Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Free Music: Neurotech - Infra Versus Ultra

Hey do you guys like free stuff? The industrial metal one man project Neurotech just released their newest album, Infra Versus Ultra. It's available on the band's bandcamp for free/name your price! This is one of the most atmospheric albums I've heard in a while. It's a beautiful combination of symphonic keyboards, electronic sounds, robotic vocals and metal guitars and drums. Honestly, just check it out.
A little about the band; Neurotech is the project of Wulf, a very talented musician from Slovenia. He makes music that he enjoys and then releases it all for free/name your price on his bandcamp. This is a guy who's making music because he loves it and you can tell. Everything is surprisingly layered and fine-tuned. The music itself mixes together the genres of metal, electronic and even classical to create something quite different from the vast majority of stuff out there. It's good stuff, what more can I say?

You can find Infra Versus Ultra right here: https://neurotech.bandcamp.com/album/infra-versus-ultra

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bloodshot Dawn - Demons Early Impressions

So Kickstarter backers got download links for Bloodshot Dawn's new album Demons yesterday. That's right, a full five days before the official album release I get the entire thing in digital form. There was no warning and I wasn't expecting anything until 2-3 weeks after the release date since it has to ship to me from England. More bands should do this!

Anyway, I've gotten a chance to listen to the album in its entirety about three times now so I thought I'd give some thoughts. It's awesome! The album starts off with Smoke and Mirrors, the first single released, and never slows down. Every single song has the same amount of speed and energy. Every single song is awesome.

To be honest, I was a tiny bit worried after I made my pledge. I went back and listened to the band's debut album and realized there were a couple songs on it that I forgot I didn't like (Dedication to a Dead Cause and Forlorn World). I'm happy to say that my fears were ill-placed. This album is definitely a step up from their first. It's a bit shorter at just 8 songs but this serves to make it more focused. Almost every song has its own thing going for it. There's plenty of face-melting solos including a couple bass solos, the vocals from every member are great, the drumming (welcoming new member Janne Jaloma of Deals Death fame) is fantastic and there's quite a few creative patterns and fills and there are absolutely no songs that I don't like! There's some songs that I like less than others, but trying to pick a favourite proved difficult. I just kept changing my choice to whatever song I was listening to at the time.

The only gripe I have about Demons is the guest musicians. I'm not quite sure how to feel about having 4/5 guests in the same part of the same song, but then I start listening to The Image Faded and I stop thinking about it. Those solos!

For those of you who didn't contribute to the Kickstarter, the album drops on October 26th. I definitely recommend you check it out. This will be an album of the year contender for sure for people who like to make that sort of stuff.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, October 20, 2014

MotS Mondays: Crimson Shadows

Being Canadian myself, it feels good to write about a Canadian band. Not only that, but they're from Toronto, the same city as me! I'm not the biggest fan when it comes to North American metal as a whole. There's just too much thrash and death (don't even get me started on the core movement). Every so often I come across a band that I enjoy, but very few actually blow me away. Starkill and Crimson Shadows are the only two North American bands in recent memory that not only play awesome European-inspired metal but have also gotten major record deals and worldwide recognition.

When Crimson Shadows was first introduced to me by a friend, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that their style can best be described as a blend of my two favourite genres: melodeath and power metal. They've got the fast melodeath guitars with awesome power solos. They've got a super powerful vocalist as well as clean choruses from the lead guitarist. They've got the double kick-heavy drums with the occasional blast beat. And they've got the cheesy but still epic lyrics that you rarely ever find outside of the most powerest of power metal. They call themselves Epic Canadian Metal. The only thing Crimson Shadows is missing in my opinion is some keyboards to make the sound even more epic. If used sparingly like Deals Death or even Starkill, it would add a lot to their sound.

Actually that brings me to my main complaint (err, let's call it a potential point of improvement) about Crimson Shadows. There isn't too much variety in their songs. Looking at Kings Among Men specifically, the only real difference between the songs is their length and if you've learned the words to the chorus yet. Wouldn't it be awesome if there were female vocals added to the chorus of Maidens Call or if the 'kingly' voice in Dawn of Vengeance was used throughout the song to give messages to the captured soldiers? In any case, this is still a young band with only two albums (only one of them being an 'official' record label album) so they have plenty of time to grow. They've done a good job of establishing their sound but this is a band that needs to evolve over time.

An area that doesn't need too much improvement though is their live shows. I was lucky enough to see Crimson Shadows live a couple months after I had first heard of them when they appeared as the local support for an Alestorm show. The epic sound translates really well to a live setting and I can tell the band made a few new fans in the audience. I made sure to help Kickstart (or rather, Indiegogo...go) their recent European tour with Alestorm. These guys make great metal and the only thing they need right now is as some more attention. The band hasn't quite gotten to the point where it's overly profitable yet, hence the need for an Indiegogo campaign. I want to see a band from my city get popular enough that they'll still be making music 20 years from now. Especially one that I've been listening to since their very first album.

If you like songs about epic battles or drinking, be sure to check out Crimson Shadows. There's quite a few young bands that have taken off in recent years and these guys are right up there with the rest of them. They've already got two albums, a record deal with Napalm Records and a European tour under their belts. We'll see what the future holds for these men, but I know for certain that the last time I saw them live won't be my last.

You can find Crimson Shadows at the following sites:
Metal Archives

-Zombie Viking

Monday, September 22, 2014

MotS Mondays: Deals Death

Do you like Swedish melodeath? Do you like pecs? Perfect, those are the only two requirements for listening to Deals Death. Coming from the home of melodeath, Gothenburg, these guys take the classic sound and add their own personal touch to create something of their own. Sure they may not be the most unique band ever, but Deals Death plays everything so solid that it may be just what you're looking for. It wasn't until I really started listening to this band that I realized "hey, no one really does classic Children of Bodom-style melodeath anymore, not even Children of Bodom themselves..." So listening to this band is actually quite refreshing.

The first and most important thing you should notice about Deals Death is vocalist Olle Ekman.No he doesn't ever put a shirt on. Yes he is an awesome vocalist. Yes he can do the screams and the growls. There's nothing I love more than vocal variety. And pecs. You may also recognize him from that Youtube video. The one I'm not going to post here.

Like I mentioned previously, Deals Death plays classic melodeath. They've got the high-pitched guitars. They've got the fast drums with plenty of double kick and occasional blast beat. They've got the right amount of breakdowns and a healthy dose of solos. They've even got keyboards in the background every so often. I don't know who plays them. I've got the booklet for Point Zero Solution right here and no one seems to take credit for the keyboards. But  I am a huge fan. In fact, Facing the Echoes is one of my favourite songs on the album mostly for its awesome keyboard line. The keyboards are used tastefully with the band only breaking them out when needed. It adds another layer to the music in my opinion.

