Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Off to the Concert

In a few hours I'll be going to the Opera House again to see Epica and Alestorm (among other bands). It'll be my third time seeing Alestorm and first seeing any female-fronted metal band. Hopefully I'll even get an Alestorm shirt finally.. They even promised something special, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what it is!

Oh you guys
I'll be posting my concert impressions either Friday or this weekend, so stay tuned. It will also be the last post here for a bit.. I've decided to focus a bit more on school than my blog, and hopefully that will pay off in the long run. It's definitely not the end of anything though, as I will get back to blogging as soon as I can.

I'll leave you with this Epica music video. I think it just perfectly blends the beautiful symphonic music and metal. Enjoy!

-Zombie Viking

Monday, October 29, 2012

Metal Mondays: Alestorm

Yarr, there be pirate metal aboard!

YARRRR- wait, what?
Genre: Pirate Metal
Country: Scotland

Alestorm, the one and only True Scottish Pirate Metal band has made quite an impact in the relatively short time since their debut. They were formed in 2004 under the name Battleheart and released their first official record under the name Alestorm in 2008. After Captain Morgan's Revenge, Black Sails at Midnight and Back Through Time have followed. And already, the band is prepping for their first ever headlining festival.

Those crazy pirates.
Alestorm's music is unique in the sense that it's hilarious the first time, but as you continue to listen to it, there's a good musical backing as opposed to the music just being there for cheap laughs. Their lyrics range from grand adventures to just getting drunk. The songs do a good job of not breaking the pirate theme (besides maybe Scraping the Barrel, but that song's pretty awesome in its own right) so you always feel like a swashbuckler listening to an Alestorm album. The only thing I'd like to see more of is for the band to dive deeper into pirate lore. As countless movies and games have shown, there's a lot of pirate stuff to be explored. I did enjoy Back Through Time though, as it felt like the band responding to the current metal scene (viking metal specifically) and of course Swashbuckled served as a great call out to Swashbuckle. They have the unique spot of being one of the only pirate metal bands in existence (though there are finally some other bands catching on to the idea) so I think Alestorm should embrace it more.

Alestorm is also the only band I've seen live more than once. This Wednesday will be my third time seeing them in concert. Maybe I'll even finally get a t-shirt. The first time I saw them was one of my first concerts, so I didn't even bring enough money for merch. The second time they had completely sold out the day before. Hopefully the third time's the charm.

Speaking of seeing Alestorm live, they are a great live band. For some reason, they're the only band for which I know practically every word of every song. No matter what they play, I'll be singing along. Even driving in my car I sing along whenever I decide to play Back Through Time. The band itself is just so much fun. And I'm not the only one. The entire crowd goes crazy whenever Alestorm rolls through town. From every single person singing Nancy the Tavern Wench to a giant mosh pit erupting during Back Through Time, it's always a great time. I just wish they'd play Heavy Metal Pirates once! I think it would be an amazing live song.

Nothing needs to be said about this poster.
I definitely have a lot of Alestorm memories, as they keep coming to me as I'm writing. Chris Bowes is a great guy. He really knows how to keep a crowd entertained. He always has some joke to say in between songs or he just plays some catchy riff on his keytar. The first time I saw them, he even played for a good minute because the guitarist was having technical difficulties that the crew was fixing. Then there's Dani Evans who always always jumps off stage right when the band has finished their set and walks through the crowd to the bar. Once he has a drink in his hands, he takes the time to interact with fans, signing things or just talking to people. It's great to see a band that likes its fans so much. Chris Bowes also happens to be a part of a little band called Gloryhammer, who, as some of you may remember, linked to my blog on their Facebook page. These guys are pretty awesome.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this great band again this Wednesday. It's always a good time when Alestorm is in town!

