Friday, August 29, 2014

Music Discovery: Pendulum

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Pendulum, Drum and Bass group from Australia

Australia impresses me once again with their contributions to the electronic scene. I listen to my fair share of electronic based music, but the many many subgenres and subgenres of subgenres are a maze of which I have not mastered the navigation of yet. That being said, this is my first knowing venture into the field of Drum and Bass. If you like Glitch Mob (and, as I understand it though I haven't listened to them yet due to their offputting name, Knife Party), you'll like these guys. 

Or, alternatively, if you recall this boss fight and loved its anthem like I did...

I found these guys by total accident. I'm collecting pictures of my favorite album art for a slideshow to go on the upper right of this page. I've been using amazon as my prime source (puntastic) of pictures; I was using until I realized they just pull their pics from amazon. Anyway, I punched in Glitch Mob to get a picture of their Drink the Sea album when I saw this BEAUTIFUL album: Pendulum's Immersion. Intrigued, I clicked on it and scrolled down to their track list to do some previewing. There, at the bottom, I see at the end of a track title 'feat. In Flames' and I dropped my jaw. Whaaaat? A techy band collaborating with In Flames?? So I hit up youtube, where I found this amazing song:

A dose of Raggae never heard anybody! Well, Jamaican accent, rather. That may have been racist.

In the 'you might also like' ui that pops up at the end of that video, I encourage you to click on 'Crush', it's pretty freaking awesome too. Most of that album was very motivating and impressive. I'm stoked to be able to add a band to my list of great electronic artists. Although their sound is, in general, pretty different, you might also check out Empire of the Sun, who I will be running a showcase on at some point. They, too, are electronic artists from Australia... although they have a very strong disco theme too.

Anyway, heeeere's LINKIES:

And, as always, drop more bass! I mean... listen to more music!!
P.S.: I understand its not dubstep, but I said it anyway. Sue me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Music Discovery: Dragonland

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Dragonland, Power Metal from Sweden

This is another entry coming from Pandora to me to you. On the last post, I mentioned one of my pandora channels was a station centered around the bands Sonata Arctica and Avantasia.  Well, Nocturnal Rites got added to that lineup as well, and this band, Dragonland, constantly cropped up next to them, and I was impressed each and every time they did. These folks are from Gothenburg (Göteborg) Sweden, the same place where the Metaltown music festival is held annually, and to put it proverbially, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

And look at their wild stage personas! Oh, wait, those are the guys from Dragon Land...

So this album is called Starfall, and is the first in the band's discography to not continue the ongoing story saga that they've been creating. The first, second, and fifth of their albums follow a self-produced fantasy saga called the Dragonland Chronicles, which, to be honest, sounds like it'd make a killer book or graphic novel. This album, however, tells a self-fulfilling story about the Book of Shadows, following the discovery of an ancient force in egypt and how that power is later reawakened in the modern era. I won't spoil it. It's killer. Sadly, I don't see any official videos, so I'll be linking a song from a youtube jerk with a particularly awesome theme getup:

Mmm, dat chorus. This song is one of my favorites from the album, and one of the uploads whose quality suited me enough to share. Good news is, if you're the type to preview your albums before you buy them (and you better buy them!) this album is on there in full, and someone has each chapter of the Book of Shadows tracks lumped into one video too if you'd prefer to hit those up.

I will definitely be doing a follow-up on this band when I further explore their discography. They've made my list for having one of the outright coolest band websites ever. It features and interactive world map from the Dragonland Sagas storyline! Check it out!! Oh, dang, I forgot to do the 'if you like' thing again... If you liked the music from Nocturnal Rites, if you like Firewind, Altaria, and other icons of power metal, you'll probably love these guys!

For now, cheerio, and have fun playing with these shiny new links!