I'm not exactly sure how popular Deals Death is currently, but surely they've gotten a decent push since becoming best buds with fellow countrymen Sabaton. Not only did the bands tour together, but Deals Death has landed a (what looks to be) permanent spot at Sabaton Open Air. I'm pretty sure the band isn't too popular yet, especially outside Sweden, so there's always room to grow. Of course I can say what I always say in that I hope they come to Canada eventually. Especially because Deals Death appears to deal good live shows. Check it out.

Yeah what he said! I don't understand Swedish!

If you enjoy the soothing sounds of melodic death metal (and honestly. who doesn't?) you should definitely check out Deals Death. They have a great vocalist and overall a surprisingly refreshing sound. After three albums releases the band just seems to be getting warmed up. They'll still be making awesome music for years to come.

You can find Deals Death at the following links:
Metal Archives

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Before I even get into the concert stuff, let me just say that I arrived way too early to the venue. Just as a note to everyone reading this, parking in cities sucks and there's nothing to do while waiting for a concert to start. However, I joined the line about an hour and a half before the concert started and there were already tons of people there. I guess it's better than arriving late since the Mod Club is a lot smaller than I remember. When I saw Alestorm there previously the crowd didn't seem to be too bad. But this concert was jam-packed. Even though I got there relatively early I wasn't able to get a spot right at the front like I have for the last few concerts I've been to. Kind of a bummer but I still ended up getting a decent spot not too far from the stage. Also the people who were standing behind me in line kept talking about how awesome Sabaton is live, so now I'm even more excited for that concert. One more month!

The first band came out about 10 minutes after I got inside. And to my surprise it was Xandria up first, not Delain like I previously thought. Oh well, I like Delain better so it was a pleasant surprise. Xandria of course was also pretty awesome. About half the already tiny stage was reserved for Sonata's stuff, so Xandria had to squeeze in pretty tight. They didn't move around the stage too much, but the whole band danced in place and still seemed like they were having a pretty good time. The drummer was especially awesome. I didn't realize before how simple Xandria's drumming is, but he filled the void with all sorts of stick spins and other things to show off. The sound quality was also great. The drums only looked like it had one or two mics set up on it and the snare was almost just its natural sound with minimal amplification. For such a small venue this worked out really well as I could still clearly hear the drums and also the guitars and vocals. The songs sounded almost exactly like they do on the albums. I was also able to recognize every song they played because the setlist was solely taken from their two most recent albums. I'm fine with that as those are the only albums of theirs I've actually listened to. The first four albums may very well not exist and I'm totally fine with that. The set was pretty short but a good start to the night sound-wise.

Before I get into the next bands I want to talk about the audience for a second. It was pretty crowded in there but this was one of the weirdest audiences I've seen. This was technically my first power/symphonic concert so maybe the crowds for these are always like this but I was still left pretty confused. Now there was no moshing to speak of, not even a single jerk in the middle. Fine, this isn't aggressive music so I understand. But there wasn't much energy either. There were very few people around me jumping around or even headbanging. The bands had to prompt the audience to do everything from clapping in rhythm to even cheering. That being said, everyone seemed really excited to see the bands. All the cheers were deafening, even for the opening bands. And almost everyone was singing along to Sonata Arctica. Perhaps the majority of the people there were just inexperienced with concerts, but most of them just stood in one spot the entire show.

Anyway, next up was Delain. Instead of bringing a stage backdrop, they chose instead of set up a series of stands making up the album cover. I've got to give them points for creativity. They also brought out their own smoke machines which really added to the visuals. There were even points during the set where both guitarists stood on top of the smoke machines during instrumental parts of songs. A few things were pushed away but since Delain is one additional person to Xandria, the band was still a little crowded on the stage. Charlotte seemed to have the most energy, constantly jumping up and down and running around the stage. Her vocals were a little more squeaky compared to the album recordings but besides that everything sounded great. The setlist was a bit more varied than Xandria's, with the band playing songs from all their albums. It showed me that maybe I'm not as familiar with Delain's material as I thought. There were quite a few songs that I didn't recognize. For some I realized what they were playing when the chorus kicked in, but for others I still have no idea. That being said they still did play everything I was hoping for. I started to get a little upset at the end of one of their songs because it sounded like that was the end of their set and they never played We Are the Others. Lucky for me they played one more song and it was exactly what I was hoping for. As a final note, it really looked at certain points like Charlotte was about to pop out of her partially see-through top. Both of the female vocalists definitely had interesting outfits.

The stage was fully opened up for Sonata Arctica. They had a whole raised section for the drums and keyboards where the keyboardist and guitarists kept switching positions. They took out Delain's smoke machines but replaced it with every single light in the place. I had no idea that stage had so many different lights on it. The crowd also got significantly louder when Sonata came out. They even chanted the band's name, good for them! I'm writing this bit as somewhat of an outsider since I really came for the opening bands and only started listening to Sonata when this concert was announced. But everyone else looked like they were there for the headliner. Everyone was singing along with all the songs. Even though I didn't recognize too many songs, they all sounded really good. Tony is an amazing singer and the rest of the band did not disappoint. All the solos were spot on and all the backing vocals were just as good. The drums were a little louder than the opening bands since they used their own kit which actually had microphones on it, but I could still hear the other instruments. All in all everyone looked like they were having fun. When Paid In Full was played, I got a chance to join in singing with the rest of the audience since it's the only song I really know the words to. Let me say, it was really fun singing along and I can see why the rest of the audience enjoyed the show so much. Tony was also full of energy. I've never seen a vocalist act out all the words they're singing but it definitely added a bit to the show. And every time a solo was happening, he would pick up the mic stand and pretend to play along. Did I mention the vocals were fantastic? Well I'll say it again since he blew me away. He hit all the highs and even threw in some growls here and there. I could make out every word he was saying which is an odd feeling for me since I've mostly seen bands with harsh vocals. All their songs also seemed to sound better live, as I actually enjoyed when they played the stuff I had previously deleted from my music library in disgust. Notable songs that I hate from the albums and loved live are What Did You Do in the War, Dad? and X Marks the Spot.

Overall this concert was great. The bands were all fantastic with every song sounding like it does on the albums. The audience was dead even though they seemed to be enjoying everything, but that problem will probably be fixed if you catch this tour in a different city. The three bands went by really quickly, with the final encore starting at 11:15 and the show ending at 11:45. But they made up for it when Xandria and Delain went out to their merch booths after the show to sign things and take pictures. I only went to this concert in the first place because I listened to the opening bands previously and when I listened to Sonata they weren't too bad. If only one of these bands were playing I don't think I would have gone to see the show. But after seeing them all live, I would see any one of them individually if and when they decide to come back in the future. I just hope that it's in a bigger venue.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, September 15, 2014

MotS Mondays: Benighted

Enough of that baby crap, here comes Benighted! They're a band from France that takes no prisoners. Benighted plays brutal death metal with grindcore influences. I don't think I can start this post properly without some music, so here we go...

