Monday, January 27, 2014

[A Day; A Record] Week 4: Silence Grows, My Feelings Flow, I'm Dreaming Now

Helmet - Strap It On (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 30:49 (9 tracks)
Year: 1990
Country: USA
Primary genres: Post-Hardcore; Noise Rock
Secondary genres: Alternative Metal

Led by Page Hamilton, Helmet is a hugely influential machine of a band, creating its own uncompromising mixture of styles with force ever since their debut album Strap It On in 1990. This album, along with many other Helmet records that followed throughout the '90s, would go on to influence countless musicians all over, ranging from nu metal groups like Korn and more sophisticated alternative metal bands like Deftones to sculptors of industrial metal and rock, modern post-hardcore and metalcore outfits, and even progressive metal giants Tool.

In one word, Strap It On is dirty. Rooted in punk music, it's noisy and raw, relentless in energy and musical while spitting on the listener's face. One of the reasons as to why the album is so influential is Hamilton's use of Drop D tuning that is detailed, fast and groovy. What's even wilder is the drumming by John Stanier, which never lets up and emphasizes the rhythmic 
staccato guitarwork. The snare sound is unfortunately wooden, but doesn't annoy so much when it's used brilliantly.

The songs aren't entirely filled with assault despite the album's reputation. Hamilton also throws in a lot of vague, more high-pitched and melodic sections reminiscent of solos, that in their dissonance and mistiness are ugly and beautiful at the same time. Vocally he does mostly shout but spices things up with half-spoken, half-sung parts in songs like Sinatra and Distracted.

I can appreciate Strap It On's position as a classic release that paved the way for a lot of amazing things that have taken place in rock and metal music in the last 24 years. However, as its own individual piece, it feels just too raw for me to adore it wholeheartedly. As with most pioneering releases, there are elements that didn't fall seamlessly into the mold yet, and some songs that weren't made with a strong enough vision in mind. Regardless, the album is filled with songs that might at first seem like rebellion through sound, which it obviously is, but only to a degree since there is also a clear sense for melody and the different aspects of it on here. If nothing else, Helmet surely made a debut that was original and remains that way, even if some of the pieces found their way into other people's art along the way.

Favorite track: Sinatra

This Is Menace - The Scene Is Dead (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 38:32 (12 tracks)
Year: 2007
Country: England
Primary genres: Metalcore
Seconday genres: 
Alternative Metal

Somewhat of an all-star collaboration, This Is Menace's second studio album features some seminal British metal and rock musicians borrowing their voices on top of compositions written by the band's regular members Jason Bowld and Mark Clayden. As hinted by its cover, The Scene Is Dead is filled with having fun, with some of its forms entertaining the listener just as much as the players, some others not so much.

Musically the album is filled with hard-hitting riffage, coupled with occasional harmonizing choruses for variety. The first half of the album utilizes this formula to the music's adventage, resulting in a bunch of tracks that aren't flawless in quality or necessarily unique in sound, but still fairly organic and striking to the nerve. Unfortunately, on the second half the songs become more predictable, less inspired and more tedious to listen to due to their homogenic nature. 

Having a different vocalist for every track gives the album a pleasant amount of diversity, but the flipside is that half of the vocalists don't have any appeal. Whereas tracks like Who Has Questions For The Dead? featuring Justin Sullivan, Avenue Of Heroes featuring Charlie Simpson and Cut Us (And We Bleed) featuring J.S. Clayden sound effortlessly put together, some performances including the one by Napalm Death vocalist Barney Greenway (on Beg For Silence) and Paul Catten (on 100 Visionsoffer more damage than good to the songs. In the end, the different vocal personalities don't truly have a chance to even showcase themselves widely since the music played is so constant in style throughout the album.

The Scene Is Dead has some good hooks, but that's about it. There aren't many if any truly memorable songs and towards the end the fun aspect that the album has been built around slowly starts to wear off. 

Favorite track: Cut Us (And We Bleed)

Slowdive - Slowdive (4.5/5)
Type: EP
Length: 18:19 (3 tracks)
Year: 1990
Country: England
Primary genres: Shoegaze; Dream Pop

Wow. That in short is my impression after hearing the self-titled debut EP by Slowdive, a group that was one of Katatonia's biggest early influences and a forerunner of the shoegaze genre. This three-song EP not only sounds way ahead of its time, but contains compositions that are timeless in their enchanting dreaminess.

The EP is clearly divided in two sections. The opening track Slowdive, which clocks in at 5 minutes and 18 seconds, forms the first one of them. In this song the pairing of Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead's voices is like a romantic play, with the optimistic-sounding guitar riff, the soft bass line and the drums echoing from a far serving as the theatrical backdrop. The couple is dancing on the stage, unsure, but not because people are watching, instead they are unsure of themselves and showing their awakened emotions, unsure of letting a wave of uncontrolled and pure joyfulness take over. Despite the patterns repeating, one can sense that the couple is falling in every possible meaning of the word. They are slowly yet surely diving into each other.

Then come Avalyn I and Avalyn II. These two pieces truly set an atmosphere that takes the first track's haziness onto a whole new level. Nothing short of hypnotizing, the Avalyn twins are triggers for whatever the listener wants them to be, with the structural minimalism allowing the soul to wander for 13 minutes that pass by imperceptibly. The influence Katatonia took from Slowdive becomes evident for these two tracks are like the underwater imagery of the song Day from Brave Murder Day, only extended and free of any depression or despair. It's almost as if the band travelled in the future, borrowed the listener's heartstrings and used them for their instruments for these recordings, leading to a massive response from the nucleus that is 
now back intact while listening.

Slowdive's discography just became one of my top priorities, and drowning in their sonic fantasy world a newborn muse.

Favorite tracks: Avalyn I; Avalyn II

The Verve - Urban Hymns (3.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 75:51 (13 tracks)
Year: 1997
Country: England
Primary genres: Britpop; Alternative Rock
Secondary genres: Neo-Psychedelia

At first glance, a lot of things about The Verve and their third success of an album seem shallow. Everyone knows Bittersweet Symphony, a song that is perhaps the most ironic song of all-time, borrowing from an old Rolling Stones cover just enough to cause a massive controversy, leading to 
bloodsucking facets stealing the band's royalties. The album title Urban Hymns itself can be seen as a reference to recycling ideas, and the impression one can easily get thanks to the aforementioned hit single and the band's reputation is that they are nothing more than a half-talented group of pop musicians who got a little lucky riding the airwaves.

