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Old 10-16-2014, 01:25 PM   #2371 (permalink)
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Well I do. If you were to say "I was hanging out in Dallas in 1962 and saw Kennedy assassinated", would that not be wrong? The date intrinsically links the event to it, otherwise why mention it? Also, do you accept that "Hitler's stormtroopers marching over the Maginot Line" is incorrect? Not that as I say it matters, but I just wonder what your view on it is?
If he's talking about the same event why add the part about being in Berlin when the Maginot Line is in France
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:25 PM   #2372 (permalink)
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Great. I'm glad someone appreciated it. Poor old Buzz though: doubt we'll be seeing him again. Wait till you see who the next guest reviewer is though!
I'm about 99% sure it's going to be Chad Kroeger.

EDIT: Oh, and Kennedy was shot in '63.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:35 PM   #2373 (permalink)
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I'm about 99% sure it's going to be Chad Kroeger.
Chad! Chad! Chad! CHAAD!
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:15 PM   #2374 (permalink)
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One of The Batlord's favourites, this is Hammerfall, with a track from their second album “Legacy of kings”, and “Remember yesterday”.
.. and one of mine.

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And last, I have no idea how you've managed to go this long without listening to Blind Guardian. They're pretty much synonymous with power metal. Glad you've heard the light though.
x2 and Imaginations from the Other Side is their best álbum song for song.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:05 PM   #2375 (permalink)
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If he's talking about the same event why add the part about being in Berlin when the Maginot Line is in France
Taking your point about the year (though it could be argued, if you want to, that he followed the Nazis from Berlin to France, but let's let that go) the other point I was making is that he says Hitler's army marched ACROSS the ML. They didn't; they circumvented it, proving De Gaulle correct when he warned it wasn't long enough and could be got around. That's what I was saying. If he had sung "marched right AROUND the Maginot Line", then we're golden. But he didn't.

Oh I do love to nitpick don't I?
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:57 PM   #2376 (permalink)
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Well, you know how those Irish are, with their lack of understanding of things.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:48 PM   #2377 (permalink)
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If he had sung "marched right AROUND the Maginot Line", then we're golden. But he didn't.
The Maginot Line failed thanks to the Belgians.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:19 AM   #2378 (permalink)
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I'm about 99% sure it's going to be Chad Kroeger.

EDIT: Oh, and Kennedy was shot in '63.
I know. That's why I said it would make no sense to say you were there in 62. Urban was saying Lynott said he was in Berlin in '39 and saw Hitler take the Maginot Line, which happened in '40, so the date IS important.
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Chad! Chad! Chad! CHAAD!
Not Chad. We couldn't afford him. Though he did teach this guy everything he knows...
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Well, you know how those Irish are, with their lack of understanding of things.
Um, I don't understand you...
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The Maginot Line failed thanks to the Belgians.
Yes, thanks to Hitler going through Belgium, which CDG had warned could happen. But in "Angel of Death" the lyric is "marched right across the Maginot Line". Incorrect. Marched AROUND it.

Man, this is turning into a real history lesson, innit?
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:21 AM   #2379 (permalink)
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Geist ist teufel --- Urfaust --- 2004 (GoatowRex)
Recommended by Ninetales

I find myself getting less and less sure of myself. I’ve heard bands described as “ambient black metal” who didn’t sound in the least ambient to me, "melodic death metal" in which I can discern no melody, and "Viking metal" that often sounds very close to Power Metal. and here we have another, the debut album from Urfaust who, despite their German sounding name, are actually Dutch. The album only has six tracks, though one is ten minutes long and the closer is fifteen, so I hope I end up liking this!

We open with the appropriately-titled “Intro”, which has deep booming synth I think, a witchy-sounding dark voice which appears to be chanting rather than singing, and no percussion yet. Sounds like the sort of thing you would fear coming across if you wandered into a creepy abandoned church after dark. Brr! Can just see the high priest raising the knife above the female sacrificial victim as he prepares to plunge it into her heart. Melody, such as it is, maintains the same eerie, pulsing beat as the chanting goes on. Ok, well EM says they only have guitar, drums and vocals, so I guess that was guitar echo or feedback or something. As the first “real” track gets going the vocal changes to a high-pitched, almost desperate shriek, and you can clearly hear the guitar now as “Die kalte Teufelsfaust” takes us into almost seven minutes of creepy, weird music.