Benighted is just a nonstop barrage of brutal noises. Now let me be the first to say that I don't listen to a lot of brutal death, or brutal variation of any genre to be honest, but Benighted just has something special. The vocalist is very talented and you can his three main vocal styles (deep growl, mid growl, scream) in almost every song. The band also likes to hide plenty of melody behind the brutality. Quite often I'll find myself tapping along to a catchy beat or the song will break down into something unexpected like the rapping in Grind Wit or jungle adventure section in Carnivore Sublime. If you don't believe me about the jungle adventure, listen to the song yourself and decide. The point is that there's thought behind the brutality. I've checked out plenty of other bands from the same genre and left disappointed because they just didn't have that special something that Benighted has.

As metalheads we often get the question "how do you understand what they're saying?". And the answer is usually "I've been listening to it for long enough to make out the words". Let me just say that I don't understand a damn word Benighted vocalist Julien Truchan is saying. I can make out a few words when he does his mid growl style, but otherwise I don't even know what language the vocals are in. Benighted has a few songs in french, and others that switch between english and french. Good luck.

That being said, the lyrics are actually pretty interesting. The majority of their songs deal with mental illness and of course being a death metal band it can get pretty dark and depraved. I do trust they know what they're talking about though as Mr. Truchan works in a psychiatric hospital and seems to have a genuine fascination with the subject.

I think the weirdest thing about that video is that the alien dude has a spacer. Only in one ear though.

Benighted is not a band without change. They've released seven albums and over time their style has changed a bit. For the first couple, they were a little more black metal influenced. That pretty much means that there was more screaming, the guitars were tuned differently and the quality was worse. There's also a pretty cool version of O Fortuna under the name Last Part of Humanity on their debut self-titled album. I also seem to have caught the band at a bad time as they currently only have three members. At least two of them (Julien Truchan and Oliver Gabriel) are original members and Kevin Foley rents himself out to other bands all the time so they're all not going anywhere.

If you want something heavy that still has a musical heart, look no further than Benighted. The French band knows how to pull out all the stops and how to do it in an interesting way. From the musicianship to the lyrics, there's more there than you'd initially think. And they don't look like they're leaving the scene anytime soon.

You can find Benighted at the following links:
Metal Archives

Monday, September 8, 2014

MotS Mondays: Titanium

The last time I saw Alestorm, Elliot Vernon was standing beside me during the opening bands. He told me to look out for Gypsyhawk and afterwards asked what I thought of them. "That's some feel-good rock n' roll" I said. If Gypsyhawk can be classified as feel-good rock n' roll, then surely Titanium can be classified as feel-good heavy metal. This Polish band is all about pulling out the stops and just having a good time. And with a name like Titanium, you can tell they're all about the metal.

Cool, an album cover and a band picture. Now I only have to include one image.
Their debut self-titled album is jam packed with metal goodness. With 14 songs and a running time at just over an hour, you're bound to find something you enjoy. Titanium is a very accessible band. Anyone who likes rock or heavy metal will be able to give the album a good listen. What they'll find is a non-stop barrage of music; the album just never slows down. Most of the songs are fast paced metal, and thrown in are a couple instrumentals and one pseudo-ballad in the form of Forever Mine. When the vocalist's nickname is Rocker you don't expect the band to slow down.

The music itself is also solid. You've got the standard dual-guitar, bass, drum, vocal ensemble along with some keyboards here and there. There's also plenty of solos which I'm told Mr. Karol Mania (of Pathfinder fame) likes to include in songs he writes. In addition to Rocker's powerful vocals, there's plenty of catchy choruses that include the rest of the band. The good thing here is that the rest of the band can actually sing. There's too many bands that include background vocals from musicians that clearly aren't vocalists. I don't care what trickery they used, they made the background vocals actually sound good. There's also plenty of vocal variety, from the vocal melodies in Titanium (the song, not the band or the album) to the pseudo growls at the end of Here and Now.

Titanium's music is wedged somewhere between heavy and power metal with a sound that contains a mix of classic and modern. With the recent emergence of New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, these guys fit right in. The 'official' genre is melodic power metal if you're curious. The vocal style brings the band to a mid-80s, early 90s sound and the instrumentals are more modern-sounding. I especially enjoy the ample use of double kicks. Overall the band sounds very young and full of energy. I'm sure it'll be interesting watching them develop musically and take on a more mature sound as time goes on. Or possibly they'll always sound like young'ins, I'm fine with either.

Titanium is a good fit for anyone who likes heavy or power metal. It's also good for showing to your friends who refuse to listen to anything beyond rock to try and get them more into the metal scene. Remember not to tell them it's metal until after they say they like it! They're fairly new to the music scene as a whole, so here's hoping the band gets out of Europe one day. I also look forward to seeing how their sound will change on future albums. Stay metal.

You can find Titanium at the following links:
Metal Archives

-Zombie Viking

Friday, September 5, 2014

Amaranthe: A Fine Guilty Pleasure

Amaranthe is a band that metalheads either hate, don't understand, or have as a guilty pleasure. For me they fall squarely under guilty pleasure currently. I even wrote a post a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away that started off with me bashing Amaranthe for having too many vocalists. You can read that here. But now I sit here as the converted. Let me tell you why Amaranthe isn't such a bad band after all.

The first, and most important, point is that they are actually metal. Unlike other guilty pleasures like Korn or Slipknot, you can actually find Amaranthe on metal archives. Sure, they're listed as power metal/metalcore, but they wouldn't be a guilty pleasure if they were 100% pure. The music does have some of the poorer music tropes such as breakdowns and overly poppy keyboards, but they balance it out with solos and harsh vocals. Nothing is amazing but nothing is overly bad either. They've also got their main hook of extremely catchy choruses.

Hunger! Save me! One world depending on me-... Oh sorry, we're still writing a blog post here. My apologies. I am glad though that they got the guy from Dark Tranquility to do harsh vocals.

That brings me to my next point, and the thing I have to atone for. I still stick to my opinion that having three vocalists is overkill. If you're going to have three vocalists though, this is the way to do it. I don't expect Elize or dude-bro-guy to do harsh vocals so I suppose it's alright that they bring someone else in. I like that they don't put too much emphasis on the harsh vocals guy. He's just there in the background on some songs to give it that extra oomph. This is all evidenced by the fact that he's the only one in the band to be replaced. That's right, on their next album Amaranthe will be welcoming a new guy into the background. The two main vocalists are really good at what they do though. Elize is of course the main draw because she's an attractive woman and teenage boys (ie metalheads) eat that up like crazy. She's also a really good (albeit slightly poppy) singer. The verses usually go boy, girl, harsh, boy, girl with the choruses a true chorus of both male and female voices. It's a formula. Formulas are fine. This is me not complaining about the vocals.

So perhaps Amaranthe isn't too bad after all. Their attitude is completely pop, but their music is actually mostly metal. They do follow a pretty strict formula for their songs though this also means that they don't really have any bad songs because they always play it safe. As far as guilty pleasures go, you could do much worse. And for all the non-metalheads listening to them, it's a decent way of getting into metal.

