Monday, November 30, 2009

Retrospective: Avantasia (Part 2)

Continuing from the last installment of the Avantasia Retrospective:

Lost In Space are another pair of releases in close succession by the band Avantasia. These two are not as closely-entwined as The Metal Opera was. They are collections of new songs to be released on the upcoming (at the time) album, The Scarecrow, cover songs, and some variations of songs previously released. Most of the covers are pretty good, with the ABBA and Freddie Mercury songs taking the limelight, but again as will most singles and EPs, you should wait for the full-length album to hear most of these songs. One peculiar detail is that both EPs contain the exact same title track - no variation on recording or length, the exact same song. This to me seems like a bit of a cop-out/spit in the face to anyone willing to purchase these two EPs. But seeing as I didn't, I can't really complain. If you're a mega-fan of Avantasia then go pick up these EPs, the variations in songs and the covers make it worth it. If you're not a Avantasia-head then just stick with acquiring the covers, and wait to get The Scarecrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Video: Cannibal Corpse Lounge Cover

 Just some stupid video I found online. I dislike death meal over all and really don't like Cannibal Corpse, but this guy does a pretty funny 'Lounge' style version of one of their songs.

Part 2 of Avantasia coming soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Retrospective: Avantasia (Part 1)

I was scrolling through my music library last week (over 35,000 songs and counting) looking for something I've heard before but not in a long time and I stumbled upon Avantasia. About two years ago I whipped my hard drive clean and had to re-upload all of my music (from my external) which reset all of the song listen counters. From that time I have not listened to any Avantasia except their newest release, The Scarecrow. I decided to rectify this situation and gave the entire discography a listen.
The interesting thing about Avantasia is that there is only one real member of the band, Tobias Sammet, who plays various instruments and the majority of the vocals for all the releases. This requires Avantasia to have an ever-revolving cast of players, with upwards of more than ten vocalists for each album, with several different session instrumentalists - often times not for more than one song. It gives the group a very unique feel and tendency into the unknown.
One problem I have with this group, which is a problem I have with almost all the 'Project Bands' (bands with no real set cast or crew) is that every album is significantly different than the one before it. Sometimes this works, The Metal Operas are pretty damn good, and sometimes this doesn't, The next full-length release, The Scarecrow, sounds like a completely different band, it all is seemingly random.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Liquid Trio Experiment 2 - Universal Mind (When the Keyboard Breaks)

First off I need to make a clarification about the band.  When the album was released, it was released under the title of Liquid Trio Experiment 2.  But it is just Liquid Tension Experiment with the absence of Jordan Rudess.  His Roland keyboard decided to crap out in the beginning of the first song.  Every 4th key would play the note a half step higher.  This is clearly evident in the very first song within the first 5 seconds of hearing the track.  I can only imagine what the band's faces looked like onstage when they heard what they heard.  I know when I listened to it the first time, I wasn't really expecting it and I'm sure I had a "WTF am I hearing" kind of face.

Scorpions - Moment of Glory

Another retrospective review within my favorite genre, Orchestral Rock.

(The) Scorpions, formed in Germany known for their singles such as Rock You Like a Hurricane and No One Like You.  For this album they come together with the legendary Berlin Philharmonic to give you a pretty decent album.

One thing you may notice is that they might sound a little out of tune compared to other bands/orchestras.  In Europe, they tune slightly higher than their counterparts across the big lake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Metallica - S&M

I have to preface this post with that while I am not a die-hard Metallica fan, I do thoroughly enjoy their music.  Having never actually bought one of their albums (I got most of them from The Klepto) and a one or two from another friend, I have to say I was overall very satisfied with their music.  I listened to St. Anger (the song) and was never motivated to listen to that album, and from the looks of things I'm glad I didn't.  Though they did make a comeback with Death Magnetic, as you will find in a previous post.

However I would like to focus on their live album S&M.  S&M stands for Symphony and Metallica.  The San Fransico Symphony, conducted by the late Michael Kamen, lends their sound to Hetfield and pals.  The result, and I quote from Battery, is a "powerhouse of energy".

New Genre Added - Orchestral Rock

I wanted to familiarize the readers of this blog with a Genre that hasn't been previously established on this site.  Orchestral Rock.  Basically it is a rock band with an orchestra behind it.

Some artists that have done this include but not limited to:

Elton John
Dimmu Borgir

I have reviewed Metallica's "S&"M and Scorpions' "Moment of Glory".  Hopefully I will be able to review Kiss's album specifically, and any other I come across in this genre.  If you know of any that I have missed or have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

-The Pyro

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Writer: The Pyro

A good friend of mine, The Pyro, has agreed to add his own personal view of music to my wonderful site. Hopefully he will bring something more to this blog and make it better overall; add on to my own work, or create completely new material. I gave him free reign and control, lets see what he puts out.

Keep on keepin' on, being metal.

