Saturday, November 24, 2012

Griseus-Aquilus reveiw

Rarely do I find music I find interesting enough to share at No Clean Singing.  I still like that website for the off chance that I will find some entertaining metal, but those moments are growing fewer and further between.  Those of you who know me (or if you haven't guessed yet) know that I'm not fond of 'generic' music at all.  By 'generic' I do not mean that it sounds just like someone else or even dozens of other acts.  What I mean by 'generic' is that it simply conforms too much to the standards of the genre which they choose to perform.  These guidelines get to be much too rigid for too many bands.  And while NCS does cover a wide range of metal, most of it of the extreme category, too much of it is dull and uninteresting in my opinion.

Griseus is a one-man Aussie alternative metal act by Howard "Waldorf" Rosenqvist.  The genre they most associate with is darkened neoclassical folk, whatever that is. 

When I first saw the album cover for "Aquilus", I shrugged, thinking that this was just another black metal band.  Still, I read the review.  And when I did, I was interested enough to listen.  Dabbling equally in post-romanticism, folksy acoustical moments, and atmospheric extreme metal, Griseus manages to convey many different emotions in several styles of music that mesh surprisingly well.

This disc is not your standard fare for symphonic metal.  Most pieces are long, orchestral works with wailing electric guitars and loudly shrieked vocals, which creates a dark and unusually harmonic sound.  This is an album you must hear to believe.  There is no operatic singing, and the metal aspect is less pronounced than you might expect.  This is both a disturbing and memorably beautiful listening experience.  If you do not like extreme vocals at all, there is a chance you won't like this.  However, the vocals are mostly highlights rather than constant roars and shredding howls. 

This record is very unlike anything I have heard.  This project is nothing like SepticFlesh or Mechina or Epica.  It is a beautiful work that stands on its own.  Even if you do not normally listen to music you have never heard before, this might be worth your while. 

For your listening pleasure, the entire album stream, courtesy of Griseus' bandcame page, is below.  Enjoy and let us know what you think.  As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide

Happy Turkey Day everyone!  If you are like most people, today is the day you drop everything and stuff your face with turkey.  Preferably happy turkey, because morose turkey just doesn't taste very good from what I understand. 

As you are enjoying your day with your family (unless you work at Walmart), we here at ThinkMuzik would like you to remember one thing.  WE SALUTE YOU.  We thank you for reading our commentary and checking out our music every day and following us, even though you might not like every type of music we cover.  Give yourselves a huge pat on the back. 

Turkey Day brings about another unfortunate tradition.  You know the one.  I'm not going to waste this space telling you why I'm beginning to dislike the Christmas season because, increasingly, it is all about 'stuff''.  Literally moments after giving thanks for everything you already have, you run to the nearest store, camp out and brave the insanity to "spend money you don't have on gifts people don't need." [Quote thanks to an anonymous poster over at No Clean Singing]. 

If you are one of the crazies that like to freeze your almonds off in order to get the best deals on 'stuff', here is a guide on how best to get in and out of the store while maintaining a healthy level of insanity.

1. Leave the house early.  We're thinking 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  Drive to your big box store of choice carefully.  You don't want a ticket (something to NOT be thankful for) while in transport.  How embarrassing.

2. Park your car between the bollards in front of the doors.  Exhale.  Inhale. Drink some caffeinated beverage.

3. Bring your ipod so you can rock out, preferably to metal.  Metal may be an excessively aggressive musical style, but if you are like me, it soothes and calms while giving you something to headbang to. Something like this:

4. The second the store opens run, don't walk to the wrapping paper section.  You can't possibly brave the crowds without a good weapon at your side.

5. Steal a cart from somebody bolting for the TV aisle.  Avoid stores that use plastic mesh carts as opposed to wire mesh carts.  Wire mesh carts are more stable should an 'accident' happen and are more useful should you need to run somebody down.

6. Stop by the perfume aisle.  Spray yourself heavily with most of them.  It might make other shoppers avoid you, which gives you the advantage.

7. Don't be afraid to get creative.  If somebody is about to stick the last huge plastic monstrosity of a toy for their son, don't barter with them.  Simply tell them that you have an agent parked outside their house, whom you will instruct to take their son if they don't let you have the monstrosity.  Or use some other story.  Avoid pity stories.  This is a highly adrenaline-fueled game, so the pity won't work.