And hey, they have a new album coming out on October 21st entitled Massive Addictive. I have no idea what that title is supposed to mean. Keep an eye out for the first single from the album Drop Dead Cynical to be released on September 9th. Ok this album looks like they just pulled a bunch of random words out of a hat. I'm sure the music will be good though!

-Zombie Viking

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Story With Wintersun

Jari Mäenpää, the god in human form, descended from the heavens recently to try and explain why there's been so little from the Wintersun camp since it was formed ten years ago. It was a very lengthy three-part explanation that requires a bit of reading. However, I wanted to say first that I'm glad Jari put in the effort to try and tell us everything that's been happening behind the scenes. The band as a whole has never really opened up like this and in fact very few musicians do. So props to Jari for caring about his fans. For reference the original posts follow.

Here's what I make of the posts. Jari wants a studio, that much is clear. He wants to be able to craft his own sound using his own instruments in his own space. He's unsatisfied with using third party studios and doesn't really have an alternative besides his small apartment and crappy computer. It's hard to make music using just a computer, believe me I've tried. And Jari is one hell of a perfectionist. Now, some people think he's being selfish or self-absorbed. I see absolutely no merit to these arguments. How is wanting to use your own equipment being selfish? I know that most bands record in these studios and that they work perfectly fine, but Jari wanting to use his own doesn't make him selfish. Other people say that he has a huge ego and that there won't be any notable benefit to using his own studio sound-wise. And do that I say who cares? Jari has never called himself a "master musician", only the fans have (and rightfully so). But ignoring that, even if the sound isn't any better quality at least it will be released at a more consistent rate. "If you don't like it, don't buy it" has never applied more strongly.

Wintersun is currently stuck in a contract with Nuclear Blast, mostly because they've hardly released any music. The way that the contract works is that the record label gives the band some money in advance to record and produce the album, then takes a cut of the sales. I don't think it's wild thinking to assume that Wintersun is a bit more of an investment than most bands. The band has already had a few cash advances for the Time albums and only one of them has actually been released. I don't remember the specifics of the decision, but I'm guessing the idea to split the album into two came from higher up the food chain. The label just wanted to get the record out and actually make some money back from it. It's well within the world of possibility that Nuclear Blast can put forward some money to help Jari build his own studio, they certainly have enough in the bank for it. Knowing the Wintersun fanbase, the label would almost certainly make the money back easily. Though record labels tend to play favourites with bands that have been around for a while and sold tons of records. The problem is that Wintersun isn't that big of a band unfortunately. Nuclear Blast isn't about to give them any special privileges.

That also feeds into the problem of crowdfunding that Jari explained. He'd see very little of the money because the label owns the band and all of its music. I'm sure there are ways around this. Many people have suggested creating a "new" band under the guise of Winterson in order to escape the record deal. It's also probably possible to have a Kickstarter solely for the studio, with rewards unrelated to Time II or future albums. Jari's feelings towards theses options were left out of his updates, but I'm guessing it's because he doesn't want to step on anyone's toes. He may just be a bit of a goody two-shoes and want to play by the rules. There's the very real possibility of Nuclear Blast suing the pants off of him as well so it's understandable why he wants to follow the rules.

The whole situation just seems like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. There does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel though. At the end of his final update, Jari mentioned saving up every extra penny until he can afford a studio. Even if he doesn't want to break any rules, this man is dedicated. Music is his life and he will never stop making it until he dies. It may take a while but I fully believe that Jari Mäenpää will eventually have his own studio. There's only one thing that we can do as fans and that is to support the hell out of the band. Go see them when they come to your town. Buy a shirt or two. And I don't know how much goes to the band or the label, but buy the albums. If you actually want more Wintersun music, support the band! Don't just bother them asking when Time II is going to be released. It'll come out eventually.

-Zombie Viking

Saturday, July 12, 2014

More Albums to Look Forward to

My oh my does this year keep paying dividends. It seems we can't go more than a few weeks without a new album or tour being announced. I'm sure as hell not complaining. In fact, I'm pretty darn excited about some of these upcoming albums (for the tours, see my previous post). In no particular order here are the ones I'm very much looking forward to:

Alestorm - Sunset on the Golden Age
Release: August 1st

Alestorm is back and still playing their blend of pirates and metal. It doesn't look like they're mixing too much up and the album preview was laughable at best. But that's what we all love about Alestorm, they just don't care. The first single released, Drink, is a dumb song with an extremely catchy chorus and a comedic music video. I expect nothing less from the rest of the album, even if the short previews of each song were nothing special. Alestorm songs are meant to be taken as a whole package, while drunk, not in tiny pieces. And to top it off, the band has been busy announcing European tours to get the part started as early as possible. I'm sure they'll be back in North America shortly after.

Dragonforce - Maximum Overload
Release: August 18th

Dragonforce is another band to avoid taking too seriously. The UK-based band (only 2 members are actually from the UK) have been making headlines since Through the Fire and Flames became an international phenomenon. The odd thing is, they decided to replace their singer after ZP Theart ruined his voice or something and started actually making quality power metal with the addition of Marc Hudson. It's like something just clicked with the band collectively when they decided to make songs that actually sound different and have something of a melody. Often copied but always retaining a unique sound, Dragonforce is getting ready to melt your face off once again. They also replaced their drummer! Thank the metal gods, he was probably the least-improved member.

Krimh - Album 2 (Krimhera)
Release: 2014?

Austrian multi instrumentalist and solo artist Krimh  is working on his second- Ok enough with the marketing speak. Krimh is an awesome drummer (who sometimes plays guitar and bass) who I found through the magic of Youtube. He did the drums on the previous album of Decapitated (who are also releasing new material soon) and toured with Behemoth. If you haven't heard his solo stuff, I definitely recommend at least checking out his Youtube channel. I'm not usually a fan of instrumental stuff so the fact that this makes this list should say something.

Crimson Shadows - Kings Among Men
Release: September 1st

I'm really excited this band is starting to make it big because hey, they're from Toronto, Canada! They were recently signed to Napalm Records, are getting ready to go on a European tour with Alestorm and announced their new album, all within the span of about a month. They haven't said too much about the new album besides release the artwork, but a few songs were released on an EP last year that are going to be included. I guess I should check out that EP that I just found out about (and included above). Anyway, the band plays a great mix of melodeath and power metal with an exceptionally powerful vocalist. They're not too shabby live either, so if you live in Europe I definitely recommend catching them on their tour.

Honourable Mentions
Starkill has been working on the follow-up to Fires of Life for a bit now. That album was excellent and I have high hopes for the next. Nightwish is preparing to release their first album with new vocalist Floor Jansen. Wolfchant will be releasing another brutal pagan metal album sometime soon. Xanthochroid is also working on the follow-up to their first album, titled Of Eathe and Axen. And finally, that Wintersun album has to be released eventually... right?

