Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our top metal bands

Hello, friends!  This is the second in our series of lists profiling the top bands we like from each genre we cover here at Think Muzik.  There is such a wide assortment of metal out there, so choosing our top three has been a difficult task. 

Here are my top three:
 3. Omnium Gatherum.  These Finns haven't done anything earth-shattering in the realm of music.  All they have done is pick a style of metal they like to play and excel at it.  They have consistently improved over their five releases, culminating in thier best effort yet, "New World Shadows".  Omnium Gatherum is extreme metal, but also quite melodic, featuring catchy lead guitar and solos, excellent growling, and tasteful clean vocals.  Keyboards play heavily into their sound but do not make up the structure of the music. Listen to Soul Journeys from "New World Shadows" below.

2. Textures.  Textures is a newer dutch band that plays a Djenty blend of melody and harsh metal that must be heard to believed.  The band successfully switch back and forth between melodic singing and harsh screaming.  The first time I heard this band, I was very impressed and waited patiently for their latest album, which was just as good, if not better.  Watch the Reaching Home video from "Dualism" below.

1. Dark Tranquillity.  Being one of the pioneers in the Gothenburg metal scene is one thing, but being able to constantly release great material is another.  Dark Tranquillity arose in the late 1980s in Gothenburg, Sweden, alongside such acts as At the Gates and In Flames.  Over the years, they have released 10 studio albums.  I own nine of them--all but thier first, while Anders Friden (from In Flames) was the lead singer.  Mikael Stanne has been providing the vocals ever since and really does an amazing job.  Clean vocals are somewhat rare from this band, but they do use them to great effect, particularly in thier latest album.  Listen to Dream Oblivion from "We are the Void" below.

Kristy's top three are as follows.

When Brad told me we were choosing our three favorite metal bands and then selecting a favorite song from them I kind of freaked out.  First of all I'm pretty new to the metal genre.  I have a few songs that I like from select artists but not whole albums.  I was kind of stressing because I didn't think that I had very much metal in my music collection.  But as I took another look I found some artists that I didn't consider metal but that Brad assured me would work.  Here are my three choice metal bands.  Keep in mind I am just starting a collection in this genre and so this might be wussy metal to those of you who like it a littler harsher than what follows.

3. Funeral For A Friend: On a Wire.  This song is off their album Tales Don't Tell Themselves.  This song is very mellow as far as metal goes but if you listen to other songs on the album the metal comes out more.  I like this song because I like the sound of Michael Davies voice.  I enjoy the guitar in this song and I like that it's melodic enough that I can sing along. 

2. Lacuna  Coil. Give Me Something More.  One thing you should know about me is I am a choir brat.  My favorite part of choir is the blending of male and female voices.  I really like this band because we get to hear two great singers Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro.  Both vocalists give this song something special.  Their voices harmonize really well plus there is great guitar and drums in the background.  This track is off their newest album Dark Adrenaline.  Check them out if you haven't heard them before.  They are amazing.

1. Apocolyptica: I Don't Care.  Let me just start by saying this band is the s*#t.  I really like them a lot.  I love that they are all professional cellists and that they incorporate their astounding talents into metal music.  This version of I Don't Care features Adam Gontier of three days grace.  I like the blending of his voice with cello.  This song has a great beat and for some reason unknown  to me it just makes me happy.  Plus did I mention there is an amaing piano cello duet towards the end of this song.  Amazing!! I can't say enough and I can't explain it just listen and see for yourself. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Our top Alternative/Indie bands

Hello, everyone!  Today we are starting a collaboration between the two of us (Kristy and I) discussing our three favorite bands from each of the genres we cover.  Today we look at the alternative and indie scene, which consists of electronic rock, indie rock, grunge rock, progressive rock, and shoegaze.  Picking three of the best turned out to be a chore.

3. M83.  This Frenchman, also known as Anthony Gonzalez, pumps out dynamic 'electrogaze' music, which blends ambient soundscapes with distorted and looped guitar lines to create a dazzling atmospheric effect.  Looping and layered vocal effects are also heavily used.  Here is Midnight City, from the album "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming."

