• TJTMMOT #3: My 2009 music retrospective... part II: My favourite miscellany

    13 Ene 2010, 13:46

    From my blog.
    THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH MUSIC OUT THERE:
    http://iknownothingaboutmusic.blogspot.com/

    Part I had my favourite albums of 2009, 50 of them, however I somehow need to explain the "music retrospective" part of the title, and this is my lame attempt. We got more albums, live gigs and whatnot...

    Favourite album
    Adolf Plays The JazzDirty waters: ers Adolf Plays the Jazz continue giving out their wonderful soundscapes for free, thumbs up!

    Favourite album
    SlayerWorld Painted Blood: And they say that the older the people, the mellower they get... bullshit!

    Favourite (i.e. I'm too old for this shit) album
    ArchitectsHollow Crown: I am basically unable to listen to most , however these young lads seem to possess a bit more quality than the rest.

    Favourite live album
    HallucinogenIn Dub Live: So like, this dude, Hallucinogen, is an electronic musician in and and this other dude, Ott, is a producer in and . The latter released in 2002 In Dub which was an album with dub remixes of Hallucinogen's music. In Dub Live features both of them and a full band playing these as well as some new tunes and damn, dub remixed psytrance never sounded more -ish. Thanks tsango! ;)

    Favourite covers album
    Θάνος Μικρούτσικος & Υπόγεια ΡεύματαΤους έχω βαρεθεί / Thanos Mikroutsikos & Ypogeia Revmata - Tous echo varethei (en: I've Gotten Tired of Them): Thanos Mikroutsikos is one of the best contemporary composers and Ypogeia Revmata an honest and steadily good band. Their collaboration on record and on live stages around Greece gives an interesting second reading on several Mikroutsikos' songs.

    Favourite EP
    Pain of SalvationLinoleum: Pain of Salvation had a weird year, they released a DVD (Ending Themes: On the Two Deaths of Pain of Salvation) that documented the departures of long time members, bassist and leading Pain of Salvation figure Daniel Gildenlöw's brother, Kristoffer Gildenlöw and drummer Johan Langell while by the time of the release Kristoffer's replacement had already departed as well, their scheduled Progressive Nation 2009 US tour with Dream Theater was cancelled because of SPV's bankruptcy (InsideOut Music, the band's label was an SPV subsidiary) which also caused the delay of the release of their next album. However Century Media picked up InsideOut and thus the band managed to release Linoleum in November as well as, and no matter how weird that might sound, secure a place in the next year's Melodifestivalen, Sweden's Eurovision preliminary contest... So now after all these ups and downs and eurovision weirdness what about the music? Well, it's pretty awesome! The songs have a nice 70s feel distilled through PoS' unique music identity and Scorpion's Yellow Raven is masterfully covered. Let's see what 2010 has in store...

    Favourite
    The Nofairs - Cities and Closed Doors: Friends of a friend, N and Peter, are based in London and they make particularly beautiful music. I really hope they manage to get some serious attention.

    Favourite live performance
    I am split between 2:
    Faith No More at Vrachon Theater, Athens, this August. Watching them perform live produced sheer excitement, and Mike Patton... what a guy!
    Opeth at Fuzz Club, Athens, this December. To tell you the truth in a small corner of my mind I kept the possibility of getting negative results because of my Opeth overexposure, however they blew my mind, playing even better than their last gig in Athens past April.

    Favourite live experience
    So, like this July the Scorpions took their greek tour all over Greece and through Mytilene, Lesvos. The fact that our friends Reverse Split were one of the support bands was enough to take us there, and it was worth it! :)

    Discoveries of the year (i.e. long-time active awesome bands & artists that for some reason I ignored till last year)
    This year I finally listened to band 3 (I am just not able to describe how awesome The End Is Begun (2007) is!), Hallucinogen and related artists such as Ott and Younger Brother thanks to tsango, Giant Squid (Metridium Fields (2006) ftw!), Cripple Black Phoenix (the best way to get into a band? To watch them perform live! ;) ).

    Re-discoveries of the year (i.e. long-time active awesome bands & artists that for some reason I realised their awesomeness this past year)
    This year I managed to give the required attention to / Thrice and realise how great they are as well as be heavily drawn by the groove of Disturbed, thanks to Komotini's Valhalla & its DJs.

    Favourite / bar
    Valhalla, Komotini. It helped me keep my sanity while in the army. Much love to Sicasanath, krizz & the rest of the boozers! Cheers to Sakis, Magda & the rest at Valhalla! May the blessings of Odin be with you all!
  • TJTMMOT #2: My 2009 music retrospective... part I: My favourite albums

    11 Ene 2010, 12:09

    From my blog.
    THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH MUSIC OUT THERE:
    http://iknownothingaboutmusic.blogspot.com/

    My usual favourite albums list, now augmented to 50!

    Happy New Year everyone!!
    2009 is now long gone, 2010 is now and 2011 is still the future.
    Those of you (my faithful, awesome readers) that know me will no doubt expect this post. Why? Well, it is my perfect opportunity to compile lists, and I really really really like lists! Here you go then:

    Preliminaries
    Ok, first some introductory stuff, last year was a weird year for me, due to my military service, spent apart from Athens in Lamia and Komotini with some periods devoid of new music or even any music whatsoever. Thus I haven't listened to as much music as I wanted and also I have probably not paid as much attention as I should to some of the stuff I have listened too. Then again there's so much music out there that I don't think I'd ever be satisfied with how much I have listened to. Anyhow, I can say that I have almost properly listened to about 90 full albums released in 2009. This is from where my favourite albums of 2009 are selected. Both the selection and the order are based on my personal taste in music and of course other opinions are welcome.