Then you play the album from front to back, and 76 minutes later, everything's suddenly changed. Is this a pop album? Yes, it sure is. Is Bittersweet Symphony one of the best songs on it? Yes it is. But is it the same shallow and derivative music throughout? No. Urban Hymns is essentially a collection of bright and heartfelt songs with a hint of pessimism - a trip that is at the same time relaxed and dead serious. The songs deal with life in an outspoken way, remaining very jam-based and unpolished musically. This isn't to say that the album's material isn't carefully crafted, it simply means that the songs, albeit sometimes quite long, aren't necessarily complex and clearly focus on one idea like pop music usually does. Still t
here are countless little things thrown in the mix to create a big, lively sound for each song, and more often than not these additions around the core idea keep songs like Catching The Butterfly entertaining for their entire length. When Urban Hymns feels like it's a snapshot of the stream of consciousness, it freshens up your own cluttered head.

Back to Bittersweet Symphony, sure the similarities are obvious. What's more important to keep in mind is that music should be pure and the more business and middlemen become involved with it, the farther it strays from this ideal. Everything else here clearly strives for that, and by the end of Come On you've heard a lot of great melodies to distract you from the song that doesn't even take up a tenth of the record. Richard Ashcroft possesses a sweet voice and the ability to pen genuine lyrics, but it's his knowledgeable songwriting and the band's vivid playing that makes Urban Hymns worth some praise.

What's keeping the rating down is inconsistency, for a third of the songs feel significantly less inspired and 
just too ordinary compared to the highlights. This is a problem mostly found on the second half of the album, which the song This Time redeems with its serene leads, however. Due to this, the album also drags a bit too, especially since its mood rarely changes. Despite having a lot more depth than one would perhaps imagine at first, Urban Hymns doesn't entirely spread out its wings and fly, a problem many of the pop records I've heard share with it.

Truth be told, I wouldn't have expected The Verve to reel me in the way they did with this album. Combining psyhedelia and pop might not be the most unique thing ever considering what The Beatles did already in the '60s, but when you add some sonic experimentation, variety in song structure and combine it all with passion, it works beautifully. And anything that you put your own real emotion into can never be too derivative of someone else.

Favorite track: Sonnet

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy And The Poor Boys (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 34:31 (10 tracks)
Year: 1969
Country: USA
Primary genres: Swamp Rock
Secondary genres: Country Rock; Blues Rock

It seems that Creedence Clearwater Revival had a year full of creativity in 1969. Not long after releasing the album Green River, which was preceded by Bayou Country, it was time for Willy And The Poor Boys to take shape and be released out to the world. Once again the album contained several hits, including 
 Fortunate Son, a track many consider to be a trademark CCR piece.

Ever since their debut, the band had been sliding towards more and more conventional and safe waters, which resulted in a handful of uninteresting tracks on Green River. This tradition continues on the relatively soft Willy And The Poor Boys that is mostly just plain average classic rock to my ears. 
Though the album is clearly more experimental and free in expression than Green River, even for a casual listener like me it has the taste of a record that was made with not much careful consideration and more or less just for the sake of throwing some new material together.

Luckily there are some truly good musical parts on the album, like the harmonica-driven Poorboy Shuffle or the dark-sounding intro to Effigy. These are enough to somewhat redeem the record, though it also contains a load of poor songwriting that shows in the amount of lackluster ideas and dragged jam sessions. The frontline of the album is formed by Fortunate Son, Poorboy Shuffle, Feelin' Blue and the classic opener Down On The Corner. All the rest is subpar, even hinting that the band would have lost some of their groove, energy and soul, the opposite of what the bluesy outlook of the album depicts.

Favorite track: 
Down On The Corner

Alcest - Shelter (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 45:36 (8 tracks)
Year: 2014
Country: France
Primary genres: Shoegaze; Dream Pop
Secondary genres: Post-Rock

Alcest's fourth studio album sees the project by
 Stéphane Paut (Neige) take a permanent step into shoegaze and dream pop territory, abandoning all traces of black metal and blackgaze. With this choice Alcest has made its sound clean and refined it so that it's even more luxorious to the ears. The danger is that the songs are too much of the same, and true climaxes are harder to capture.

There is no denying that parts of Shelter are breathtakingly beautiful. During these parts Neige's kind and innocent voice is just another calming layer amongst the caressing guitars, the bass that frames the painting that is your vision and the drums that resemble your heartbeat. A song like 
Voix Sereine resonates with me completely and its pretty melody only suffers from not having any counterpart within the song, in other words it's too repetitive. Unfortunately most of the album suffers from the same problem, and not only that, most of the songs don't do anything for me with their everyday major key chord progressions that Neige has attempted to disguise by layers upon layers of leads played through effects upon more effects. In addition, a couple of the more obscure effects tarnish the atmosphere with their badly done sound manipulation.

Ironically, Slowdive's 
Neil Halstead makes a guest apperance on the song Away. Whereas the music I've heard from Slowdive is repetitive as well, it's unique and genuine, sensitive yet powerful, creating a hypnosis that any sudden changes would just destroy. Alcest's music, at least on Shelter due to the lack of rougher parts, is often caught in the middle - it's not captivating enough to justify its monotonous nature, and thus it ends up being just boring and stale. There's potential for some great music here, like some of the songs on Les Voyages De L'Âme. However, I fear that Neige will never be able to find a balance between the extremes of different techniques and moods that could lead into an album I'd love in its entirety. The Disney-esque naivé mirth in hopeful tracks like Opale just doesn't cut it for me now that the intensity and well-done dynamicity is gone.

Favorite track: 
Voix Sereine

Scars On Broadway - Scars On Broadway (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 45:04 (15 tracks)
Year: 2008
Country: USA
Primary genres: Alternative Metal; Alternative Rock

After System Of A Down went on a hiatus in 2006, the band members formed various new projects. Serj Tankian of course went solo and still is on that same path. Elsewhere, System's second primary songwriter Daron Malakian and the band's drummer John Dolmayan made an album under the name Scars On Broadway, containing songs written entirely by Malakian.

The first impression of Scars On Broadway is that its origins are very clear. Anyone familiar with System Of A Down's catalogue will find it impossible to listen to the album without comparing it to the main band, since Malakian's less-is-more writing and playing approach has remained the same, only it's quite obvious that the man is missing his writing companion. At times the songs can get nearly as crazy as SOAD's most unpredictable and rewarding moments of twisted avant-garde genius, but the initial ideas seem weaker. The album doesn't flow naturally either, unlike entities such as Toxicity or Mezmerize. Instead of scattering the slow, the fast, the formulaic and the unstructured here and there amongst each other, the album seems to consist of chunks of the same type of songs, which makes the whole seem disjointed.

Of course, Malakian's voice is the focal point even more on here than it was on System Of A Down's later albums. His tone usually sounds flat and a bit irritating, but as the album goes on this becomes a lesser nuisance. After all, Malakian can surely use his vocal chords in a satisfying, harmonizing way and doesn't bother me when he's intentionally trying to stay in control of what he's doing. As for content, while retaining the activity and awareness of SOAD's lyrics, Malakian's words are quite simplistic and at times childish.