2. Radiohead.  Radiohead has been around since the early 90s.  Their sound has over the years migrated from straight up alternative rock to the electronic-based indie rock they specialize in today.  Though I disagree with the band's portrayal of today's music industry, I happen to enjoy everything they release.  Take a listen to There There (the Boney King of Nowhere) from the album "Hail to the Thief"

1. Chevelle.  Chevelle never ceases to amaze.  They play consistently good progressive-fueled hard rock that is easy to enjoy.  They have been compared way too often to Tool in my opinion, but rarely used screamed vocals.  Most of their songs are incredibly catchy and easy to sing to.  Listen to Jars, from the album "Sci-fi Crimes" below.

Kristy's Top 3 is as follows.

So you wouldn't think that choosing our top three alternative bands would be hard but it was.  I have over forty on my list and they all have things about them that I really love.  Then my husband told me to pick the best song from each band.  This was a challenge but I have chosen three great songs I think you will enjoy. 

3. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.  I loved this band the first time I heard their first single Face down.  I like alternative music for different reasons than most.  Mostly I like guys who can play their own instruments and sing at the same time.  These guys can play music that is really harsh but the vocals are amazing.  The vocals are crystal clear and I love his voice.  I chose this song because lets face it I am a romantic sap and I love how this song starts out slow and then has this dramatic crescendo  at the end of this song.  The lyrics are amazing.  I just love it.  Check it out.

2. The Used.  My brother introduced me to the used after their single Blue and Yellow came out.  I have been a huge fan of them ever since.  Some albums are greater than others but I can always find at least one track that I have to listen to on repeat for a couple of days.  The Used is a band kind of from the screamo genre.  I am a rebel and I prefer the songs where they actually sing a song with a melody.  The song I chose for your listening pleasure is Not Kissing you Goodbye.  This track is on their album Artwork.  I love how this song starts out with just vocals and the piano.  It's beautiful and then the music picks and you can feel the emotion of the song pick up as the music soars.  This track is amazing.

1. Linkin Park.  Linkin Park is my first choice for an alternative band.  I love Chester's voice.  I don't even mind the screaming.  I first heard Linkin Park again from my brother.  The first song I heard from them was Crawling.  I loved the electronic intro and was blown away the first time I heard Chester sing.  I know that everyone knows this song but it's my favorite so listen to it again.  It's still as fantastic as the first time I heard it. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

John Lennon: Imagine covered by A Perfect Circle.

Earlier this month I talked about comparing popular songs that have been covered by various artists.  Today is a look at a remake of a John Lennon song.  I know what all of you are thinking; covers are never as good as the original and that might be true but I, believe those that try to make a classic their own deserve a little credit too.  John Lennon wrote Imagine in 1971.  It's an antiwar song basically asking you to imagine a world where everyone lives in peace.  Not a simple task for anyone but Mr. Lennon does a great job of helping us to imagine what it would be like.  This song is a classic.  The melody is beautiful and the lyrics are awe inspiring.  Combine these with the vocals of John Lennon and you have a song  that cannot be forgotten.  Covering this song is no easy task but I know a band that did it successfully.

A Perfect Circle is a rock band that came out in the late 90's.  In 2004 they covered this song by John Lennon on their third album Emotive.  Their take on this song is a little different than the original.  The music is a little darker but I like it.  I like that we get to hear more drums and I love the strings in the background.  I like this covers strong vocals.  I think that it brings a little more meaning to this song and introduces it in a way that a younger generation can love and appreciate.  I encourage you to give this song another listen.  You won't regret it.-Kristy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Katatonia-Dead End Kings

There are a lot of bands which, though the music may be good, you can't take seriously based on the band name alone.  I'm not saying Katatonia is a bad name, just that there are one too many metal bands that choose to spell their names differently because a 'k' looks harsher than a 'c'.  That is, in my opinion, a shallow way of looking at it.  I'll admit it.  I never gave Katatonia a chance based on the fact that thier name starts with a 'k'.  I also admit this is not a great way to start a blog entry.  That's why I have moved it down further into the body of the text.  See, I can be sneaky, just like Katatonia, whom most still deem as a metal band.

Katatonia's roots are in progressive metal for sure.  This band sounds in some ways like newer-era Dream Theater, just a little harder, or newer-era Amorphis, just not as heavy--or somewhere in between.  The metal blogging universe has been talking about this album since news of its inception first hit.  This is because Katatonia is a long-tenured and well-respected band no matter which way you slice it.  I didn't realize that Niklas Sundin, from one of my favorite metal bands of all time, Dark Tranquillity, is part of Katatonia.

