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  • Band of Others: The Delain Review

    27 jul 2012, 04:10

    This article is about the band. For other uses of "Delain," see Stephen King's Delain (the eponym) and Moneca Delain.




    Hi, I'm Chris AKA Andro and I've been an irritating presence in the online female fronted symphonic pop "metal" community ever since I discovered it in 2007 (having just learned what metal was at age 19). I got fame for acting stupid when Within Temptation used part of my Utopia cover in this official video. I also really like Pristine. I followed this album's road to release from its beginning. I have never written a review journal before.



    DELAIN 101:
    DELAIN IS A POP BAND.

    Maestro Martijn in Kerrang magazine:



    See the full page here - http://site.delain.nl/upload/3/kerrang_delain.jpg

    I've been told he called it "lush, heavy pop music" in some other interview, which I think describes Delain's sound very well. Removing "metal" from the equation entirely is a means of asserting independence from the notion that metal is an inherently superior form of music. Remember our Last.fm shoutbox community creed: there are not good and bad genres, there is only good and bad music. Delain make extremely good heavy pop music.

    When We are the Others came out I was on vacation in New York and had no internet access, cell phone service or land line:



    Consequently I was not around on Lastfm to spazz out all over everything. The above video has me listening to the album for the first time in the corner, but I had to be quiet to avoid waking anyone up ;D

    This review is very long. This is because I wrote the review I wanted to write, rather than the one you would want to read.

    TL;DR: JUST LOOK AT THE PICTURES.

    Mother Machine



    This song was originally introduced in live shows as "Manson," which confuses me as it has no apparent connection to either Charles Manson or Marilyn Manson. (Charlotte likes Shirley Manson but that doesn't seem likely either.) It had a nice, short synth-symphonic intro which was cut out on the album, probably a call made by those dastardly producers. Not beginning an album with GUITARS RIGHT AWAY may be a disconcerting choice, despite Within Temptation having put a two-minute orchestral intro on The Silent Force. Or maybe the band just decided it wasn't good. ;( YOU GUUUUIIIISE STOP TAKING MY CANDY

    The early live bootlegs of this song first alerted us to Delain's heading in a rockier direction with screaming guitars, a move I was fine with, even though up to that point Delain's existence majority shareholder was the combination of Charlotte's vocals + Martijn's synths, the guitars being just kinda... there. My thinking at the time was that Martijn is so good at what he does that he ought to have license to take the music wherever he wants. And also most of April Rain (album) was on the boring side. As it turns out, the guitars sound great and stand out well on this entire album, so Delain definitely didn't go wrong there.

    Mother Machine's theme is the replacement of nature with industry - although it seems that in recent decades more nature has been lost to suburbia than to industry; but The Suburbs are a boring thing to write songs about, and industry is still being super evil especially in China so hey, it's relevant! The fiercely staccato verse structure evokes the relentless pounding of a huge machine, while the melodic chorus offers brief escape as it rises above the incessant pounding, free, but not for long. It's effective and one of the better songs on the album.


    Electricity



    I was very pleasantly surprised to be reminded of Lucidity when I first heard this song. Some people like Lucidity because it is supposedly METAAAAAL, which is ironic because in that early period Delain looked like some kind of darkwave rave club act.


    Remarkably, the leftmost guy [Sander Zoer] has played drums on all three albums and is still in the band. Of course, the other guys who aren't Martijn are long gone.

    I don't mean the guitars. The horns from that oh-so-glorious Pristine outro, THE HORNS ARE BACK. And they sound SO good. In the body of a symphony orchestra, the percussion form her feet and legs, the strings form her bosom (thus the importance of strings in symphonic lady metal), the woodwinds are her delicate facial features, and the horns are her strong arms that will knock you down hard for being a disgustingly sexist boob-metal fanboy. Now granted it's all synths, but that's okay because they're Maestro Martijn's synths. Oh yeah.

    So after the horns lay down the law, we get the chorus, the composition of which I found underwhelming at first, but it's made awesome by the lyrics and the feeling of climbing it evokes. Regrettably, after a second brief shot of horns, they do not appear again. The bridge is handed over to a guitar solo which follows the horns' melody, Sirenia style (well okay Sirenia would use the vocal line); and the outro is many repetitions of the chorus, which wore on me at first, but not for long, thanks to the lyrics. I may try to mix the horns in myself sometime. Regardless, Martijn's horns and Charlotte's lyrics make this my favorite track on the album.

    Only I don't know why it's called Electricity instead of FEVER. Is Charlotte saying that the lightning is itself like those old feelings of desire? Okay. :3

    Update: N3fr0n has suggested it may be "about two people who once met in storm randomly and then let it go and didn't see each other afterwards," which sounds plausible to me.


    We Are the Others

    The April Rain title track was the main reason why I became a fan of Delain. It is a masterpiece, the greatest song of its genre. None other comes close, not even Nightwish's pop hit masterpieces Nemo and Amaranth, nor anything on the Leaves' Eyes pop metal master opus Njord. So I don't ask Delain to try to replicate that brilliance - that's probably impossible - but I am very much along for the ride with anything else they put out.

    I first read Sophie's story some years ago, on ChristianGoth.com. I appreciate Delain's dedicating this album to her memory, and I'm glad that they stand with the gothic community despite not being a traditionally gothic band. Other bands in the symphonic metal scene are often quick to distance themselves from us and insist that they are not gothic, even when they use more gothic imagery in their lyrics and artwork than Delain ever has.

    So here begins the song for Sophie:

    I'm walking with Sophie tonight
    She lives in the air that I breathe
    I can't get it out of my mind
    How you were left to bleed....


    Honestly, I find it a bit jarring to begin a rock anthem on such a solemn note; the opening lines sadden me so much that they distract me from the rest of the song. I think it might have been better to do this in a pair of two tracks, a lament for sophie in a ballad followed by this rallying call. This doesn't seem to affect other fans, though. It's a heavy burden being Andro.

    The lyrics repeatedly shift object in rapidfire succession, from Charlotte addressing us ("I'm walking with Sophie tonight"), to addressing Sophie ("You were left to bleed"), to addressing bullies ("You can't hide us"), to addressing us again ("You're not out there on your own," etc.) Compare this to April Rain, which directly addresses the audience throughout.

    Back to the music: Her Grace Toria says that "the light [musical elements have] gotten tinklier," but the tinkly piano here seems the same as in April Rain to me...? Framing a song by playing the theme lightly on the keys at the intro and bridge is a textbook symphonic metal formula, demonstrated famously in Nemo and Amaranth, and when I first listened to April Rain the thought crossed my mind: "Ah, that old cliche again, here we go with another generic symphonic pop metal track." Which is exactly what April Rain was, except that it also completely blew my mind with its absolute perfection. Nothing wrong with following the formula if you do it well.

    The WATO verses bear a little resemblance to the April Rain chorus, but in the WATO chorus the composition becomes a stark contrast to April Rain's; where April Rain's vocal line had a long hold on almost every note, the WATO chorus is laid out like The Killers' frenzied Somebody Told Me. We first heard the WATO chorus being sung by the girls' choir in this studio vlog last November (following this sneak preview in September). I had considered it a dubious prospect ever since, but it turned out better than I expected! And the girls' choir was used far more effectively than any of us foresaw, solo in the bridge and then in unison backing Charlotte, the voices of the Others. Success.

    And when I first heard the full song, I thought it was a perfect anthem. But after the first 15 or 20 plays, I felt that something was a little off. The 2012 London Summer Olympics are kicking off - during the award ceremonies, pay attention to the national anthems. Does any good anthem convey its message by quickly rattling off a series of statements like this? None I can think of does. This album does features one chorus that was perfectly composed to be a great anthem. Unfortunately, that chorus was assigned the (true, but not so anthemic) "we all suck"-themed lyrics of Generation Me.


    Milk and Honey



    One of the three original songs from the 2011 live shows, I instantly loved the composition of the final part of the chorus - "As long as you are getting older, always look over your shoulder twice" (although I had no idea what the lyrics were from the bootleg). I immediately commented that that was SO RIGHT and SO PERFECT. The rest of the song, though, didn't impress me much. The verses' buildup was pretty good, but the "yoooooooou plaaaayed with my heaaaaaaart" main part of the chorus was uninteresting and, well, dragged. Fortunately, for the album version, Delain amped up the entire song. They took a part of that original chorus and built a whole new chorus out of it, turning what felt like a mid-tempo song into a rockin' good track - and best of all, they kept in the part that I loved in the first place! Even the little "bring back the pain" sample makes it a more fun listen. This track is easily the best surprise on the album.


    Hit Me With Your Best Shot

    First heard last september in Studio Vlog 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r-27hx31YI#t=1m02s

    Here begins the three-track middle part of the album which I chose to not put on my MP3 player when I first got it, and consequently mostly ignored for the couple of weeks during which I came up with most of the Deep Thoughts in this LIFETIME LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT OF A REVIEW. Oh, and these are also the same three tracks that were never played live, a call I would consider to be rather good, although after some listens they have grown on me, as many people say they do. This is a nice song, especially the part at the end: "This will be your final chance to fight for what we've got." If I try to write more about it I'll veer into essay-drivel territory.

    "But," you say, "This entire piece is essay-drivel!"

    "Ah," I reply, "Yes. It is. But everything I've written here was something I had to say. Essays for school, on the other hand, tend to require one to keep writing when one would otherwise have nothing to say."


    I Want You



    This is easily the creepiest song Delain have ever done. Wait, it's their first creepy song. But still, these lyrics are downright Holopainful. They make Wish I Had An Angel look, well, innocent.



    At first I thought this was from the POV of some kind of incubus spirit or ghost, which seems pointless. But maybe it's just from the POV of a murderous high school girl, which is still pointless but also more boring. Either way, it's easily my least favorite song on the album. Moving on....




    Where Is The Blood

    So I was going put some time into a nice photoshop but I've been working on this review for close to two months, so forget it! TIME FOR SOME MS PAINT ACTION



    PERFETTO!

    Okay I guess maybe that should be this Burton C. Bell fellow instead of Maestro Martijn, but who even knows what that guy looks like? I certainly don't. All I know of Fear Factory is that they kept turning up in 2005 when I was trying to find the soundtrack to the Fear Factor TV show, much like how Alien Sex Fiend kept turning up when I looked for my Polish Maestro Martin Kiszko's score to the BBC's Alien Empire.

    So the Lacuna Coil thing works, the guy's not annoying (to me), and the song is quite catchy. I was rather expecting this one to fall flat, so chalk this one up as a mildly pleasant surprise.

    Also, I just noticed that my hero the Maestro totally looks like Gary Busey.



    Marvin Chesty Hoe - former keyboardist. Still haunted by the "Starvin' Marvin" nickname given to him by his brother, this talented artist is working on his own project band entitled The Lane. The lead singer is said to have once walked down an actual lane. -Uncyclopedia: Within Temptation


    Generation Me

    Easily the best song ever to reference MySpace porn! (No really, Charlotte sings "Here I am in all my majesty, THERE IS NOTHING YOU WON'T GET TO SEE") Compositionally this song is an absolute gem, flawless, and yes, I am a little bit miffed that the lyrics aren't equally uplifting. But they are a timely and welcome indictment of the misuse of social networking, so they are enjoyable in their own way.


