Tuesday, 19 May 2015
For example, as opposed to the solid hour of enjoyment this record's predecessor guarantees, I feel like 'The Islander' and '7 Days to the Wolves' belong on a different record to 'The Cadence of Her Last Breath' and 'Bye Bye Beautiful'. Which can take you out of the moment quite effectively. I mean I rarely listen to this through, and there's one song in particular I skip every time. It might be that, aside from having more good songs, the tracklist for Once was just so well planned that you didn't notice going from the industrial groove of 'Wish I Had an Angel' to the lush soundscapes of 'Creek Mary's Blood' in about ten minutes; but still, Dark Passion Play feels like it could have been decisively trimmed back to ten songs and made more sense.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
Monday, 11 May 2015
The divide in opinion when it comes to this track isn't the only thing that puts it in a similiar camp to 'Wish I Had an Angel', 'Bye Bye Beautiful' and 'Amaranth' - it also has that monster groove going on like I mentioned. Both in the chugging riffs of the chorus, and the swaggering bounce of the main riff that makes 'Wish I Had an Angel' sound easygoing by comparison.
I expected and asked for nothing less. It would have been obvious to most by now that Tuomas Holopainen's tastes are such that he was clearly more impressed by Idina Menzel belting out Frozen's much-loved 'Let it Go' than by the fact that Saxon is still recording career-beating albums so many decades in, and the band's lead composer stays the course for another album of anthemic and unbelievably catchy tracks. Well, good. After the two with Anette Olzon I was hoping for, at least, another few really infectious songs like 'I Want my Tears Back' and '7 Days to the Wolves', but with the incredible Floor Jansen on vocals. In the end, this turned out to be probably my album of 2015, provided Ningen Isu don't do anything before the year is out. This is Nightwish's clear best, equal with Once, which I've been listening to since a couple of months after it came out more than a decade ago, and have never become bored with even after easily hundreds of plays. Just to give you an idea how seriously good this is.
Anyway, ever since I sat at a coffee shop in the hot early hours of a Singapore morning in 2012 and read the news about Floor Jansen being brought in to replace Anette Olzon, I've been desperately anticipating the first studio recordings from the band with her. So the very morning this came out, I got 'Élan' off iTunes before work (despite the pants audio level available from them) and got a few listens of the song in all its awesomeness in before and on the way to work.
Well, here is an occult French band that will make you forget all about Orchid and Devil and their type. This is right up your street if you consider Bedemon's Symphony of Shadows one of the best releases in recent years, and consider the guitar sound on Witchfinder General's Soviet Invasion to have never been surpassed. It's not perfect but it is something that deserves a bit of focus because the DNA of a pretty solid doom metal band is in here somewhere.
Ordoxe opt for a more malevolent and blasphemy focused aesthetic with their new record, in keeping with a bleaker sound and lyrical aspect. While the extremely catchy leads and riffs are still in there, as is the punishing rhythm section, someone has made the decision to reign in the buzzsaw sound of the guitars a bit as compared to Beyond Mankind. Hence, bleaker, though no less bloody I can assure you.
Much like Deathchain, the production is unbelievably heavy and detailed, the ferocity of the music is unforgiving, and the emphasis is on functional tunes and powerful instrumentation. What Aeon of the Shadow Goddess has to distinguish it - especially in Finland where there are a few very established sounds that the majority of bands cleave to these days - is an element of the busy and chromatic to its nine dense tracks. The whole album has enough ideas going on, enough impressive instrumentation and a beautiful enough sound to feel exactly as professional and high-budget as stuff like Behemoth and Belphegor - but unlike the latter's latest album, this thing is pretty damn killer. And after a few listens some of the leads, the riffs and progressions start to bury themselves in the brain.