The best way to descibe this Swedish band's newest batch of music is as a blend of modern progressive rock with occasional metallic riffs, soaked with dark, atmospheric melodies.  Frontman Jonas Renkse lends plenty of fluid emotion to the mic, while beautifully strummed guitar melodies and an undercurrent of keyboard fill out the sound. 

Dead End Kings doesn't have a definite standout track, nor does it have any obvious filler material.  Instead, what we have is 11 delicious cuts of prime progressive rock.  This is yet another great album from a great band.  You don't have to be a fan of metal to enjoy Dead End Kings.  Bow to the majestic reign of Katatonia.  You will not be disappointed.  4.7/5 stars.  Lisen to First Prayer and Dead Letters below.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mono-For my Parents

Consider the line between atmospheric post rock and neoclassical contemporary music blurred.  Japan's Mono have delivered an epic worth the price. 

This is high praise for a band that until a few months ago I had never even heard of.  I happened across a preview track on a blog I regularly visit and was impressed with what I heard, even from such a small sample.  Mono's newest album, For my Parents, was released a week ago, and it has taken me that long to listen to it and offer my thoughts.

Mono successfully blends ambient and atmospheric soundscapes with orchestral majesty in thier new album.  I defy anyone to find a post rock outfit quite like Mono.  Yes, at times Joy Wants Eternity, another band I have raved about, comes close.  Mono is most often compared to post rock stalwarts Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, but in my opinion they offer generous helpings of delicious melody in forms that the aforementioned bands don't quite replicate.

Listening to this album, I couldn't help thinking that this music was from a film, because it definitely sounds like it could have.  Amid the sweeps of symphony and the reflective, reverb-laden, ambiance the band occaionally introduces harmonic guitar plucking and sparse drum patterns. 

This album ought to be a staple in any worthy post rock CD collection.  I was slightly disappointed to find out that this album only offers up six tracks, but those six tracks amount to nearly a full hour of music.  All you have to do is press play, sit back, relax, and enjoy.  I'll give For my Parents an incredible 4.9/5 stars.  Give it a listen below.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Aerosmith: What Could Have Been Love

I was listening to the radio the other day and was met with this great surprise.  What a new Areosmith song? My ears must have been deceiving me but no it's true.  I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to get back home and listen to it again when I wasn't in traffic.  I really am digging this new track.  I can't wait to hear the rest of this album. 

I am a fan of monster ballads.  I know I know they are so cheesy but I really enjoy a good love song especially if it's by a rock musician.  This song is pretty slow for Steven Tyler.  I think that his music is starting to show his age a little bit but if this is how his music is going to sound from now on I am totally okay with it.  This song starts out slowly.  As the chorus comes the music swells and you get drums and more guitar.  The lyrics are catchy and by the end of the song you get the iconic scream that only Steven Tyler can give.  I really enjoyed this track.  I think if you are an Aerosmith fan that you should check it out.-Kristy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chelsea Wolfe-Apokalypsis

As I have said before, once in a while you stumble across some music so outside your normal listening scope that it is laughable, yet you can help but like it.  I checked out Chelsea Wolfe's latest album on a whim, mostly because they ware talking about it on a metal blog I frequently visit.  They advertised it as an interesting alternative to metal.

Chelsea Wolfe is an indie alternative rocker who mixes a lot of slow, droing elements and bleak, folky singing.  The culmination is a strange breed of music unlike any I had heard.  I found myself liking Wolfe's voice and the near-constant vocal effects she uses.  Upon listing to Demons, I was impressed enough to go find the album and download it. 

The opening track is an ear-splitting howl that sounds like it was recorded in a tin chamber.  Thankfully, this is nothing but a short intro to the following tracks of doom-laden aleternative folk music that doesn't come across as either pure folk or unabashed doom.  The sound is interesting, yet appealing.  This isn't something you'll soon hear on the radio, but you might enjoy it. 

It came out of left field as something completely unexpected, but somehow I enjoyed it.  At times the melodies come across flat and uninspired, so the album isn't without its faults.  The cover art, though interesting, borders on the cliche and is passable.  I'll rate this album as 3.8/5 stars.  Check out Pale on Pale below.