of Mist
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. Suffocated
    2. My Heart Is a Tomb
    3. Into the Black Light
    4. Lost in a Loop
    5. 22:22 - Nihil
    6. Architect of New Beginnings
    7. Birth
    8. Concealed Revulsions
    9. Secrets of the Earth
    10. A Storm Inside
    Bonus track(s):
    11. Liar
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Emotions, we all have them. Some are shallow, some are deep. Some people keep them bottled up and some people can't keep them inside.

    Why this semi-deep intro? Because Ghost Brigade have managed to produce an album where emotions run deep. And not just in one element. But in both lyrics and the music itself. At times angry, but mainly bleak Ghost Brigade manage to create an atmosphere that keeps you silent until the final note fades away.

    So what to expect music-wise? 'Suffocated' immediately has a small surprise. The song starts out mellow, but after a minute a riff reminiscent of Neurosis kicks in and the song turns into an outburst of everything that has been bottled up that lasts until the end. The two following songs show the more desperate side of Ghost Brigade. The crushing sound makes places for a more melancholic sound, which matches the songs of Katatonia. Even the clean vocals of Manne are somewhat like Jonas'. He never sounds like a copy, but he manages to put the same amount of feeling in his voice. Something that can also be said about his raw vocals, it has a small metalcorish sound to it, which is just enough to provide the angry sounding vocals you expect during the parts where Ghost Brigade don't hold back.

    "Isolation Songs" is a diverse album. The hard, angry parts have sound reminiscent of Neurosis and Cult of Luna, whereas the calmer, yet still intense, parts share a link with Katatonia. Ghost Brigade has managed to keep the balance in both extremities. The walls that are built up in songs like 'Suffocated', 'Lost in a Loop' (with a cello interlude!) and 'Birth' (with a beautiful unwinding outro) are breached when the band goes into a more desperate sound found in songs like 'Into the Black Light', 'A Storm Inside' and 'Secrets of the Earth'. Some songs even have this balance in them self.

    It's actually unfair to mention single songs. This album should really be listened from beginning to end. Let it seep in and afterwards take some time for yourself. An album that manages to combine the crushing sound of Neurosis and Cult of Luna with the bleak soundscapes of Katatonia deserves your full attention and thus should be listened to when you're sure you won't be interrupted for trivial things. Lock the door, turn of your telephone, lean back and drift away. Ghost Brigade will be your guide through their own emotions.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.
  • Review: Kamelot - Ghost Opera

    17 Jul 2009, 16:43

    My original idea was to review new purchases I made, but forget that: I'm going to review albums I feel like reviewing, even if I had them for years.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Review #6:
    Artist: Kamelot
    Album: Ghost Opera
    Year: 2007
    Label: SPV/Steamhammer Records
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. Solitaire
    2. Rule the World
    3. Ghost Opera
    4. The Human Stain
    5. Blücher
    6. Love You to Death
    7. Up Through the Ashes
    8. Mourning Star
    9. Silence of the Darkness
    10. Anthem
    11. EdenEcho
    Bonus track(s):
    12. The Pendulous Fall
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As I said in an earlier review of a Kamelot-album: I'm a fanboy so I can't promise that this will be an objective review. But should a review be objective, I mean: it's my opinion right? Anyway, on to the review:

    Ghost Opera can be "difficult" album if you're a long-time Kamelot fan. It's a logical step after The Black Halo, but that also means new elements are introduced and the sound shifts even more away from their original sound, while power metal is still the main ingredient, there are more progressive and symphonic metal elements to be heard than on the previous albums. That doesn't result in a bad album (quite the contrary), but it something you'll have to keep in the back of your mind when you listen to it the first couple of times.

    After I first listened to it, I got the feeling the songs were more compact and to the point than the songs on their previous albums. Goodbye to epics like Memento Mori, III Ways to Epica, the Elizabeth trilogy and Nights of Arabia. And hello to more "commercial" (how I hate that word) songs.

    It's an assesment I don't agree with anymore. While the songs may sound compact and to the point when you listen to the album the first couple of times, you'll discover more layers in the song as time progresses. Take Rule the World for an example. Didn't care that much for the song when I first heard. But when I started listening to it more often I started to like it way more: the almost anti-rhythmic drumming in the verses, the strings, the backing vocals in the end of the song... I could continue for a while, but I'm hoping you understand what I'm talking about: elements/layers that don't stand out on their own, but become clear after multiple listens.