    My favourite albums of 2009
    1. Alice in ChainsBlack Gives Way to Blue: My initial expectations when I learned that Alice in Chains were going to release a new album 14 years after their last and 7 years after the death of Layne Staley were not particularly high. After all, how could the unknown William Duvall replace Staley and how could the end product be anything other than an old rock band trying to sound young? Well, the truth is I was surprised, it seems all these years Jerry Cantrell kept many great ideas in his drawers, while DuVall fits perfectly in the new line-up without having to resort in mimicking Staley, even though several times his vocals follow similar melodies. The end result is the sound of a band that can still deliver exciting heavy and melodic songs.
    2. MuseThe Resistance: Muse is a band that never seizes to amaze me. After 2001's Origin of Symmetry I hoped for a worthy successor and 2 years later (2003) Absolution was indeed that, at that point I doubted they could keep up, but no, on 2006 they proved me wrong with Black Holes and Revelations. By 2009 I knew, Bellamy and co could hardly go wrong. Indeed, The Resistance is a collection of great songs and, with the exception of the kinda mediocre Exogenesis and its 3 parts, it managed to stay on repeat for many days since September's release.
    3. Biffy ClyroOnly Revolutions: After their mainstream breakthrough album Puzzles released in 2007, the hype surrounding Biffy Clyro has steadily increased and Only Revolutions was supposedly the album that would show Biffy's change from fame, supposedly, because the result shows the same ol' Biffy just wrote new songs. With this album though they kinda baffled me, it features some great songs, likeThat Golden Rule, Bubbles, Born On A Horse, some good songs and only one or two mediocre ones (God & Satan? wtf?), however initially it felt as a whole that maybe it was a small step down from Puzzle. The truth is though that after subsequent listens it grows on you and that seems like a feat for a band that lately manages to produce hit singles in the UK.
    4. EditorsIn This Light and on This Evening: ...And suddenly after 2 albums full of Joy Divisionesque, guitar-driven, , single-friendly anthems they shift the focus to their keyboards, synths & electronic sounds. Of course, the Editors' identity is still present, Tom Smith's vocals still remind us of Ian Curtis, but the music now also has New Order and Depeche Mode elements. Bottom line is they evolved their sound and still kept their ability to compose catchy, beautiful songs, I say well done!
    5. Crippled Black PhoenixThe Resurrectionists / Night Raider: Put , , , , all in the mix together with large quantities of soul and you get this... and this is a great album(s) from a great band. To think that I only found out about them before their gig in Athens last September makes me feel is ...unthinkable!
    6. dredgThe Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion: 4 years after the marvellous Catch Without Arms Dredg are back with a collection of beautiful, emotional (but not 'emo'), arty alternative/progressive rock songs. The band seems to have tried to take the best elements from Catch Without Arms and El Cielo (2002) and I think it succeeded in it.
    7. Giant SquidThe Ichthyologist: Wow! That was my first reaction upon listening to Giant Squid's previous effort, Metridium Fields (2006), it is not common in the / realm to find a band that truly caries a unique sound and that was exactly what I witnessed. I don't know if it's the at times Serj Tankian-esque vocals alone that bring this unique identity to the band, but the game was won. 3 years later The Ichthyologist manages once again to captivate and carry you to its world, a dark, yet beautiful, world.
    8. Marmaduke DukeDuke Pandemonium: Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil and Sucioperro's JP Reid rename themselves as The Atmosphere and The Dragon and release under the Marmaduke Duke moniker. They play weirdo music and they do it for the lolz. Weird thing is though that their second album, Duke Pandemonium features more than a handful of good, fun, dance songs, and that makes the album much more than a mere joke. Definitely the most uplifting and fun album I've listened to this past year.
    9. Devin Townsend ProjectAddicted: There is no question whatsoever that Devin Townsend is a genius, the crazy scientist type of genius. His latest experiment after cutting his hair, quitting alcohol and smoking was to release a tetralogy of albums as the Devin Townsend Project with the goal of clarifying his musical identity, whatever that means... Addicted, the second part of this project is his supposedly straightforward, commercial, heavy, rock album. Well, sorry Devin, but it's not. Yeap, it's more straightforward and more commercial than, let's say, Strapping Young Lad, but still, it's far from what straightforward has come to mean and what commercial unfortunately is today, which in the end is a good thing. Last but not least the highlight of the album is no other than Anneke van Giersbergen (Agua de Annique, ex-The Gathering) that provides guest vocals on several tracks of the album.
    10. KatatoniaNight is the New Day: The new Katatonia album is a worthy successor of their 2 previous masterpieces, Viva Emptiness (2003) and The Great Cold Distance (2006), it follows their now trademark melancholic alternative/progressive rock/metal sound without sounding too much like Opeth as many have said (apart from the track Idle Blood which arguably could easily be part of an Opeth album). No, Katatonia in Night Is the New Day sound exactly like Katatonia and invite you to join them in another cathartic, melancholic journey to depression...
    11. OSIBlood: OSI has long stopped being a supergroup, after all Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy was only a guest on their second album Free back in 2006. In 2009, Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) and Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, ex-Dream Theater) recruited Porcupine Tree's (and lately also King Crimson's) Gavin Harrison to fill in the place behind the drums, however he seems mostly like a session drummer. The bottom line is that nowadays OSI looks like Moore's way to play heavier music than his other current projects (solo and Chroma Key) and Matheos' way to play and experiment with softer music than Fates Warning, and that is exactly what this sounds like more than ever. It's a good thing that once again the result is highly rewarding, with Matheos' riffs skilfully breaking Moore's ambient electronic soundscapes and the latter's voice subtly seems to understate each song's heaviness. Unfortunately Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt's guest appearance on Stockholm is not as much of a highlight as it'd promise to be.