Go forth, and as always, listen to more music!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Music Discovery: Nocturnal Rites


Nocturnal Rites, Power Metal from Sweden

So, back to metal for now. This one came to me through Pandora radio, from my 'Avantasia, Sonata Arctica' station. That being said, if you like either of those bands, or perhaps Thunderstone, Stratovarius, Firewind or Primal Fear, among others, you will probably dig these guys. I heard several hits from these two albums and each one was amazing. Nocturnal rites is a power metal band inspired in ways by 80s arena rockers. I mean, look at that hair. That sexy, sexy hair:

Metal hair generates its own glorious light, even on cloudy days.

I absolutely adore these two albums. Grand Illusion is the first album I sampled from, thanks to Pandora, and I'm outright in love with it. It's name reminds me of Styx, but hey, I love Styx. Saw them live here in Hot Springs, AR. Anyway, back to the band at hand. The 8th Sin album is appropriately named, being their 8th release since their beginnings back in 1990. Man... can you believe that was over twenty years ago? These guys have aged with killer grace though. I mean, give this track a listen and you'll see how they fuse old school metal with modern style and powerful originality. This is called Still Alive, and it is off of Grand Illusion:

This entire video is like a dramatic live action selfie.

At one point in that video, I swear the drummer is using his head to hit his symbol. But maybe that's just me. Anyway, I'm going to throw down some links, because if the sexy album art didn't make you throw your wallet at the screen, then I'm sure the sound of their music did. If you're like me, the album art was enough! Have links, my pretties:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Music Showcase: Altan Urag

Altan Urag, Folk Rock from Mongolia

You're going to have to bear with me, because words can hardly explain just how amazing I find this band to be. Their name meaning 'Golden Dynasty' in Mongolian, this band takes the traditional instruments and music of Mongolia and gives it a heavy dose of modern influence and individuality. The first thing you really need to know in my case of how awesome they are? Ever heard of a Moren Huur/Moren Khuur? It's a traditional instrument in Mongolia, known to us as a 'horse head fiddle.' 

Here is a comparison between the classic horse head fiddle and their horse head fiddle:

That's right. It's a sleek, black XENOMORPH headed fiddle. Like, the things from Alien.

I couldn't really find a good picture of theirs, so if you want to see a clearer picture of the head of it, refer to the album art at the bottom of this page, which is fittingly a portrait shot of it. They also have other special ones, such as ones with the heads of monsters and dragons. Oh, by the way, I own a moren khuur. Totally inspired by these guys. And I totally can't play it. Moving on.

This band has a lot of videos, so I've put a lot of thought into which ones I will be featuring. I'll be starting with one of their slower ones. It's an instrumental, although, a warning, as it has a little spoken intro between a man and a kid, and the kid's first line is kind of startling if you have your speakers turned up high. This song is called Requiem:

This song honestly chills me to the bone, every time I hear or watch it.

Now, to feature their more rock side, have a look at this one. It even sounds like rock, lol. It's called Rakh II: 

This came on during a terrible lightning storm driving home at night once. Most Epic Drive EVER.

I honestly found these guys on youtube years ago. I had searched for mongolian folk songs and, in my exploration of the culture's more classical routes, came upon these guys by chance. I knew immediately that I had to find this album for purchase. And yes, if you haven't guessed, I look up off the wall things like that on youtube. I've found my share of musical treasures doing it, can you really blame me?

Anyway, these guys were so good that they caught the eye of the producers of the movie Mongol, which happens to star one of my favorite pieces of eye candy--I mean--actors, Tadanobu Asano. Altan Urag and a finnish man by the name of Tuomas Kantelinen composed its soundtrack, and it is also great stuff. This is the bad ass song they produced in commemoration of the movie, filled with scenes from the movie throughout it:

The singing style featured in this song is a traditional Mongolian/Tuvan style called Throat Singing.

You probably want me to quit linking videos by now, and that's okay. I understand. This post is beginning to look like one of those old myspace pages. You know, everyone had 'that one friend' who would load up their page with vid after vid, made it take forever to load... So, here, have some links, and go forth spreading this great music, whether you favor their rock side or their folk side more!

Product Details
Click for link to amazon.
A link to their official website, which is by far the COOLEST BAND SITE EVER.
Band's Facebook page.