    But it doesn't end there. While I said there are progressive and symphonic metal elements on the album, Blücher en The Human Stain have an almost industrial feeling to it. A lot of people don't like the vocal effects in Blücher, but I think they fit quite well. Blücher also sees the return of Simone Simons (Epica) for some guest vocals. Although not as present and widely announced as on The Haunting (Somewhere in Time), she still does a nice job in creating the right atmosphere for the song.

    Mourning Star is another perfect example of Kamelot trying something new. From the moment the synths start in combination with the Gregorian chants you know you're in for something special. I just love this song, can't explain it any other way. The chorus, solo, the aforementioned chants I can't get enough.

    With Anthem and Love You to Death we have the 2 (power)ballads of the album. I always have difficulties with Anthem (the ballad without power), it's a good song, but I can't get accustomed to the echo-like vocals on the song. I much prefer the live version of it. Got goosebumps when they played it in Tilburg.

    It's not my intention to mention each song to prevent boredom, but I want to mention The Pendulous Fall. Why is this song a bonus track? This song can easily compete with songs like Mourning Star, The Human Stain and Rule the World. It's shame that people who only get the regular edition of Ghost Opera can't enjoy this song (I'm assuming no one downloads, hopeless dream, I know).

    So... is this the best album released by Kamelot? No, I don't think so, but it's close (as each album that isn't their best). I do think that Kamelot fans can greatly enjoy this album.

    Kamelot progressed and matured. And I can't wait to hear what they are going to do on the next album!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.
  • FortaRock - The Festival

    12 Jul 2009, 22:14

    Sat 11 Jul – Fortarock Festival

    Primeurs, altijd leuk. En dat was dit festival: een primeur. Het eerste festival georganiseerd door FortaRock. Ik was nog niet bekend met de organisatie, maar blijkbaar organiseren ze vaker concerten in Nijmegen. De ervaring met bands is er dus al. Het was afwachten of ze dit ook konden doortrekken naar een 1-dags festival.

    De namen logen er in ieder geval niet om: als je op de eerste editie van een festival bands als Candlemass, Satyricon, Death Angel en Meshuggah weet te boeken is dat naar mijn mening een goed teken.

    Ook de entreeprijs loog er niet om: €32,50 is een zeer goede prijs voor een festival waar 13 bands staan. Niet dat het uitmaakte voor mij, had 2 vrijkaartjes gewonnen, maar buiten dat: ik had er sowieso het geld voor over gehad. Het was dan ook jammer dat de het eten en drinken zo duur was: €2,30 voor een beker drinken? Schijnbaar is het niets nieuws...

    Eigenlijk was er gedurende aanloop naar zaterdag maar 1 ding wat deze dag kon verpest: het weer, het leek wel alsof de weersverwachtingen elke dag veranderden. Gelukkig is het bijna de hele dag droog gebleven: het regende meer bier dan "echte" regen.

    En nog een leuke verassing toen ik voor de vrijkaartjes bij de kassa kwam (slechte zaak overigens: zou om 11.00 opengaan, maar omdat ze de laptop niet aan de praat kregen duurde dit een tijdje, techniek...) bleek ook nog eens dat er "all area acces"-kaartjes bij zaten. Jammer genoeg ontbrak het ons aan lef en hebben we er niet volledig gebruik van kunnen maken.

    Dat was mijn gekwebbel vooraf, op naar de bands!

    Tent stage: Warbringer (12.30 - 13.00)
    De eerste band van de dag en dus automatisch de allereerste band van dit nieuwe festival. Ik heb er niet veel van meegekregen, de eerste 2/3 nummers in de tent zelf bekeken en toen had ik het wel gezien. Niet dat ze slecht waren, het ging bij mij gewoon het ene oor in en het andere oor er weer uit. De rest van hun optreden nog even op een van de vele bankjes gezeten en heel even backstage geweest, maar daar was ook niet veel te beleven op dat moment. Dus alvast doorgegaan naar de open stage om alvast van een goed plekje voor Heidevolk verzekerd te zijn.