-Zombie Viking

Friday, October 26, 2012

Instant Viking Headwear

With the added bonus of being warm! Now you can instantly grow a beard and become a real viking.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hair is Meant for Growing

I'm glad long hair is getting more mainstream. It's hard to walk around campus or even down the street any more and not see someone with awesome metal hair. Long hair even seems to be breaking in to genres besides metal; I've seen a few pop posters that feature guys with uncharacteristically long hair.

Picture semi-related
I'm not sure if metal is just more popular now or if people are getting lazy, but it is pretty cool to see. Luckily enough, this doesn't make it any harder to spot metalheads since fans of other genres haven't seemed to start growing their hair out just yet. It just makes me feel like there's people all around me that share my interests. In the past month alone I must have passed at least 5 guys with sweet Amon Amarth shirts. Now this is a trend I want to see continue.

How about you guys? Do you notice that you've started seeing a lot more guys with long hair recently? Or is this just a local phenomenon for me? Let me know!

-Zombie Viking

Monday, October 22, 2012

Metal Music Video Mondays: Head Up High by Firewind

I've had a thing for this song since I first heard it. It's just so catchy and the band is so talented. Plus the music video isn't too bad as far as metal videos go. This is definitely one of my favourite Firewind songs if not the favourite.

I should probably give Firewind a second chance.. I put a couple of their albums on my mp3 player a couple years ago but they just didn't click. The music itself was great for the most part, I just found myself always skipping over their songs to get to ones that I knew better. After a few months, I deleted those albums and haven't really listened to them since. It's this song though that keeps me coming back to Firewind. I especially think now that I listen to so much more power metal than before that I'll enjoy this band. I'll check them out again when I get a chance.

Gus G is the man!

-Zombie Viking

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wintersun - Time I Review

The moment you've been waiting 8 long years for is finally here. Jari Mäenpää and friends are back with an album that's bigger and better in almost every way. Time I is more technical, heavier, softer, more symphonic and has longer songs than Wintersun's debut. It is, however, shorter, but I'll get to that later.

The cover is just one of the strikingly beautiful and detailed things about this album.
Every song on Time I is a masterpiece. They all sound entirely different and elicit completely different (but strong nonetheless) emotional responses. Sons of Winter and Stars is the heaviest and fastest track on the album and Land of Snow and Sorrow the lightest. Time is somewhere in between, featuring some fast and some more 'acoustic' (that's not the right word.. how about unplugged) sections. When Time Fades Away serves as a gradual introduction to the album with Darkness and Frost acting as an interlude between the last two songs. It all fits together really nicely and every song (with perhaps the exception of When Time Fades Away) can stand on its own and give any listener a full Wintersun experience.

Sons of Winter and Stars is the highlight of the album, featuring the widest array of musical styles and most shreddy guitar. It's also the longest, clocking in at 13 minutes and 31 seconds. That's not to say that the song drags on. In fact, those 13 minutes of your life will fly by and you'll find yourself wanting to use up that time over and over again. I've already listened to the song three times today alone. The song starts off with the end of When Time Fades Away, giving an oriental vibe as Jari previously stated the album would contain. It then kicks off in true Wintersun style, a barrage of expertly crafted sounds that all seem to sync together perfectly. It's on this track that you can hear the increased symphonic elements of the album. Despite the fact that Jari didn't get an actual orchestra (which is something I'd like to see for future album releases), the end result is probably even better. The symphonic sections are made up of not just orchestral elements, but also oriental and sometimes even electronic sounds. It all combines to make some of the most unique melodies I've heard. Of course the guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals on top of it all add yet another element to the music. The first time I heard "Sons of Winter and Stars RISE", the experience commenced. I just can't get over how expertly timed everything is and how well it all works together. The song continues for a normal Wintersun length before it slows down at the 7 minute mark for an amazing acoustic bridge. Then it picks up again and goes back to the ferocity of the first half. Then, just when I thought I couldn't be surprised any more by the song, Jari's all-star chorus (which was teased on Youtube, see below) kicks in, increasing the epicness tenfold; if that was even possible. One of the reasons cited for the album being split in two was the fact that the music just can't all be listened to in one sitting. After this song, I can see what they mean by that. I had to take a break and let it all sink in.