    12. KarnivoolSound Awake: Through the years I've listened to several bands that are influenced from, try to sound like or plainly just plagiarize Tool. Most of these efforts usually end up badly, but the ones that don't are guaranteed to sound more than just good. Australians Karnivool are such a band, heavily influenced by Tool and thankfully heavily influenced by Tool's influences thus making them more than just a sound-alike band. Arguably Ian Kenny's vocals several times sound like Keenan, but even after one has just listened to the album halfway will realise that both Kenney and Karnivool have their own identity. Sound Awake features several great / songs with highlights such as Simple Boy, Goliath, Set Fire to the Hive and All I Know.
    13. Dream TheaterBlack Clouds & Silver Linings: Dream Theater have long been one of my favourite bands and as much as it saddens me to accept I may have to go as far as 2002 to find their last truly great album (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). This does not mean their subsequent releases were bad, far from that actually, they all had different styles and great songs and Black Clouds & Silver Linings follows closely. This time the change in style is backwards, and even though that might not seem ideal for a band, it is exactly what made me like this album. With this album DT produced 6 classic progressive metal songs, now how oxymoron is that?
    14. Them Crooked VulturesThem Crooked Vultures: Once upon a time John Paul Jones met Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. They sat together and jammed. Then they formed a band and recorded an album. The album was good. Some might feel Josh overshadows the other two but still, the album is good.
    15. White LiesTo Lose My Life...: Yes, To Lose My Life... is not going to rewrite music history. Yes, White Lies are yet another revivalist, Joy Divisionesque band doing what Interpol, Editors and other less well-known bands have already done. However, their album is full of memorable songs, will they still be memorable next year? Dunno 'bout that mate, what I know is that this year I liked them, a lot.
    16. MastodonCrack the Skye: Mastodon's shift towards a more sound has now become more than evident and in conjunction with the almost total elimination of their growling vocals their sound has now become more accessible. Crack the Skye is multilayered, heavy, complex, epic, great.
    17. IsisWavering Radiant: Isis have been the "forerunners" of the so-called genre. Oceanic (2002) and Panopticon (2004) have been genre-defining albums and in fact the latter is definitely one of my all time favourite albums. In the Absence of Truth that came in 2006, even though a good album, did not live up to the masterpiece status of its predecessors. I'm not yet sure whether Wavering Radiant lives up to that either, I do however feel a much stronger appeal towards this new offering, could it be that its soundscapes feel closer to Panopticon?
    18. The ProdigyInvaders Must Die: Now that was one hell of a comeback! After the mediocre, 2004 released, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, Liam Howlett and co decided to go back to their roots and in fact Invaders Must Die is full of sounds reminiscent of Experience (1992) and Music for the Jilted Generation (1994). Could it be that you liked this album only cause it reminded you of your past? Could be, could be, I ain't gonna admit it though.
    19. Cheap ScienceEnemy: Nikitas Klint (Νικήτας Κλιντ) is the man behind the Cheap Science moniker. Klint, also known as Xray, is a artist, forrmer member of the seminal greek hip-hop (self dubbed as ) group Active Member and current member of the hip-hop band Rodes (Ρόδες, en: Wheels). Ever since the release of their first album in 2005 Rodes have been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of the greek hip-hop sound mixing it with , , and music, with Klint being at the forefront. He has been talking about a solo release for a long time but what he finally released was far from the straightforward hip-hop album fans might have been waiting for. Instead he self-released a weird collection of tracks full of samples, beats, loops, both greek and english lyrics, not much rap and no visible boundaries. Even if some feel disappointed from Enemy, and I ain't one of them, they surely won't disagree that is one of the most interesting albums released last year in Greece.
    20. The GatheringThe West Pole: The Gathering's first album after Anneke van Giersbergen's departure from the band finds the band's sound a bit heavier than Home (2006) but mostly unaffected by Anneke's absence, in fact Silje Wergeland's voice is most of the times sounding like Anneke. Good thing is that The Gathering's composing quality is unaffected as well and thus The West Pole is yet another beautiful atmospheric album. It just keeps makes you think how much better it might sound should Anneke still be in the band.
    21. ThriceBeggars: Many times have I overlooked certain artists for quite some time and when I finally pay a bit more attention to them I realise I missed so much. Thrice are such artists, them being described as is extremely limiting and them being described as makes them look much less appealing than what they actually are. Since I only recently started listening to the band's discography I haven't yet fully grasped Thrice's essence, what I can guarantee for sure though is that it is both beautiful and adventurous and that is exactly what can be heard in Beggars.
    22. The Twilight SadForget the Night Ahead: These lads manage to skilfully combine noise elements with almost -like melodies and James Graham's melancholic scottish accented vocals, thus making Forget the Night Ahead a beautiful album.
    23. The Flaming LipsEmbryonic: Embryonic is a , , monster of an album which definitely needs more listens than the ones I have already given it, maybe it deserved to be higher in this list.
    24. Pure Reason RevolutionAmor Vincit Omnia: Pure Reason Revolution decided to put the electronic elements of their sound to the forefront, the result? A finely crafted album with a fresh sound. Nicely done!
    25. Arctic MonkeysHumbug: Humbug sounds like Arctic Monkeys fused with The Last Shadow Puppets and the result is a particularly nice album, though not as good as the latter's The Age Of Understatement (2008).
    26. BlakrocBlakroc: meets , its "" result is more than just an experiment, or better it is a successful experiment.
    27. Pearl JamBackspacer: These guys never seem to get the hint, is long gone, they should have stopped playing music by now, but no, they keep on coming back, and every time they release a new album it feels honest and it is usually full of good songs. Backspacer is no different and makes me feel happy about them not having broken up by now, hell, Alice in Chains are back and Soundgarden are reforming.
    28. ArchiveControlling Crowds: Archive are back with another good album, maybe not as good as Lights (2006) but good nonetheless. This was followed by a second release, Controlling Crowds, Part IV which for some reason I haven't listened to yet.
