Wednesday, March 27, 2013

reviews: Laster (Holland)

Laster (Holland): Wijsgeer & Narreman In this 3-song, 19-minute recording, Laster utilizes quintessential black metal riffing and screeching screaming black metal vocals, and attaches those riffs and vocals to a depressive-aggressive/progressive musical execution. It took me a long time to understand what Laster is all about. Once I got it, though, a lot of things became clearer. Laster is raw black metal, while at the same time the intention in the songs is communicated well: the overall atmosphere, the engulfing guitar work, the agonized vocal style, and the cold melody that shines through. It is the hope that those listeners into raw black metal that seek a greater creativity will have the motivation to explore the landscapes offered by Laster. Hear it a few times, come back to it later, it will definitely make sense.

reviews: Gamma Ray (Germany)

Gamma Ray (Germany): Skeletons & Majesties Live (earMUSIC) For many people, Gamma Ray singer, guitarist and mastermind Kai Hansen is the grandfather of power metal as we know it: the combination of thrashy speed with traditional heavy metal melody, as developed by Helloween and then Gamma Ray. On this pretty honest, live double album, the Ray showcases songs that they usually do not play in concert. Here’s the “problem”: all Gamma Ray songs sound like hits. In other words, this is simply another collection of great songs. Of course, this album is for people who can’t enough Gamma Ray. This is live, beautiful mistakes and all, like the wrong lyrics and laughing on “A While in Dreamland”; the always-funny/intelligent “Money” from the 1990 Gamma Ray debut; and some cool acoustic versions; and some songs with guest Michael Kiske, always fun for both former Helloweeners to get together and jam.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stratovarius (Finland): Nemesis

Stratovarius (Finland): Nemesis (Armoury) Happy, uplifting, super melodic songs characterize this album. Lyrically, the message stays optimistic, a can-do attitude about believing in yourself. Fundamentally, Stratovarius desires to help the listener be a happier, more positive person. You’re alive, stand up for yourself, and face the world with enthusiasm, that’s the band’s objective. Power metal is very much associated with Stratovarius, who are conscious that they have a reputation to uphold, and fans to please. Given the Stratovarius legions exactly what they want. The album is their declaration of purpose, to convince power metal fans the band is very much alive, in view of past controversies with former members. Given this album’s festival of melodies and catchy hooks, if you have ever enjoyed a song by Stratovarius, it’s worth your time to look into “Nemesis.” Very much recommended for Stratovarius fans, as well as aficionados of very melodic happy/poppy power metal.