Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Thursday, 17 December 2020
While they already released an EP in 2016 a new band to me. I knew Ross Jennings from Haken, but also had others on CD already with No Sin Evades His Gaze. A heavier Haken with grunts by Gareth Mason of Slice the Cake (waiting for their CD releases). A wonderful album, which grows to a stunning finish with Corazon, The Tyrant and Prison Walls at the end. If the whole album was like that they would have scored even higher. Now a very fine discovery.
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
Especially the more extreme end of metal came less into my picture. I do like extreme metal live and often pick up albums after shows or buy in advance and play a lot at home before a gig. Now that I only saw the very short Imperial Belial gig in January and the shows of Diabolical in February plus the Noctem/Spectrum of Dilussion later that month. The last band released an album that received praise, but I have not heard it yet. Dark Tranquility, Fen and Enslaved I should also have picked up at a show, but not heard yet. What I did buy and liked a lot are albums by 1. God Dethroned , 2.Rages of Sin, 3. Contrarian and 4. Azusa. Rages of Sin even released the probably best extreme metal album ever released in The Hague. Pity they could not tour, nor do all seated shows, to bring the album even more alive to me. Azusa last year blew me away with album and show in their very own hardcore/progmetal way but was now less of a surprise to me. God Dethroned I missed in Baroeg due to storm in February and Contrarian is too recent to judge completly.
So these were only albums I loved, but just not making my Top20. Imagine what a ride that will be. Online on Thursday, still needing to play some and decide on picking orders and rankings.
Sunday, 13 December 2020
Some last CD tips for your christmas shoppings. A special edition as two of them I have not even received on CD yet myself.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
With the end of the year nearing herewith some more CD's I believe you might like to hear. As I will soon have to start the impossible task of ranking my favorite albums of 2020 I now kept it simple and let mr alphabet guide us.
Armored Saint - Punching the Sky
It is the year 2020 and can Armored Saint still surprise me? The answer is a firm No and Yes. No they shall not change their style suddenly from the traditional heavy metal that made them big. So be ready for the voice of John Bush, a heavy drum and bass basis and the guitar solos flying all over the place. Yes they can surprise me by the simple fact that they did it again. Not many bands can state that their last albums are as strong as their early work from the eighties. Armored Saint can and only nostalgia might make the oldies favorites to some. So the outcome is simple one of the best albums of the year which is an obligatory purchase for anyone into Heavy Metal.
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Sunday, 8 November 2020
If ever anyone decided to go out with a bang, I doubt they managed to do it as overwhelming as Fish just did. Fish is for 38 years now my favorite story-teller in music. This album was announced years ago together with the fact that it would be his last. Several personal issues, family matters followed by Covid-19 made this release being pushed forwards, but now we have it. One of the delays also got caused by a hospitalized cover artist Mark Wilkinson. In the guiding documentary Fish explains that there was no way he would move to another cover-artist for his last album and boy can we be pleased with that decision as I can recommend the special edition with artwork, that won't be met in years to come. So in order to go out in style this is a double album with the total lenght of two eighties LP's in 84:30. Ten songs only so we can look forward to the inclusion of some epics. Over the years we could hear and see parts of the album with especially the EP a Parlour of Angels and the three songs of that album being played during his 2018 tour. But as it is a last album let me exceptionally do a song by song review.
The album opens with the sounds of a MRI scan, which Fish underwent and decided to use on the album. The Grace of God is a personal story about his hospital days and is a strong start 8 minutes classic Fish with an emotional bridge on the girl with the Docs. Immediately we know we are in for an emotional album, where no feelings are spared. And there but for the grace of God go I. Next song Man with a Stick, did not blow me away when first hearing it live in Edinburgh September 2018. Reading along with the lyrics, watching the clip and suddenly this song came alive, talking about many sticks in live. Walking on eggshells discusses problematic relations one of his favorite topics. The song is upped with heavy orchestration and female choirs on the background leading to a louder end before a final calm line closes off. This Party's Over at first sounds like the party song on the album, with some celtic influences plus whistles and saxophone. But then the lyrics are about saying goodbye to alcohol and the state of the word, so where's the party here?. This short uptempo song breaks the album nicely and opens the path for the first epic of over 15 minutes Rose of Damascus. This song follows a girl from early days going out in Syria until the decision to move abroad ending with her heading for the sea on a boat. Two strong spoken word parts make this such a powerful song with a message in a fashion that only Fish really is able to do in music (for me that is). If emotions were not on a high already the second CD opens with Garden of Remembrance. This already is the best song ever written on Alzheimer and lasting love. The Blu Ray contains a documentary on the making of the videoclip and this only adds to the emotion of that song. As the full album is dark and emotional throughout. The next C Song is about being diagnosed with Cancer stating I won't let you bring me down. The instrumental part is called the Trondheim Waltz as during his 2018 Trondheim show this song under development was played and Fish asked everyone to dance with the person next to them. Getting an uplifting spirit in a hall while singing about such a topic is only for few an achievable option. Little Man What now is another 11 minutes of self reflection, packed in a ballad like orchestral song. Next song Waverley Steps is my absolute favorite of the album. A story on a London City or Amsterdam Zuidas work hard, party harder young man, who gets married, in marital fights, divorced and ending with his dog on Waverley Steps at Edinburgh station. I first heard this song when in Edinburgh and the next day I visited the steps to take a picture of Josie there. Not knowing the lyrics yet, I am now pleased that I can place the description of this song. The title track Weltschmerz closes the album in style where Fish sings about the sorry state of the world ending in a biting The rapture is near.
So reading back I noticed I did not write about the music, but more on the stories told. Well that is exactly what I love in Fish. I think it is safe to say that if you ever liked any work by Fish solo or with Marillion, you can safely buy this album. I do recommend the special edition as it offers so much extra's including the story on making four promo video's in lockdown days. A final word of thanks must go to Mark & Julie Wilkinson as they outdid themselves with some beautifull artwork. For me that all culminates on page 100 where the cover of Market Square Heroes got an upgrade to the grey-bearded warrior with a mask used against the plague. So much beauty released made this whole package an adventure to me. Vigil Fish'first solo album was considered a classic and still stands strong 30 years later. I am sure that this album 30 years from today shall still stand proud as well. Finally on the docu Fish made an uplifting comment on his touring. He plans still two tours. First one where Vigil meets with Weltschmerz. Than thereafter a farewell show where he plans to play two different sets on two nights in several of his favorite venues over the years. That should include Tivoli and Paradiso so For the grace of God shall I be there four nights. And if you see me cry it shall be of sheer joy for his music and you can buy me a beer for comfort. Thank you Fish.