The vocal does descend from that unnerving shriek through to a lower, more gutteral and yet more discernible sound, but then climbs back up. As with the opener, the guitar seems to maintain the same riff throughout, and again the vocal is almost more chanting than singing. Oddly enough, I kind of detect tinges of Spanish vocalists here. I’m not saying you’re listening to Julio Iglesias, but the inflections seem very peculiarly Spanish. The drums get a bit more manic now, as does the vocal, as we come to the end of the track, and “Drudenfuß” is almost exactly the same length. Coincidence? Whatever, this one is far more upbeat and has a harder, more prominent guitar, much further up and cleaner in the mix. Seems like some sort of jig or traditional song. Mucho weird. As if this album could get any weirder.

At least the guitar begins to break out of its rut here; up to now, it’s been basically holding the one pattern of chords, now there’s a solo and a bit of a different riff. Though it returns to it fairly quickly, it’s good to see that IX, one half of the duo that make up this band, can flex his (assume he’s male) musical muscles a little. IX also provides the vocals, so perhaps we shouldn’t judge his guitar playing too harshly. I have of course no idea what the song titles mean, but this definitely sounds like some sort of folk song, probably best indulged in after several pints of the local ale. Sounds like a flute there, but none is credited and with no synth either I’ll just have to put it down to an effect on the guitar.

That ten-minuter is up next, and “Auszug aller tödlich seinen Krafte” (if anyone who can speak Dutch and/or German would like to translate these titles for me, please help yourself) starts off slow and moody, with a heavy distorted guitar backdrop and sparse drumming from the weirdly-named (is everything about this album weird?) VRDRBR --- I don’t even know how you pronounce that, so if I have cause to refer to him, or it, again, I’ll call him Vader. Why? Why not? I wouldn’t presume to label this a ballad --- after all, it’s ten minutes long and we’re only into the second of those; there’s plenty of time for it to kick up and change tempo, possibly more than once --- but so far it’s a slow, doomy, almost bluesy piece with what must be credited as a half-decent vocal. No demonic screams at any rate. Well, not yet.

Something of Nick Cave in this, specially in the vocal, but the guitar seems again content to play the same riff into at least the fifth minute. Well those screams are back in the sixth minute, but thankfully they don’t last long at all. Everything stops now as the guitar descends like a falling banshee or a diving Stuka, then a sound like a buzzsaw or drill followed by sirens and weird scary screechy noises reminds me in part of Vangelis’s “Beauborg”. Man, that scared me when I were younger. Probably still would. Sounds like backward masking now, some bell sounds and then a horror-film soundtrack which really sounds like it’s on violin, and if this IX guy is producing all these sounds on the frets then all I can say is that he is actually one hell of a guitarist, even given the limited playing he has produced up to now.

With some more mad screams, a kind of low male vocal chorus and some more heavy guitar we’re out and into the title track. A moaning chant with a big spacey sound that fills the room gives us a slow start, very doom meets drone; you could certainly see this on the soundtrack to some bad horror movie or documentary. There’s a vaguely arabic lilt to the chant, though that could just be me. I would definitely have thought cellos or violins though, but none are mentioned. I would have accepted a synth, but again, no go. The voice fades out and the guitar takes over, weaving a very effective and at times almost deafening soundscape which swirls and eddies and draws you in, like a planet in the grip of a Black Hole. I check and we’re halfway through the track: that was quick.