Just because Scars On Broadway isn't as strong as the work Malakian was previously involved in doesn't mean that it wouldn't contain a handful of bright moments. World Long Gone combines a banger of a riff with a melodically driving chorus that surprises 
with its use of a mellotron melody. The gyrating and at times pure evil-sounding Stoner Hate - slightly reminiscent of This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song from System's Mezmerize - definitely suits some good old-fashioned moshing and the simple yet effective riffing in the single cut They Say is undeniably catchy. The closer the listener can come to abandoning the idea of System Of A Down, the more they can value the album, but even then it's unfortunately not that much better than average alternative metal.

Favorite track:
 World Long Gone

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

[A Day; A Record] Week 3: Songs Of The End And Futures

Lo-Pro - Disintegration Effect (2.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 39:09 (10 tracks)
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Primary genres: Alternative Metal
Secondary genres: Industrial Metal; Electronic

Having bought the second Ultraspank CD Progress just recently, it seems like an appropriate time and place to listen to an album by Lo-Pro, a project that mainly consists of old Ultraspank members. Disintegration Effect is the band's third effort and a concept album that deals with apocalyptic themes. On the album, the band clearly tries to capture a bit of the old Ultraspank feel while combining it with modern electronic touches and production.

The album starts off with the low guitar notes and percussive effects of the album's flagship Give Me Life, a song with melancholic verses and a chorus that reaches for divine heights with its giant melody. Much like the material that follows it, Give Me Life has a bit of an oversimplistic structure, but that is not its main issue. The main issue is the production. It's ironic how this album is partly a statement against modern culture where people have become too addicted to technology, and its own production suffers from being too synthetical; there's unneeded clashes and clicks everywhere, the drums sound totally soulless and the album falls victim to the loudness war that wasn't around say 20 years ago. The clipping that is not present throughout the entire record but still makes an appearance way too often nearly gives me a headache every time it enters and downright ruins a lot of the wonderful harmonies the band has put together. As needless as pointing fingers is, it's disappointing that such an ambitious independent album has these flaws. 
The kind of production I would've been fine with wouldn't have cost much more, if anything more than this. Vocalist and producer Pete Murray and the rest of the band who helped with mixing could have taken a brave stand and create an unbiased piece of art, free of tricks that are ruining music today, but instead they chose poor methods including one that everyone abuses, making Disintegration Effect a machine in itself. If this is part of their statement, it fails, because it makes me not want to hear the statement.

I never let production fully destroy a listening experience for me though, no matter how bad it is. To me it's always the compositions that matter. Unfortunately, even with better sound, the songs on Disintegration Effect just don't carry the same wildness and candidly instictive feel as Ultraspank's do. The pieces seem to focus too much on either the heavy side or the melodic side, whereas Ultraspank always had them paired up well. Perhaps it is unfair to compare Lo-Pro's work to a band of the past, but I can't help it when there is similarity in both personnel and style. Either way, while the album does contain a few fascinating tracks, it also contains an unfortunate amount of awful attempts at aggression and drama. What's more is that the industrial elements - which frankly sound forced and unfitting - don't add enough variety to this record for it to achieve redemption, 
desperately even borrowing from Ultraspank on Sheer ElectronicAt least the song Soulless, one the poorest of the poor, lives up to its name...

Sorry guys. I wish I wasn't a perfectionist sometimes.

Favorite track: Give Me Life

Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 45:37 (5 tracks)
Year: 2003
Country: USA
Primary genres: Post-Rock

The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is one of the legendary post-rock albums from the early 2000's, performed by what many consider a master of its craft, Explosions In The Sky. This is an album, and a band that I've been meaning to listen to for quite some time now, especially since I enjoy a few post-rock bands, but have yet to take a full dive into the genre itself.

The album is very linear. All tracks are instrumental, ranging from 8 to 10 minutes in length, and containing various ups and downs and fragile melodies. The guitars dominate the record with the drums playing about half the time and the bass making an apperance here and there but remaining rather unnoticeable. The guitars are obviously soaked in echoes, but other than that, the mix is very asthetic - the guitars are panned left and right and retain the same supposedly blissful sound throughout the record, and the drum sound is very soft, to the extent where you can barely make out the bass kicks. Instead the snare and the cymbals are in the forefront of the percussion, and any actual beats are hardly found as the drums focus on replying to the intensity levels of the string instruments with play that is very dynamic, but at the same time quite dull and uninspired. This of course is nothing short of ironic considering how different the drumming style is compared to rock music in general.

Since the guitars are the main element here, let's talk a bit about them. For this type of music, it's natural that they lead the rest, but in comparison to a band like God Is An Astronaut, the approach Explosions In The Sky have taken with this album seems incredibly one-dimensional. Without the guitars, the album has nothing - and with them it doesn't have much either. Sure at first it all sounds pretty and kind of fresh, emotive even. After 45 minutes of the same thing, all of that is gone, and I've become numb to every echoing note that strives for a crescendo. D
ynamics are more than just going from one end of the volume range to the other. There are some pauses here and there to create a tension between notes, and ends and new beginnings, but the effect is perhaps a bit overused.

While The Earth Is Not A Cold Place is not a bad album by any means - in fact it has several moments of sheer beauty - it can get very tedious to listen to as the music on it follows such a one-way street and is entirely dependant on the moment. This is in many ways the main issue of post-rock - its quality is so dreamy that amongst reality it often doesn't work - if you don't let go of logic, you're just going to trample on things like oversimplicity, overconformity and insignificance of the art that you're presented with. This doesn't mean that the album is mindblowing for anyone who is trying to escape the world surrounding them, but the chances that it will appeal to that person are greater than if you're simply too occupied and caught up in your thinking. Call me a pessimist... But after hearing this album, I'm not so sure that the Earth is not a cold dead place. Maybe it isn't, but I guess in between my ears it still is.

Favorite track: 
Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean

Brüssel Kaupallinen - Musta Polku (4/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 41:17 (11 tracks)
Year: 2009
Country: Finland
Primary genres: Alternative Metal
Secondary genres: Doom Metal; Heavy Metal

Musta Polku is the third studio album by Brüssel Kaupallinen, 
the veterans of Finnish metal. It is also the third album that I have heard from them and my first surprise CD of 2014 (thank you January sales!). It might sound extraordinary that a band formed in 1989 has only released four studio albums to date (the latest one being Minä Olen Vihattu from 2011), especially since the first one came out as late as 2005. Believe me though, this is one of the least extraordinary curiosities to have in mind about the band after this record is through.

Brüssel Kaupallinen is dark and unique. Their fusion of punk, doom-ish heavy metal and the bleak northern mentality is at times scary, at times so gripping you can't help but be taken by its groove. The band has cited that their influences include bands such as Tool and Slayer, and that shows. The dynamics are well in tune with each other and the music manages to not neglect melody although it is very rhythm-based. The music and the lyrics (not to mention vocalist Janne Helttunen's spoken delivery) have a tendency to paint
 a dark and oppressing atmosphere that is decorated by unique and inspiring little tricks. At the same time it feels like the music could turn into chaos at any given moment for it possesses so much power, fury and angst.