8. When you have everyone on your list taken care of and you are making your way to the registers, people diving out of your way by now (and others simply lying by the wayside because they did not get out of your way) go to the express check out lanes.  No matter how much stuff you have. The 12 items or less is more of a guideline than a stone-cast rule anyway.

9. Get back in your car.  Squeal tires on pavement to scare away the bury tattoo dudes you pissed off.

10. Lock yourself in your house and vow to never again to be stupid enough to go shopping on Black Friday (or Brown Thursday, as some Target employees are starting to call it). 

Repeat next year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kate Havnevik and Keith Urban

Today for your listening pleasure I have my two favorite artists begin with the letter K.  I have chosen Keith Urban and Kate Havnevik.  These two artists are amazing and they write two completely different types of music.  I would first like to start with Kate.

Kate Havnevik is from Norway and released her first album in 2006.  If you are a fan of Greys Anatomy you will have heard her music.  She has three or four different songs that have aired during different episodes.  She writes all of her music and plays many different instruments including the melodica.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a little hand held piano that is played by blowing air through the mouth piece and then fingering the keys.  She is a very talented lady.  The first song that I have chosen to play for you is Grace off her album off the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack.  She wrote this song exclusively for the season 2 finally.  This song is amazing.  The vocals are beautiful and music is simple and intriguing.  I also really enjoy the vocalizing in this song.  Please check it out below.

The second song that I have chosen is Nowhere Warm.  This song is featured on her CD Melankton.  This song is great again because of her vocals but I love the beginning with the violin.  I really think the strings add something fantastic to this song.  I also enjoy the piano in this song.  I just think that it is amazing that she can create such an outstanding song using mostly her voice.  The vocals are so soft and addictive.  Once I start listening to her I can't stop and of course I have to sing along.  Check it out.

The second artist I have chosen is Keith Urban which most of you will groan at.  I know that Country music is not at the top of most of your must listen to genres but here at think music we know that the best music library is one with many different types of music each appreciated for it's own reasons.  I enjoy Keith Urban, first of all he is Australian.  That in and of itself is fantastic and he writes his own music.  Keith started writing and performing music in 1991.  He has released a total of nine studio albums and has fourteen number one hits.  The first song that I picked is When Summer Comes Around off his album Defying Gravity.  I love this song.  I like the guitar intro and the sounds of the carnival in the background.  I think that it makes the song relatable.  I can picture exactly what is happening as he is singing.  I am sure all of us have been in this position where you fall for someone and you only have one season with them and you always wonder if they will come back and see what happens next.  I like Keith's voice in this song because you can really feel how heartbroken he is.  See what you think.

The second song I have chosen from Keith is I told you so.  I wanted to pick up the pace a little bit.  I told you so is found on the album Love Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing.  This song starts out with some violins and the guitar.  Yes I'm going to say that I actually don't mind the banjo in this song.  I can't believe I just admitted that.  I enjoy the middle of this song to because you get to hear some rock elements which is becoming more common in today's country music.  I hope that you will give this song a chance.  Thank for reading and enjoy-Kristy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Steps from Hell-SkyWorld review

It is no secret that we love film music here at ThinkMuzik.  As I have said numerous times, there is no such thing as bad classical music.  And while film music isn't necessarily classical, the same rule holds true. 

Two Steps from Hell's new public album "Skyworld" is not even film music per se.  There is a little-known genre called 'trailer' music, which is a category "SkyWorld" fits in nicely.  Most tracks are short compared to typical classical pieces and composed specifically for film, television, and video game trailers.

The compositions on "SkyWorld" merge the old with the new, leaving no stone unturned for new ways to make contemporary music fresh and exciting.  These tracks are soaring and epic orchestra pieces that incorporate guitars, horns, cellos, percussion, vocal melodies, and choral performances.  In the world of contemporary music, this album is as eclectic as they come. 

A start-to-finish listen of this album conveys varying emotional and thoughtful reactions from the profound to the somber and everything in between.  Including a track or two here does not do this disc its proper justice.  This album as an incredible and rewarding listening experience.  If you like contemporary and/or film music at all, this record is a must-purchase item.  It is exceptional in every way possible.  It surprises at every turn.  The musical styles and tempos are virtually boundless and each track relates a unique visual and emotional perspective.  The clarity on this disc is outstanding and the production is massive. 