    Babylon



    Let's see now just how many Delain songs are or appear to be about bad/strained/severed relationships, WRITTEN IN THE SECOND PERSON.



    Yep. They've taken over. Well, this is a pretty well done lament with a strong lead in to the chorus ("can't you hear what I say, like a child calling out in the night") and bridge ("I can't hear from your words, but I see in your eyes").


    Are You Done With Me



    See Me in Shadow is still the Delain ballad. There may never be a better one. But that's okay, because Delain really aren't about ballads - they didn't play a single one when I saw them at ProgPower (I was in no way sorry), and the inclusion of approximately one ballad on this album reaffirms that upbeat lush heavy cinematic power pop is Delain's stronghold. Are You Done With Me is still heavier than a lot of April Rain.

    I seem to be the only one who gets a nice 80's vibe from this track, so never mind that. The chorus is strong and the surprise high notes are welcome; we had a discussion back in 2010 that it would be nice for Charlotte to occasionally use her high range as a highlight, but not constantly like some kind of bad Oceanborn imitation. So here that is and it really paid off.


    Get the Devil Out of Me

    The bootlegs came out in May 2011, it was amazing, easily the best of the three and one of Delain's best tracks ever. It was easy to forgive the chorus lyrics for being ambiguous and uninspiring. Best part: the false ending, which tricked the crowd into thinking the song was over, only to have Delain come roaring back in a shower of dazzling light, Charlotte jumping exuberantly to Martijn's soaring keyboard crescendo, an amazing 25 seconds.

    Flash forward to early 2012, and the news that the album might never be released. I thought, "If only Get the Devil Out of Me could be released, that would be enough." Then the word came that the album would be released and that this would be the single. And then it came out, and the chorus was worse. The new lyrics irritate me to no end, as an apparent abusive partner uses the excuse, "I'm no Jesus Christ." Oh, you're not perfect? We all fall very far short of perfect, man, and your ordinary imperfect nature is no excuse for you to physically or mentally abuse someone. Why on earth would I want to listen to those lyrics in an amazing, upbeat Delain track like this?

    So I don't. I cut together my own version from the live bootleg and the studio track, and now I can enjoy this song again. I WILL HAVE MY MUSIC MY WAY.
    \m/ ಠ益ಠ \m/ I put back the pause before the bridge, too, because it's just not nearly as fun and powerful without it. Oddly and thankfully, they're still playing the false ending live.

    At this point I realize that I care more about this music than some people care who they have sex with. Intriguing....

    I must say I am glad Charlotte is writing the lyrics; if not for her, Delain's lyrics would still be stuff like this. True, several of the lyrics on Lucidity (including PRISTIIIIINE) are either cryptic or completely incomprehensible, but at least they're still loaded with cool phrases.


    Not Enough



    DOOOOOON'T SAAAAAAY WE HAVE COME NOW TO THE EEEEEEEEEND



    So whereas April Rain ended with Nothing Left, here we have Not Enough, not to be confused with Unsun's Not Enough, Epica's Never Enough, Tarja's anti-Tuomas tirade Enough, Tarja's new song Never Enough, or the Nemesea song Charlotte recently guested on, High Enough.



    I choose this as the overall second-best song on the album. It's odd that the epic closer should be under three minutes long (not counting the tail), but there you go.

    A simple but effective motif on the keys sets the intro (0:13), and then in the verse, the music itself suggests an ending is near. HOW? It seems to be that the music answers itself and provides a finished-sounding statement before the chorus, rather than leaving itself open and leading into the chorus as the composition of most verses does. I feel like this kind of musically suggested completion within the building blocks is an aspect of good longer epics, too, but I'm not a student of music so I don't know. I find it increasingly facinating how epics and epic closers work on me.

    Now, the chorus. The "how hard I try" was a hard sell for me, initially feeling like weak composition, a choice made because nothing better suggested itself; but after the first 30 or 40 listens it grew on me. It's not perfect, but I like the way it suggests a climb. (I said the same thing about the Electricity chorus? I must really like climbing music.) It's the second half of the chorus that really stands out, as the music stops chugging and starts rolling along (1:29), and it always takes me with it: "I'm the jury, I'm the judge, and I committed all the crimes; how hard I try, it's not enough," followed by the motif on keys in full force. At this point the song portion is already two-thirds over. One more verse and the chorus again, and suddenly a change: as it nears the three-minute mark the song spends ten seconds changing gears, and then it transitions into THE GREATEST OUTRO IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. No, that's the outro of Ghost Love Score. But this is magnificent stuff.

    The first live video of the ending was extremely beautiful. Here was a coda like the legendary Pristine's theme of "ultimate resolution," but this time with Charlotte singing over it in a manner unlike anything she had done before. I commented that "Delain becomes Leaves' Eyes" in the final 15 seconds. Charlotte's stage performance in that video is transfixing: she meekly begins to vocalise with her hands behind her back, then raises them in the classic symphonic metal woman's gesture of giving blessing to the audience, then finally clings the mic and stand as she delivers her final notes of the night, ending with a theatrical bow of (portrayed) surrender to exhaustion. This performance was so magical that I had this as my desktop background for two months:



    And here lies the album's final disappointment. On the studio recording, for no good reason at all, Charlotte's vocals are faded down in the mix, and are further muted by post-processing, reverb and other effects. It's still magnificent, but not what it should have been.

    And that's the case for the album, really; normally when a band I love releases a new album, I will really love a few of the tracks and like the others, but in this case every single one of my favorites could so easily have been better in some obvious way. My reaction is a bewildering blend of joy and disappointment that makes it very hard to define exactly how I feel.

    The best way I can think of is this:

    TL;DR: THIS ALBUM IS REALLY GOOD.







  • DELAIN, Tarot, Hammerfall, etc. @ProgPower USA, 9/11/10

    11 dec 2010, 01:13

    Sat 11 Sep – ProgPower XI USA

    GO GO GADGET TL;DR-IZER

    (Sorry about the multiple adds to groups, blame the site for setting journals to be re-added to groups when edited :( )

    Continued from Part One: Leaves Eyes and Kamelot (and the Delain signing)

    Stormwarrior I'd listened to a reasonable amount before the show, thanks to a sample of their hit song, Heading Northe. I definitely enjoy their music, but it tends to start to blend together into noise after several minutes listening to it because of the nonstop, monotonous fast tempo - it's , and there is only one speed. They don't do ballads. :P Heading Northe is a great song, but unfortunately it's made them something of a one-hit wonder; their #2 track has 1/6 the listeners on here. One festival attendee listed his top 3 most wanted StormWarrior tracks for the show as "1. Heading Northe, 2. Heading Northe, 3. Heading Northe."



    Well, they opened with Heading Northe, but apparently there were some audio issues (including completely inaudible guitar solos) that weren't fixed until after the first three songs. I didn't really even notice. XD After the sound was fixed, someone yelled "PLAY HEADING NORTHE AGAIN WITH GOOD SOUND!" The singer did a double-take and there was general laughter, but that didn't happen. Oh well, it was a very fun show :)



    The rest of the setlist after Heading Northe:

    Metal Legacy
    Valhalla
    Odinn's Warriors
    Thunderer
    Iron Gods
    Ragnarök
    Signe of the Warlorde
    Heavy Metal Fire
    Into The Battle We Ride



    After the show I noticed a nerdy-looking guy in front of me wearing this lovely "Your Women Are Our Slaves" shirt:



    I then finally went to check out the vendor area in the Vinyl bar, which is "outside" Center Stage but really just a room in the side of the building. I hadn't gone in the previous day because of a mixture of business and confusion, so most of the popular stuff was already gone.



    I found a number of interesting and odd items, but the only thing I ended up buying was Midnattsol's Nordlys, which I had previously bought from eMusic and which I remembered as being rather good, although I'd only listened to it once, and which was only $5. I've listened to it once more since buying it XD But hey, it's cool to own a hard copy of it all the same!

    Oceans of Sadness: I'd listened to their last album and put a couple of tracks on my MP3 player. I thought they sounded like a South American band based on some of the clean vocals, but they turned out to be from Belgium. XD When they announced this I quietly said "Go to Belgium!" and "Have you ever in fact been to Belgium?" I want to go to Belgium... for Metal Female Voices Fest XD

    During this show, I discovered that shirtless ripped dude = great photography subject.





    I LOVE their song Some Things Seem So Easy, especially the intro, which sounds like true gothic metal to me.... :P Though I don't love it because of that, it's just awesome. Any way, I kinda forgot what the title of the song was, so I ended up going WOOOO for In The End instead, which was the other song on my MP3 player XD

    Setlist:
    Subconscious
    Between The Lines
    From Then On
    For When You Sleep, My Love
    Accepting Our Weakness
    In the End
    ...after which the singer dedicated the next song to all the ladies in the house, and it turned out to be Some Things Seem So Easy. And it was beautiful.



    They closed with Roulette, which ends with a repeated mantra (something OOS do a lot) of "Praise the Lord." The singer thought it would be a good idea to deviate from the album and replace "praise" with "fuck" on the final repetition. I would have thought that people would realize by now that a lot of metal fans and musicians are Christians, especially in the USA, but maybe not? :P

    Next up was the Tarot signing. I'd been listening to Tarot all year, or rather, had listened to their entire discography in late 2009 and had recently started listening to them again just in time for the festival; but I was still only moderately a fan of them and had nothing for them to sign, and didn't really want to pretend to like them more than I did just because of Marco. But I wanted a photo with them, so I waited and watched until the signing ended and they got up to do group pics with fans:



    I found another guy to trade photo-taking duties with, which was awesome because for a few seconds I GOT TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER DIRECTING MARCO HIETALA FOR A PHOTO ^_^ I hadn't even considered this before but actually, if your passion is photography you'd probably enjoy that more than having your own picture taken with the band. :D I should wear one of my Steadicam shirts and volunteer to take photos for everyone at a band signing someday! XD


    (original :P)

    *not metal horns

    Then I felt obliged to say something so I said "Thank you very much, very much looking forward to your show, kick ass tonight," which they did :P I saw another guy holding his hands as in prayer as he bowed, giving thanks to the band for letting him take a picture with them - but wait, I thought the band's anthem was "every idol will feel our scorn?" XD

    By this time DGM's set was half over; I had listened to their newest album once but didn't really care for it, so this didn't bother me, but I went in to catch the show any way and hopefully get a good spot for DELAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN HOLY CRAP THIS WAS THE NIGHT I SAW DELAIN OMG OMG OMG DELAIN WAS AAAAAAHHHHHHH SO AMAAAAAZING

    ...oh. Right



    Here's the setlist that I arrived about halfway through:

    Heartache
    Enhancement
    No Looking Back
    Hereafter
    Some Day One Day
    Not in Need
    ...In A Movie
    Away
    Brand New Blood
    New Life

    I don't really remember much about the show, except that taking pictures was fun :D



    DGM ended, the crowd dissipated, I got to a very satisfactory spot, and the wait began. Apparently there was an issue with the band's headsets, and (the day having been pretty much on time so far) the show ended up being delayed until a full hour after it was meant to start. But I was well provisioned, and the guy waiting next to me was a constant source of entertainment; before long we were making fun of everything XD

    I had met Delain the day before and had my gold-lettered Delain flag signed by the band, as covered in part one. And I managed to avoid seriously embarrassing myself! Score :D

    During the wait the black curtain was spread across the front of the stage, and I could dimly see the DELAIN banner, and the silhouettes of people walking to and fro, including one that looked like Charlotte. Towards the end someone booed the delay, and in response festival organizer Glenn Harveston stuck his head out from under the curtain and gave a throat-cutting "cut that out" signal with a smile. XD Glenn doesn't let his crew take flak for things beyond their control.