    29. Paradise LostFaith Divides Us – Death Unites Us: Paradise Lost have by now fully returned to metal and their latest album seems to be their best in their current trilogy (Paradise Lost (2005), In Requiem (2007) & Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us), heavy, atmospheric, melodic, its a return to form.
    30. Devin Townsend ProjectKi: Devin Townsend's first part of his Devin Townsend Project is far from most of his other endeavours. Aiming for a "restrained, melodic, and tranquil" sound, Ki really does have that kind of a sound giving it as a whole a Porcupine Tree-ish feel.
    31. Porcupine TreeThe Incident: Steven Wilson gave us another great album, however it feels as though something is missing from this 2 disc release for me to consider it a masterpiece like its 3 predecessors (In Absentia (2002), Deadwing (2005) & Fear of a Blank Planet (2007)).
    32. The Mars VoltaOctahedron: After their first 2 wonderful albums (De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003) & Frances the Mute (2005)) I felt that The Mars Volta lost it somewhere, however Octahedron, their 5th album, feels like a return to form, an effortless dismissal of pointless complexity and an interesting refinement of their song-writing skills.
    33. We Were Promised JetpacksThese Four Walls: We Were Promised Jetpacks remove some cacophony from their fellow compatriots The Twilight Sad, add a bit more melody and there you have it another beautiful album from up north.
    34. The xxxx: An album I haven't been able yet to listen to as much as I wanted and should probably be further up high in this list. It's dreamy feel and the smoothly alternating male/female vocals manage to captivate you from the start. Amazing debut.
    35. JenifereverSpring Tides: Jeniferever's dreamy features some great melodies and listening to Spring Tides is highly rewardng.
    36. GazpachoTick Tock: I only recently came across this Marillion-like (modern Marillion) band from Norway and Tick Tock made me want to further check them out. Very good album.
    37. AmorphisSkyforger: I must say I never quite paid much attention to Amorphis, nothing I heard from them drew my attention, thus when I listened to their 9th album to date, Skyforger, I wasn't expecting much. However their (with the extreme elements of death kept to a minimum) managed to keep me interested throughout the album. I guess it's time to dig deeper to their back-catalogue to find out whether I was missing more.
    38. Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz: I have a thing about hype, I hate it, I can subconsciously make myself dislike a band just because I have become sick of the hype the "indie" press surrounds it with. Another reason for me to dislike a band before even listening to its music is to judge from appearance. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs suffered from both, I felt sick from their hype and Karen O kinda disgusted me. Thankfully I am also used to giving second and third and fourth chances to stuff I have come at some point to dislike. This second chance I gave to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs paid off, It's Blitz is quite an interesting album, its sound and Karen O's vocals produce a happy, upbeat almost Blondie-like feel and it works.
    39. NightstalkerSuperfreak: What could one expect from Nightstalker if not for a ing album full of ballsy anthems? Greece's legendary stoner lords deliver once again.
    40. ParamoreBrand New Eyes: Guilty pleasure? Fuck that, this is a good album with catchy songs and more than decent music and using the words "guilty pleasure" anywhere near them means you are no more than a fuckin' elitist! (shit, now what does that make me then?)
    41. Αλκίνοος ΙωαννίδηςΝεροποντή / Alkinoos Ioannides – Neroponti (en: Rainstorm/Downpour): Alkinoos is arguably one of the best s and his first album of new songs in 6 years (after the wonderful Οι περιπέτειες ενός προσκυνητή (Oi peripeteies enos proskyniti, en: The Adventures of a Pilgrim), released in 2003) reaffirms exactly that. The classical music elements in his music are made a bit more profound and his songwriting remains as adventurous as always. As a whole it might not be as good as his previous album and the aforementioned classical elements might make it feel a bit over the top at times, but still Alkinoos doesn't fail to deliver.
    42. DovesKingdom Of Rust: I used to think these guys were nothing more than yet another band. Upon listening Kingdom of Rust I was baffled, either I had listened to the wrong band or they transformed themselves, or maybe both. Dunno, really, cause here it's as if I listen to an Elbow influenced band with maybe a bit of The Coral in the mix, and that is a good thing. Well, I guess now I really have to carefully check out their earlier stuff.
    43. Wild BeastsTwo Dancers: They say Wild Beasts is a band you either love or hate, mainly because of lead singer Hayden Thorpe's falsetto voice. That is exactly where I stand as well, there are some songs where his voice is just irritating while on others it fits perfectly. And my own favourites are the songs where his voice is side to side with Tom Fleming's deeper one.
    44. The DecemberistsThe Hazards of Love: The Decemberists delve further into and they don't get lost. An album that I enjoy more and more after every listen.
    45. PelicanWhat We All Come To Need: What can you say about a album that you enjoyed but did not bring anything new to the table? Well, don't ask me, I asked you first!
    46. JetShaka Rock: 2003's Get Born was awesome, 2006's Shine On mediocre, Shaka Rock is somewhere in the middle.
    47. La RouxLa Roux: Catchy and highly enjoyable , especially when trying to dance to it without moving your feet, but seriously, what's the deal with that hairdo?
    48. Iggy PopPréliminaires: I've never been Iggy's greatest fan, usually I've been checking out a song or two and then moving on to something else. But this album, this experiment of sorts, intrigued me enough to check it out as a whole, and it was quite interesting, I mean Iggy as a french jazz singer? How weird can that be?
    49. Mute MathArmistice: Their 2006 self-titled debut had a fresh sound and many good songs, Armistice lacks a bit of both, but still, it is quite enjoyable.
    50. 30 Seconds to MarsThis Is War: Jared Leto and co started with the awesome / with a stint of 30 Seconds to Mars in 2002, then they for some reason went / on 2005's A Beautiful Lie and thankfully they started moving their sound backwards again with This Is War. I haven't been able to listen to the album enough times to get a crystal clear view however it did manage to be my last time addition to the list.
  • THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH MUSIC OUT THERE #1: Metallica - Death Magnetic: The Monster…