The Klepto

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video: Heavy Metal Mario

It's been a while for a video, but I found this and couldn't pass it up.
It's some death metal band I've never heard of (and have no want to hear) playing the classic Mario dungeon theme song. It's pretty decent and the video isn't bad either. If you ever played the original then this will bring a smile to your face

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Classics: Witchfinder General

I like doom for the most part, I can't really listen to it all day but it still is one of my favorite genres of metal. So imagine my surprise when I started listening to Witchfinder General, one of the 'founders' of doom metal, and found out that they are pretty crap. Maybe because they were one of the first, but I would not really call their sound 'doom' by any means. The majority of their tracks are not slow (just slower then radio-songs), there are almost no drudging guitars, instead focusing on hair-metal guitar solos and riffs, and the overall feel of their songs was not depressing in the least. In fact I found almost all of their songs pretty dull and boring.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Band: Bigelf

Listening to at school, under the 'Dream Theater' tag, Bigelf came up several times and I was impressed with what I heard. I decided to follow this up by 'acquiring' their discography (four albums, not too difficult), and giving the whole thing a listen.
One thing I have to say right out - Bigelf is different. It is solid in the progressive rock genre, but it also mixes in pop-ish sounds and eclectic stylings, giving each album the feel that you're listening to three different bands at once. There is the modern progressive rock sound, something you'd expect from Emerson, Lake and Palmer(their more radio-friendly stuff) or The Alan Parsons Project, then there is the 60's/70's trippy progressive sound, at times you'd swear you were listening to Pink Floyd, and as a final flourish they add in The Beatles, more The White Album era then anything else. Different right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bands I Love: Weezer

I just got the new Weezer album, and through some sort of coincidence (because I didn't know their new album was coming out yet) I began listening to their discography this week. Once I had the new album, Raditude, I decided to go the whole nine-yards and just listen to all of their albums (except their Christmas album, honestly I don't care that much) and I got to hear the different sounds the group experimented with.
What I have noticed, that throughout their works I normally only like the singles. The weakest albums were Pinkerton, with only the single, "El Scorcho" and another song I enjoyed, "Why Bother?" and Maladroit with only the song "Dope Nose" (which brought me back to my grade-school days). The strongest efforts, which also have a couple of good songs which were not singles, are their first and most recent album (not including Raditude, as I haven't heard it), both named Weezer oddly enough.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Album: Queensrÿche - American Soldier

I like Queensrÿche, I've seen them live with Alice Cooper and Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath with Dio) and it was a good show. But I have only really listened to two of their albums repeatedly, throughout my life; Empire and Operation: Mindcrime, both simply superb albums. A few months ago (maybe a year ago at this point), I listened to their debut EP/album (depending on the version), Queensrÿche, and more recently I listened to their cover album, Take Cover, and last week it was Operation: Mindcrime II, which was pretty decent, a far cry from the original, but who really expected something of that level?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Completely Unrelated: Birthday Time Again!

Another year, another birthday. I'm 23 today and I have rocked harder then most on this world.

Thanks for reading, and until next time...

The Klepto

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Album: OSI - Blood

Just finished listening to the new OSI album, Blood, and I am disappointed. After so many months of nothing but really good music (with the odd stinker thrown in occasionally) it feels odd to get so many lackluster albums in a short time (Wolfmother, Austrian Death Machine, and Transatlantic).
OSI (standing for Office of Strategic Influence, so says their debut album) is a progressive metal band sporting two main members; Kevin Moore, originally from Dream Theater, and Jim Matheos, from Fates Warning, which has released three full-length albums and one remix EP. Along with Moore and Matheos there is a hefty collection of guest drummers, guitarists, and vocalists coming from a varied collection of bands ranging from another Dream Theater alumni, Mike Portnoy (which is how I found OSI to begin with), members of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, No-Man, and many others. An eclectic group and a great lest of great performers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Band: Sunstorm

Sunstorm is a new supergroup project by some heavy names in the industry. I discovered this project looking through the album lists on the blog The Metal Minute. You see, ever week Ray Van Horn, Jr. compiles his list of albums listened to and posts them as Whattya Listenin' to Wednesdays (I did not steal his idea, we had it independently), he also gets alot of other people to post what they have been listening to as well. Every week I post my list and look through all the others posted and if any bands tickle my fancy, I look them up. Anyway, this past week I saw one of the posters had listened to Sunstorm, and hearing the cool name I looked them up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Albums Listened To In October

Wow, a month with record numbers. 112 albums in 31 days! Apparently all I did this month was listen to music, and I'm quite alright with that.

Unintentionally I focused on entire (or large portions of) discographies by classic rock groups; Cream, Traffic, Blind Faith, Kiss, The Jeff Beck Group, Styx; and alot of modern bands; Alestorm, Ogre, Primus/Les Claypool, Blind Dog, John Mayer, and Disturbed. All fell beneath my mighty (albeit slightly worn) speakers.

With brand new releases (or soon to be released) by Shrinebuilder, Transatlantic, Wolfmother, 3, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Black Robot and Austrian Death Machine, this month was also rife with unheard music, some to be future classics, some to fall forever from grace. I'm going to try to write reviews for most of these, at least the Wolfmother and 3 releases, in the near future. I want to listen to them again to get a better understanding of the works.