    Finally the lights dimmed, and we gave the band whoops of welcome as the curtain lifted and EPIC DARK AMBIENT intro music began, followed by the opening synths of Invidia. I've never been a great fan of the song, because I can't relate to its chorus of "I don't want to be like you, I want to be you" - I don't think I've ever felt that way about anyone, and definitely now less than ever - but musically it is very strong, especially its intro, making it a perfect opening track. It was 9:00 PM, exactly one hour after the scheduled start of the show, and in those moments everything pretty much instantaneously turned into PURE MAGIC. We greeted Charlotte as she came on stage, smiling and waving at us, and although I was far, FAR too excited to take anything like a decent picture I tried to capture that moment any way and here it is:



    OH YES.

    Aside from the chorus, I love the verses of Invidia:

    My achievements seem so humble, while you're making wine from water
    While my hands work the cold soil, all you touch turns into gold

    All the heroes in the gutter finally get their ever after
    As they lay their final glance upon your ever shining armor




    Next up was the somewhat calmer second single from April Rain, Stay Forever, and I was able to take some better photos :D




    This empty house is not a home
    Find the will to stand alone
    Without your armor....





    Another fast-paced intro heralded Go Away, and I experienced some mixed feelings as they hadn't played any of my favorites so far, and yet everything was so completely amazing and perfect any way; I couldn't complain :D Every song seemed better than ever, this one especially.

    Understand, you'll never be
    What they expect;
    It's out of reach
    You're not the kind
    To reach that high
    It's nothing like you had in mind


    Sing for liberation ^_^

    Also there's a great moment for headbanging at 2:34 in this song.

    Charlotte singing to Ewout:





    Fourth track: Sever, and finally something from Lucidity! It's difficult to compare Lucidity and April Rain; I feel that Lucidity is consistently awesome, whereas April Rain has the awesomeness less evenly distributed, and Lucidity definitely has a much more fantasy/mythic/dream setting versus April Rain's concentration on real life, a distinction which is obvious in the lyrics but which I think is also in the music somehow. Lucidity was, after all, coming off from Martijn's involvement with Within Temptation's heavily myth-driven Mother Earth, and a similar Delain demo (Amenity) which contained a track called "Forest" - all of which leads me to feel that Delain have so far gone on a clear path from nature, wilderness and legend to city, civilization and everyday life, with Lucidity caught somewhere in between. I feel that Lucidity's songs have a unique magical aura about them, and I'm glad that, unlike the similarly unique and wonderful songs from Leaves' Eyes Lovelorn, tracks from Lucidity are still played live. :D




    Sever was the first track of the night that had been recorded with guest vocals from Marco Hietala on the album, but he did not come out for the song; I wondered if he might not come out after all. These thoughts were quickly shoved aside by the opening notes of hit song April Rain, the track that completely sold me on Delain as a band (as I'd previously only really valued them for their collaborations with other singers I like) - this is a song that really sums up Delain for me as something that is, somehow, far greater than the sum of its parts. There is nothing here musically that hasn't been done many times over by other bands before, yet this song... just... WORKS. Everything about it is virtually flawless. It captivated me from the moment I first heard it in its music video (my favorite music video ever) and I played it a personal record 112 times in a week after that. It is a great song, the rare lead single that DESERVES to be a lead single, and the audience's approval of its inclusion in the night's setlist was clear from the moment it started.





    Fortune smiles on you
    You're not watching, dig that hole deeper
    Fortune smiles on you
    You're not watching, create your own fate


    I should have asked Charlotte - does she mean trying to create your own fate is bad? Or does it depend on the situation? Hmm.

    At some point in the night, maybe here, Charlotte said that she and the band were very happy to be playing in America, and that she was surprised to see such an enthusiastic crowd, and to see so many people singing along! We were definitely singing along to April Rain :D But yes, Delain has many fans in America; I would not have made the 400 mile journey to ProgPower if they weren't playing this exclusive show there, and someone on the ProgPower forum said they were flying all the way from the west coast to see Delain. That is dedication.

    THE SONG THAT ANGELS SING
    THE SPELL THAT CALLS
    THE GATHERING
    THE MAGIC THAT MIGHT BRING
    ETERNAL LIFE
    THE GATHERING


    The Gathering has been called a crowd-pleaser for good reason. :D But where was Marco? If he was going to come out for anything, it would be this song, we could hear his voice but he wasn't on stage. And then it was revealed that he had actually been singing along off stage, the tricky bastard. XD

    ALL HAIL!



    A forest of metal horns and cameras sprang up around me. I later learned that this was only Marco's second appearance ever with Delain, and a great privilege for all in attendance. :)



    The Gathering had not been a particular favorite of mine before the show, but it was incredibly fun live - not least thanks to Marco and Charlotte's playing off each other - and I've loved it ever since then. They had us jump up and down on the chorus - ah, it's addictive. XD




    My favorite moment:

    Show me your precious darlings
    And I will crush them all
    [here I mime a crushing action with my hands]
    Wave with your blooded sword and

    I'LL KISS TO SHOW I'M NOT AFRAID!


    SOOO GOOD.

    Charlotte announced that Marco would be joining Delain for one more song, and I hoped for Nothing Left because I thought that they wouldn't play it without Marco, but instead it was Control The Storm. I was sad that I wouldn't be seeing Nothing Left live, but I couldn't complain :D Charlotte and Marco gave even stronger performances on this one:






    ...IF YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE STORM!



    Farewell to Marco (I seem to recall him quoting the Terminator, "I'll be back," did that indeed happen? XD), and then some light notes drifted over the air:

    Whatever the prophecy... whatever prosperity....

    HOLY CRAP THEY'RE PLAYING VIRTUE AND VICE HOLY CRAP OMG HOLY CRAP :D I loooooove this anthem of a song and I was really surprised that they were playing it, so much so that I momentarily became annoying whooping girl, I shut up when I realized what I was doing though XD And it was so wonderful that I didn't take any pictures, or at least not any good ones. You know the Inverse Law of Concert Photography? The more into a concert you are, the less good pictures you are likely to take :P

    Whatever the prophecy
    Let it be, Let it be
    We'll live all there is to live
    Be it pleasure, be it sorrow
    Whatever prosperity
    Lies in me, lies in me
    I'll be all that I can be
    My forever starts tomorrow


    I was even more delighted and surprised that the next song was Sleepwalkers Dream (AKA Sleepwalker's Dream but it really is supposed to be "Sleepwalkers Dream," as in, they do), a favorite of mine this past year from Lucidity and IMO the most beautiful song Delain have ever done. The lyrics are PERFECT.

    Close your eyes
    For the night is falling
    Fear no dark
    For it's warm and safe
    And looks familiar
    As it comes approaching
    Come with me
    And I will take you

    A world beyond your sleep
    Beyond what's real
    An in safety hidden sphere
    Away from our daily reality
    TRUTH LIES OUT THERE

    As the innocent
    Lay their heads down
    As the night chants its
    Luring call
    Cross the borders of
    Sense and foresight
    Come with me
    And I will take you
    you don't have to be afraid

    A TEAR IS ONLY WATER
    A SIGH IS ONLY AIR
    WHENEVER YOU FEEL HAUNTED
    TRUTH LIES OUT THERE




    It made me cry ^_^ I took a picture of myself after the song, but it predictably just came out looking creepy. Oh well -_-



    By now the setlist had already attained AMAZINGLY AWESOME status, but the show wasn't over: next came another great Lucidity track, Frozen. I was happy that the audience seemed to respond very well to this and the other Lucidity fans; I guess a lot of diehard Delain fans must have come for this show. :)

    Free your mind from doubt
    All you have, is now
    Free you mind from shame
    It will only bring you pain
    *headbanging*




    And then, to my surprise (AGAIN), they played the closing track from April Rain, Nothing Left! Charlotte took over all the vocals from Marco, and actually, I COULDN'T COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT AT ALL ^___^




    Nothing left, The magic is gone
    Pallor face in morning light
    Someone, close the curtains
    Oh, how it hurts your eyes





    Nothing left, it's time to leave
    Can you make it on your own?




    Nothing left, it's time to breathe
    Can you follow me back home?




    THANK YOU CHARLOTTE, THANK YOU DELAIN :D I'm tearing up again just listening to the song and writing this now. WOW.

    So the setlist was now INSANELY RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME - was that the final song? But she hadn't said it was...

    AND IT WASN'T :D The final song of the night: Lucidity's closer, Pristine. And it was the highlight of the... everything. It sealed Delain's concert as easily the best concert experience I've ever had. What's so great about this song? I DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT IT'S ABOUT! BUT IT'S SO EPIC! XD AAAAAHHHHHHH PRISTIIIIIIIIIIINE

    Yeah, this was the final song that I really wanted to hear but didn't dare think they'd play, and it made the setlist PERFECT, I actually turned to the guy next to me as it started and said "Perfect setlist! I can't believe it! Perfect setlist!" April Rain, Virtue And Vice, Sleepwalkers Dream, Nothing Left AND Pristine - ALL FIVE of the songs I'd most wanted them to play! (#6 would have been See Me in Shadow with Liv, but Leaves' Eyes had to be in Virginia that night so that wasn't possible.) I... don't even understand it, it doesn't make sense that a setlist could be THAT GOOD, but it happened, it really happened, and I was there :D

    Ahhhh, Pristine!



    Waiting for the dawn,
    Hope to find,
    I'll cling to my pride...
    Reaching from the inside,
    All I know:
    Night must go






    Open the dawn
    Behold the purest form
    The essence unfolds
    The chain of strength you held

    As a distant dream I hover
    I call all the stars

    As a distant dream I hover
    Call all stars to fall for cover


    And then Charlotte was gone, and the band carried the song's instrumental outro to the conclusion of the show. Otto being epic:



    Delain gave a final bow, Charlotte thanking us again for our attendance and enthusiasm. I yelled back "THANK YOU! THANK YOU!" as loud as I could, but it was probably lost in the noise :D (Part of the reason why I was almost completely hoarse the next morning)



    A few days ago I discovered that Delain uploaded their own video of these moments. :D I wish they'd put more moments from the concert in, but still, it's awesome to have any video at all from this show ^_^ I'm in that video standing in line at 0:47, and emerging from behind Otto's left leg at 3:55:



    Shortly after this show, Charlotte said in an interview: "The moments... at some shows, like, magic happens, you know? Like there is this connection between the band and the audience, which is not at every gig, but at lots of gigs. And every time that that happens, you feel like there is REALLY something happening. That's really the best times." I felt that connection VERY strongly during this show, it was wonderful. :D At one point she reached out to the crowd in my direction during a song and I was reaching back towards her, like that moment at the end of the April Rain video, and I think she was looking at me :D Well, that's an overly obvious example, but yeah, the band and the audience around me felt very much in tune with one another throughout. :)

    Tarot were ready before long, or maybe it just seems like it wasn't long cuz of my awesome fun concert buddy, a hardcore fan of Nightwish etc. who's been to Finland several times and said he'd be disappointed if no one yelled "PLAY A NIGHTWISH SONG" during the show. No one did, but just before the curtain rose he called out a request himself: "BAD ROMANCE! YEAH! LADY GAGA!" I whooped and laughed as some metalheads in front of us said (jokingly), "WHAT? Lady Gaga? Get out!" :D This was of course a reference to Marco's infamous performance of "Bad Romance" on Kuorosota, which, holy crap, I actually just spelled "Kuorosota" correctly on the first try? WOW.