    Open stage: Heidevolk (13.05 - 13.35)
    Wat mij betreft had FortaRock geen betere band kunnen kiezen om de spits op de open stage af te bijten. De Nederlandstalige folk metal met teksten over onder andere Gelderland werd enthousiast en goed gebracht en kreeg de mensen op de eerste rijen (niet achterom gekeken, dus weet niet of het voor de rest ook gelde) redelijk goed mee. Gezien het tijdstip en het feit dat ze de eerste band op dit podium waren is dat een knappe prestatie. Een speciale vermelding voor een van de gitaristen: wat gooide hij dat t-shirt ver! En tot slot: SAKSENLAND!

    Setlist:
    Ik weet nog wel een aantal nummers, maar de volgorde is mij een raadsel. Ze begonnen in ieder geval met Krijgsvolk en eindigden met Vulgaris Magistralis (oorspronkelijk van Normaal).


    Tent stage: All Shall Perish (13.40 - 14.10)
    Niet bewust meegemaakt. Had totaal geen interesse voor deze band. Heb wel flarden gehoord terwijl we over het terrein liepen (en toen we alvast bij de open stage gingen staan) en hoewel ik kon horen dat ze wel degelijk goed kunnen spelen is het gewoon niet aan mij besteed. Ik kreeg op een gegeven moment zin om de breakdowns te gaan tellen. Toch maar niet gedaan.

    Open stage: Delain (14.15 - 14.55)
    Afgaande op verschillende fora en de shoutbox hier toch wel de band waar het meeste om te doen was. Toegegeven: de band viel het meeste uit de toon. Maar ik keek er naar uit. Had de band 20 maart ook al gezien in het voorprogramma van Kamelot, maar omdat ik het nieuwe album toen nog niet kende kon ik er geen goede mening over vormen. Nu April Rain toch wel aardig in mijn kop zit vastgenesteld was het meteen een stuk leuker om live te horen. Het is opvallend dat de band live veel meer power heeft dan op hun album(s). En hoewel Charlotte er een paar keer flink naast zat heb ik van het optreden genoten. Nummers als The Gathering, Control the Storm en Go Away zijn gewoon goede meezingers. Ik kreeg ook het idee dat de band naarmate het optreden vorderde steeds meer mensen enthousiast wist te maken. En met Pristine als afsluiter wisten ze mij zelfs nog te verassen. Al met al een goed optreden. Ik had overigens wel een beetje medelijden had met de jongen die als enige aan het klappen was tijdens de intro van Virtue and Vice.

    Setlist (ben er niet helemaal zeker van, als iemand de juiste heeft hoor ik hem graag):
    - Intro/Invidia
    - Stay Forever
    - Go Away
    - The Gathering
    - Control the Storm
    - Nothing Left
    - Virtue and Vice
    - Pristine


    Tent stage: The Dillinger Escape Plan (15.00 - 15.40)
    Had ze vorig jaar al eens live gezien en hoewel ik dat toen echt een super optreden vond hoefde ik ze niet weer per se te zien. Daarom na een paar nummers het terrein weer opgegaan en ook (weer) alvast een goede plek te zoeken voor Keep of Kalessin: het wordt misschien al duidelijk, maar wat mij betreft stonden de interessantse bands op de open stage. Vond de blik van een gast voor mij ook prachtig: keek een paar keer achterom met een blik van pure verbazing.


    Open stage: Keep of Kalessin (15.55 - 16.35)
    Op cd een zeer interessante band, live komt het niet volledig uit de verf. Zo kan ik het samenvatten. Niet dat het slecht was, zeker niet. Maar mede door het slechtste geluid van de dag (nou moet ik zeggen dat het vooraan nog best meeviel) en het probleem dat de vele details op de album live niet volledig naar voren komen zorgde ervoor dat ik de conclusie moest trekken dat het op cd beter was. Maar was ik teleurgesteld? Absoluut niet! Ondanks eerder genoemde problemen vond ik het toch een goed optreden. Omdat nummers als A New Empire’s Birth, Kolossus en Crown of the Kings met genoeg overtuiging werden vertolkt werd het toch nog een zeer genietbaar optreden.