All I can say is that my list for best albums of the year has just become a little more crowded.  This is indeed top-ten worthy and will earn its keep nicely on any film music playlist.  This album is available for purchase at iTunes and Amazon for a decent price.  Don't bat an eye, because this album contains a whopping 22 tracks.  Please enjoy the two tracks I have embedded here, and as always, thanks for reading!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nemesea-The Quiet Resistance (2011)

As I have stated before, one of my main concerns about the genre of symphonic rock/metal is that the overpowering operatic vocals get to be too much, lending less creativity to the music.  Some bands sound better with operatic vocals, while some sound better without.  Nemesea is of the latter variety. 

Nemesea is a Dutch band fronted by the extremely talented Manda Ophuis.  She started the band in 2002.  "The Quiet Resistance" fom 2011 is their best effort to date, and rumor has it that they are working on a yet-to-be-titled fourth studio album.  Based on what "The Quiet Resistance" offers, the new album will be at the top of my list in 2013. 

Nemesea has been compared to After Forever, but I find tht comparison to be shaky at best.  After Forever wrote some strong metallic riffs with rangy, operatic vocals, while Nemesea dwell on more of a rock-oriented sphere, preferring catchy rock tunes highlighted with grand keyboard orchestras.  Nemesea operates on the premise of hooky tunes inspired by mainstream hard rock with some punchy metal riffing fronting the extraordinary symphonic melody.

"The Quiet Resistance" was  one of the standout albums of 2011.  It is a fantastic record.  While listners at times will be reminded of After Forever, the album will also bring to mind late Within Temptation and Epica.  Not all symphonic metal bands are created equal, and thankfully, Nemesea is on the top shelf.  If you enjoy epic hard rock and metal music, you will love this release. 

For your listening pleasure, I have embedded the entire playlist from "The Quiet Resistance" below.  Be sure to check out High Enough and Stay With Me, as these are the best tracks in my opinion. Thanks so much for reading and as always, enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jimmy Eat World and Jem

My selections for today come from my favorite artists that start with the letter J.  Tho the list was pretty lengthy I decided on these two artists.  One because they make incredible music and two because they are not that well known.  Let's start today with Jimmy Eat World.

In 1993 the alternative rock band Jimmy Eat World broke out onto the music scene.  Since then they have released seven studio albums with songs that have appeared on movie soundtracks and video games.  The band found real stardom with their fourth album Bleed America.  The track The Middle became their best selling single and landed on the Billboard charts.  I along with many of you became a Jimmy Eat World fan when this album came out.  This album has more rock elements to it and the songs are fun and cacthy.  The first song that I wanted to play for you is off this album and is titled My Sundown.  This is a slower song but I really enjoy it.  I appreciate the simpleness of this song.  I like the snapping of the fingers and the subtle drumming.  I also like the female accompaniment in this song.  I think that the lyrics to this song are great and hope you will enjoy it.

The second track I selected from them comes from their fifth album Futures.  I decided on Pain.  I know that this song was really popular when it came out and that it's nothing you haven't heard before but it's a great upbeat song that has Jimmy Eat World written all over it.  This song is fast paced and entertaining.  The music video is pretty cool too.  I like the message of this song too.  I makes me remember that anything artificial that claims to cure emotional pain is just a farce and you have to get to the bottom of the issue to really feel better but sometimes its fun to escape it temporally.  enjoy Pain below.

The second artist I chose is Jem.  She started singing in 2002 and her music is constantly used in film and TV show soundtracks.  Jemma Griffiths is a Welsh singer-songwriter who performs trip hop and new wave music.  I first heard her from a commercial for the movie Ultra Violet.  They played the track 24 in the background and I was like what is this?  I really liked it and had to go out and get the Cd.  24 appears on the CD Finally Woken which was her first album released in 2004.  The first song that I have chosen to share for you is Falling For You off the same album.  I feel connected to this song.  The lyrics are amazing and relateable.  How many of us have gotten our hearts stomped on and are fearful of letting a new someone in.  She displays this emotion beautifully in this song.  Her vocals are amazing as is the music.  Please listen to it below.

The second song I have chosen is It's Amazing off the Down To Earth album.  This song was featured in the Sex In The City movie.  I love the piano intro to this song.  I think that it sets up a great surprise when the electronic instruments start.  The blending of the two make for an intriguing track that you have to listen to.  Again Jem's vocals are soulful and great.  I like the message of this song also.  All of need a little encouragement now and then.  I hope that you have enjoyed the tracks that I have chosen today and as always thanks for listening and enjoy-Kristy