    The opening track was Sleep in the Dark, a very fun rocker track from Tarot's 2010 album, Gravity of Light, with lots of vocal exchanges between Marco and "the little dude," whose name I recently learned is Tommi Salmela. :D The band definitely seemed eager to make an impression with their first ever performance in the USA.




    The new single I Walk Forever followed, a great song and one which the audience seemed to know well.



    Backing vocalist Tommi Salmela



    Marco gave several lengthy intro speeches over the course of the night; one I remember was a reference to "a strange phenomenon you have here in America," that some years back they had heard of "some fellows in black and yellow making metal for Jesus." (A few people laughed) "So we thought we'd do a song like that; this song is called Satan Is Dead." (wishful thinking) Again with the misinformed stereotypes! (And sorry, but I actually like Stryper more than Tarot XD)

    I was originally disappointed by Crows Fly Black by its chorus, repetitions of "Only crows fly black" which I find repetitious and musically uninspired. However, hearing it live I finally realized that the deep chugging guitars more than make up for this, especially obviously in the intro, making it rockin' good and a highlight of the show. :D





    I didn't know the ballad Tides well (sorry Teri); my mistake for not studying their setlists to guess what they'd play :P I did enjoy it though.



    My favorite Tarot song actually became Ashes To The Stars shortly before the concert, but unfortunately it wasn't in the setlist for this show. Oh well, there's a great video from the Undead Indeed DVD, that's almost as good :) Actually a lot of people seem to love that song; it's their #3 on Last.fm right now. They did play another of my favorites next, Calling Down the Rain. That was very fun :D

    Marco gave another little speech that ended with "You're having a nightmare in which you're being chased by huge demons with enormous cocks! And what happens next... only Hell Knows." XD Three tracks followed that I don't know well and, sadly, have little memory of: The Colour Of Your Blood, the cover Veteran of the Psychic Wars, and Crawlspace, followed by what is to me Tarot's signature song, Pyre Of Gods. A lot of us in the crowd really got into that one. :D






    I didn't remember, even immediately after the show, what this was an intro to, but at one point towards the end Marco made some sarcastic comments about metal and satanism, and took out two bananas and held them to his head as devil-horns XD Official pictures here and here. I happened to have a banana in my bag, so when he did this I held mine up XD Marco threw his bananas into the crowd, who were very excited to receive fruit from Marco Hietala. After the show, I ate my banana in full view of the people leaving in case to try to trick them into thinking I was eating one of Marco's XD I AM THE BANANA TROLL! I left the peel on top of an overflowing trash can and watched to see if anyone would take it as a souvenir, but no one did :D





    Tarot closed out with Rider of the Last Day and Traitor,ending with a triumphant pose.



    The masses thronged together as they tried to touch Marco:



    For the EPIC outro and final bow, it's apparently a Tarot transition to close with the 70's Finnish song "Schwabadaba Ding Ding" by Jouko ja Kosti. Someone at their 2010 Helsinki show shot this:



    The band members did a little dance as they bowed out. :D





    I just wish I was more of a Tarot fan. Sorry to any reading this who are dying to see them - I hope you at least liked my pictures :P I know as well as anyone that there is no justice in who gets to see what in this world. EXCEPT FOR MY DELAIN SHOW, OMG MY PRECIOUS PERFECT DELAIN SHOW ^______^

    The final band of the festival, co-headliner with Kamelot, was Hammerfall. Ah, Hammerfall. A very popular power metal band, but hated by many festival attendees, and their music mostly fails to inspire more than indifference in me. I would have liked to head down among the true fans on the floor just for fun, but after the previous day's 24-hour virus and two days of rocking out, I was much too tired to do that, so I found a seat in the stands and rested there. The wait was again long; I think it was after 12:30 AM by the time they started. The people behind me offered some laughs as I took in their conversation without ever turning around:

    (Real names forgotten)
    Guy 1: "It's Josh's fault."
    Guy 2: "What is?"
    Guy 3: "Hammerfall suckin'!"

    Later:
    Guy 1: "Hearts on fire hearts on fire burning burning with desire"
    Guy 2: "Ass on fire, ass on fire!"
    Guy 3: "Balls on fire, balls on fire!"

    One of them said he had to take a train to catch a 5 AM flight the following morning, get home, shower, change, and then get to church. OUCH :P I wonder if that worked out. Probably not.

    Eventually I happened to be watching the sound engineer in the rear control booth relaxing, only to have Glenn show up and appear to tell him something to the effect of "Start NOW!" in response to which he shot into action and immediately began the intro. An incredibly cheesy growly voiceover came on: "GREETINGS, PRAAHHGPOWER, FROM HAAAAAMERFAAAAAHHHHLL!" I lol'd. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Hammerfall's music is bad, but... they definitely take themselves too seriously! A little more obvious self-awareness would make it all go down better. But ah well, it was a fun show.






    Setlist:
    Punish and Enslave
    The Dragon Lies Bleeding
    Crimson Thunder
    Hallowed Be My Name
    Renegade
    Last Man Standing
    Blood Bound
    Heeding the Call
    Rebel Inside
    Any Means Necessary
    Stronger Than All
    Riders of the Storm
    Secrets
    Let the Hammer Fall
    Hearts on Fire (With Jake [the backup singer from Kamelot], and Jonny Lindkvist [from Nocturnal Rites])

    No Life Is Now, unfortunately :( It's my favorite Hammerfall song because it's just plain fun to listen to, although Hammerfall fans say it's more like a Helloween song, which makes me want to listen to Helloween, as I never have. :P



    The little scrolling ticker read, I deceive you not, "Blowjob is better than no job." What can I say, they're Swedes :P But does that mean receiving blowjobs or giving them? Well, after all, "it is more blessed to give than to receive...." (Acts 20:35)



    ^See that towel at the lower left corner of the drum set? Earlier one of the guitarists had jumped up there, where the waters beers were sitting, and knocked an open one onto the floor as he jumped down. The band appeared not to notice as two techs scrambled to mop up the expanding puddle of beer before it fried the adjacent electronics. HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW!

    With Jake (introduced by Hammerfall's singer, Joacim Cans, as "backup guy from Kamelot!") on Hearts on Fire:



    Mr. Cans seemed to be weirded out by the sight of so many people sitting in the seats at a Hammerfall show. He said some three times that you shouldn't sit at a Hammerfall show, asking "Have you been sitting there for two days?" NO, OBVIOUSLY, IF WE HAD BEEN SITTING FOR TWO DAYS WE WOULDN'T BE TOO TIRED TO STAND NOW! And as previously alluded to, many of us were only sticking around to get our full money's worth for the festival, despite not being true Hammerfall fans. Fortunately he did focus his attention on the supporters on the floor most of the time.







    Thank you, Hammerfall, for... uh... for the most hilarious music video I've ever seen! ^_^

    So that was it, ProgPower USA XI was over. I don't know if I'll ever return; if the focus remains on progressive and power metal, then I doubt it. Only this year the stars aligned and three symphonic metal bands, plus Tarot (AKA "Chance to see Marco Hietala"), happened to come at once. I am glad I went; it would have been worth it for Delain alone. :D



    My Delain and Finnish flags having my sweat dried off them in the hotel room:



    The next day, I was sitting in the car when this pile of tree crap fell on the windshield:




    SQUIRREL!



    SQUIRRRRRREEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!



    At a rest stop:


    They put the same design on there (with a slight change) three different times at different sizes! DESIGN FAIL!

    I went for a walk, skirting the woods around the rest stop while listening to Tarj'a What Lies Beneath on my MP3 player, FINALLY guilt-free because the festival was over ^_^ I found a dragonfly who had perched on a twig, and kept returning to the same spot after flying around in a small circuit. Because of this I was able to get some great pictures and videos :D Dragonflies are usually very skittish, so this was a real treat.





    WHY YES, THREE LIFE SIZE MODEL DRAGONS ARE EXACTLY WHAT I WANT FOR MY FUTURE HEAVY METAL HOME! WHAT A STEAL! DO THEY COME IN BLACKER THAN THE BLACKEST BLACK TIMES INFINITY?



    NORTHBOUND! EACH DAY I AM WITHOUT YOU IS LIKE DAYLIGHT WITHOUT SUN! HEADING NORTHE, HEADING HOME, WHERE THE NORTHERN SUN WAS BORN!

    Made it back in one day, avoiding further encounters with bed bugs. Ate at a local Chinese buffet and got this fortune:



    So I AM supposed to not watch the fortune that smiles on me, and create my own fate? Hmmmmm.

    This is doubly awesome, because a good friend once told me that the chorus of April Rain made her think of fortune cookies. NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE. Not.

    My CDs:


    I still haven't opened the ProgPower USA free sampler. I will - it's all tracks from bands associated with people attending ProgPower, I think. Definitely a cool idea to help small bands promote themselves among hardcore fans of that kind of music from all over the country.

    My heavily battle-worn strategy map of the past two days:


    My written guide to what to scrobble when I got home, since my MP3 player can't scrobble directly:


    SCHWABADABA DUM DUM, SCHWIBBADIBBA DING DING, HEY HEY

    Click here to post a comment, because the Last.fm journal comment system handles pages badly (as in it's hard to know when there are more pages, and there's no new comment notification unless it's your journal, and its mother was a hamster, and its father was a dentist)
  • LEAVES' EYES & Kamelot @ProgPower USA, Sept. 10, 2010

    6 okt 2010, 21:02

    Fri 10 Sep – ProgPower XI USA

    Believe it or not, after four years on last.fm this is my first concert review ever (aside from this which doesn't count). And I'm doing it os_teriyaki style which means MASSIVE TL;DR ABOUT EVERYTHING except I'm kicking it to the NEXT LEVEL because I'm also chronicling the EPIC AND RATHER EVENTFUL JOURNEY or at least what I still remember of it as this was over two weeks ago -_- (EDIT now almost a month ago cuz this took to write)

    To preface, I'm not really a fan of power metal or progressive music; I haven't bothered to listen to much of either but my current impression of power metal is "sometimes fun but often boring" and my impression of progressive music is "sometimes amazing, often boring, sometimes annoying," and definitely requires a time commitment to appreciate that I'm usually unwilling to give. (Check out my Dream Theater plays... how are they even in my library? I must have fallen asleep with last.fm radio playing at some point) On the other hand I am a lifelong fan of orchestral film music, and so I love "symphonic" metal/rock, and I'll give almost anything with enjoyable female vocals a listen. Female-fronted symphonic metal has been my genre of choice since shortly after I joined Last.fm four years ago and discovered that it was not just something I hoped might be out there, but actually existed; but this festival was my first time seeing any metal band from Europe live.