Well seeing how long that was, I don't think I'm going to individually review the rest of the songs.. There's plenty that I could say for any song or even any given second of the album, but the most important is "go listen to it for yourself". Once I finished listening to the album (after taking a break in between each song of course), I found myself letting the disc go back to the first song and playing it all over again. Despite Jari being the mastermind behind this project, I think the rest of the band deserves huge props. This album wouldn't have been possible without the help of Kai, Teemu and Jukka, all extremely talented in their own right. After all, there's a limited amount of mortals who possess the prowess needed to play alongside Jari. I also especially enjoyed Kai's drumming.

Some of the greatest musicians in metal.
Despite the near perfection of the tracks it contains, I have one main gripe with Time I and it has to do with the 'I' in the title. This feels like (and is) merely half an album. Ignoring When Time Fades Away and Darkness and Frost, there are only three real songs. Despite the length of each individual song, the album as a whole left me wanting more. It is unfortunate that each part of Time couldn't have more tracks similar to Stratovarius' Elements, Pt.1 and Pt.2. Though that album was split because of the overflowing amount of songs, not the unfinished nature of some. However, comparing Time I to any other band or album is a disservice. It is so wholly different to anything else you could possibly find that it just can't be equated. In the end, my gripe is a small one. I don't think I (or the fanbase as a whole) would have wanted to wait even longer for every song to be completely finished. I'm sure that once Time II is released, the two halves will make an amazing whole.

In the end, Time I was worth the wait. Every song is so masterfully crafted that it warrants multiple listens. Although it does feel like half an album is missing, Time II will most likely be worth the wait as well. If Wintersun was trying to take my money, the succeeded. Not only will I give them money for the album, but I now have an even more burning desire to see them live when they finally come here in December. I'll see you soon Wintersun!

Rating: 98/100

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Suburbs are Kvlt

This is what I want to be when I grow up. The pentagrams are a nice touch.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, October 12, 2012

Coffee Pentagram

This must be what they serve at Duncan Hills. I'd like a large latte, extra Satan.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, October 8, 2012

Metal Music Video Mondays: Cyber Girl by Xe-NONE

These guys are crazy. I don't mean crazy good or anything like that, they're just not right in the head. But that's why I love them. Xe-NONE brings something new to the table: dance metal! They took a break from posting their absolutely dreadful live performances (I'm sorry!) to post a new music video for their year-old album.

I have to say, the video actually starts off pretty good. It has a lot of cool effects and it feels like it's going to get pretty epic. Then... it kind of goes downhill. Not really much happens except for the band playing their song in a completely poster-filled room. Especially bad are the scenes showing vocalist Lexy Dance with some guy standing in the background just trying to stay out of the shot.

Regardless, this song and band is pure fun. I like Lexy's dance moves halfway through the song and the rest of the band seems to be enjoying themselves. I had also never heard this song in Russian, so that's something new. They should get around to making a new album, but after that I expect to see more videos.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Metal Zodiac

Find out what type of metalhead you are based on your astrological sign. It looks like I'm Korpiklaani since I'm a Capricorn. Most of these guys are pretty recognizable too.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, October 1, 2012

Metal Mondays: Stalling Edition

Happy October!

Hey everyone. I've been busy with school lately, so there isn't an official Metal Monday per se. In fact, no guarantees that there will be many, if any, new posts for the next little bit. I previously posted my schedule here so you should all know how busy I am.

I'm currently working out something (maybe pictures) to be posted regularly to keep this blog active. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. Also, as soon as I can, I promise I'll go back to regular posts.

In the meantime, check out some of my older Metal Mondays: Powerwolf, Gloryhammer, Pathfinder, Arafel and my popular posts tab on the right side of the page.

Be sure to check back often.

-Zombie Viking