Montag, 8. November 2010

In Flames - Clayman

Good Day to you fellow viewers and followers.

I'm glad to say that I am fucking back and most of the problems that plagued me for quite a time now were sorted out. So I am feeling much much better and I am ready to review a CD by a band I loved for a very long period of time and still do - partially.

In Flames - Clayman

Ahhh .. In Flames, good ol' In Flames. What went wrong with this band? (At least in my opinion)
Just this: The band went pretty much metal-mainstream. Which is the downfall of every great band and musician in general.
In Flames was founded by Jesper Stromblad and became very popular amongst the many excellent bands from Goteborg (Goteborg's school of Melodic Death Metal). Their sound was unique while staying true to their Melodic Death Metal roots.
As they employed the new frontman Anders Friden, who would replace Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) the band started a progress of slowly discharging the "Death" out of "Melodic Death Metal". Slowly.

In Flames with the new frontman Friden (2nd from the left)

That said, In Flames' "Clayman" was the first really experimental approach to their music, implying more melodic and "calm" parts into their songs. Also Clayman was the last album done by them I really liked, as it really manages to keep both the melodic and the "Death Metal"-parts in balance.

I will do another post about the downward progression in quality of the band in the near future, so I can stop rambling and focus on the album now. Thank you.

We start out with the first song "Bullet Ride" and already you can hear what I tried to tell you before. The song starts out fast and perfectly for a well-chosen opener. But already after 20 - 30 seconds the pace starts calming down giving Anders a chance to sing with his charismatic voice, only to let him scream more vocals seconds later. The song changes fast between these passages: screaming - singing - screaming. And it's good. Anders is a very talented singer and it goes to show how much talent he really has to offer.

"Pinball Map" - being the second song - is not one of the most requested songs on live concerts for no reason. The mixing of melodic guitar riffing and the fast and heavy drum playing. Anders is superb again. He screams out the lyrics like he is going to attack somebody with every line just to change this to an epic singing voice for the refrain. Sweet. Check this one out, if you can't get a hold of the CD.

The third song is basically the one song that introduced me to the band and got me interested to hear more. Right from the beginning the opening of "Only For The Weak" caught me and it still manages to keep me listening to the whole song. Best listen to this song live. I think it's the best way to describe this masterpiece of songwriting. Enjoy.

The next track "...As The Future Repeats Today" is without a doubt my favorite track of the CD and I think it does everything right. It's definitely one of the highlights and you should check it out. Anders' voice is aggressive at its best and the guitar sounds as if it would suck you right into the song. I don't know. Maybe it's just me. Also the pre-refrain lines sound so good and the keyboard gives it a very mystical mood. Stromblad does a great solo and the song is great too. 'nuff said.

"Square Nothing" is a very slow song song and while I don't have anything against slow songs. This one is just boring and definitely one of the low points, eventhough it starts to pick up at some point, it's not really interesting. The guitar at least has some very nice parts and there are some very characteristic and interesting "growls" to pick out. But nothing too special. Moving on.

The title track "Clay Man" is another very nice track, nothing too special, but it has a very nice medium pacing, good guitar riffing, nice vocals and sounds like quintessential In Flames.

"Satellites And Astronauts" is not really interesting, one of the low-points on the album. It has nothing really special about. The refrain is a bit catchy at least. But that's about it. The same counts for "Brush the Dust away". Really. Listen to it, you will know what I mean.

(former) lead guitarrist Stromblad

The opening to "Swim" would be fitted as a CD opener as well, it is the last really very good song on the CD and it's your typical In Flames at their best, doing what they do best. Melodic guitars, interchanging vocals (growling - screaming - singing). Good times.

After "Swim" the last two songs "Suburban Me" and "Another Day In Quicksand" seem to fade in quality. Eventhough "Suburban Me" has a very nice guitar solo going for it and the duet between Daniel Svensson (drums) and Stromblad (guitars) in the beginning of "Another Day In Quicksand" is very nice to listen to. This song also leaves the hearer with a very nice feeling of being satisfied and kinda wantin' more. It's well-chosen to end one of my favorite CD's of one of my once-favorite bands (more on that later sometime).

This concludes my review of "Clayman". "In Flames" is without a doubt one band that left a very big impression on me. It was the first band I owned all CD's of (digitally, being young and poor at the time) and I think the only one I can recall every name of each song of them by only listening to it for about 10 seconds and this has to say something. For me at least. Because I am stupid. Sometimes.