-Zombie Viking

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SepticFleshgod Apocalypse Concert Impressions

I'm sore and I'm tired. I barely got any sleep last night. But I also attended a concert last night, and the internet needs to know what I thought about it. So I will push on and write up a blog post for all you lovely readers out there. I was even right up against the stage for the entire show so I got a view of it all.

As I'm sure you know, Hour of Penance dropped off this tour at the last minute because of visa issues. I was definitely looking forward to seeing them but perhaps there would have been too many blast beats if they showed up. Anyway, they were replaced by the unknown Black Crown Initiate hailing all the way from USA. When I tried to look this band up, I found that the only thing they've released is a single EP. And that's exactly what they played. They started with a song from their upcoming album and then went straight into the entirety of their backlog.

Black Crown Initiate's music was alright to say the least. A little too many breakdowns for my taste. However, both the vocalist and guitarist had amazing vocals. The main vocalist had powerful screams and the guitarist had the best clean vocals of any band that played. Why was he so good?! The music itself didn't do much to hype up the crowd, It was good once it got rolling, with some blast beats thrown here and there, but too often everything would recede to acoustic set pieces. It also didn't help that they were playing to maybe 50 people. The venue filled out a bit as the night went on, but it was barren compared to how it usually is. I also didn't snap a single picture of this band so look them up if you want to see what they look like.

Luckily for Toronto's own Necronomicon, the lineup change meant they got to go on second instead of first. Not sure if this got them a longer set, but at least they were playing for half an audience. All three of them came out and put on a solid show. They didn't move around stage too much but every time the guitarist/vocalist stepped away from the mic, him and the bassist started a coordinated headbang in the center of the stage. The vocals were also very powerful for some reason. Besides some technical hiccups with a guitar cable not working, the majority of their set sounded the same. Every single song had blastbeats and that doesn't always translate the best into a live setting. Even the one song of theirs that I always recognize when I hear it blended into the rest of the noise and became much less recognizable. Everything was good, but it just all sounded the same.

Then came the half hour-long breaks in between bands in order to set everything up. Luckily, Fleshgod Apocalypse brought along a piano and opera singer again to add to their show. Also luckily, their sound was definitely better than the last time I saw them, though it wasn't without its issues. Since there were sounds from so many different places, some things had to get drowned out in the mix. I could clearly hear the drums, vocals and sometimes the guitar, but all the symphonic elements (especially the opera singer) got put into the background. It's unfortunate that not everyone got their time to shine but the only way I can see around this problem is to constantly switch the sound mixing to focus on whatever is prevalent in the song. It's possible, though probably too much work for someone to do every single night of the tour. The band played a wide variety of songs covering all of their albums. The Violation is still undoubtedly their best live song, the crowd just freaked out when it started to play. The vocalist also came out in between songs with some prop, from a book to a glass of wine, to tell some story and introduce the next song. I couldn't hear a word he said, but a guy behind me kept shouting out every song they were about to play without fail. Either he has really good ears or he looked up the setlist beforehand.

I was really looking forward to seeing Septicflesh when it was time for them to come out. Since I was learning against the stage the whole time, I still had tons of energy. And since there weren't too many people there, I wasn't sweating too much and therefore wasn't dehydrated. Septicflesh came out to a roaring audience and oh boy did they deliver! This time, the three sounds I could actually make out were the drums, vocals and orchestrations. It worked out really well because the guitar work isn't usually the main focus in their songs. And it was a nice treat being able to hear the symphonic elements for once. I was also happy to discover that my favourite Septicflesh songs are also everyone else's. In total they played two songs that I didn't recognize; one was Unbeliever and I'm not sure the title of the other. They played everything I could have asked them to play, starting from The Vampire From Nazareth and moving their way around the most recent three albums. The only song they didn't play was Sangreal. Possibly because their normal bald guitarist (who also does the clean vocals) wasn't there and that song has a big focus on cleans. Either way, all the songs sounded great and I headbanged my face off. It always feels good to say that the headliner was the best of the show. The only complaint I have is that the band didn't move around the stage too much. They went behind the stage displays for the start of each song, but that was about it. At least they came out with their costumes. The vocalist's fly was undone though.

All in all this was a good concert. All the bands put on a solid show. The only consistent problem was the sound mixing, but that seems to be a consistent problem at just about every concert. I'm not sure why so few people showed up but they definitely missed out. I wish the bands luck on the rest of the tour and I'll probably see them the next time they come back.

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Watching Bands Through the Magic of the Internet

Today I got to watch Eluveitie perform a concert. I got comfortable in my chair, with my full water bottle and warm sweater. Then the band came out. Not 5 or even 500 feet from me, but about 4000 miles. It was 4 in the afternoon for me and 10 at night for them. I got to experience a live show through the magic of the internet. And the best part? It was absolutely free.

I don't know who started this trend or why there's no charge for it, but many festivals are starting to stream their shows in real time onto the net.  The first festival I heard doing this was Bloodstock in August 2013 when it was posted on the Metal Archives main page. Since then, more and more shows seem to be doing it. You get to watch what gets outputted to the screens beside the stage, which is a pretty good view of the show. The sound quality is often hit or miss but it's mostly excusable.

A couple weeks ago I got to witness Deals Death live in concert, a band that I may never get to actually see in person. The show ended with a fire alarm and building evacuation and I got to experience all that crap along with everyone else. It's great! Then I watched Sabaton, who I am actually going to see later this year, perform at Dreamhack (some Swedish 'computer festival'). And now this weekend I've been watching Hellfest live from France. I saw Eluveitie today and I'll be tuning in to see Equilibrium tomorrow, another band I've never seen in person.

Sound quality aside, I think all the streaming is great. It's one thing to watch a Wacken performance on Youtube, but it's another entirely to be in a chatroom with a bunch of people complaining that the show is too quiet and that the band isn't playing their favourite song. It's of course not a replacement for actually seeing a band live. If anything it makes me want to see them more because I know they can actually perform well.

I'm looking forward to seeing as many bands as I can live, even if they're thousands of miles away. Maybe I'll actually be able to go to a Powerwolf concert now.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, June 20, 2014

Out of the Ordinary #3: Septicflesh

Septicflesh is probably unlike anything you've ever heard before. They take elements of brutal death metal, technical songwriting and extravagant imagery and they fuse it with a wide variety of symphonic/classical music. Every song feels like an immense amount of work was put into it. Most of them feature full orchestras in addition to the band, so you're listening to over 100 musicians at once. And it all fits together to make something truly unique.

I'm talking about Septicflesh here, not Septic Flesh. See, the band was together from 1990 to 2003 and released a total of 6 albums during that time. They reformed in 2007 with mostly the same lineup when they released they had so much more work to do. The band had a new vision: to create the most epic music possible. They also topped it off with a name change, removing the space between Septic and Flesh because it "looked better" but "kept the same meaning". Now I have a couple things to say about that. First off, the new logo does like miles better than the old one. However, they could have kept the same band name with just removing the space from the logo. Secondly, what the heck is the meaning of "Septicflesh"? Humanity being uncomfortable in their own skin? Increasing levels of radiation in the world? Meat that's been left out for too long? Whatever the meaning behind the name, I supposed it's the music that counts. Septicflesh certainly has that front covered.