Oddly, the closer is called “Outro”. Not that that’s a strange name for a final track, especially as the album opened with “Intro”. But I know of few if any outros that are over fifteen minutes long! This seems to continue the basic theme and idea expressed in the last track, with what sounds like an organ or synth booming out the main phrase, the guitar looping in and out of the musicscape -- I just can’t believe this is all done on guitar, though no doubt Ninetales will confirm or disprove that for me --- and so far no vocal, leading me to wonder if we are in for a quarter-hour instrumental? Well we’re three minutes in now, but after all that’s less than twenty percent of the way through the track. Plenty of time for it to change.

I must say, once you get over the jarring vocal and the album gets going, the music on it is quite stunningly beautiful. It certainly deserves, for once, the prefix of “atmospheric”, though whether I’d call it Black Metal or not is a question I would have to explore another time. This particular piece could grace any documentary about space or under the sea; it has that real flowing, ethereal, otherworldly aspect to it, almost like celestial music (which given its possible connections to Black Metal is quite ironic). Sort of reminds me in ways of Carbon Based Lifeforms and some of the more esoteric work of a certain Greek composer.

We’re now halfway through and I think it may be safe to say that there will be no vocals. I can’t see where any would fit in, but then, this duo do seem to come up with surprises and curve balls all over the place. I find myself wondering if Vader is a drum machine, not a human at all? No, he’s real all right; just saw a picture of him on his drumkit. Pretty amazing stuff this, although I must admit I don’t see where percussion comes in here at all. It’s completely ambient, atmospheric and almost abstract expressionism in music. And now we’re ten minutes in, and again the one basic musical phrase has been running through this gargantuan composition, yet somehow it doesn’t seem to matter, as you kind of find yourself floating away, drifting on the melody, being carried along towards the end of the piece, and the end of the album.

TRACKLISTING

1. Intro
2. Die kalte Teufelsfaust
3. Drudenfuß
4. Auszug aller tödlich seinen Krafte
5. Geist ist Teufel
6. Outro

When this album started I anticipated a real ordeal: the screeching, scratchy vocals, the scary effects, the seemingly-one-phrase guitar. I was ready to turn down the volume and just pay passing attention to it. But as it went on I found I was really getting into it, and now that it’s over I wish there was more. I still have no idea if all of that amazing music was indeed made only on a guitar, but if so I’m doubly impressed. Either way, this is some of the best instrumental and ambient music I’ve heard in a long time. Whether I’d class it as Metal of any sort, never mind Black Metal, is debatable, but whatever it is, I like it.

Ninetales expected me to possibly trash this album, and said he usually let people hear it just to gauge their reactions. Well, completely against my own expectations, this one has come up trumps and I am seriously glad I listened to it.

One of the best so far.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:11 AM   #2380 (permalink)
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Everybody who knows me knows that Iron Maiden are my number one metal band, the band who first introduced me to Heavy Metal, and in addition everyone knows that I prefer Bruce Dickinson-era Maiden over Di'Anno. But I'm not one of those people who refuse to listen to the older stuff. I don't say “Oh yeah I love Maiden but only from “Number of the Beast” on: the rest is crap.” I wouldn't do that, and I don't, because apart from the change in vocalist pretty much all of the main band are still there in the early days, and though the music style was a little rawer, with more of an edge to it --- punkier, if you prefer, and as has been said before, by me and by others --- it's still Iron Maiden. I also recognise that the first two albums, though not huge hits by any means, are where it all began and where Maiden began to build their massive fanbase. After all, even now they still perform tracks like their signature tune, “Wrathchild”, “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and of course “Phantom of the opera”, as well as others from that era. Maiden have not forgotten where they came from, nor should or do I.

And I don't. I featured thier debut album in my series “Maiden voyages” and I gushed over “Killers” (Sorry about that; I tried to clean it off later!) in last year's Metal Month. But I tend to steer a little away from the first two albums even when discussing Maiden. So I thought it might be fun to pick my top ten --- got other members to do their lists, why not mine? --- early Maiden tracks. So here they are.