    13 Oct 2008, 15:58

    So, I have a blog.
    THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH MUSIC OUT THERE:
    http://iknownothingaboutmusic.blogspot.com/

    A review of sorts for Death Mangetic:

    It starts with a pumping heart.

    Metallica, a band many times thought to be dead, dead artistically, many still view it as a corpse. Death Magnetic, the name of the new album. It starts with a pumping heart, then a guitar, then drums, about a minute and a half down the song, guitar riffing. You may start to feel there is some life still there. "That Was Just Your Life" dude and it actually has solos. This time no statement had to be made through the production of the album, no tin-can sound from the drums.

    "The End of the Line", even more guitar riffing. Addictive riffing. Metallica are back, talking about Death they complete their complete resurrection. Yeah, they died, they died during the time they could write no music, during Hetfield's rehab, during Ulrich's Napster obsessions, they showed their Anger with St.Anger and now they are back with an album that is more than just a statement. An album that is more than just a way to exorcise internal demons. The second song levitates itself following Hetfield singing "The slave becomes the master".

    And then "Broken, Beat & Scarred" riff upon riff upon riff. "You rise you fall you're down then you rise again, what don't kill ya make ya more strong". I think that few fans of heavy music will be able to deny the abundance of metal hooks this song offers.

    "The Day That Never Comes" is a song in the vein of "One" and if one has that in mind will probably not have the best of opinions for the new single. Still though it is a good song. Starting off with a ballad-like opening and then cultivating into an instrumental section full of riffing and solos for the last 3 minutes of its 7.56 duration.

    The next song is one of the highlights of the album, "All Nightmare Long" is definitely not a classic Metallica song. It is however a classic Death Magnetic song because of its almost 2 minute instrumental intro. The highly addictive chorus guides us until the next song...

    "Cyanide" is a song I have listened to too many times, since it was the first song that Metallica made public by playing it live in August. It's not a bad song, probably just not my cup of tea, however I view it as one of the weakest moments in Death Magnetic.

    And it is followed by one of the strongest... "The Unforgiven III". I'm sure people either smirked or worried a bit when hearing that this was a new song title. I won't go into comparisons with the other 2, however I will say that to my ears this song has all the credentials to become a classic. From about 4.30 and onwards the song just takes off... classic.

    "The Judas Kiss" has already caught the attention of many, it took a while for me to fully appreciate. Still, I do not view it as one of my favourites, listening to it though is highly rewarding, especially when in the car (and not in traffic).

    So, it's been a long time since Metallica created an instrumental and here it comes, "Suicide & Redemption", an instrumental packed with riffs clocking at just below 10 minutes (9.58) and is the longest Metallica song ever to appear on a studio album (yeah, random trivia, I know, wikipedia is our friend :) ).

    And the end, 'My Apocalypse", the shortest song in the album (5.01), is a fast thrash (?) song that reminds us of Metallica's past.

    Overall the album is good, the album is really good. The music has elements from many periods of Metallica, "Master of Puppets", "...and Justice for All", "Metallica", "Load"/"Reload" and even "St.Anger" and the end result is indicative of today's Metallica. 5 years ago this was exactly what I thought the next Metallica album would unveil and today's Metallica is thankfully able to live up to (at least) my expectations. A band able to make you headbang, to make you rock, to make you enjoy.

    Metallica is a band everyone knows, many love and many love to hate. They are back, if you want them, accept them, if you thought they sold out after -enter random Metallica album- stay away, and remember that bashing Metallica is kind of so yesterday.
  • 50000+ tracks played! (another generic uninteresting journal entry!)

    11 Oct 2008, 0:26

    Yo! So, I almost missed this milestone (!!), and then I would be sooooo disappointed for not writing another generic analysis of my overall top 20! But I missed it only by 44 tracks, ain't bad, and here I go...

    Previous "milestones":
    40000 tracks played: 2008-04-01
    30000 tracks played: 2007-04-28
    20000 tracks played: 2006-04-29
    10000 tracks played: 2005-11-19

    50044 tracks played since January 4th 2005
    50044 tracks in 1374 days ~= 36.42 tracks per day
    and comparing to the 40000+ tracks played! journal entry of April 1th 2008:
    10025 tracks played since April 1st 2008
    10025 tracks in 192 days ~= 52.21 tracks per day (as opposed to ~=29.7)

    Top 20 Artists:

    1. Tool (-) - 2,009 tracks
    Well, yeah, Tool are still no 1 on my charts... who would have thought??? :P

    2. Ρόδες (-) - 1,221 tracks
    Hmm, I was not really expecting this band to be still on the 2nd spot. However with 2 really good albums of , , , / they can apparently still keep me interested!

    3. Dream Theater (+1) - 1,142 tracks
    Ok, on the last milestone journal entry DT lost their spot from Pain of Salvation and now they reclaimed it... Probably mostly because their discography is larger.

    4. Pain of Salvation (-1) - 1,126 tracks
    As above! Let's see what the new album will be like... and let's also see when mr Gildenlow is going to release that live DVD he has promised!

    5. Metallica (+3) - 1,090 tracks
    Ok... THEY ARE BACK!! FUCK YEAH!!! \m/
    They would definitely be higher if my discman or mobile could also scrobble, Death Magnetic is definitely the album I enjoyed the most till now in 2008!

    6. Active Member (+3) - 978 tracks
    Well, their last releases might not be that good, their first 5 albums are amazing though! Real jewels of /!

    7. Incubus (-2) - 975 tracks
    Haven't seen these fuckers live yet... :(

    8. Biffy Clyro (-1) - 959 tracks
    Well, I am turning into a fanboy! Hell! I even went to a signing session! :D

    9. Porcupine Tree (-3) - 884 tracks
    I am really curious as to what Steven Wilson will do next... him producing the new Anathema album is quite interesting as well!

    10. Coheed and Cambria (-) - 720 tracks
    So their next step in the saga is the prequel?

    11. Radiohead (-) - 710 tracks
    Finally saw them live this summer in Glasgow and they were freakin' awesome!!

    12. Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου (+4) - 518 tracks
    His collaboration with Διονύσης Σαββόπουλος is not as good as I expected it to be, however his past albums were enough to seal his move up the chart. :)

    12. Opeth (+7) - 518 tracks
    For some reason they were too low on the top 20... well, Watershed put things in their place, high! It's quite interesting that the band keeps on evolving like that!

    14. Raining Pleasure (new) - 484 tracks
    Hmm, the first new entry! Raining Pleasure is a good band and their 2005 reinterpretation of the classic Reflections (originally by the great composer Manos Hadjidakis and the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble in 1969) seems to have given them good inspiration for their last album, Who's gonna tell Juliet? which I repeatedly enjoyed these past 192 days!

    15. Oceansize (-3) - 482 tracks
    It's quite irritating that 1 year in the UK I did not manage to see them play live, something that sadly I doubt will ever happen in Greece...

    16. King Crimson (-1) - 458 tracks
    The new lineup features the return of the dual drummer with one of them being Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree fame... quite interesting I'd say!

    17. dredg (-4) - 448 tracks
    Come on! Release the new album! This will also stop you guys from moving down my charts! Now thing about that! :P

    18. Editors (-1) - 445 tracks
    Poor man's Interpol or not I like them! ;)

    19. Muse (-5) - 443 tracks
    So, isn't it about time for them to release new stuff?

    20. Pearl Jam (-2) - 425 tracks
    As a greek might say Steady Value! :)

    Random Trivia:
    - 7 bands/artists come from the United States, 7 from United Kingdom, 4 from Greece and 2 from Sweden
    - Only 3 of the 4 greek artists have lyrics in a language other than english (greek).
    - Interestingly I have
    seen live 16 out of the 20 bands/artists mentioned! Kewl!! :D
  • My favourite albums of 2007...