This band probably has the most distinct and largest number of transitions in their songs out of any death metal band. Yes, the band has full orchestras, but so do bands like Dimmu Borgir. What separates Septicflesh from the others is that there's sections of just metal, sections where the metal plays along with the symphonic and sections of just symphonic. It's like listening to two songs at once that occasionally sync up. They're also not afraid to fully experiment with both the metal and the symphonic. The metal ranges from acoustic guitars and slow drum patterns to technical stuff with backing blast beats. The symphonic ranges from choirs to 'all at once' instrument spurts to solo keyboard or violin. You never know what you're going to get in any given song. Everything mixes up so constantly.

Of course, the band occasionally misses. There are a good number of Septicflesh songs that I don't find myself particularly fond of. But you have to give credit to the band for trying so many things. They've got deep harsh vocals, clean vocals, male, female and child choirs and all the musical prowess I mentioned above.

Not to disappoint on any fronts, their imagery is also quite out of the ordinary. The band's songs deal with all sorts of mythology and mystical beings. Looking at anything relating to their upcoming album Titan you'll surely see the weird demon-like guy. Seeing their t-shirt designs for their upcoming North American tour, I wasn't sure what people would think about me if I walked down the street wearing any of them. They all feature crazy and/or (anti-)religious characters on them. Prometheus is a central character of the album, but instead of using an awesome Greek titan the band decides the use the idea of Prometheus. He's representative of a creator and a deceiver. It takes a bit of an understanding of ancient Greek mythology, but seeing as the band is from there I trust they have a pretty good idea.

So if you find yourself enjoying brutal and/or beautiful music, I urge you to check out one of the leading members of the ever-growing genre of symphonic death metal. You just can't beat full choirs, technical ability and wonderful mythical themes. Septicflesh is always over the top with the assaults on your ears that they call albums. Their new album Titan is currently streaming right here so you have no excuse not to check it out. You'll be glad you did.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, June 13, 2014

Upcoming Concerts

It's a good year for albums and it's also a pretty good year for concerts! I'll be attending four concerts in the latter part of the year which is a nice amount. I'll also try to post my impressions from each one here of course.

The first is coming up in a couple of weeks. I'll be seeing Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Black Crown Initiate (who?) and Necronomicon (awesome local black metal band) on June 27th. SEPTICFLESHGODAPOCALYPSE! I've seen Fleshgod once before when they opened for Wintersun. The show was pretty good but the sound quality ruined the whole thing. I could barely hear anything except for the guitars. It's a shame because they even brought a whole opera singer and I couldn't hear a sound she made. Here's hoping it'll be better this time. I've never seen Septicflesh so I'm really looking forward to them. I think their atmospheric style would translate really well to a live setting. Maybe even better than listening to it on an album.

Next one is all the way in September. On September 11th I'll be seeing Sonata Arctica, Xandria and Delain. I've actually never heard anything from the headlining band but I will soon be rectifying that. I don't usually go to concerts for the opening bands, but I've never actually seen any female-fronted symphonic bands live and I love both Xandria and Delain. I just don't know which band's shirt to buy! I guess I'll see what has the coolest design. There's also no tour poster yet for this one.

Then comes the epicness that is October 2014. On October 10th, Amon Amarth will be coming to Canada and bringing Sabaton with them. I've been wanting to see Sabaton live for years now and I've unfortunately missed the last two times they came here. There's no way I'm going to let anything stop me from going to this concert. And it's none other than Amon Amarth headlining! I've seen them once before when they did a double set right after Surtur Rising was released. It was one of the best concerts I've been to so that just adds to the excitement of this one. Even though Amon Amarth recently did a US tour, they completely missed Canada. Maybe they're apologizing for that.

Finally on October 29th the concert I'm most looking forward to will be happening. Arch Enemy is coming! I've been listening to Arch Enemy for longer than almost every other band I currently listen to but unfortunately I never saw them live with Angela. From what I've seen on Youtube though, Alissa does a great job covering the old songs and I'm looking forward to seeing the stuff from War Eternal. I've even got my copy of the CD in the mail currently. They'll be playing with Kreator, who I've actually never checked out, Huntress, who I saw a few years ago at Heathenfest and they weren't too band, and Starkill! I hope it goes without saying that I'm super excited to see Starkill again. They'll even be playing stuff from their new as-yet unreleased album!

It's going to be a nonstop year of action.

-Zombie Viking

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2014: The Year of Awesome Metal

I'm sitting here listening to the new release from Equilibrium entitled Erdentempel and it's exactly what I was hoping for from this fantastic German folk metal band. I decided to start listening from the middle with the song Heavy Chill. Even from the very first note it's got the band's distinct sound. Everything is meshed together so well, nothing overpowers the other elements. I haven't listened to the entire album yet, but everything I've heard sounds good.

I was a little bit worried after the single releases. Karawane does sound like a typical Equilibrium song but it's not anything special on its own and is a bit on the slow side. With the rest of the album however, it fits in really well. I'm still not exactly sure how to feel about the second single release, Wirtshaus Gaudi, especially with the strange music video that accompanied it. I'm sure it will grow on me as it's a quick and fun song that probably does well to mix up the flow of the album a bit sort of like Met on Turis Fratyr.

The fact that another new release from a band I like is the most recent in a long series of pleasant surprises this year. I've been maintaining a list for myself of bands releasing albums within the next year. It's currently at 18 but at points it looked like it was double that length. Tons of bands have been releasing new material and it's all been awesome! I don't think I've heard a bad metal album released recently.

A list of recent albums I've added to my library is as follows: 
A New Dawn Ending by Ancient Bards
War Eternal by Arch Enemy
Babymetal by Babymetal
Carnivore Sublime by Benighted
Point Zero Solution by Deals Death
The Human Contradiction by Delain
The Quantum Enigma by Epica
Erdentempel by Equilibrium
Shadows of the Dying Sun by Insomnium
A Knight at the Opera by Nanowar of Steel
Heroes by Sabaton
Kaptein Kaos by Trollfest
Dawn of the Brave by Van Canto
Sacrificium by Xandria

At worst all of these albums have just been more of the same from the artists. But at best some of them are the best albums these artists have ever put out. There are no bad albums in the list above and if you don't listen to any of these bands, their most recent albums are definitely good starting points.

Even just quickly going through the list of artists I listen to, I saw plenty of bands that are just about to release a new album. Septicflesh for instance will be releasing Titan a couple days before I see them live. It's shaping up to be quite an album. All the songs released thus far are fantastic.

2014 is a good year for metal. It's only half over and there's already tons of great albums to check out. I'm sure I'm missing some bands, but even with the albums I got there's more than enough to listen to for now. Here's to great music!