Prowler (Iron Maiden)
This had to be in the countdown. Although the first actual Maiden song I heard ever was “Run to the hills” --- instilling in me an immediate desire to buy the album and play it to death --- this is essentially the very first Iron Maiden song ever played, if you discount The Soundhouse Tapes. It introduces an album that is flawed, yes, but still kicks ass with the best of them. Sure, Di'Anno sounds like he's been smoking fifty a day and has been awoken suddenly --- he's in a REAL bad mood! --- but it's got the raw power, energy and aggression that, although Maiden retained it, was slightly subsumed among clever lyrics, stupendous light shows and intricate songwriting as the years went on. Of course, that's normal in a band developing, especially a band developing into a world-conquering one.

But it's nice to hear the almost innocent (?) anger and fire that drove the first Maiden album. It suffers from the absence of Adrian Smith --- Dennis Stratton was not the guitarist he is --- and the production of course is, to be entirely fair and not nasty, shitty, leading to Steve Harris's famous comments that if he ever got Will Malone he'd punch him, or something. He was not happy, anyway. The song, though, will always for millions of kids be the first they experienced of Maiden, and led to greater things, so is deserving of a place here on my top ten, even if it is right at the bottom end. Elements of the main melody would later find their way into the title track of their second album, although the lyric leaves a lot to be desired --- ”Got me feelin' myself and reelin' around” --- um, yeah. It also has the first of what would become tradmark solos from Dave Murray, leading to the proper Iron Maiden sound once he found his axe partner in Smith the following year.


Iron Maiden (Iron Maiden)
It would be just as churlish to discount the signature tune of the band, even though I don't really consider it one of my favourites. It's certainly raw, but for me it's just a little too manic. Di'Anno's voice on it is certainly the archetypal unhinged serial killer, and I think not even Dickinson can sing this with the same maniacal passion as he does, but again it's almost a little too close to punk for my tastes. It does have that iconic opening salvo on the guitar, and the chorus would definitely go on to energise crowds right up to this day as Di'Anno, and later Dickinson (and probably even Bayley, during his time with the band) roared ”Come out! Come out! Wherever you are! Iron Maiden gonna get ya!”

Another great solo and perhaps one of the best endings to an early Maiden song ensure the title track to their debut must be included in my list, but it's low down because there are so many other tracks that are so much better than it, as we will see.


Purgatory (Killers)
There are a lot of things that distinguish this track from the two I've selected below it. First, Di'Anno at this point, with the release of their second album --- the last on which he would sing of course --- seems to finally be finding his voice. His raspy, almost screeching delivery on the debut can't in fairness all be put down to bad production, though some of it certainly can, and he's obviously honed it to a much better pitch here, as when he begins singing there's little trace of the raw, scratchy tone that characterised his singing on “Iron Maiden”. He still has that good scream that he lets go once in a while --- as he does here --- and which Dickinson would improve on a year later, but mostly his voice is much more controlled.

The song is also better constructed. I know people get sick of me using the “M” word, but neither of the two previous songs had a terrible amount of melody, whereas here the structure of the song is so much better, or at least I think so. The energy and passion that would be, and still is, forever associated with Iron Maiden is still there, but it's more controlled and less directionless than it was on the first album. There are the first real signs of discipline coming in to the music, and that may be in part due to the recruiting of Adrian Smith to replace Stratton, and also due to the first appearance of a man whose name would become synonymous with Iron Maiden, Martin Birch, taking the reins of production. The production on “Killers” bears no resemblance to “Iron Maiden”, which at times sounds like it's been recorded in someone's garage.


Transylvania (Iron Maiden)
I had to pick this because throughout their career Maiden have played few if any instrumentals, and this is the only one on the debut. From the start, the guitars kick your face in and they really don't stop till the final note. The signature sound that would become that of the band runs right through this piece, and I always like to see a band able to play without a singer. Also, it means we don't have to listen to Di'Anno's voice! In the middle it winds up into a real fretfest and just goes for it. You can almost feel the sweat dripping off the band as they fire this baby up. Also, it ends on a really eerie, moaning sound that almost presages “Powerslave”, four years later, and runs into “Strange world”, one of their few ballads. It's also quite long for an instrumental, clocking in at just over the four minute mark, yet every second is necessary and it never seems too long.
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