    Part 1: Leaves' Eyes and Kamelot
    (everyone else who played were just support acts as far as I'm concerned, sry)

    Set off September 7, I had to get my dad to drive in the end, as I still can't drive and I couldn't find anyone to ride with.



    WOW

    Stopped on the way at a motel in Tennessee. I checked the bed for bed bugs and was a little disappointed to find none. But then I found one, and then I found two whole families of them! ^_^ I filmed them in HD:



    The management moved us a few doors to the right, where I found only one bed bug, and then a few doors more to the right, where I found none, so we stayed there and I MUTILATED THE FLAG OF THE NETHERLANDS






    I used a "Painter" gold fabric paint pen. Very happy with the result :D

    The next morning I used the hotel's computer (free for 20 minutes) to spend some eMusic credits, and discovered that Kamelot had postponed/canceled their US tour D: but that they were still going to play ProgPower ^_^ THAT WAS INTENSE.

    Arrived in Atlanta that day (the 8th) and went to the Georgia Aquarium on the 9th. It was awesome, and generally lit well for photography, at least compared to the Shedd Aquarium. :D Some HD clips I shot:



    Photo album

    Click any photo to view full size >_>




    <-PENGUIN TUNNEL




    WHALE SHARKS <4444444444

    MANTA RAYS <44444444







    "Emerald catfish" THAT'S A CORY :D I LOVE CORIES I've had pet cories for 10 years ...any way on to the festival >_>

    Day 1 Concerts Photo Album

    September 10: I woke up feeling like I needed to throw up, I managed to make it through the day but had a lot of stomach pains and severe tiredness. Probably some kind of 24-hour virus as it was gone the next day, it hampered the experience a bit though.

    I wore my black Leaves' Eyes shirt and cargo shorts, got to the venue and (doesn't look like it in this picture but) ALMOST EVERYONE was wearing a black band shirt and cargo shorts @_@



    At one point someone driving by yelled "BUNCH OF WHITE PEOPLE" at us XD

    After a little while standing in line, Alexander Krull of Leaves' Eyes randomly came out :P



    He and the guy he was talking to walked by me and I covertly shot a little video of them >_>

    I met Akumuness (whom I'd made the acquaintance of on the Kamelot box shortly before) while standing in line; I didn't know what she looked like but she was standing on the steps, happened to catch my attention and shouted "BLACK TOWAH" at me, to which I replied "O HAI." :D She and Sander of Leaves' Eyes are, to date, the only people I've met first on Last.fm and then in real life.

    Once the doors opened I headed straight to the rail, where I took up a post at the extreme left edge; I needed the support to help me stand because of the sickness, aside from the fact that I need something to hold onto any way in order to headbang without falling over.

    After some delay from the scheduled starting time, Illusion Suite opened the festival proper (not counting the separate kickoff show headlined by Accept, which I didn't attend). Despite having bought my tickets when Leaves' Eyes were added to the lineup in November 2009, I had put off getting into most of the bands because of uncertainty about whether I'd actually be able to get the time off work to go, and I was further distracted in the final two weeks by my work on this, but I did manage to listen to Illusion Suite a little, enough to sing along... to one line. The singer held his mic out to the audience at one point, but unfortunately no one knew the lyrics, so people just went "WOOOOOO" instead XD

    Setlist:
    Scarlet Skies
    The W.I.R.E.
    Once We Were Here
    The Passage
    A Ghost From The Past



    Next up were Blackguard, a band I had first heard of when a girl who had favorited a photo of mine on DeviantArt was hired by them to do some art for a shirt, but who have since somehow got onto Epica's last US tour, the now-canceled tours with Kamelot and Leaves' Eyes, AND Epica's upcoming US tour. I had been surprised to discover that they have a metalcore-ish sound similar to Alestorm's "pirate metal," very fun :) I love In Time, which appears to be an adaptation of Ecclesiastes 3 :P IT HAS AN AWESOME BREAKDOWN.



    About halfway through the show, someone threw a bra on stage. The band proceeded to pick it up and take turns hanging it from their guitars:



    The singer remarked, "Thanks to whoever threw that bra! It smells like SEX!" My question is, can anyone verify that it was actually a woman who threw it...?

    Setlist:
    Allegiance
    In Time <3
    The Sword
    Cinder
    The Fallen
    The Last We Wage
    Scarlet To Snow
    Farewell
    This Round's On Me

    After the show, they threw their water bottles into the crowd and I caught one. Later I drank its contents... woulda brought more water bottles but I wasn't sure if security would allow them :P I ended up refilling them from the taps in the men's restroom.

    ANY WAY THEN THEY PUT UP THE LEAVES' EYES BANNER @_@ OMG OMG OMG



    I saw Liv in costume and standing in the darkness off to the right, but after a while she had to sit down. The delay from the scheduled starting times had increased a bit with the prep for Blackguard, but with Leaves' Eyes the delay became EPIC; MONUMENTAL; THE STUFF OF LEGEND. IIRC they ended up starting 15 minutes after they were supposed to have finished. ^_^ I don't know what happened, but I do know it wasn't their fault; at any rate I didn't mind, although the delay did lead to my missing Seventh Wonder (more on that later). All we saw in the crowd was that the Njord ship banner on the right wouldn't stay up:



    It was erected, and sooner or later fell down, THREE TIMES before the crew simply gave up on it and took both it and the other one off the stage. :P Alex later commented "It's this Spinal Tap thing!" while talking to a fan at the signing table. Leaves' Eyes do apparently keep running into Spinal Tap-like occurrences, including never being able to keep a drummer for long. (If you somehow have never seen This Is Spinal Tap....) They also had a miniature Viking ship lowered onto the stage at one show in homage to Spinal Tap's miniature Stonehenge.... *hurr leaveseyes fanboy rambling durr*

    Meanwhile I hung my German and Norwegian flags from my neck; I asked Akumuness how dorky this was and she replied "VERY DORKY" :D

    Finally the lights dimmed, they began playing Njord and AWESOME CONFUSION DESCENDED as the crowd went wild (at least I don't think it was just me) and I tried to take pictures and fistpump and headbang at the same time while screaming every word as loud as I possibly could IT WAS AMAZING.

    Being at the edge of the stage turned out to be kinda lame, but on the plus side it gave me a great background that kicked my grainy photographs into HYPER-GOTHIA!!!










    ^okay I photoshopped this one cuz it wasn't BLACK BLACK enough v_v

    Going in, these would have been my top 5 DREAM songs for them to play:

    1. Twilight Sun (Never played live as far as I know)
    1. Legend Land
    1. The Holy Bond (Never played live as far as I know)
    4. The Dream (Never played live as far as I know)
    5. Through Our Veins

    And my top 5 REASONABLE (?) picks:

    1. Legend Land
    2. Through Our Veins
    3. Northbound
    4. Njord
    5. Emerald Island

    But the actual setlist was pretty much what I feared: the Njord tracklist, minus some tracks, plus the single from the previous album, Elegy. Don't get me wrong, it was an AMAZING show, but must Leaves' Eyes always use such predictable setlists? :-/ Oh well, next time I see them they'll have a new album out (or two... or more.... -_-), and maybe then my favorite track will finally be one of the ones they always play. There is always hope. XD

    Here's the tracklist of [album artist=leaves' eyes]Njord
    :

    1. Njord
    2. My Destiny
    3. Emerald Island
    4. Take The Devil In Me
    5. Scarborough Fair
    6. Through Our Veins
    7. Irish Rain
    8. Northbound
    9. Ragnarok
    10. Morgenland
    11. The Holy Bond
    12. Frøya's Theme

    And here's the setlist for PPUSA:

    1. Njord
    2. My Destiny
    3. Emerald Island
    4. Take The Devil In Me
    5. Ragnarok
    6. Elegy
    7. Frøya's Theme

    Njord was amazing, see above. Highlight of the entire day? YES. :P

    My Destiny was great, it's not one of my favorites but I do love the chorus - "I'm falling into the deep, I'm falling...."

    Emerald Island was the other highlight. "Stay with me, stay with me!" (I was definitely wildly gesticulating and singing/shouting along with every song >_>)

    Take the Devil in Me has a pretty amazing chorus, especially "Save me for I've been mistaken, save one moment of my life" - it's excellent live.

    Ragnarok is a good song but it's not one I would have chosen, it seems to be popular with people who don't like Leaves' Eyes much (including Akumuness and someone else I met there) but IMO it's overlong and lacks a good climax; it builds up well but the buildup leads to nothing. Still, very enjoyable live.

    Elegy was one of my early favorites but got overtaken by other songs; still, it was nice to hear ANYTHING from the era I discovered Leaves' Eyes in three years ago. And since the concert it's grown on me a lot all over again; I love the lyrics, all of them.

    Finally, Frøya's Theme... yeah, honestly, I would have rather heard two other songs than this epic, but it was cool to see live. Liv and Alex performed the spoken parts to each other and everything - too bad no one knows what they mean. XD I hope Leaves' Eyes attempt another epic in the future, there's definitely potential in their sound for something mind-blowing.





    I think Leaves' Eyes did very well, despite being given a slot far too short to satisfy me, and despite somehow tending to always appeal to me the most with songs I'll probably never see them perform. XD

    Seventh Wonder were up to play next, but the delay had become so extreme that is was drawing close to the time for Delain's signing, and reluctant as I was to miss Seventh Wonder - they were one of the earliest bands I'd got into in anticipation for the festival - the choice on this was clear :P If I'd realized then that I didn't have to stand in the (LONG!) line all along, but could have simply ducked in and out of the show to check on it and joined it towards the end, I could have caught most of their show, but instead I missed their entire set.

    The Seventh Wonder show I missed:

    1. Unbreakable
    2. Hide and Seek
    3. Tears for a Father
    4. Alley Cat
    5. Not an Angel
    6. Welcome to Mercy Falls
    7. Taint the Sky
    8. The Black Parade

    A great setlist. v_v

    At the Delain table I asked Ewout if he'd get to do some awesome guitar solos on the new album, he said "We'll see..." but now he's been fired so I guess not. ;(

    Charlotte Wessels is indeed, as everyone says, amazingly sweet - I said (truthfully) "It's a great honor to meet you, your music means a lot to me!" and she replied, "Awww, thank you!" ^_^



    YES I look like a total dork in all my pics with bands BUT if you compare this to SOME PEOPLE'S pics in which they're trying to look all SRS TRVE METAL AWESOME or SRS TRVE GOTH AWESOME (and failing) while for example Tarja is just smiling happily and SUCCEEDING at being awesome next to them THEN I WIN, I WIN I WIN I WIN WIN WIIIIIIIIN

    Okay next time I'll make sure I trim my beard first and not face the camera head on like that v_v SIGH

    HEY AT LEAST THE LEFT HALF IS A NICE PICTURE OF CHARLOTTE HUH? HUH? HUH?