    Setlist (ben er niet helemaal zeker van, als iemand de juiste heeft hoor ik hem graag):
    - Origin
    - A New Empire's Birth
    - Crown of the Kings
    - Many Are We
    - Winged Watcher
    - Ascendant
    - Kolossus


    Tent stage: Kataklysm (16.40 - 17.30)
    Omdat we nogal honger kregen zijn we gedurende het optreden van Kataklysm wat te eten gaan halen en zittend in het gras naar de band gekeken. Nou vind ik Kataklysm op cd een zeer fijne band, maar om de een of andere reden (misschien omdat we er zover vanaf zaten) raakte ik erg snel verveeld. Het werd mij iets te snel eentonig. Best jammer, binnenkort de albums maar weer eens opzetten. Ook nu weer eerder de open stage gegaan.

    Open stage: Candlemass (17.35 - 18.25)
    Ik zal meteen toegeven dat ik niet heel erg bekend ben met het werk van Candlemass. Ik heb het meest recente album twee keer beluisterd en ben ook bekend met enkele oudere nummers en was er daardoor al lichtjes van overtuigd dat ik meer aandacht moet besteden aan deze band. De 50 minuten die ze speelden op FortaRock zorgden daar helemaal voor. Robert Lowe heeft een dijk van een stem (een beetje overdreven poses op het podium, maar je zou bijna zeggen dat het erbij hoort) en ook de rest van de band wist overduidelijk waar ze mee bezig waren. Het viel alleen wel op (ik moest er overigens wel op gewezen worden door iemand anders) dat het er heel erg op leek dat Robert veel van zijn teksten moest oplezen. Klein minpuntje op een verder overtuigend optreden, hier ga ik absoluut meer naar luisteren.

    Setlist:
    ga ik niet proberen, weet in ieder geval dat ze begonnen met Emperor of the Void, afsloten met de Rainbow-cover Kill the King en dat ook If I Ever Die en Hammer of Doom nog voorbijkwamen, maar daar houdt het ook op. Als iemand de juiste kan geven waardeer ik dat zeer.


    Tent stage: Death Angel (18.30 - 19.30)
    Volledig overgeslagen. Best jammer aangezien veel mensen laaiend enthousiast waren over hun optreden, maar aangezien we allebei ontzettend uitkeken naar Satyricon en we een plek vooraan hadden wilden wij dit niet opgeven. Kreeg jammer genoeg ook weinig mee van het optreden, dus geen oordeel hierover.

    Open stage: Satyricon (19.35 - 20.35)
    Zoals gezegd: hier keek ik heel erg naar uit. Ik kan van al hun albums evenveel genieten. De laatste 2 albums vind ik dan ook erg goed en vind het totaal niet erg dat de meeste nummers van die albums afkwamen. K.I.N.G., Now, Diabolical, en Black Crow on a Tombstone zijn naar mijn mening heerlijke meebrulnummers. Je zou kunnen zeggen dat Satyricon niet volledig tot zijn recht komt op een open podium en in het zonlicht, veel mensen vonden dan ook dat ze beter in de tent konden spelen, en daar is wat voor te zeggen. Maar door de manier waarop Satyricon op het podium stond en speelde maakt mij dat eigenlijk niet veel uit: ze speelden ontzettend goed en de reacties die ze kregen waren dan ook niet meer dan terecht (hoewel ik ergens anders las dat ze het publiek niet volledig meekregen: verschillen in mening met zulke dingen zijn altijd leuk), wat mij betreft één van de beste bands van de dag. En ik kan het verkeerd hebben, maar door de manier waarop Satyr Den Siste aankondigde kreeg ik het idee dat ze dat nummer voor het eerst speelden, maar dat kan ik dus fout hebben. Mocht het zo zijn: een primeur en die vind ik dus fijn. En kan iemand mij vertellen wat die meid bij de band nou precies deed? Ik heb zelf het vermoeden dat ze de samples deed.