I have very few complaints concerning the record, but they are in contrast quite frustrating. A problem that not only shadows this album but all the material I've heard from the band is the drummer's wavering performance. I can see that the straightforward playing style is intentional and almost a trademark to the band's sound, as well as one of the reasons why they've been so influential. However, there are many occasions when it simply doesn't work to have a rhythmically complex riff backed by a basic kick-snare-kick-snare beat. On top of this, sometimes the drumwork sounds just plain sloppy, perhaps most evident in the parts with double bass kick patterns. Some of the guitar parts are a bit oversimplistic too and the riffs don't always go hand in hand. This can be seen as an element that adds to the twistedness of the music though. Finally there's Helttunen's lyrics, which can be very unique and beautifully dark, but can just as well contain inflated and nearly naive language or topics.

The inclusion of twists that take the listener off-guard is something that was missing on the other two BK albums I've heard, and it's one of the factors that makes this perhaps the best out of the three. Another thing that makes this album shine is its consistency, for the short title track is the only song that feels a little disjointed and weak. Certain tracks do stand out more than others, which is only a good thing since even many good records can be forgotten easily unless they provide some highlights. On Musta Polku, the peaking points are also nicely scattered in the tracklisting, making the whole album more pleasant to listen to from front to back.

Favorite track: 7 Kuolemansyntiä

Kotiteollisuus - Kuollut Kävelee (3/5)
Type: EP + DVD
Length: 44:44 (8 tracks); 25:20 (4 music videos)
Year: 2009
Country: Finland
Primary genres: Hard Rock
Secondary genres: Heavy Metal

One of the only Kotiteollisuus releases I had yet to listen to, Kuollut Kävelee is a collection of 4 b-sides and 4 live tracks as well as 4 music videos from the era of the band's 9th studio album Ukonhauta. Whereas Ukonhauta is one of my least favorite Kotiteollisuus albums and a bit of a low point in between 2 very good records (Iankaikkinen from 2006 and Kotiteollisuus from 2011), this package is slightly different, offering a wide range of material in terms of quality.

The EP starts off badly with two tracks that ooze of mannerisms, include nothing but boring riffs and utilize song structures that make the songs dreadfully dragged. Luckily, the next track is a song called Jäälintu, which is easily amongst the top 3 songs from its era, relying on a chilly atmosphere and suprisingly fresh-sounding guitarwork. It's almost as if the band decided to take some influence from their old school days 
with this over 6 minutes long moody piece, particularly the Tomusta Ja Tuhkasta album and its haunting closing moments. Hunninkolla, the last of the 4 studio recordings, is an Eppu Normaali cover and oddly fuses punk rock with semi-impressive guitar soloing. This is a dose of diversity that is welcome on the EP, but it still doesn't make for a cohesive song. 

The live cuts that folow are more evened out. None of them rise to the same level as their respectful studio versions, but most of the time they manage to be entertaining regardless. The biggest issue with these recordings are Hynynen's vocals, which are rather unfocused. The melodic parts sound thin as the man tries to find the right notes and the shouting is just a tad too raw to listen to when you're not presented with a visual in front of you and a gig atmosphere around you. Had they included the video for the live tracks which was actually filmed and even shown on TV, the unpolished vocals as well as the small mistakes in playing would be more excusable. Either way, the live tracks are worth a listen due to Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish) and his keyboard magic that spices up the songs for a fair amount. The classic Satu Peikoista really stands out because of this, but also because of the emotion Hynynen shows in his performance. A hidden acapella track called Karjalaisten Laulu consists of some wavering choir style vocals but ends the EP nicely.

Kotiteollisuus has always been a band with well-thought-out music videos, and once again one can only applaud the ambitious concepts of the Mahtisanat and Taivas Tippuu music videos found on this DVD. While the former is a tragicomic story of men from Kalevala having to enter life in a modern city, Taivas Tippuu is a serious note dealing with a woman's loneliness. Both videos include the band members acting, even doing the lead roles in Mahtisanat in which they have some impressive outfits and don't peform too bad. The Taivaankaunis music video contains mostly computer-made visual candy and suffers from a lack of development, which in turn is more acceptable when the track itself is filled with such a blissful melody. The Pää Kylmänä video offers nothing but the band playing and fooling around, glued together with scenes from a movie that the song served as the soundtrack for. Sadly enough, the videos don't have a lot of relation to the music and its phases half the time, hence why the experience of watching them isn't entirely satisfactory despite the pleasing counterparts.

Favorite track: Jäälintu
Favorite video: Taivaankaunis

God is An Astronaut - The End Of The Beginning (4/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 49:36 (11 tracks)
Year: 2002
Country: Ireland
Primary genres: Post-Rock
Secondary genres: Electronic; Ambient

Now this is more like the kind of post-rock I enjoy. God Is An Astronaut has always been a very special band to me due to their unique sound, at least within my music library. The End Of The Beginning, the band's debut album, seems to be no different, bathing in the same formula as many of the records the band would write afterwards.

One thing that immediately strikes me about this album is its maturity. As a fan, I know what God Is An Astronaut is capable of, but it's a bit surprising that their first record is so strong, not just melody- and mood-wise but production-wise. Of course, some of the band's future albums have more well-developed songs, but The End Of The Beginning manages well on its own, captivating with its wide range of sounds and the mixture of low and high pitches.

The album seems to rely on electronics and synths even more than the band's other material, and some of its borderline experimental sounds that are fresh even today are akin to the band's revived new album Origins. The track From Dust To The Beyond serves as a great example of this with its mellow, distant and space-like soundscape. In relation to
 the aforementioned pitch dynamicism, the piece is also flavored with an occasional backing drone that is incredibly low and unique, and high, dare I say Korn-esque bent notes. The song doesn't really go anywhere, just like the rest of tracks, but honestly they don't have to progress - the way the sections change only subtly like phases of a dream and the way the music focuses on painting a caressing atmosphere is enough to take you to your own dimension, one where everything too sudden and drastic would just be devastating. This music is mostly for relaxing and fantasising, and if one wants to delve in intelligent matter, they can use The End Of The Beginning as a catalyst, but due to its nature it's not intelligent in itself - that is not its purpose.

Despite its beauty and cohesion, The End Of The Beginning doesn't quite reach the heights of God Is An Astronaut's best records, most notably the band's self-titled album and their sophomore record All Is Violent, All Is Bright. It's however far from being as uninspired as 2007's Far From Refuge and provides a lovely journey that is still and moving at the same time. Another slight minus is how the album is so tied to its own root. One either falls for this album or senses it as a lukewarm moment in their lives. It's a lottery every time you press play even if you've heard the album before, but the blissfulness of the moments when you find yourself captivated truly makes it worth the risk.