Hope you enjoyed reading one very big part of my way into Heavy Metal. I - at least - enjoyed writing it, making myself reminisce of the past and listening to good ol' "In Flames" again.

See you.

Donnerstag, 4. November 2010

I have not been well

With this post I want to apologize for the lack of updates on my blog the last few days. I don't feel too good right now - both mentally and physically. This is mainly due to my work which is really hard right now and some private stuff that I have to endure (some of which are basically my fault, which is even more frustrating).

I will get back to posting longer and more in-deep reviews soon, but right now I have to keep it a bit short. Please excuse me.

But hey, things will get better, so I'll leave with you with a song I consider one of my favorite uppers.

So long fellow followers and viewers. See you soon :)

Samstag, 30. Oktober 2010

NSYCSLT: Helloween - 7 Sinners

With "NSYCSLT" I'll try to introduce the "New Stuff You Can Still Listen To" - segment in which I will prevent different CD's that came out rather recently and are still great fun to listen to, because - let's face it - music has gone down the shitter in the last decades. Every month it gets harder to find good new CD's. Because there are more and more bands that belong to genres that end in "-core" and more and more bands try "artistic" (mostly melodic) approaches to their music generally leaving their fans disappointed (namely In Flames). And I am not just talking about metal. I mean the whole music industry in general. Just take a look at all the so-called artist that are popular right now. All singing the same canned music either about love, party or money. It's boring. So now I will present to you a new album that still holds up to name of the band.

Helloween - 7 Sinners

It's Helloween, doing what they are best at: Being Helloween. Not only do I really like the cover, as it looks really good and fitting to the name, it's also a nice that the album was published right before Halloween. The songs are what you would except these Germans to deliver. They are fast-paced, they are varying while still clinging to the old Helloween sound we Power Metal fans love. About one third into the CD you can make otu some folky elements and also some keyboarding segments that really stick out, while being refreshingly interesting to listen to. Give it a try.

Mittwoch, 27. Oktober 2010

Best alarm to wake up to - EVER!

There must be something about Germans that makes them produce so many good Power Metal bands. Edguy being one of them. This is one of the best intros to a metal song so far, just listen to the sweet drums keeping this piece of art in such a nice pace. My tip: Listen to this song in the morning. Either when you're hungover, still drunk or just goddamn tired as fuck. This will pump you up and make you ready for work/school - whatever.

Montag, 25. Oktober 2010

Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time

I first heard about the release of this CD when I was on Wacken 2010 standing infront of the stage waiting for Alice Cooper to play. While waiting for the rock'n'roll zombie to perform I caught a glimpse of a familiar face on one of the screens: Hansi Kürsch. At first I couldn't believe my eyes (and mostly my ears) as I recognized his divine voice in the chorus of "A voice in the dark" - the new single out of "At The Edge Of Time".

Immediatelly I was hyped to see that the bards from Germany decided to create a new studio album after 4 years and a very mediocre "A Twist In The Myth" and all I wanted to do was get back home and buy the fucking CD - which was an impossible task being trapped on Wacken and stuff.

Now, after hearing the album over and over and over again I can safely say that "At The Edge Of Time" is easily their best album since "Follow the Blind" (not counting "Nightfall in Middle Earth" which is still the measure of all things).

With the new album you can hear a strong back-to-the-roots approach (especially when listening to "Tanelorn (Into The Void)" or "Valkyries") that is very reminiscent of "Follow The Blind". Such an approach may not always be a good thing, but they did a very good job implying their new experience as well as stuff we know and love about the Guardians. They also prove that André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen - both playing the guitars - are excellent at what they are doing and are capable of some magnificent solos as well Frederik Ehmke playing the drums.