    I don't entirely understand the taking photos with band members thing anyway, I did it cuz YEAH ALL RIGHT COOL but really I think some people are trying to fill a void in themselves that music and musicians were never meant to fill >_>

    Finally, after getting Martijn's signature, he said "Thanks for coming," I said "Thank you for your music!" and he nodded and said something I couldn't understand. :D

    Then I was going to catch the last couple tracks of the Seventh Wonder show, but some people saw my Leaves' Eyes shirt and invited me to join the Leaves' eyes signing queue they'd just started, so I did. This also meant missing Týr, which I did not regret AT ALL. :P Had some cool conversations about symphonic metal with them while we waited, then Leaves' Eyes came out and I became really nervous -_- Nevertheless I made good on my promise to Poisoned_Heart to leave my camera recording video while I went through the signing line....

    (uncut version: uncuuuut)


    VIDEO HIGHLIGHT:
    Sander: "This is the guy from - who does our Last.fm page!"
    Alex: "Ahhhhhhhhh! That's great."

    VIDEO LOWLIGHT:
    Liv: "DID YOU ENJOY?"
    Me: "Ummm actually my dad drove me...."

    There aren't enough F's and U's in the would to make a FFFFFUUUUUUU- long enough for this BUT SERIOUSLY TYR WAS SO LOUD IT SOUNDED LIKE SHE WAS SAYING "DID YOU DRIVE?" I KNOW THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE BUT I WAS SICK AND TIRED AND NERVOUS OKAY?!?!?!? I SHALL SEE THEM AGAIN! AND I SHALL EXPLAIN THIS TO LIV EVEN THOUGH SHE WON'T REMEMBER IT! AND I SHALL TELL LIV THAT I LOVE THE LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP THEME IN LIKE 2/3 OF LEAVES' EYES SONGS AND ASK HER IF THAT WAS INSPIRED BY HER OWN LIFE, AND THIS I SWEAR BY THE STAAAAAAARRRRRRS I love Les Misérables.

    Then I had my picture taken with Liv and Alex but I STUPIDLY HAD THE CAMERA SET WRONG AND I WASN'T EVEN IN THE PICTURE AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS


    So I walked away defeated BUT THEN I WENT BACK AND TOOK A SEAT AND WAITED FOR THE LINE TO END AND GOT A PICTURE WITH THE ENTIRE BAND







    ALLLRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. @_@

    Nocturnal Rites were up next, and I was hoping to get a good spot on the floor for Kamelot, which I did... but I was so tired I couldn't stand, and I sat on a patch of floor relatively free of beer puddles... at least I think that's beer. How long have you guys been standing here any way....?



    Nocturnal Rites were the one band I'd never got around to listening to before the show. They were good, as I recall, but I was still extremely tired, so after three songs I left and made my way to a seat, where I proceeded to sleep through the rest of their set, and continued to sleep right up until Kamelot were about to start their set.

    Here's what Nocturnal Rites apparently played:

    1. Call Out To The World
    2. Never Again
    3. Cuts Like A Knife
    4. New World Messiah
    5. Shadowland
    6. Never Trust
    7. The Iron Force
    8. Strong Enough
    9. Not The Only
    10. Leave Me Alone
    11. Fire Comes To Ice

    (BTW if any Nocturnal Rites fans are reading this, click the photo above, I took a few more (: )

    At that point I was quite refreshed, but still didn't feel up to standing for an hour and a half of Kamelot. This must be the true test of whether you're a true Kamelot fan: WILL YOU GET OUT OF YOUR CHAIR FOR KAMELOT WHEN YOU'RE SICK AND TIRED? And I failed. Oh well, I had a great time any way ^_^ I definitely should have got up and moved around to get more interesting photo angles towards the end, but oh well.

    My Kamelot pictures are way too numerous (cuz the show was loooong, and featured WOMEN) and boring (cuz of where I sat) so at this point if you want them in bigger then FIND THEM YOURSEEEEEELF

    Kamelot I'd known about since 2007 but was reluctant to check out at first because they didn't have a female vocalist; later I got The Black Halo and Ghost Opera and liked them a lot, but only loved a few songs (mainly Memento Mori and EdenEcho). When I bought my PPUSA tickets I listened to their entire discography, and began following the Kamelot shoutbox, but I didn't really get into their older stuff until a few weeks before the show; nevertheless, in that timespan Epica became my favorite of their albums, while their long-awaited and delayed new album, Poetry for the Poisoned, didn't grow on me as much as I would have liked - as with the previous two albums, I only love a few tracks on it, not the album as a whole the way I now love Epica.

    As a fan of film scores - to the extent that "soundtrack" is the highest tag in my taste chart - one of my favorite things about (aside from the tendency to imitate the sound of film scores) is the tradition of sorts to open and/or close shows with tracks taken from movies, as Nightwish and Sonata Arctica have done in the past. Kamelot opened this show with To Victory from the 300 score by Tyler Bates, set against footage from The Great Pandemonium video. I thought it fit very well and made a great intro, except for the baffling inclusion of "THE COUNTDOWN," the "FIVE! FOUR THREE! TWO! ONE!" from the notoriously bad Poetry for the Poisoned album trailer.

    Opening track was the rockin' good Rule the World; Circus Maximus' Michael Eriksen quickly put to rest any remaining fears that he'd be able to fill Khan's shoes, and the crowd's response was great.






    Unfortunately he did forget the lyrics on Ghost Opera, but the crowd sang along and kept up the positive vibe; the band got right back on track with The Great Pandemonium (OMG I LOVE THAT GUITAR SOLO) and the rest of the night went off without any hitches as far as I could tell or can remember.

    They played one of my early favorites, The Human Stain, and then a song from Epica I'd been hoping they might play - Center of the Universe! When I first heard it (via Artanna's page) last year I thought it sounded primitive and unrefined, and for that matter I'd only listened to that album three times until this August, but now I love it :D And it's a very fun track live.

    A duet with Elize Ryd (Kamelot's touring female vocalist and singer of Amaranthe) followed on A Sailorman's Hymn:



    ...After which the singers took a break while the band played the new instrumental, Thespian Drama.

    Next up was Nights Of Arabia, and out came Elize in her bellydance costume....


    I can picture it now

    Kamelot: Hey uhhh... Elize
    Elize: Yes? =)
    Kamelot: We really appreciate you singing for us and putting up with our farting contests on the tour bus and everything but uhhh...
    Elize: Yes? =)
    Kamelot: *whips out bellydance costume* WOULDYOUDANCEAROUNDONSTAGEINTHISFORUS?
    Elize: ...Sure! =)
    Kamelot: EXCELLENT


    (lol caught someone else's flash)


    =P



    Then came When the Lights Are Down followed by a Keyboard Solo by Oliver, AND THEN CHARLOTTE CAME OUT TO SING GUEST VOCALS as it turned out the song was The Haunting (Somewhere In Time); I had been expecting her to do Season's End, which I would have sort of preferred ("Don't say goodbye like we'll never meet again...") even though I don't know it as well BUT ANY WAY IT WAS AN AWESOME DUET :D



    Delicious irony having two substitute singers performing a song about mistaking someone for someone else because of their voice innit :P CHARLOTTE > SIMONE, THERE I SAID IT well it depends on the song I guess >_>



    Really though... CHARLOOOOOOOTTE @_____@




    Oh yeah.



    It was a bit odd seeing Thomas Youngblood being all cool with a guitar, I mean yeah I guess I've seen him play in videos, but mainly I know him from promo shots and he always looks so grown-up and serious and un-guitaristy. :P

    After thanking Charlotte, Michael announced that new next song would be a new one (I yelled "HUNTER'S SEASON" because 1. I looooove that song and 2. I knew that in Europe this year it was the only other new track they hadn't played yet, and it was unlikely they'd play anything more without Khan); he then added that it was written for Thomas's mother, who passed away (in response to this someone else yelled "YEAH HUNTER'S SEASON," I think my timing was better than his....) Any way it was indeed Hunter's Season, and it was good.

    I had said before the show that Hunter's season would make up for no Memento Mori or EdenEcho, but as it turned out they played Edenecho right after Hunter's Season, with Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder on lead vocals. I don't really remember what it sounded like. :( It was great though.




    but how come I want you

    like the soil yearns for the rain

    LIKE EDEN ECHOES IN MY HEAD



    Casey did a drum solo. And the crowd saw that it was good.



    Elize came out in costume again, this time for a little skit in a white coat, anyone know what that was about?



    I don't even remember whether it was for Forever or The Black Halo >_> but any way Forever was awesome, it was one of my first favorites, the version on One cold winter's night, and Michael led us on the singalong at the end just like Khan did then :D Except WE succeeded where the OCWN crowd lost itself. ^_^

    Then Jake the backup singer took up vocals on... was it Karma? I WAS SO TIRED I CAN'T REMEMBER :(

    YES Setlist.fm confirms it was Karma.




    Finally they closed with March of Mephisto, except they kinda didn't make it clear that was the final song so I was a bit surprised that the show was over >_> Oh well :D




    A great show, and a great performance by Michael Eriksen. Glenn Harveston (ProgPower USA's creator and promoter) gave a little speech afterwards, suggesting the festival's slogan be changed to "shit you can't see anywhere else in the world," calling this show a great example of professionalism, and asking a favor of everyone present - that when we came online, if we should see anyone who wasn't there criticizing it, Kamelot or Eriksen, on his and the crew's (?) behalf (at this point some people were already cheering), "FUCK OFF." (Wild cheering ensues) ^_^



    We sure did leave a lot of trash though. :-/ I picked up a few cups and beer cans and took them to a trash can. Seriously, is it that hard to hold onto a couple of empty drink containers? Crush them and put them in your pockets or something :P

    I don't remember Akumuness's account of this at all XD


    On the way out I found the Forum Poster, containing pictures of ProgPower attendees from the Ultimate Metal forum.



    And there I am (in the middle, the DYU spoof pic) :P


    Found this SUPER CUTE MOTH sitting outside the window at the motel. ^_^



    My epic signed Delain flag :D


    The Leaves' Eyes card - they had a bunch of these sitting out, all of their most embarrassing picture ever, so I went ahead and sent one through the line :D


    And my new Leaves' Eyes shirt, signed - twice by Liv, first in black and then in gold XD


    TOSSO WHY'D YOU SIGN IT LIKE THAT? XD

    To be continued

    Click here to post a comment, because the Last.fm journal comment system handles pages badly
  • Tarja's new album art SUCKS

    8 maj 2010, 22:24

    Sorry Tarja. <3

    The point of this article is primarily humor, although I have genuine concerns that potential listeners will be turned off by the artwork, but oh well.



    This week in the Epica shoutbox
    Moowny:
    Andro, are you deliberately not writing in Tarja's shoutboxes or have you misses that possible artwork is out? It's scary when you're not fanboying.
    nDroae: Those cover images suck and I have nothing to say about them :(

    (BTW, I prefer to think of my Tarja activity as "fangirling," since "fanboying" tends to imply fap action and Tarja is much too good for that. That's like taking Captain Kirk out of the Nexus just to help fist-fight a crazy old scientist... OH WAIT THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. And Kirk died. Man, people are just stupid sometimes.)