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Arch Enemy: War Eternal Review

Arch Enemy is back! After a quick switch of vocalist and guitarist, they've released their tenth studio album. There were certainly enough people complaining about Alissa's vocals when the singles were released, so how did the album turn out? Does it still sound like Arch Enemy? Are there any songs with clean vocals? How loud do I have to play it to blow out my eardrums? All these questions and more will be answered below.

When the War Eternal single came out, I listened to it and thought to myself "yep, that's an Arch Enemy song alright". The only thing that's really changed is the vocal style; the guitars and general song structure are all the same as they've been for the last 18 years. So if you're one of the people that were complaining about the singles, I'm sorry to say you're not going to like this album. Guess what? Alissa is the vocalist for the entire album. However, if you're a fan of Arch Enemy I definitely recommend giving the album a chance and to continue reading this review.

Though War Eternal does sound like an Arch Enemy album for the most part, there are quite a few musical differences from previous albums. It's not because of Alissa either. If you look at the writers for each song, Nick Cordle actually had much more of an influence. War Eternal and You Will Know My Name sound like classic Arch Enemy songs and I could totally imagine Angela doing the vocals for them. But songs like On and On and Avalanche (two that Alissa helped write) stray from the formula and really serve to shake up the flow of the album. On and On just seems more layered and tries interesting sounds that you won't find on previous albums. It even has a breakdown! Something very rarely found in this band's songs, if at all. There's one in No More Regrets too. And yes, Avalanche has clean vocals during the chorus. And yes, they work really well even though this is an Arch Enemy song. Now stop complaining about the vocals.

Speaking of the vocals, Alissa White-Gluz does a great job taking over vocal duties. She brings her distinct and instantly recognizable style and it just works. I don't really have much to say about the vocals. They sound different than Angela's and you either like them or you don't. Personally, I like them. There's also a noticeable lack of songs about anarchy and more focus on personal battles and triumphs.

War Eternal does a good job of playing with the Arch Enemy formula that we've grown to know and love. You never know what to expect. One minute you'll be listening to symphonic keyboards playing in the background, the next a sick solo, and after that you'll be singing along to one of the many catchy choruses. The band definitely has more cooks in the kitchen, but they're able to divide resources effectively and come out with a great multi-layered dish where everything is different but still compliments each other. It's definitely a weird first listen, but the album grows on you very quickly.

There is only one particularly irritating blemish that I need to address.The song Time is Black. It starts off with some forced symphonic elements that aren't really developed enough to be atmospheric. Then comes the main riff which is... alright. Then the symphonic elements keep coming up. They're not utilized well and it really distracts from the song. The whole song keeps going back and forth between a stripped-down sound and parts that are supposed to be atmospheric. It doesn't really fit with the guitars during the chorus or the interlude(s). Whatever. The idea could have been cool if more time was spent on it. The symphonic parts are apparently done by a full orchestra but they just sound like someone fiddling around on a keyboard. It makes the whole song come off as out of tune. Maybe it will grow on me over time, we'll have to see. A much smaller complaint of mine is that there is a slightly awkward transition between verse and chorus in some of the songs.

War Eternal manages to have a nice mix of shaking things up and sticking to the tried and true Arch Enemy formula. It's not perfect but it hits much more often than it misses. Alissa and Nick are great additions to the band and really help to make this album stand out. I recommend any Arch Enemy fan give this album at least two listens. It's worth it. I'll definitely be catching Arch Enemy live when they inevitably come play in Canada.

War Eternal gets a score of 8/10

-Zombie Viking 

PS. Long or repeated sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss, possibly blowing out your eardrums if you listen to it for long enough.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BabyMetal is Coming!

Well... It happened. BabyMetal is coming to North America. And I'm pretty upset about it. They're not coming on a tour or anything like that. It's just to play one festival: Heavy MTL. Here's the rest of the bands.

I'm not exactly sure what The Offspring and Three Days Grace are doing at something that's supposed to be a metal concert, but that's North America for you. The bands I'd actually bother checking out are as follows: Metallica, Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Epica, Alestorm, Symphony X, Overkill and BabyMetal. Out of those, I've seen Epica's live show and it wasn't all that great and I've seen Alestorm 4 times in the past. It's just not worth the $100-200 (plus accommodation and food) to see 7 bands that I'm not really dying to see.

The band that I never thought in my wildest dreams would ever come to this continent is playing a show in my home country and I'm going to miss out on it. The good thing though is that there's now a significantly higher chance that they'll come back. The Montreal crowd had better give them a warm kawaii welcome. Or else.

Who could ever resist this band? I've shown BabyMetal to people who don't listen to metal and they loved it. I just hope I'll get a chance to see them in person.

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Paganfest V Concert Impressions

What a night that was. Five bands, a whole lot of folk, and a whole lot of energy. I was worried at first given the size of the lineup that the concert would drag on, but it was over before I knew it. The opening bands (everyone except Turisas and Korpiklaani) only played a handful of songs before leaving the stage. There were a couple of bands I would have liked to see a bit more from but it kept things interesting.

The first band was Winterhymn from Cincinnati, Ohio. Having traveled the least, they were a great opener, despite the fact that they were playing for less than half of what would be the final audience. I'm guessing it's because the doors opened at 6 that there was a pittance of a crowd. Regardless, they played a solid set which included an awesome cover of the Skyrim theme. The violin was even audible! Surprisingly, every single band that came out with a violin actually had it loud enough to hear. I don't think I've ever seen that at a folk metal concert. Winterhymn was the only band I didn't listen to before this concert but they're definitely worth checking out.

Varg: big German guys.
Next up was Varg from Germany. The first time I saw them a bit over a year ago, I was blown away. This time however was more of the same. They haven't released any new music since I last saw them and they didn't add anything to their live show. The setlist consisted of all their more popular songs (Guten Tag, Was Nicht Darf, etc.) along with a slightly different selection compared to last time. Unfortunately, Varg is one of those bands where the majority of their songs played live sound very similar. They could have played anything with the Varg style and it would have sounded the same. That being said, the show was still solid and if I hadn't have seen them before, I probably would have been swept off my feet like the first time. The only weird thing though; no bass player! Apparently he left the band sometime last year and they just never filled the gap.

Chthonic, complete with cool lighting and a light-up bass.
When I first saw the lineup for this tour, I was really surprised and excited to see Chthonic there. I honestly never thought I'd see the Taiwanese band on Canadian shores. They were also missing a member in their keyboardist. As far as I know, he is still in the band but it's unfortunate because he has the coolest costume. Either way, the band came out and gave a good taste of Asian metal. They had all their signatures: the erhu, the light-up bass, and the awesome vocals.