    26 Jun 2008, 0:32

    Ok, so it's June of 2008 (and in fact the end of June is close) and I am compiling my list of favourite albums that came out in 2007! Well, yeah, last year it was in April so I guess I am just getting worse... however the actual list was compiled in April of 2008, I'm just bad at writing it. :P

    2007 was particularly difficult... many really good albums had to stay out even though at times I might prefer them more than some that made it here... anyhow, here we go:

    [disclaimer: Do keep in mind this is a favourite albums list and in no way does it claim to be a best albums list...]

    1. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet: Brilliant! Steven Wilson managed to amaze me (and probably not only me!) once again! In Absentia was a great album, Deadwing was an equally great album in a different way, Fear of a Blank Planet seems to combine the feel of these two albums to create something greater, and then some! 6 songs (including the wonderful 17-minute Anesthetize) with each and every one of them able to make you enter that special atmosphere that every good concept album seems to carry with it and it manages to drag you down in it. A freakin' amazing album if you ask me!
    2. Pain of Salvation - Scarsick: Well, many are going to complain: "PoS have gone nu!", "PoS have become too preachy!", etc... Well, NO. Simple as that, no they haven't. It's just another concept by the ingenious mister Daniel Gildenlöw that decided to use the second part of The Perfect Element to criticize the United States. Of course the album is not just that and that is the great thing about it. It still features grand songs, I'll just mention 2, the brilliant disco metal party song Disco Queen and the epic Enter Rain!
    3. Ρόδες - Silent Disco: I think I've been all over this again, the way this band combines with , , , and is amazing (I think I've used that adjective way too much haven't I?) and Silent Disco just manages to reaffirm my opinion of them!
    4. Biffy Clyro - Puzzle: So that's supposed to be like their mainstream album? The one where they compromise to make themselves appeal to a greater audience? Well, if that's the case I really hope every band had to make such a compromise to get mainstream. I mean the album is just really really really good. Yeah, you could listen Folding Stars from like Snow Patrol (and what's the problem with Snow Patrol again?) but definitely Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies and a bunch of other tracks are pure Biffy Clyro smart and beautiful songs.
    5. Editors - An End Has A Start: One might say an album full of singles, another might say an album full of really nice songs. Imo they'd both be right. It could be that my watching them live in Glasgow this year has put them higher that expected in this list, it's still a favourite albums list though and An End Has A Start fits exactly that characterization.
    -. Interpol - Our Love to Admire: I really couldn't have them higher than Editors cause even though I liked their album, I liked the Editors' one more, however I couldn't have them lower cause really that would just not be fair for Interpol cause they clearly are a "better" band than Editors. Then again I can just be full of shit, all I know is that this album along with the one above really make me enjoy myself.
    7. Radiohead - In Rainbows: a. It's Radiohead, b. They are brilliant, c. In Rainbows is a good album, combining ...well, Radiohead with Thom Yorke's The Eraser more -ish stuff. (d. it was free et al :P)
    8. Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos: What would one expect from Dream Theater at this point? Another Scenes? Another Six Degrees? Or just another good album? Well, that's exactly what I was waiting and that's exactly what I got. Let's face it, DT are probably not going to be as as they have been before, and if they do, well, that's going to be a pleasant surprise, till then however I'll keep on enjoying their not that !
    9. Coheed and Cambria - No World For Tomorrow: A worthy follow-up to Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness. It might not have a song that amazing like Welcome Home, it might however be a slightly better album overall. Thumbs up!
    10. Oceansize - Frames: Not much I can say here. Like I said before these guys in my eyes represent the new and having 3 great albums in a row is no small feat. I hope they carry on like that!

    PS: A lot of albums I really liked were left outside, but the following 2 were the closer to entering this list: Arcade Fire - Neon Bible and Raining Pleasure - Who's gonna tell Juliet?
  • 40,000+ tracks played! (hooray etc. + totally pointless journal entry, etc)

    1 Abr 2008, 1:59

    The end of a busy period... what better to do than write meaningless journal entries in last.fm? ;)

    So, 11 months ago I surpassed 30,000 tracks played, 1 year and another 11 months ago I surpassed 20,000 tracks played, while 2 years and 4 months ago I surpassed 10,000 tracks played. Well, now, 3 years and 2 months since my registration in last.fm I surpassed 40,000 tracks played! Hurray!! A small unscientific analysis follows:

    40,019 tracks played since January 4th 2005
    40,019 tracks in 1179 days ~=33.94 tracks per day.
    and comparing to the 30,000+ tracks played! journal entry of April 28th 2007:
    10,007 tracks played since April 28th 2007.
    10,000 tracks in 337 days ~=29.7 tracks per day. (as opposed to ~=27)

    Top 20 Artists

    1. Tool (-) - 1,823 tracks
    Not much to say really, Tool.

    2. Ρόδες (+2) - 1,116 tracks
    This , , , / (yeah, all that! :P) band managed to reclaim its place as 2nd in tracks played on the overall top. Main reason was their new album, Silent Disco, its release reaffirmed my thoughts that they are one of the most promising and interesting (in general) bands.

    3. Pain of Salvation (-1) - 991 tracks
    This band has released 7 masterpieces and even though 2/5's of the band have left the past 2 years I still feel the best has yet to come. We believe in Daniel!

    4. Dream Theater (+1) - 983 tracks
    Systematic Chaos is a nice metal album... I mean whenever I listen to it I enjoy it wholeheartedly, however I just wish that at some point they'll stop producing good and nice albums and will go back to releasing a masterpiece...

    5. Incubus (+2) - 822 tracks
    In the 30,000+ tracks played entry I mentioned their lack of airplay in Greece in general... well, in a pub in Edinburgh I listened to the whole Make Yourself and Morning View back to back. I really wish I'll finally manage to see them at some summer festival...

    6. Porcupine Tree (-) - 812 tracks
    Fear of a Blank Planet is a fuckin' awesome album, did I say that before? Well, it is!