Favorite track
From Dust To The Beyond

Drudkh - Songs Of Grief And Solitude (3.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 36:00 (7 tracks)
Year: 2006
Country: Ukraine
Primary genres: Contemporary Folk
Secondary genres: Ukrainian Folk Music; Dark Folk

Drudkh's fifth studio album is the first out of two albums in which they departure from their usual atmospheric black metal sound, and the one that is most radical. Songs Of Grief And Solitude is like a fortress built from a few materials and without any grandiose design - instead it is supposed to blend in with its nature surroundings and be a warm shelter to a lonely individual.

Instruments on the Songs Of Grief And Solitude limit to two panned acoustic guitars, bass, a drum or two and a flute. Throughout the album only the guitars are really prominent though. A ravishingly playful flute makes an apperance here and there, whereas the drum hits and the bass stick to keeping a beat on some parts and hence remain as small details. Nature sounds, such as rain and the sound of waves, are utilized in small sections as well. Needless to say, the production is modest and warm, which adds to the minimalism of the musical pieces.

The folky melodies live up to the name of the record very well for the most part, at times reaching mezmerising heights and the kind of sensibility and vulnerability that Drudkh is partly known for. This unfortunately is not the whole story, however. There are several occasions during the album when the guitars just don't mix very well, particularly in terms of rhythm, and there's a lot of disturbing extra fret and string noise. The unpolishedness fits the intention to make a stripped and natural-sounding album, but only to an extent - aesthetic production does not mean that playing lazily and doing everything just once if re-takes could eliminate mistakes is fine. The happy Archaic Dance and th
e wandering The Milky Way are the most notorious examples of this. 

All in all I don't really know what to think about this album. It definitely has its appeal and the potential to build a wonderful atmosphere, but the execution is rather amateurish and disappointing. The album also features melodies from previously released Drudkh songs, which 
can be seen as another sign of being lazy, especially when there are whole tracks made using these parts. These melodies are given a different twist with a clean tone, however, and solely in this context they fit more than well.

Favorite track: Tears Of Gods

Jimmy Eat World - Futures (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 49:33 (11 tracks)
Year: 2004
Country: USA
Primary genres: Alternative Rock
Secondary genres: Power Pop; Pop Rock

Jimmy Eat World is one of those rare cases when a band is both popular and critically acclaimed. They're also yet another group that's been spoken of oh so many times in my presence without me knowing that much about them. Last November I finally decided to give them a shot, and two months later, here we are.

Futures is the band's fifth studio album and one that followed their breakthrough hit Bleed American (2001). Indulging in mid-tempo, melody-driven and emotional rock, Futures is an easy-going album that I don't really see offending anyone. Before that is labelled as solely a negative thing, I must say that the sound and songwriting on the album does have some character and appeal that goes beyond what the band's peers have to offer. Unfortunately there's just not enough charisma in most of the songs, and in the grand scale of things a lot of them just blend in with each other, making most of the album sound all too same-y.

The songs that stand out are the ones that rock the hardest, including the songs Nothingwrong, Futures and the Silversun Pickups -like Just Tonight..., which is the one track the band seems to have absolutely outdone themselves with - that or everything else has been done in haste. As for tracks that add a little variation, 
Polaris is worth a mention for its flirting with the tones of post-rock. The song also includes a relaxing, dominant and rhythmic bass line. Drugs Or Me shows some ambition with its long length and charming piano melody, but never soars like it should, much like the closer 23, which clocks in at nearly seven and a half minutes but in the end just can't draw the attention to itself for the whole ride. 

In some aspects, Futures really took me by surprise - it has a gentle soundscape and it provides moments that show creativity not so common for an act that has been embraced by the mainstream. Still, it relies too much on predictable solutions and safe elements. It is well worth a casual listen, but doesn't offer anything all that special in the long run.

Favorite track: Just Tonight...

Monday, January 13, 2014

[A Day; A Record] Week 2: Treasures In Ordinary Days

Paradise Lost - Host (4/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 53:00 (13 tracks)
Year: 1999
Country: England
Primary genres: Gothic Rock; Electronic
Secondary genres: Darkwave

The title Host was chosen for Paradise Lost's seventh studio album because the band not only liked the word but realized its many possible meanings. Certainly they also must have predicted the division that this piece of work would stir amongst their fanbase, for this was not just another run-of-the-mill journey in the realms of gothic metal - a genre the band pioneered in the early 1990's - but instead an electronic-driven, experimental and *gasp* calm album structured from bittersweet melodies. For some, it would end up being a host to some great sentimental parties. For others, it would more or less imitate the host of a disease.

In many ways, Host is an album that revolves around giving up and letting go. This applies to the obvious style shift but also to the tragedy of vocalist and lyricist Nick Holmes, who lost his father around the time the album was made. This clearly had an impact on the album's lyrics and the emotion conveyed in the vocals, although I'm sure that both would have been sombre even without the unfortunate occurence. Overall Holmes delivers what is perhaps his best recorded vocal performance to date. The atmosphere on the whole album is just as, if not more bleak than on the band's previous efforts. If any of the controversial 'pop' influence is truly there, it's reminiscent of acts such as Depeche Mode - catchy, but still dark.

The feel of giving up is best shown in the album's actual song material. Every track is like a slow, dry and callous whisper from the mouth of someone who's met a dead end in their lives - and not for the first time. Host's mix might not include a lot of heavy or loud guitars, but musically, the album is so brooding that it feels like the band tried (and in my opinion succeeded) in carving a new niche from their own sound, which in itself was unique and influential. With references to the past - of the band itself and the influences they incorporated - Paradise Lost created a new, futuristic goth sound on Host, that relies on synths and strings but is doomy and gloomy as a frozen hell. The great amount of gorgeous melodies only emphasizes the observation of a person too callous to react to misfortunes with rage or frustration anymore. Instead of all that there's now beauty born from the surrender's agony. The wisdom of the album, wrapped in a loss of hope for it's no longer needed, is to settle. It's akin to finding nirvana, really.

The floor of Host's material isn't quite high enough for me to rate it more than 4/5 or to place it above my three favorite Paradise Lost albums, but it does get close. This review is a stand that I'm taking with not enough listens under my belt, anyway. Host has its own demands including open-mindedness and the right time, place and mood. When all of those are completely fulfilled within the same moment, this album might just rise to a so far unspoken glory in my books. Parts of it already serve as a safe Harbour for me.