Freddy Lim with his signature erhu
From what I could make out (the vocals were a little quiet compared to the rest of the instruments), they performed a mix of English and non-English lyrics. In between songs, the vocalist mentioned how great it was that bands from all these countries were coming together to play metal for all of us. I agree with him. Almost every band on this tour comes from a very different background, but we all unite under the banner of folk metal and a good time. If you ever have the chance to see Chthonic in concert, please do. I'm not sure if they'll even ever come back to North America.

Turisas vocalist Mathias Nygård with his awesome jacket.
Chthonic finished around 8 which gave the headlining bands plenty of time to set up. The stage was decked in Turisas colours, red and black everywhere. Turisas plays great music, but apart from that I don't think they're very creative. There was the strange naming of their most recent album and now their signature appears to be three red lines on a black background. They played a good amount of songs from Turisas2013 (but no Into the Free, dammit) mixed with their old classics. I'm glad that the vocalist tried to connect with us by giving little speeches between songs but I couldn't hear a damn word he was saying. Everything else about their performance was pretty good. If you've seen Turisas perform, then you've seen Turisas perform, I don't really have anything else to say. This was also the point where the crowd really got into it. Let me just say that the crowd was a bit more pushy than usual and it kind of made the show a bit worse of an experience than it could have been.

One half of Korpiklaani.
The headlining Korpiklaani was oddly the only band without any sort of facepaint. There were even two different bands on this tour with black and red all over their faces. But Korpiklaani likes to keep it traditional. The same can be said about their live performance. They knew that the majority of the crowd was there to see them and as such they just played music. There were hardly any words between songs and most of the song names weren't even announced beforehand. It was definitely a bit of a shift from Turisas setting up each and every song, but this entire concert was a constantly shifting whirlwind of music. As with the other bands, there wasn't anything overly special about Korpiklaani's performance. It was solid and they played most of the songs anyone would expect and that's about it. The band sure had fun though. I don't think any of the members stood in place for more than a few seconds, constantly dancing around the stage. There were even a few members of the audience that joined the stage and helped sing the chorus of a song before jumping off. Security was surprisingly lenient since they only came out if someone really overstayed their welcome on stage. The last thing to mention would be the crowd. If they were pushy during Turisas, then they were downright violent during Korpiklaani. I couldn't stand in one spot for more than a few seconds without being pushed around until I relocated to behind the mosh pit. I could say the same about the first time I saw Korpiklaani, but then it was because of people dancing around and having a good time. This time it was people literally pushing the front of the audience against the stage repeatedly. I'm sure there's other ways to enjoy a concert, such as the guy who started a 30+-person rowing party in the middle of the mosh pit. In any case, I was thoroughly soaked in other people's sweat by the end of the night.

The other half of Korpiklaani.
So that was Paganfest America V. All in all a very solid show, if not anything special. All of the bands gave it their all in the short time they had on stage. Even the semi-local opening band was great and definitely deserves further research. It was my second time seeing every band expect Chthonic and I'd go see any of them for a third next time they're in town.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Comments on Metal Videos

Here's something I've been wanting to start for a while. We've all seen Youtube comments. They're one of the internet's dark secrets, hidden away at the bottom of every video. No type of video is ever safe, not even metal videos with under 1000 views. There is always at least one person with a keyboard and a loose understanding of the English language who thinks their opinion is more important than everyone else's.

In fact, metal videos have some of the worst comments. For some reason, people feel the need to go on music they don't like and leave a comment proclaiming their distaste with the music no one forced them to listen to. It's utterly baffling why this situation would ever occur, but it does and it leads to some of the funniest comments out there.

I'm starting a movement. Send screencaps of stupid or funny comments on metal videos or related pages (with context if needed) as a message to the Facebook page or as an email to vogelfrei25@gmail.com. I'll keep collecting them like I've been doing for a while, but I'm only one person and I only watch so many videos.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys can find. They will be posted at regular intervals over on the Facebook page, so give it a like if you haven't already.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Life As a Non-Elitist

I previously wrote a post about being a music elitist. I'm not going to link to it here because I'm embarrassed, but I'm sure you can find it if you really want. It's a moot point though because something magical happened over the blog break, my musical tastes expanded.

One of my biggest musical pet peeves used to be slow songs. I just didn't have the patience to listen to them. I used to go through albums and delete the slow songs before I added them to my library. But now I give them a chance. I guess I got more patience and there's now a bunch of slower songs that I enjoy just as much as anything else. I started something with myself to ensure that I actually gave every song in my library a fair shot. I really don't want to fall into the category that so many people find themselves in, of having a large music library and skipping over half the songs. So now when I listen to my music, I put it on random and put my phone in my pocket. If I actually don't like a song I'll delete it. But I ended up actually liking a lot of the songs I had previously always skipped over. There was actually a lot of awesome music that I kept skipping over. Here's an example of a great song that I previously would have skipped over or deleted. Shame on me.

I was also able to expand my musical horizons. I think that was just my desire to not only listen to as much music as possible, but also to as many different types of music. I've added electronic, rock, and even some metalcore to my music library. I was never against these genres because they do have awesome music, but it just felt weird adding these songs to my library. I've always listened to metal that takes influence from other genres so it's a natural extension to actually listen to music from these other genres regularly. There is so much awesome music out there that I might have missed - that I still might miss - but I will never stop expanding my horizons. I have a friend (you know who you are) who once said to me that it's a shame we'll never be able to listen to every single great band out there; there's just too many. We can always keep searching for music and find as much as we can, it's all anyone can do.

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm Back (Again)!

Well, it seems it's finally time I got off of (or rather, sat on) my lazy butt and wrote some new blog posts. I've got the trifecta of singles from upcoming albums playing (War Eternal from Arch Enemy, To Hell And Back from Sabaton, and The Essence of Silence from Epica) and I'm ready to crank out an update.

School is complete for another year and this time I get an actual break. I'll be working for the next 16 months and going back for my final year of university in September 2015. That means one very important thing: more free time! I plan to post on this blog at least semi-regularly with all my fantastic observations and opinions that I'm sure you're just dying to read. That being said, expect a slow start. I do have a few things that I want to write about, but I definitely need to get back into the writing mood. I prefer quality over quantity. Everything will be posted on the Facebook page, so if you haven't liked the page, there's a button in the top right of the blog.

As for what I want to post about, here's a couple things to look forward to. I'll be attending Paganfest America this Thursday May 1st. Expect a writeup Friday or Saturday. Hopefully I'll be getting a new phone so I can post some decent concert pictures. But if not, I'll include the same crappy quality photos I've been taking up until now, hurray!

In the long term, I'm hoping to have a series of posts dedicated to a little project of mine. It's been my dream for a while now to actually make some music. The biggest hurdle is the fact that I have absolutely no musical talent and don't play any instruments. However, I've downloaded FL Studio and the necessary add-ons to make some sweet sweet metal. If I can make something that doesn't sound like complete garbage I'm going to post about it every step of the way. It can be done though, I've seen it with my own ears.

That's about it for now. I'm writing posts as you read this so expect some more stuff very soon! Stay metal.

-Zombie Viking