Maybe I will follow up with a picture of me and my moren huur some time. :)
If only to prove it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Music Discovery: Tristania

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Tristania, Gothic Metal from Norway

Actually, I'm not sure what it is, exactly. I also see this classified as doom metal and symphonic metal. Anyway, who cares. Another wonderful band delivered to me at the hands of Napalm Record's Female Fronted Metal playlist. If you haven't clicked on the link to that yet, then make an empty slot in your schedule and plan on it, because most of what is on it is awesome. Really, you'll thank me.

I recently finished previewing their 2010 album Rubicon. This one, to me, seems on the side of Gothic Metal in that it isn't driven by hardcore riffs or heavy drumming, falling more on good smooth music, and the male vocals are deep and bass-like in that Charon kind of way. (I should do a Charon spotlight some time...) Anyway, the album was great, and may be the first Gothic Metal album I add to my collection. It's definitely hitting the wishlist.

Mariangela Demurtas, the (new) lead singer of Tristania.

We all know, especially where the internet is involved, that haters are gonna hate. This is one of those cases where hardcore fans are not taking the new lead singer well, and they have revolted strongly in their united butthurt. That being said, let me go ahead and clarify: I have not heard anything of Tristania's that is not this album, and when I have expanded my horizons, I'm still not going to compare old with new. I just don't roll that way. I like it or I don't. 

Moving on, I found a Napalm Records free sampler thing that I downloaded from amazon awhile back in my library, and, lo and behold, I found that the bundle included Tristania's Year of the Rat! I absolutely adore this song. It gives me chills, more often than not, even when I loop it. Finding that I can already put it on my ipod? That made my freakin' day. Really, give this song a listen:

Anybody else wonder why she didn't just stand up in those strings?

It makes me pretty uncomfortable when she says '(do) you feel the chill that just crept down your spine?' ... I swear, every time, I get chills there, and it feels like she's psychic or they're speaking right to me or something. I don't have a torn blue raincoat though, so I think I'm safe. (Also mentioned in the song.) Anyway, cheers to Tristania, old and new, as at least this album has made my crowded to-buy list and made simultaneously made my day. 

Now go forth, and spread the metal:

By the way, this guy must have really liked this album.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Music Discovery: Diabulus in Musica

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Diabulus in Musica, Symphonic Metal from Spain

Zuberoa Aznárez
Singer and Founder

       Greetings! This is another entry inspired by Napalm Records' awesome Female Fronted Metal playlist. The name Diabulus in Musica (those v's are u's in proper latin) refers to the term of an interval in music theory that is known for its dissonance. Not surprising that the founder of this band knew a thing or two about music theory, given her opera skill set. Her name is Zuberoa Aznárez, by the way, which is only the coolest name for a female metaller that I've ever seen in my life. Seriously, I'm kind of battling a crush on her at the moment!

 Anyhow, this band is full of powerful vocals, both opera based and not, and amazing synth. I literally loved this band from the moment I heard their first song trigger on that playlist. That song was Inner Force. Seriously, listen to that synth that kicks up right out of the gate, then pay close attention to the chorus, because I want you to see the face that I fell in love with. 

You know you're looking at a damn fine keyboardist when they've worn the black off their keys.

The entire album has such a unique blend of elegance, culture, and metal. A knowing ear can hear Moorish elements hidden within some of the songs on this album. Some of the songs are in Spanish, and boy, she makes it sound so beautiful in song. Thanks to her and Leo Jiménez, I really want to learn Spanish! Oh, I guess I got carried away with myself. This album is called Argia, and it explore all kinds of musical themes in it. Seriously. Check out this sampler, courtesy of their record label:

I also guess I forgot to mention my usual 'if you like so and so, you might like these guys' bit. Sorry, slave to the addiction and I had to ramble about Zuberoa. I'd say... if you liked my post about Xandria, and in turn, if you like Nightwish, Epica, and bands of that general styling, this is a unique new venture in that broad category that I promise you is worth every second. Here, have some links, my minions! Go forth and spread the metal:

Farewell, my friends, and remember, LISTEN TO MORE MUSIC!!