    Later, in Tarja shoutbox 2 (AKA Tarja Turunen shoutbox)
    Elvenpath_:
    Very nice cover, I don't know why you don't like it.

    Well, I guess I'll tell you why, my fine feathered friends. =) Gather round!



    Actually it may be more likely that the viewer's eye will look over the rest of Tarja's face (and go "WHY IS THIS OUT OF FOCUS") before even reading the album title. I would suggest putting the title over an area which is dark and/or out of focus, if it has to be over her face at all, either by shrinking and moving the title to the right side of this photo, or using a new photograph with her other eye in focus. But really, this whole thing would be much better if the title were completely apart from her face. Or if it were re-envisioned entirely by a true visionary such as myself.



    BOW TO MY VISIONARINESS!

    Actually, even the JOKE parody of the What Lies Beneath movie poster that I made AS A JOKE is better than the actual album artwork.



    (It seems to be in the top Google image search results. Google clearly acknowledges my supreme awesomeness. -_-)

    The cover for the "Falling Awake" (get it... opposite of falling asleep... heh heh heh) single is markedly better than the LP's artwork, as the title design is nicely separated from the lit part of Tarja's face, the lighting and overall photo is just plain better-looking, and Tarja has an awesome giant Why So Serious? scar that really works with the album's theme.



    What giant scar, may you ask? THE ONE YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WAS THERE BECAUSE THEY MADE IT SO DARK.



    "You keep it out of the light...."

    Dear Tarja, please use the Falling Awake art for What Lies Beneath and use a photo of yourself in a bikini or something for Falling Awake. Love, Andro

    I leave you with mah newest image macro.



    CLICK HERE to post a comment, as the Last.fm journal comment system sucks at handling multiple pages and doesn't work with reply notification
  • Top / Best / Hampst

    25 okt 2009, 13:43

    Original title: "Two viruses for the price of a bacterial infection"

    Second title: "Funny Nightwish pictures >>> my opinions on music"

    Well, these don't take long to read :-P

    I wrote most of this a couple of days ago.

    ONE

    LEO_ and Sanguine_Sky and Euphoria_Nemo did this before.

    Made-up questions first!

    Most anticipated albums:
    1. Tarja - What Lies Beneath (2010)
    1. Nightwish Album VII (2011)
    1. Delain - Album III (2010? 2011?)
    2. The Birthday Massacre - Album IV (2010)
    2. Within Temptation Album V (2010)
    3. Liv Kristine - Skintight (2010)
    3. Leaves' Eyes Album IV (an album of new ballads) (2010)
    3. Elis - Catharsis (2009)
    3. ReVamp - debut album (2010)
    3. Kamelot - album... um... nine? (2010) Wow, I didn't realize they'd been around that long. O_o
    3. Eluveitie - Everything Remains As It Never Was (2010)
    4. Anette Olzon - solo album (2010)
    4. Evanescence - Album IV (2010)
    4. We Are the Fallen - debut album (2010) (I was going to vote for Carly but forgot so maybe I'll buy her band's album :-P)
    5. Xandria - Album IV (2010)
    6. Tristania - Album VI (2010)

    Best shoutboxes:
    1. Nightwish

    All the other shoutboxes are pretty boring right now :(

    The crowning achievement of humanity in music:
    Ghost Love Score

    The loveliest, most wonderful song of all time:
    Shared space-time continuously Twilight Sun and The Holy Bond

    Bands that get undeserved hate:
    Pretty much any band that plays heavy pop music and gets lambasted for not being metal, like Lunatica and Delain, to a lesser extent Within Temptation, etc. You can't equate the worth of music with its adherence to the boundaries of a genre.

    Singers who get undeserved hate:
    Just about every female clean vocalist who isn't the ideal classical soprano like Vibeke or Floor. Liv: "Ethereal vocals are weak!" Tarja: "Technically flawed and therefore overrated!" Anette and Charlotte: "Pop/rock/JAZZ?!? vocals in OUR MUSIC? NEVAAAARRRR!"

    Favoritest albumses of all times:
    1. Leaves' Eyes - Njord

    2. Nightwish - End of an Era
    3. Leaves' Eyes - Vinland Saga
    3. Harry Gregson-Williams - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    3. Martin Kiszko - The Ocellus Suite: Music from Alien Empire (Have loved this for ten years now! :D)
    4. Becoming the Archetype - Dichotomy
    5. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard - The Dark Knight
    5. Project 86 - Songs to Burn Your Bridges By
    5. Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound (My first exposure to dark and rich music, 2005. "It'll be a day like this one when the world caves in....")

    Least favoritest albums of all time:
    I don't know, if I hate the music I don't listen to the entire album if I can help it. However, one of my flatmates played Vampire Weekend all the time this past spring. I HATE THAT MUSIC. Well, I kinda like some of it though.

    Favoritest EP/Single of all time:
    1. Andy Hunter - Life
    2. Leaves' Eyes - My Destiny
    3. Project 86 - The Kane Mutiny EP

    Favoritest discoveries on Last.fm:
    The vast majority of everything I listen to :-P From past 12 months chart:
    1. Leaves' Eyes
    1. Nightwish
    2. Delain
    2. Becoming the Archetype
    2. Within Temptation
    3. Theatre of Tragedy
    3. The Birthday Massacre (Well, I saw that they existed on here and then tryingtofly recommended them, so....)

    Least favoritest discoveries on Last.fm:
    Um... Angtoria :-P

    Favoritest female singers:
    1. Tarja
    1. Liv
    2. Charlotte
    2. Nell (Theatre of Tragedy)
    2. Anette
    2. Amulyn (Although I've only heard her on ONE SONG :-P)
    2. Silje (The Gathering, Octavia Sperati)
    3. Okay fine, I still like Sharon :-P

    See also my 2008 journal, Top Female Vocalists and Why

    Favoritest male singers:
    ...Who has time for male singers? <_<

    Harsh:
    Jason Wisdom (Becoming the Archetype)
    Um... Anders Jacobsson (Draconian)
    Umm.... and Morten Veland (Tristania, Sirenia)

    Clean:
    Marco Hietala
    Roy Khan
    Andrew Schwab (Project 86)
    Jon Foreman (Switchfoot)

    Best music videos:
    1. Delain - April Rain
    2. Tarja - Die Alive
    3. Within Temptation - Utopia
    23 Favorite Music Videos

    Strangest band names:
    Black Moth Super Rainbow and their amazing song titles, like Vietcaterpillar ^_^
    And The Devil Wears Prada, what's up with that?

    I suppose I may have once thought "The Birthday Massacre" and "Leaves' Eyes" were strange names, but not any more. :-P

    Ummmm... and Morten Veland's new project, Mortemia.



    I hope they become (more) famous:
    Bloodline Severed (The band Amulyn sang with on one song. The hardest bits of Design Your Universe sound like Bloodline Severed to me. :-P)
    And this guy.

    Kamelot Liv Kristine

    Best pairup:



    TWO

    /user/os_teriyaki/journal/2009/10/14/333cq7_i_don%27t_know_what_to_title_this_journal_xd

    Get your overall top 10 artists from Last.fm, and find their three tracks you've scrobbled the most. Then note where they come in that artist's tracks chart. The lower the track in the list, the weirder you are... or something to that effect.
    ^re-worded because that's what I do.

    Leaves' Eyes
    Twilight Sun is #35
    The Holy Bond is #21
    The Dream is #31

    I've never liked the Leaves' Eyes top 15 much. At least now the top two tracks don't have ten times as many plays as anything else, that was ANNOYING. :-P I'm pretty sure they still get played a lot more than the others on Last.fm tag radio, though, just because they've been playable longer than anything else and picked up more attention in that time, leading to blah blah blah blah who really cares how Last.fm radio works any way.



    Nightwish
    Nemo is #1
    The Heart Asks Pleasure First is #343 this week and something like #1,020 for the past six months.

    Ghost Love Score is #14

    Howard Shore
    The White Tree is #18
    The Houses of Healing is #126 (But I'm scrobbling it as Liv Tyler - Arwen's Song :-P)
    Isengard Unleashed is #56

    Project 86
    A Shadow on Me is #38
    Lucretia My Reflection is #95 (Favoritest cover ever, by the way)
    The Spy Hunter is #16

    Within Temptation
    Jillian (I'd Give my Heart) is #24
    Memories is #3
    Running Up That Hill is #33

    Hans Zimmer
    Red Warrior is #49
    Run Free is #138 (I rented Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron because of this track :-P)
    Drink Up Me Hearties is #7

    ApologetiX
    Corinthians is #2
    Smooth Grandmama is #8
    Here I Go (Against All I've Known) is not on the weekly chart, #138 for the past six months
    ^These are, respectively, parodies of Linkin Park, Alien Ant Farm/Michael Jackson, and Whitesnake

    Switchfoot
    Lonely Nation is #21
    We Are One Tonight is #20
    Awakening is #11

    Theatre of Tragedy
    Storm is #10
    Envision is #52
    Ashes and Dreams is #33

    "Forever Is the World" is my favorite of their songs, it's just not up there on my chart yet. If you haven't heard it yet:



    Relient K
    Forgiven is #31
    Fallen Man is #159 :D
    More Than Useless is #19

  • Animated Avatar Gallery

    17 okt 2009, 01:40

    By popular demand :-P

    I or someone else can make you an animated avatar (but preferably with only up to three or four clips in it XD); see Last.fm Elite Makers for details. If you're wondering how I make them, read my instructions.

    The Amaranth Kingmichael tribute avatar (with music):



    And now, A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE CREATION OF IT. (Five hours in the making :-P)




    Ghost Opera avatar made for R3BORN6; In this case I was given free rein over what to put in it, and decided to do more than 4 shots because I wanted to. :-P




    In-profile short film avatar:



    The Dawn Treader from the BBC Narnia series, Liv Kristine from the Leaves' Eyes "My Destiny" video, the biosuit from District 9, Charlotte from Charlotte's Web, James and Miss Spider from James and the Giant Peach, Ent attacking Isengard, octopus tree roots taking down a trebuchet in Prince Caspian, Aslan attacking the White Witch, Tarja from the "Die Alive" video, Charlotte Wessels from Delain's "April Rain" video, Sharon from With Temptation's "Memories" video, Liv again, Iron Man, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man again, Batman Begins, crows from "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story" (seriously creeped me out when I was 6), a clip of Nightwish's "Amaranth" video, The Rescuers Down Under, the planet factory floor in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Oreius the centaur from the first Narnia movie, me waving a stick around, Andrew Eldritch from The Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" video, the parting of the Red Sea from The Prince of Egypt, the signal from Minas Morgul in The Return of the King, clip from Independence Day, explosion from Neo vs. Agent Smith battle in The Matrix Revolutions, Neo's flight to rescue Morpheus and the Keymaker in The Matrix Reloaded, entry to the planet factory floor in Hitchhiker's Guide, destruction of the Death Star II's core in The Return of the Jedi, destruction of the mothership in Independence Day, Charlotte rescuing herself in the "April Rain" video and a bit from Frodo rescuing Sam at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Neo rescuing Morpheus and the keymaker in The Matrix Reloaded, and finally Arwen's unborn son in a vision in The Return of the King.