We start with "Sacred Worlds" as the opener to the album. This piece is about 9 minutes long and sets the mood for the album perfectly. It opens up building the tension magnificently, inviting you in the mysterious world that is "At The Edge Of Time". The pacing is rather slow but Hansi's voice does a magnificent job stringing all the different parts together and creating a piece of music that is in every definition worthy of being an opener to an epic Blind Guardian CD.
Things get sped up with "Tanelorn (Into The Void)" which makes you feel like being thrown back to the times of "Somewhere Far Beyond", as some of you might remember the song "The Quest for Tanelorn". After a very calm and slow "Road Of No Release" things start getting hectic again with "Ride Into Obsession", Hansi sounds fantastic, the guitars and the drum do a very good job with some excellent bridges and an excellent pacing. Still when I hear Hansi singing "Let ages come and go (The Wheel will turn now), The wheel will turn, Another ride into obsession" I can feel chills being sent down my back. After two not-so-special songs "Curse my name" (very folky) and "Valkyries".

"Control The Divine" is another song that profits very much from Hansi's voice, that sounds clearer than in any other Blind Guardian album, as it's focused more on the vocals than any other song on the album and it's great. Fucking great. Now, let's skip "War Of The Thrones" and get to my favorite song of the album (and favorite song in years).

I fucking love this song. I think with all honesty that this is one of the best, most well put-together, best written and best structurized songs of the last years. It is the perfect single to pick to promote your album. It's fast, it's varied, it shows how much talent this band actually has stored up over the years. The lyrics are great and very well put-together. I especially love the part "Curse me, hate me, hurt me, kill me!". The drums are doing a very good job keeping the pace and driving the song forward. The vocals perfectly embody the spirit of Blind Guardian and the guitars are only enhancing the mood. 'nuff said.

The album ends with another song named "Wheel Of Time" that is just like the opener about 9 minutes (8:55) long and what it does is leave the audience astonished about what they just heard.

I am glad that my favorite band of all time didn't disappoint me on this one after a pretty weak "A Twist In The Myth" which was too light for my taste (even as a Power Metal fan). I can really recommend this piece of art to everyone that is (or wants to get) into power metal. Enjoy.

Donnerstag, 30. September 2010

Allow me to introduce myself

I have always played with the idea of starting some sort of blog but never really knew whether in the form of Vlogs or standard Blogs. As you can see I finally decided and voilà: Keeping it Metal! was born. On this site I will talk about (if you haven't already guessed) metal in all its variations. But before I'll go deeper into this I wanna tell you something about myself.

I am 18.
I am Austrian.
I like good music (99% of this so-called "good music" being metal).

Before I was introduced to metal I've been listening to musical groups I'm still ashamed of.

When I was around 10 or 11 and started attending a new school I befriended somebody who changed the way I look at music forever. Through him I was introduced to Iron Maiden, as we listened to it on disk record the first time I visited him.

I liked Eddie. Very much. Still do.

So Iron Maiden was the first real metal band I've ever listened to (consciously). And I loved them. I didn't know any names of the songs nor the band members and I didn't care. It was fucking awesome.

One thing led to another and soon I got to know Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, In Flames, Arch Enemy, AC/DC (which I had known before already, but as I said: Iron Maiden, consciously and stuff; you know), Deep Purple, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, and so forth. 

No matter how old or which singer's at front. Gotta fuckin' love 'em!

So about 1,5 years ago suddenly this genius thought entered my mind: "Hey, if I really like all these bands... and I want to support them ... Why the FUCK do I keep downloading all their songs from teh interwebz?". So I started buying and collecting CD's and I am still collecting and buying 'em. Also I think this blog is a great opportunity for me to write down my newest acquisitions and my thoughts about them in the form of short reviews.

Which leads me to my blog and the content I intend to put up here.
I think it's important to state my musical preferences first:

I love Power Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, (Melodic) Death Metal, Progressive Power Metal, Speed Metal, some Industrial Metal and Thrash Metal. 

There are no genres I really HATE, but there are some I don't like and try to avoid at any cost: Those being all the genres ending in "-core". I'm sorry to disappoint some of you. I just can't warm the fuck up to them. I will rage on this matter in further blogs anyway (I just decided this second).

My absolute favorite band of all time?!?!?!?!

Doesn't exist. 
It's subject to change, but the band I listen to the most at the time and which I can turn on all the time to have a good time is Blind Guardian. (about which my first real Blog post will be about).

I will try my best to keep this blog as high in quality as possible and I will try to make it funny and entertaining for you. I will talk about CD's, Bands, about some songs in particular. I will rage about some topics and and and. Let's see.

So, now you know something about me, something about my preferred music, and something about my history and about my intentions. 

I hope you will have a fun time reading!
See you fucking soon on the blog !