    7. Biffy Clyro(new) - 800 tracks
    I guess buying all their albums had an impact on my top. Seeing them play live in Edinburgh Corn Exchange confirmed my suspicion that they are a great band. I am guessing (and hoping) that the best has yet to come from these guys!

    8. Metallica (+4) - 695 tracks
    I fuckin' saw them live at last, last summer in Rockwave Festival in Greece and well, they are the greatest / band, period. I am trying to arrange to see them again this summer... Let's see what Rick Rubin will do to their sound (hopefully great things!).

    9. Active Member (-6) - 679 tracks
    Only 40 tracks played by Active Member from the last journal entry... the lack of their songs from my laptop is to blame.

    10. Coheed and Cambria (+3) - 640 tracks
    At first I thought No World For Tomorrow was no match for Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness, it managed to win me though even though it doesn't have any Welcome Home. Seeing them live was great, even though I'd prefer them not to be part of the Kerrang! Tour...

    11. Radiohead (+8) - 523 tracks
    Just to get things strait, In Rainbows is a really nice album!

    12. Oceansize (+4) - 425 tracks
    Another band with a new album out this past year, Frames is another flawless record from a band that I really like.

    13. dredg (-4) - 410 tracks
    I didn't listen much from these guys, however their new album is apparently ready (check their myspace) so probably this'll change.

    14. Muse (+1) - 406 tracks
    So, they went to Greece the year I was not in Greece and I haven't had the chance yet to see them in Scotland... fuck it!

    15. King Crimson (-7) - 405 tracks
    Copying from the 20,000 tracks entry: "The greatest progressive rock band of all times (imo)... I love every single aspect and incarnation of this band, a few more albums and my collection will have them all!"

    16. Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου (-5) - 403 tracks
    Thanassis Papakonstantinou
    (somewhat copying from the 30,000+ & 20,000+ entries) Now this is an artist that needs to be listened by more people, even from people outside Greece. He began as a good songwriter of modern/traditional music but has evolved to one of the most important greek artists. 3 of his albums (Βραχνός Προφήτης/Vrachnos Profitis) (1998), Αγρύπνια/Agrypnia (2001) and H βροχή από κάτω/I vrohi apo kato (2006)) are a wonderfull showcase of his talent to fuse music with , , even (?) and his last album Διάφανος/Diafanos (2006) is an album-return to his less experimental days, a successful return...

    17. Editors (new) - 397 tracks
    Now that was a true obsession! Reasons for this obsession were both their first album, The Back Room, and the new album, An End Has A Start, and then their amazing show in Glasgow!

    18. Pearl Jam (-4) - 395 tracks
    Not much to say here, they are one of the best big bands out there today and one of my favourite bands.

    19. Opeth (new) - 369 tracks
    A re-entry for a band last present in the top 20 in the 10,000+ entry, I'm sure the next entry will find them higher since their new album is set to be released this coming June... it's been 3 years since their last studio album... let's see...

    20. Queens of the Stone Age (-2) - 354 tracks
    2 things:
    a. As far as I am concerned their new album sucks.
    b. I had bought tickets for their sold out show in Edinburgh, however I found out they were cancelled the last days before the show... probably someone from above decided I didn't deserve to see them after bashing their last album that way... :P

    some stupid stuff to point out:
    - 8 bands/artists come from the United States, 8 come from United Kingdom, 3 from Greece and 2 from Sweden
    - Only the greek artists have lyrics in another language than english (greek).
    - I am really happy to find out that I have seen live 13 out of the 20 bands/artists mentioned... cool!
  • Just a quick remark on OSI's Free

    26 Jul 2007, 11:43

    Basically I was driving around Athens and Piraeus for various jobs that needed to be done. On a sidenote the heat in Athens this week is unbearable, reaching and often surpassing 40 degrees Celcium. Anyway I was thankfully in my air condition equipped car and had OSI's Free on the cd player... and man was I impressed! Ok, I have already included this album in the list of my favourite albums of 2006, but damn this listening/driving session was a true revelation, I mean this album is trully amazing. Jim Matheos's guitars, Kevin Moore's vocals and keyboards and even Mike Portnoy's drums, take this album to another level. Fuckin' awesome! I love it! :)
  • 30000+ tracks played! (almost as many as the artist/album connections included!)

    28 Abr 2007, 19:07

    The 10000 tracks frontier was surpassed on November 19th 2005, the 20000 tracks on April 29th 2006, a whole year ago (minus 1 day). My large offline periods are more than obvious. So let's see what we'll see...

    Right now my tracks played count 30012!
    30012 tracks played since January 4th 2005.
    30012 tracks in 844 days ~=35.5 tracks per day.
    and comparing to the 20000+ tracks played! journal entry of April 29th 2006:
    9950 tracks played since April 29th 2006.
    9950 tracks in 364 days ~=27 tracks per day. (as opposed to ~=57)

    Top 20 Artists:

    1. Tool (-) - 1560 tracks
    10,000 Days is the reason almost 1/10th of these 9950 tracks played are from Tool! This album monopolized my playlist almost all summer and during Christmass time because of the band's live show in Athens on December 16th 2006. Definitely my favourite band this past year!

    2. Pain of Salvation (+4) - 803 tracks
    Scarsick was finally released this January and showed once again what a great band Pain of Salvation is. They manage to use many different music styles, ranging from their signature sound to without ever having something seem out of place. Seeing them live on April 1st 2007 was definitely not a joke!

    3. Active Member (+1) - 649 tracks
    This / band used to be my favourite for a long time, however they seem to have lost their touch with their last releases, I for one feel their last great album was 2001's Στον καιρό του αλλόκοτου φόβου/Ston kairo tou allokotou fovou, their recent release, the 3CD Σκιεράτσα/Skieratsa, was a decent release, not what I was expecting though...

    4. Ρόδες (Rodes) (-2) - 648 tracks
    This , , , / band (it's always a fun repeating this! :P ) seems to be in constant decline in my charts, being no1 at the 10000 tracks entry and no2 at the 20000 tracks one, the real reason is that its second album is still in the works and even though Στη γιορτή της φαντασίας/Sti giorti tis fantasias is a great album I need something fresh!