Favorite tracks: Nothing SacredIt's Too Late

Ektomorf - Destroy (2.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 47:51 (12 tracks)
Year: 2004
Country: Hungary
Primary genres: Groove Metal; Nu Metal

No, not all nu metal is good to me. Having said that, this is the 4th and most likely the last Ektomorf release I will ever hear. It's a pity how on this album they have the attitude, to some extent they have the sound, and they have some riffs at least. They just have no songs, at all, despite the fascinating gypsy-instrumental that From My Heart is. At least Outcast (the follow-up to this album) has the title track and a couple of other songs that are worth a mention, and thus I am not ashamed to own that record. I wanted to check this album out since the CD is currently available with a luxorious discount, but after listening to the album from front to back, I still will have to pass on it. Both, the album and the band, that is. Even Soulfly is great only half the time, so I guess it's only fair that the band accused of ripping them off doesn't even come close to crafting a record that is strong and soulful all the way through.

The production, by the way, is not really surprising for the kind of music this is, but still cringeworthy. Everything is way too loud for about 90% of the time. I miss dynamics, badly...

Favorite track: From Far Away

Old Silver Key - Tales Of Wanderings (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 37:12 (7 tracks)
Year: 2011
Country: Ukraine; France
Primary genres: Post-Rock
Secondary genres: Blackgaze

Old Silver Key's first and only record is, unfortunately, an aimless and rather lazy piece of work. Though I'm not a huge fan of Alcest, I love Drudkh, and the collaboration between the two had some positive expectations from me. I did see many reviews with lukewarm receptions prior to hearing the album, but those didn't move me much - after all, the collaboration between Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson known as Storm Corrosion wasn't all that praised either, but I loved it.

Anyway, much like with Ektomorf's Destroy, the ingredients are there for this record to be successful, they're just cooked wrong. Most of the songs feel boring, uninspired and absent-mindedly played/produced, like segments of jam sessions the members decided to record for fun; and then the fun ended when the tapes were leaked.

In other words: there's nothing horribly wrong with what's on here, yet in the same time there's so little that is totally right. Some parts do hint towards the greatness one would expect from this project, but they're few and scattered amidst the supposedly epic compositions that sound like they were glued together in haste. I do have a soft spot for this type of music, since the sound and the style are nearly identical to Drudkh's Handful Of Stars, an album that I consider a great effort. That album does suffer from some of the same issues as this one, but in a far lesser scale.

Thankfully Tales Of Wanderings gets a little better towards the end, as the music becomes so pretty that its major flaws can be overlooked. At the same time Alcest-frontman Neige delivers some rather charming vocal melodies, still retaining the attribute of childishness and innocence in his voice which I don't really enjoy that much.

Favorite track: About Which An Old House Dreams

Paradise Lost - Believe In Nothing (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 46:00 (12 tracks)
Year: 2001
Country: England
Primary genres: Gothic Metal
Secondary genres: Gothic Rock; Alternative Rock

Believe In Nothing is Paradise Lost's eighth studio album and to date it is the one in their career that was and still is a disappointment by most people's standards, including the band themselves. By the time the band started working on their second major label effort, EMI took over most of control and dictated how the work was constructed. Due to this, so many compromises were made that to Gregor Mackintosh this album doesn't even exist. These compromises also shine through on the album - or should I say eclipse its obvious potential.

The first evident compromise is the production and the mixing, which make the album's sound lack in depth and very raw in places - and this isn't the visceral kind of raw from say Gothic but tacky and negligent, bad type of raw. The songwriting is not quite miles but at least decametres away from Host's, while in the same time it gives an incredibly frustrating feel to hear bits that contain the melancholy yet availing signature style of the band, but just don't follow through 
completely. It's almost redeeming in a sense, since not many bands could deliver songs with such driven force as Mouth and Sell It To The World on what's perhaps their weakest collection of tracks.

As for Nick Holmes, his vocal performance is wavering (again it's not the good kind, which does exist) and the subject matter of his lyrics doesn't seem as fresh as it was on albums like Draconian Times. Of course, lyrics have never been the focal point of the band and aren't really the reason as to why this record is so mediocre, but I honestly lost count on how many times "(it's in my) soul" was sang throughout the album. Also, as opposed to Host for instance, the synths and orchestral elements are weak and seem irrelevant half the time. It seems as if no one really knew what to do with the desire to keep the electronic touch and the re-surfacing of the heavier guitars clashing together.

Luckily, Believe In Nothing did not dig a hole for the band to fall in for good - instead they rose back in terms of quality by abandoning their EMI deal and shifting their style back to more straightforward gothic/doom metal. In terms of mood, however, it's all the same dark and brooding Paradise Lost before, here, and after.

Favorite track: Sell It To The World

Pedestrian's Motor - III (3.5/5)
Type: EP
Length: 15:59 (4 tracks)
Year: 2007
Country: Finland
Primary genres: Alternative Rock; Indie Rock
Secondary genres: Electronic

Whereas the second Pedestrian's Motor EP was an instant hit for me, it seems as if with their third and final EP the trio took a bit of a step back. The fresh sense for melody and composition can still be found on III, but the variety has been compromised significantly and there aren't as many moments of unpredictable bliss. The electronic approach has taken a bit of a backseat, though it's still present, just with peaceful piano, indie and alternative rock leanings being more prominent now. In fact, this time it seems that it's the vocals the group had the most fun experimenting with - both Ville Malja and Jo(rm)a Korhonen utilize techniques not at all common for them, with Korhonen singing raspy and low and Malja holding back on his trademark vibrato.

In short, III is another well-crafted piece. Here's some word play: it's No White Horse, but the lushness of this release reveals that Pedestrian's Motor surely are no strangers to Deftones, particularly the dream pop-ish Saturday Night Wrist album, which came out a year before this EP. And when has influence from my favorite band ever been a bad thing?

Favorite track: Empty Headed Cowboys

Muse - Origin Of Symmetry (2.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 51:41 (11 tracks)
Year: 2001
Country: England
Primary genres: Alternative Rock
Secondary genres: Space Rock; Progressive Rock

Oh Muse. One of the only bands on the face of the Earth that I nearly loathe, while most people around me seem to love them to death. I heard Absolution years ago and was not impressed, but due to a lost bet I now have to hear all their albums, starting with their second, Origin Of Symmetry. I tried my best to enter the record with an open mind, but this 51-minute piece still failed to impress me.

There is no denying that Matthew Bellamy & co aren't great with their instruments. Unfortunately skillful playing happens to be just one aspect of music, and one that I don't value very much. The lack of good songwriting is the first thing missing on this album, particularly in the longer tracks which contain no justification whatsoever as to why they're so lengthy. Most ideas on here are cheesy and under-developed but clouded by over the top layering and production. This of course comes down to personal preference, but I really don't care for a mix of noisy and obnoxious, occasionally rather lo-fi and stoner rock -esque distortion guitars, paired with supposedly spacy synth sounds, next to a nicely thick but way too overbearing bass tone. The drums I have no problem with, but there is one more element that does drive me insane.