    Setlist (deze weet ik wel zeker, aangezien ik hem overtyp van de setlist die nu voor mij ligt):
    - Commando
    - The Wolfpack
    - Now, Diabolical
    - Forhekset
    - Black Crow on a Tombstone
    - The Pentagram Burns
    - Den Siste
    - K.I.N.G.
    - Fuel for Hatred
    - Mother North


    Tent stage: Meshuggah (20.40 - 21.40)
    Zelfde verhaal als bij Death Angel. Keken ontzettend uit naar Moonspell, dus wilden onze plekken vooraan niet opgeven. Ben er niet heel erg rouwig om. Ook Meshuggah heb ik vorig jaar gezien en ook dat was een goed optreden, maar ik kreeg genoeg mee vanaf de plek waar we zaten/stonden. En hoorde ik het nou goed? Speelden ze Bleed volledig?

    Open stage: Moonspell (21.45 - 22.55)
    Oh jongens en meiden toch... wat keek ik hier naar uit! Ik mag dan sinds enkele maanden heel actief naar Moonspell luisteren (daarvoor was het zo af en toe een nummer, tot ik Night Eternal kocht), maar in die korte tijd ben ik laaiend enthousiast geworden over de band. De sfeer die ze met hun muziek weten te creëren vind ik echt fantastisch en ik was heel benieuwd of ze dit live ook konden overbrengen. En dat kunnen ze! Het begon meteen goed met het machtige At Tragic Heights. Het voelde heerlijk om de intro mee te praten/zingen om vervolgens na het donderende "It is done!" volledig los te gaan. De omstandigheden waren ook heel goed. Waar het langzaam inzetten van de avond en een paar kleine regendruppels al niet goed voor zijn. Ik moet wel toegeven dat de zang wat harder in de mix had gemogen, maar verder was er niets mis. Sfeervolle begeleidende beelden op de achtergrond, de lichten die meehielpen aan de sfeer en natuurlijk de muziek zelf. En als klap op de vuurpijl ook nog "onze" Anneke die 2(!) nummers meezong, dat ze zou meezingen op Scorpion Flower was natuurlijk logisch, maar ik hoopte al de hele dag dat ze ook nog zou meezingen op Luna en die wens kwam uit. Het was jammer dat ook haar zang te zacht in de mix stond, ze was nog hoorbaar, maar het had weinig gescheeld of je had haar niet gehoord. Nu kon ze gelukkig nog bewijzen dat ze een prachtige stem heeft. De klassiekers Alma Mater en Vampiria ontbraken natuurlijk ook niet en met Full Moon Madness kwam er einde aan een uitstekend en wat mij betreft memorabel optreden.

    Setlist (ben er niet helemaal zeker van, als iemand de juiste heeft hoor ik hem graag):
    - At Tragic Heights
    - Night Eternal
    - Finisterra
    - The Southern Deathstyle
    - Moon in Mercury
    - Opium
    - Everything Invaded
    - Scorpion Flower
    - Luna
    - Nocturna
    - Vampiria
    - Alma Mater
    - Full Moon Madness

    Jammer genoeg geen foto's, door de verlichting zijn alle foto's die ik gemaakt heb tijdens Moonspell mislukt.

    Tent stage: The Devil's Blood (23.00 - 23.30)
    Ken de band van naam, maar hoefde ze niet te zien, dus we zijn naar de bushalte gelopen toen ze nog bezig waren.

    Laatste gedachten
    Al met al vond ik het een zeer geslaagde eerste editie van FortaRock - The Festival. Afgezien van de belachelijke prijzen voor de consumpties en de af en toe falende aankondigingen (als je aan een band moet vragen waar ze ook alweer optreden doe je iets fout) was er weinig reden tot klagen. Het terrein was goed benut en door de planning van de bands hoefde je in principe niets te missen, tenzij je daar zelf voor kiest, en het was geeneens belachelijk druk. Ik hoop dan ook dat ze qua bands en opzet op deze manier doorgaan en dat FortaRock - The Festival een gevestigde naam gaat worden in Nederland en daarna ook maar in Europa. En hopelijk doen ze dan ook wat aan de prijzen van de consumpties.

    Grote kans dat deze review vol staat met grammaticale fouten, mocht je er 1 tegenkomen, wees dan niet bang mij erop te wijzen.

    Een paar "sfeer-foto's":



  • A short monologue about Epilogue!

    3 Jun 2009, 15:09

    This will be the most useless journal ever, but I love this song (and no: this won't be objective)!