    5. Dream Theater (-2) - 641 tracks
    Their new album, Systematic Chaos, is on its way and the first free download Constant Motion is highly promising! They'll probably move up in the future!

    6. Porcupine Tree (-1) - 618 tracks
    Fear of a Blank Planet is a great album!!!!! Deadwing was a great album, In Absentia was a great album... Porcupine Tree is a great band! :)
    btw Way Out of Here was the 30000th track!

    7. Incubus (+4) - 555 tracks
    A highly underrated band, here in Greece that is, however all their singles from Light Grenades seem to get a more than decent airplay lately. And that's the way it should be since Incubus deserve it!

    8. King Crimson (-) - 392 tracks
    Copying from the 20000 tracks entry: "The greatest band of all times (imo)... I love every single aspect and incarnation of this band, a few more albums and my collection will have them all!"

    9. dredg (+4) - 350 tracks
    Great / band, I hear their new album is on the works!

    10. System of a Down (-3) - 347 tracks
    Strangely I have almost stop listening to them this past year...

    11. Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου (+7) - 344 tracks
    Thanassis Papakonstantinou
    This great artist after a 3 album run of , and fused with music (1998's Βραχνός Προφήτης/Vrachnos Profitis, 2001's Αγρύπνια/Agrypnia and 2006's Η βροχή από κάτω/I vrochi apo kato) released Διάφανος/Diafanos last December, an album-return to his less days, a successful return.

    12. Metallica (-3) - 341 tracks
    They're coming to Greece this summer! My ticket is ready!!!

    13. Coheed and Cambria (+3) - 340 tracks
    I always enjoy listening to their nice , and s. I am very curious for their next step.

    14. Pearl Jam (new) - 327 tracks
    Strangely they were absent from my top 20, I guess their awesome performance in Athens on September 30th 2006 boosted them in my charts.

    15. Muse (new) - 314 tracks
    Another strange absence from my top 20, Black Holes and Revelations was an album I simply couldn't stop listening!

    16. Oceansize (-6) - 301 tracks
    Copying from my 20000 tracks entry: "A worthy descendant of the great bands, with selected elements from modern ."

    17. The Mars Volta (-3) - 273 tracks
    It's not that Amputechture is a bad album, it's just that I seem to be a bit tired of their sound lately... strange.

    18. Queens of the Stone Age (-1) - 270 tracks
    Let's see what the new album will be like...

    19. Radiohead (-7) - 265 tracks
    Tom Yorke's solo effort was a worthy alternative!

    20. Queensrÿche (-) - 260 tracks
    Ok, Operation: Mindcrime II was not Operation: Mindcrime, it might not even be one of their best albums, Queensrÿche is a nice band nevertheless.

    20. Rush (-7) - 260 tracks
    I still need time to fully appreciate them.


    - Tool's 10,000 Days still dominate my overall top tracks, with Vicarious in particular having been played 216 times!
  • The new Porcupine Tree album...

    24 Abr 2007, 18:37

    So basically I just want to express my enthousiasm about the new Porcupine Tree album, Fear of a Blank Planet... it's fuckin' awesome! It just surpassed Deadwing in my PT top albums list. And Anesthetize... what a song!!!!!???!!!!!???!?! Great I tell you GREAT!!
  • My favourite albums of 2006...

    8 Abr 2007, 20:33

    -WTF?!? It's April! We have entered the 4th month of 2007 and this dude is compiling his list of favourite albums that came out in 2006?
    -Well... actually... yes!

    No time to waste, here we go:
    [disclaimer: keep in mind that I chose mostly from the ones I own since I am not able to fully appreciate burned music and mp3's, furthermore my Hard Drive recently crashed and a large part of my mp3 collection was lost :( ]

    1. Tool - 10,000 Days: It might not be Lateralus (i.e. absolute masterpiece!), it was nevertheless the first Tool album in 5 years, and, damn, I fuckin' love this band! From the Lateralus-ish Vicarious to the epic Wings (Tool's most touching songs ever), from the Undertow-ish The Pot to Right in Two, 10,000 Days seems to have all the necessary ingredients for a great album. It's definitely my favourite album that came out on 2006... after all my profile exhibits just how much I appreciated it!
    2. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations: I sure knew that Muse was an exceptional band, it definitely is one of my favourites, I absolutely adore Origin of Symmetry, I waited for a worthy replacement for Absolution but, damn, I was never prepared for such a great album! It incorporates all the different elements of Muse's music and then some! Whatever Bellamy and co tried this time was a success!
    3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser: I can't say I was prepared for this one either, Yorke managed to produce something more than -ised Radiohead, a nice collection of beautiful melancholic songs.
    4. Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου - Διάφανος: Θανάσης Παπακωνσταντίνου (Thanassis Papakonstantinou) left his "avant-garde" experimentations aside for a while (thankfully not totally though) to present a collection of songs he included in his live shows the past few years, nice songs presented by artists like Σωκράτης Μάλαμας (Socrates Malamas) and Μάρθα Φριντζήλα (Martha Frintzila), a great alternative of contemporary greek music.
    5. Isis - In the Absence of Truth: In my humble opinion Panopticon was their peak, however In the Absence of Truth is far from being a dissapointment, it definitely lives up to their high standards, I like it! (yeah)
    6. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere: OMG! What was that? Crazy resulted to be one of the catchiest, most addictive tracks of all times, I never seemed to get bored of it even after it became a must in every dj's playlist of 2006. However, the album as a whole was great, in all of its ///whatever glory!
    7. Incubus - Light Grenades: Basically Incubus is an old favourite and even though this is another album I feel was inferior from its predecesor (the wonderfull A Crow Left Of The Murder...), you cannot ignore tracks like Dig, Love Hurts or Paper Shoes...
    8. OSI - Free: Kevin Moore and Jim Matheos are great artists each on his own, however I sometimes feel their collaborations surpass both Fates Warning and Chroma Key, or did I just blasphemed?
    9. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam: I can't seem to make my mind up... do I really like this album so much or am I just positively biased after their performance in Athens past September?
    10. Film - Angel B: Now that is a band the world needs to know! One of the few - bands that come from Greece and have true chances of succeeding abroad.