The vocals. *facepalm*

As if the clumsy genre clash Matthew Bellamy attempts to do with his guitars isn't enough, he sings and moans like he was a high school student who badly wanted to impress the prom queen, not because he cared for her, but so that he could become popular. In other words, his vocal performance is as pretentious as it can be, lacking in genuine emotion, genuine dynamics and sense of style. The higher, more intense and more dramatic he tries to get with his voice, the more my ears want to bleed. The plastic candle on the plastic cake are his gasps for air, which can be an effective intricacy sometimes, but not when it's overly done all the time. On Origin Of Symmetry, it's a pseudo-emotional gimmick, nothing more.

The band clearly does have a vision of some sort, and I give them a thumbs up for exploring a variety of sounds and styles. The calmer and more ambient sections actually don't sound too bad as long as Mr. Bellamy restrains himself. Another thing this album has going for itself is consistency. It's just too bad that it means its songs are equally as pretentious and equally as average in quality. Then again, the former should come as no surprise when we're talking about a band that named themselves Muse. Ha. Makes it ironic that I find the album not really all that inspired (exploration & variety 
≠ creativity), and merely just a hash of various old things done before with hopefully an actual heart and way more class.

Favorite track: Citizen Erased

Sunday, January 5, 2014

[A Day; A Record] Week 1: Bayous, Echoes And Masquerades

To honor the year 2014 and my approaching 20th birthday, I intend to reach the limit of a thousand heard albums/EPs (in my lifetime) by week 46/14. To achieve this, I basically have to listen to one new album a day for the next 10 months or so. I know it sounds crazy considering everything else I have to do this year and thus it might not work, but I really want to try. To capture the experience, I will compile some info and thoughts on each new album I listen to and include them on weekly updates, starting with this one.

It should go without saying that these are mostly first or second impressions, and I hold the right to change them at any time.

Diabolical Masquerade - Nightwork (3.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 38:59 (7 tracks)
Year: 1998
Country: Sweden
Primary genres: Melodic Black Metal; Symphonic Black Metal
Secondary genres: Avant-Garde Metal; Progressive Metal

Nightwork is Anders Nyström's (most known for his work with Katatonia) third album under the Diabolical Masquerade moniker. Made mostly by Nyström with some help from Dan Swanö, this is a very interesting and experimental journey of an album that contains some amazing melodies and a dark horror ambiance. I will need more listens to truly realize the intricacies and avant-garde-isms of this work, though even then I probably won't completely get into the most extreme sections found here. Nevertheless, a rather inspiring piece to kick the year off with.

Favorite track: Rider On The Bonez

Forty Foot Echo - Forty Foot Echo (3.5/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 41:04 (12 tracks)
Year: 2003
Country: Canada
Primary genres: Alternative Rock
Secondary genres: Post-Grunge

Forty Foot Echo's self-titled debut is a solid and catchy alternative rock affair that starts out strong with a patch of songs dipped in melodic attack, led by the opener Drift (which introduced me to the band thanks to the TV series One Tree Hill). Even if the album doesn't remain as strong throughout, it's mostly entertaining. This is music that plays easily in the background and also has enough hooks and energy to appeal to me when focusing solely on the listening experience. Some subtleties here and there make this album worthwhile, even if in sound, style and structure it is made out of rather safe elements and can get a little cheesy. With less repetition in the songwriting, for instance by adding more darkness or melancholy amid the optimistic material, this album and the band itself would have the potential to rise to much greater heights.

Favorite track: Drift

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bayou Country (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 33:48 (7 tracks)
Year: 1969
Country: USA
Primary genres: Swamp Rock; Rock
Secondary genres: Blues Rock; Rock & Roll

After getting into The Doors late last year, I continue my exploration of the late '60s with the second studio album by Creedence Clearwater Revival. This music, although rock, is rather unorthodox for me to listen to, and that probably shows in my rating and the relatively little amount of fondness I have for this album. I can appreciate the bluesy and undeniably passionate music that CCR put together, but their songs aren't all that strong here. The general consensus is that at this point the band had yet to find the needed coherency to make great records, which I can agree with.

Bayou Country does have two very good cuts on it, which I probably would have considered rather inspiring had I lived in the right era. The opener
Born On The Bayou is borderline raging with John Fogerty tearing the vocals out from himself. The phrases are nothing too deep or meaningful, but the song sure is hooky. The other highlight is Graveyard Train, which does drag on for over eight and a half minutes, but contains a rather perfect bassline for jamming. The slow tempo, sinister atmosphere and subject matter makes it hard not to think about how the track could be turned into some great doom metal and that songs like this must have been a huge influence for the genre that had not yet been born. The rock & roll cover 
Good Golly Miss Molly is entertaining as well, whereas the hit Proud Mary I find incredibly overrated. Not that Tina Turner's rendition is any better...

Favorite track: Born On The Bayou

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River (3/5)
Type: Studio album
Length: 28:47 (9 tracks)
Year: 1969
Country: USA
Primary genres: Swamp Rock; Roots Rock; Rock
Secondary genres: Country Rock; Blues Rock

Just months after Bayou Country was released, Creedence's third studio effort came out, entitled Green River. On this album the band seemed to have found a niche they felt comfortable to stay in. As the band shifted away from the diversity of their first two records, to me they lost a lot of dynamicism and instinctiveness. There are no long songs anymore, and the sound has become somewhat streamlined and polished especially in terms of vocals. Everything is more coherent on Green River than it was in the past, but the rawness of the old 
and the wildness it brought appealed to me more. Wrote A Song For Everyone is however a strong highlight and enough to redeem this half an hour piece from being nothing more but casualty for me. 

Favorite track: Wrote A Song For Everyone

Pedestrian's Motor - II (4/5)
Type: EP
Length: 18:07 (5 tracks)
Year: 2006
Country: Finland
Primary genres: Glitch Pop; Alternative Rock; Downtempo
Secondary genres: Industrial Rock; Indie Rock

Pedestrian's Motor is the meeting of the minds of Jo(rm)a Korhonen and Antti Tuomivirta from SARA and Ville Malja from Lapko. Whereas the trio's first EP (I, rated 3/5) didn't bother me at all, it lacked any true shining moments and clearly had the aura of an experimental side project - experimental as in interesting but not necessarily succesful more than half the time, and side poject as in something less focused and impressive than the men's pre-established main endeavours.

II, the second release by the group, is something else altogether. While it's still not a masterpiece, it has more genuinely gripping material, and its industrial-tinged compositions that take just as much from alternative rock as they do from electronic pop are rather delightful and unique. Although vocals are done pretty much 50-50 by Korhonen and Malja, the latter's distinctive voice dominates the recordings over Korhonen's moody performance. Both do deliver pretty much the same amount of emotion, just in different ways. The melodies attain a playful yet thoughtful quality similar to SARA's softer moments, and the EP also has some echoes of Velcra's genius last album Hadal, as both share a beautiful soundscape filled with mostly sweet melodies and soothing vibes, but also contain some synthetic sound invasion. Particularly dynamic is the song Throne, which has a mysterious beginning reminiscent of a fantasy soundtrack that is soon destroyed by distortion, as the vocals begin to run through the speakers with aggression and tone similar to what you would find in some Black Light Burns material.