    Every version of Epilogue is magic. But especially the live version on Ghost Opera (The Second Coming). It's short, but my oh my what a great performance. The tranquill piano melody alone is a song on it's own. But with the singing of Roy it's just perfect!

    The song is a tribute to the fans of the band (at least, that's what Roy says and who am I to question him?) which makes it a little bit more special.

    Whoever claims that Roy can't hit those high notes should listen to song over and over. His long extended notes are bonechillingy (if that is a word) good. Just listen to the line: "Some with October rain" and don't come back saying you didn't feel anything. I won't believe it!

    Well... that was rather incoherent, I'm not even sure that I'm getting my point across.

    Lyrics

    One other year has left my life
    One year bygone so soon
    These were the days I sacrificed
    These days were lived for you

    Some came with winter in white
    Some days were blown away
    Some came with sultry summer nights
    Some with October rain

    Oh, how I long for utter silence
    But who am I to know
    When rain will turn to snow?
    If life brings another day
    ]
  • Review: The Haunted - The Dead Eye

    17 May 2009, 18:24

    Review #5:
    Artist: The Haunted
    Album: The Dead Eye
    Year: 2006
    Label: Century Media
    Country:



    Tracklist:

    1. The Premonition
    2. The Flood
    3. The Medication
    4. The Drowning
    5. The Reflection
    6. The Prosecution
    7. The Fallout
    8. The Medusa
    9. The Shifter
    10. The Cynic
    11. The Failure
    12. The Stain
    13. The Guilt Trip
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I'm writing this review without any knowledge of their latest album Versus"

    I can appreciate it when a band tries something new, if only for one album, if it works out it can result in at least a remarkable album. But there is always the risk that the band will lose a part of its fanbase, because they don't like the new direction the band is taking.

    The Dead Eye is such an album. Whereas the previous albums had a more direct (melodic) thrash metal approach, this album has different influences mixed with the original sound. There are some stoner, progressive and even hardcore elements to be heard.

    So it's understandable that lot of fans of the original sound don't like this album. Everyone has a different taste. But I like this album. Even though it has the aforementioned elements in it, I still hear that sound that makes The Haunted well... The Haunted. And there are some songs who would not be out of place on an older album, listen to The Prosecution and you'll know what I'm talking about.

    There is alot of (semi)clean singing on the other songs. And altough it sounds very good on songs like The Fallout, The Reflection, The Stain and The Medusa, it is again understandable why people don't like it: it's not a typical used style of singing by Peter Dolving.

    I also enjoy the other ideas used in songs. The almost soundscape-like ending of The Fallout fits in the song and it doesn't sound like something they just deciced to put in, without it the song just wouldn't be complete. There also some parts during the album where the song goes into a nice little break (and I don't mean those metalcore breakdowns) before it picks up pace again, The Flood, The Cynic and The Shifter. Are good examples of songs with such a break.

    The Failure is in my opinion the most special (not neccesarely the best) track on the entire album (together with The Guilt Trip). This is were the different influences used throughout the album are most noticable. The balance between the clean and the more extreme form of singing used by Peter Dolving shifts towards the clean singing. The entire song has a little progressive feel and it has a great unwinding outro. This song defines the band during this period.

    So... anything wrong with this album?
    I can't really say that there is. Not that it is their best album, but there aren't any weak points on it. Well... maybe the long silent pause on The Guilt Trip before the last 3,5 minutes kick in, I hate it when bands do something like that, it's a waste of a good cd, but since the first minutes and the last minutes of music are both equally good (the last 3,5 minutes, some nice clean singing there, it has an ambient feel to it) I can look past it.

    This is one of those side-steps from the original sound that works out extremely well and ends up in an enjoyable album. But I don't think that they should try this again in a couple of years. This was an experiment that worked out really well, but there is no saying in what will happen when they try it again. And yes, I know I said I like it when bands try something like this, but that doesn't mean they should try it everytime.

    One final note: I have the idea that this is a concept-album, looking at the booklet and titles of the songs. I have a feeling it's about a mental patient or some sorts, but I haven't worked it out yet.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Comments are much appreciated.
    What do you think of the album? Or do you have any pointers as to how I could improve my reviews the next time? I'd love to read your opinions.