    Second super-short film avatar:



    Iron Man arrives in Afghanistan, Spider-Man during the train scene in Spider-Man 2, Iron Man deploys flaps to evade the F-22s, Batman leaves Ra's Al Ghul at the end of Batman Begins, Liv from Leaves' Eyes' "Elegy" video with crows from "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story" layered over slightly, me in a field in October 2008 (with me moving at 16x speed or so around myself), Simone from Epica's "Unleashed" video," Sharon from Within Temptation's "Utopia" video," Tarja from the "Die Alive" video, Oreius the centaur from the first Narnia movie, me waving a stick around, Andrew Eldritch from The Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" video, the parting of the Red Sea from The Prince of Egypt, Charlotte walking in Delain's "Stay Forever" video which premiered today, the Eagles' moth messenger returns to Gandalf in The Return of the King, the biosuit from District 9, Tuomas from Nightwish's "The Islander" video, and the Eagles arrive at the Black Gate and appear to kill at least two fell beasts within a few seconds.

    Next time I think I'll make a calm and serene avatar.... :-P

    Deleted scenes from the short film avatars (some of these will definitely turn up in future avatars):




    My second animated avatar ever was actually inspired by Kingmichael; he wrote that no one ever has a Floor Jansen avatar, so I decided to make one from the Energize Me video. :)



    My first animated avatar ever was made the day animate GIF upload support ceased on Last.fm, so I was unable to use it until months later. It's from Happy Working Song, one of the most amazing moments in any film ever made.

  • Concert Report: The Singing Kettle, March 23, 1991, Edinburgh, Scotland

    13 okt 2009, 14:35

    The Singing Kettle were my first favorite band.



    Since I was three at the time, I don't remember the show very well. Mainly I remember that all of the children were singing except me. I was too scared....

    Apparently this happened at the end, but I don't remember it.



    After this, my family moved to America and I switched to mainstream American pop, mainly Barney. I never got to see Barney live, though.
  • The Single Greatest Moment in the History of Nightwish on Last.fm for All Time

    26 sep 2009, 16:21

    Well known it is to all that Greatness and Nightwish go hand in hand, and many Great moments have been known unto us in these the Days of Nightwish: the premiere of "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" at the Hartwall Arena [1], "While Your Hips Are Still Spread" [2], "My c**k-sucking face" (Marco to Anette: "I think you've done it couple of times") [3], Marco falling on his back [4] (why are so many of these about Marco?), and the foundation of the Marcelo Cabuli Official Fan Club being among the Greatest. Yet none of these can parallel the greatness of
    THE BUFF TARJA ECLIPSE:


    (Thanks to Lindzii for the screenshot, as I was unconscious throughout this most momentous reordering of the heavenly bodies)

    The eclipse occurred at approximately 2:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time, the Twenty-Sixth of September, The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Nine ("Common Era" to un-Americans). Throughout this Total Eclipse, Nightwish was completely obscured by Buff Tarja. An eclipse of this nature is an extremely rare event in the Super-Serious Space-Time Continuum known as Last.fm. May this date and time be held in awe by us now and forever more.

    To commemorate this event, a special "what nDroae's profile would have looked like during the Eclipse" pixelgraph has been crafted by the renowned artist nDroae, thanks to a grant of $0.00 from the National Endowment for the Arts:



    That's right. I even replicated that silly diagonal sheen thing Last.fm puts everywhere. 8)

    Tarja Turunen enters the boxing ring

    Now vote up Ducky Tuomas! (EDIT: I mean Chicken Tuomas, whatever)

    Tarja Tarja Turunen Nymphomaniac Fantasia
  • Pre-Fall Albums

    23 sep 2009, 01:44

    This is copied from os_teriyaki's "summer albums" journal. I've been planning an overall favorite albums journal for two years now, but this seemed like a good idea to do right now since these have been a very eventful and interesting past three months. :-P

    1. Leaves' EyesNjord (775)

    Some 600 of these plays are from the first week after I got the album. Karla, if you take track length into consideration, 600 is the equivalent of a good, what, 1300 Arctic Monkeys scrobbles? :-P Njord is the most satisfying album I've ever heard. More on that when it's #1 on the next journal.

    2. Leaves' Eyes – My Destiny (281)

    Preceding Njord by a month, this EP divided fans between those who liked the new directions the band has taken and those who felt that "the magic is gone." Most people seemed to favorite either the epic "The Battle of Maldon" or the upbeat "Northbound;" I side with the latter. "Nine Wave Maidens" is also a very strong track, a ballad with unusually epic drums.

    3. EpicaThe Classical Conspiracy (263)

    This album, made available on eMusic in late July, changed my view of Epica from general indifference to a rather keen appreciation. Simone sounds better to me than before, as does the music, though that may be just my changing taste. I should add that I haven't heard the studio versions of most of the Epica songs on this album. Highlights are excellent symphonic metal versions of three of my favorite themes from film soundtracks, and "The Phantom Agony" and "Consign to Oblivion." Unfortunately the crowd often jarringly fails at clapping in time with the music. :-P

    4. DelainApril Rain (201)

    I just bought this CD this past week, but I'd been listening to tracks from it since I found out about it in May (having not previously been much of a fan of Delain). The title track is my most-played-in-one-week track ever, with 112 plays in the first week, though it's about to be beaten in that ranking by Nightwish's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First." Other highlights are the beautiful and epic tracks "Virtue and Vice" and "Nothing Left." The bonus track, "Come Closer," is great too.

    5. Project 86Picket Fence Cartel (138)

    One of three albums released by the three bands I lead Last.fm groups of within three months. O_o You can read about my Project 86 hijinks here, involving my stalking and impromptu interviewing of the group's lead singer, my screaming "YEEEAAAAAAAHHH!" three times at one point in the show at the announcement that they would play a new song from this album that I'd only heard a couple of times on their MySpace page, and more. ^_^ I absolutely love the last two tracks of this album.

    6. Becoming the ArchetypeDichotomy (122)

    Like their equally amazing first album, I didn't like it much the first time I listened to it. Months later I tried again; within a few listens it grew on me, and before long I loved it. This is a concept album mostly based on C.S. Lewis' fantastic Space Trilogy. I'm told the music is "progressive death metal" with metalcore influences or something, but it's not progressive in the "I'm going to play a 10-minute introspective guitar solo now and if it doesn't mean anything to you that's your fault" kind of way at all. :-D Highlights: half of the tracks on the album are highlights... and then there's the guest roar by ASLAN in the closing track. ^_^

    7. Nightwish – Live at the Hartwall Arena 2009 (98)

    Well, I had to put SOMETHING as the album title didn't I? XD I wonder what they'd call it if they do release some kind of partial recording. :-P 93 of these plays are from listening to The Heart Asks Pleasure First, which I did 64 times on Sunday and 86 times in a 24-hour period, both personal records, and quite remarkable considering it's a crap quality bootleg recorded on a couple of cell phones BUT HEY THAT'S JUST HOW AWESOME IT IS. Now after three days it's my 5th most played Nightwish track and 25th highest track overall. It may be in my top 5 overall by the end of the week. Now it's up to Tuomas to compose something this awesome on his own for the next album. YOU CAN DO IT TUOMAS. I hope. :-P I'm planning to assemble an entire crap-quality bootleg album of this concert after I've waited for more YouTube videos to trickle in, which I'll upload.

    The GatheringThe West Pole (94)

    A few tracks on this album didn't catch my interest, but there are some really really enjoyable songs on it. I was highly on guard against The Gathering after buying and not really enjoying an assortment of their stuff from the 90's, but after The West Pole I went back and listened to their entire discography and found that their two previous albums are very good as well. I still haven't got those yet though. "A Constant Run" was the first track I got from this album and it is a complete and utter masterpiece.
    Silje is awesome.

    9. TarjaMy Winter Storm (88)

    Missing this to be at my university graduation in May is pretty much one of the biggest regrets of my life. Not that I would go back and miss my graduation, but it still seriously hurts to think about it. :-P I've loved a few tracks from this album for a long time, but I recently discovered that some of the ones I didn't like as much are more enjoyable than I'd realized. What Lies Beneath has to be my most anticipated album of 2010. YES, more than the new Within Temptation album and more than the new Liv Kristine solo album. (What else is coming out next year any way? Seems like almost everything's been coming out right about now, as previously mentioned....)

    10. Howard ShoreThe Return Of The King (73)

    For a while I was on a "Howard Shore strike" in order to prove to tryingtofly that "I don't need him." I don't entirely remember what started this. Any way, most of my favorite LotR tracks right now are from this album, particularly the perennial favorites "Minas Tirith" and "The White Tree." The Minas Tirith city reveal and ascent in the film were particularly enjoyable when I first saw it because I'd built this in advance. ^_^

    11. Harry Gregson-Williams and John PowellChicken Run (71)

    This hidden gem of a soundtrack, recently added to eMusic, is entertaining, inspiring, uplifting, a joy to listen to. Because this one is so rare, I will now provide the only track link in this journal: "Building the Crate." That one sums it up quite nicely.

    12. Claude-Michel SchönbergLes Misérables (67)

    NOT BECAUSE OF SUSAN BOYLE. In June my mom took me to see it in London (neither of us having seen or heard it before), aaaand it was the most moving live theater experience of my life. I mean, not so much as The Return of the King or District 9 (aaaaahhh I need the D-9 soundtrack BTW), but still very powerful. :-P I love several of the songs, but my favorites are "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "Bring Him Home."

    That's enough :D
  • Red Warrior: End of an Era (Tarja/Nightwish/Hans Zimmer Fan Video) (Now in HD)

    25 aug 2009, 23:11

    Sometime around late 2007 or early 2008, shortly after I was introduced to Nightwish through End of an Era, I had the idea of completing the 30-odd seconds of Red Warrior, the track from The Last Samurai which opened the concert, using footage from the 50-minute documentary on the DVD. I'm glad I waited until now to do it, as I wouldn't have been nearly as pleased by the result if I'd done it before I was ready.

    Feel free to interpret this video however you like. As for myself, I am fond of all of these musicians (and Anette). What happened was tragic, but no good can come of vilifying anyone. In the end, I believe it was for the best, like the parting of Paul and Barnabas (albeit less gracefully handled, by both sides). Any way, enjoy the video, unless you don't like Tarja, in which case you should find something better to do with your time than watch it. :-P The Red Warrior video has three roughly separated subjects: setup (the situation); Tarja's last days with Nightwish; and Nightwish's last days on the Once tour.

    EDIT: Watch in HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3-Gb_Y4q3Q&fmt=22



    I should add, I have a degree in Media Communications with an emphasis in film studies, so I consider this professional practice. :-P

    The Last Samurai soundtrack:
    http://www.amazon.com/Last-Samurai-Hans-Zimmer/dp/B0000DZTIW/

    End of an Era DVD:
    http://www.amazon.com/End-Era-Nightwish/dp/B000W1V5OC/

    End of an Era Blu-ray (just released a couple of months ago):
    http://www.amazon.com/End-Era-Blu-ray-Nightwish/dp/B00284G2IA/

    Other relevant links: Hans Zimmer, Tarja, Tarja Turunen, Dark Chest of Wonders, John Two-Hawks....