Korhonen's other side project Meadow Island
which was formed in 2010, might of been a continuation to some of the tranquil atmospheres and songwriting on this EP. While Meadow Island's debut retained a blissful value, II is more varied and benefits from its short length. Malja and Korhonen also pair up well in comparison to the mix of Korhonen's male and Jenni Niemi's female vocals in Meadow Island.

In conclusion, I can't wait to hear Pedestrian's Motor's third and final EP to date to see if their evolution continued as strong.

Favorite track: Throne

Viikate - Marraskuun Lauluja II (3/5)

Type: Studio album
Length: 38:58 (10 tracks)
Year: 2007
Country: Finland
Primary genres: Heavy Metal
Secondary genres: Rautalanka

Viikate is one of those bands I should absolutely adore in theory. Afterall, the band plays melancholic and lead-driven atmospheric metal with poetic Finnish lyrics. After giving Marraskuun Lauluja II a shot, I just can't say that I do.

Sure there's character in the sound that relies on the contrast of low, fat, mid-tempo riffs and rautalanka-fused leadwork. The compositions sound very monotonous despite all the decoration, which wouldn't be a bad thing if they were captivating, but instead I felt bored not long after I pressed play. Despite the somewhat unique mixture in the band's sound, it feels as though it's still chained. It doesn't help that the music has vibes from schlager, which is not only a stagnant genre but also one I tend to despise.

A few moments do remind me of Katatonia, Paradise Lost and (doom) bands of the like, which is probably attributable to the familiar melodies and the atmosphere attempted here. The difference is, those two acts actually share a kinship with me, whereas the Western-backdrop-meets-Northern-cold style of Viikate seemingly doesn't. Sometimes it really is that sad yet simple to reason why certain music doesn't click.

At least they saved the best song 'til last. That made the album well worth listening to.

Favorite track: Iäisyys

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Years End

The year 2013 in the music and books I acquired:

Stam1na - Nocebo
Junius - Reports From The Threshold Of Death
Swallow The Sun - New Moon
Tool - 10,000 Days
Woods Of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol
Crazy Town - The Gift Of Game*
Ektomorf - Outcast [Promo]*
CMX - Palvelemaan Konetta [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - Jos Sanon [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - Kädessäni [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - Yksinpuhelu [EP]*
Kotiteollisuus - Rakastaa/Ei Rakasta [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - ±0 [EP]*
Kotiteollisuus - Routa Ei Lopu (On Ilmoja Pidelly) [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - Kultalusikka [EP]*
Velcra - Water Is Getting High [Single]*
Kotiteollisuus - Aamen*
CMX - Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
Opeth - Still Life
Drudkh - Forgotten Legends
Thy Catafalque - Róka Hasa Rádió
SideOneDummy Records - Fall Compilation
Brüssel Kaupallinen - Minä Olen Vihattu
Sara - Silmiin & Sydämiin [Single]*
Sara - Seuraa [Single]*
Sara - Tanssiin [Single]*
Sara - Ylimäärä [Single]*
Sara - Momentum [Single]*
P.O.D. - Satellite [Single]*
Spineshank - Self-Destructive Pattern
earthtone9 - Omega
earthtone9 - IV**
earthtone9 - Live From London Garage [DVD]
Katatonia - Deliberation [Single]
Evanescence - Evanescence
Nothingface - Skeletons
HURT - Vol. I
Katatonia - Night Is The New Day
Gojira - The Way Of All Flesh
Apocalyptica - Apocalyptica
Kilt. - Everything/Nothing
Soulfly - Soulfly
Demon Hunter - Demon Hunter
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
HIM - Venus Doom
My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
Opeth - Orchid
Deftones - B-Sides & Rarities [CD/DVD]
Kotiteollisuus - Kotiteollisuus
Katatonia - Discouraged Ones
Kotiteollisuus - Helvetistä Itään
Mana Mana - Complete...Kaikki
Katatonia - Dethroned & Uncrowned**
Brüssel Kaupallinen - Valheiden Kirja
Nicole - Horros [EP]

Riverside - Rapid Eye Movement
KoЯn - Here To Stay [Single]*
KoЯn - Twisted Transistor [Single]*
Faithless - Reverence*
HIM - Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights*
Lapko - Young Desire**
Kotiteollisuus - Kummitusjuna [EP]*
Anathema - Judgement***
Brian "Head" Welch - Save Me From Myself
Velcra - Consequences Of Disobedience
Limp Bizkit - Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water*
Celldweller - Celldweller
Katatonia - Dead End Kings
CMX - Aurinko*
Faith No More - Album Of The Year*
Papa Roach - lovehatetragedy*
Paradise Lost - Draconian Times
Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us
Meadow Island - Meadow Island
Mr. Bungle - California
CMX - Seitsentahokas
Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down

* = Used
** = Signed by the whole band
*** = Used, with a Paradise Lost - Host case, but Anathema - Judgement CD

Lapko - The Arms [White vinyl]*
Deftones - White Pony
The Walker Brothers - Star Portrait*
Faith No More - King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime [Red Marble vinyl]
Gojira - The Way Of All Flesh [White vinyl]

* = Used

Oscar Wilde - The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Andrew Schwab - It's All Downhill From Here: On The Road With Project 86
Daniel Lagercrantz - Minä, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Jouni Hynynen - Kesämies
Paulo Coelho - Zahir
Reinhardt Haydn - HIM: His Infernal Majesty*
HK Hellsten; Kalle Kallio; Mikko Metsämäki - Uusi Pasifistin Taskukirja
Reg Grant; Ruth Shane; Frank Ritter; Adrian Gilbert; Reg Grant; Steve Wilson - 1999 Formula 1 Vuosikirja**
Tarja Pulli - Koko Perheen Sivistyssanat**
Alice Sebold - Oma Taivas**
Jari Tervo - Rautapää**
Bertrand Russell - Filosofiaa Jokamiehelle**
John Steinbeck - Oikutteleva Bussi**
Jussi Valtonen - Siipien Kantamat**
Ib Michael - Kirje Kuulle**
Tommy Tabermann - Sanat Kuin Intohimo**
Matti Paavilainen - Juhlakausi**
Arto Lappi - Kevätsateiden Aika: Japanilaista Lankarunoutta**
Siiri Eloranta - Painajaisten Lintukoto**
Virve Sammalkorpi - Suuri Sitaattikirja**

* = Used, shared ownership with a friend

** = Used

"Insanity at its peak" - Mikael Åkerfeldt, 2001