Tag Archives: symphonic metal

“Mother Earth” (remaster) by Within Temptation

Artist: Within Temptation
Title: “Mother Earth” (remaster)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/5/2008
Genre: Symphonic Gothic Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

My introduction to Within Temptation does not come without some back story to it for I remember that I had only been turned on to Nightwish a couple of years earlier and while sitting in the cubicle at one of the gulag’s I worked in, I was listening to the freedom that music offered a person from that realm via Yahoo’s Music player. When I set the player up to bands I enjoyed, it said “listeners who like Nightwish also like Within Temptation” or something to that effect, and with this being before the days of mass Ipod use or millions of web-based music sites, this was pretty cool. The songs that the Yahoo player started delivering were from Within Temptation’s “Mother Earth” album and I was immediately hooked on the powerful symphonic drive of the group as well as some of the haunting melodies that they blended so well together. Of course, being 2002-2003, finding this album stateside was impossible and now thanks to Roadrunner Records releasing a remastered and expanded edition a larger fan base can finally catch on to them in 2008. “Mother Earth” is the bands second studio album and probably the best place that a listener can come on board and begin their own appreciation of them based on the overall strength of the material and the fact that the band had moved on from a far darker sound with this album and maintained course since. Opening with its title track “Mother Earth”, the release sets the mood in dramatic fashion and while the band crunches and grooves behind her, singer Sharon den Adel simply mesmerizes you. Her voice is fantastic and while she can attain some of the soaring operatic heights she also sings at a normal register and that fact makes the album a little easier to appreciate. The song has remained one of my own favorites since this was the first track that I ever heard from them.
Continue reading “Mother Earth” (remaster) by Within Temptation

“Live Gothic” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Live Gothic”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 8/6/2008
Genre: Progressive Symphonic Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

Always an impressive idea in the musical sense the one and only Therion have paused between studio albums to deliver to us “Live Gothic”, an album that captures the band onstage and focusing on their previous studio epic “Gothic Kabbalah”. Those who have known about the band are already aware of the very big production that they put on and this combination double CD and DVD film bring you right into the crowd at a spectacular show performed in front of a diehard audience in Warzaw, Poland. The release that this tour supported had a very stage performance feeling to it, and I don’t just mean in the quality of its songs but also in the manner in which I felt it was being delivered. To me this was as much a Symphonic Metal album as it was something akin to the Broadway stage so when it was announced that there would be a live DVD film for it I was rather excited. The performance while done in support of the “Gothic Kabbalah” album only features six tracks from the release and chooses to mix up a wider number of songs from the bands earlier years. This appealed to me as I was a latecomer to what they could do in their music so hearing any older track performed live was quite the treat. Fans know that the core membership of Therion is Christofer Johnsson (guitar/core composer), Kristian Niemann (guitars/keyboards), Johan Niemann (bass/acoustic guitar) and Petter Karlsson (drums) and these players are always joined by a company of singers and sometimes additional musicians as necessary.
Continue reading “Live Gothic” by Therion

“Worlds Collide” by Apocalyptica

Artist: Apocalyptica
Title: “Worlds Collide”
Label: Jive Records
Release Date: 4/15/2008
Genre: Experimental Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

I was rather excited to get my hands on a copy of the new Apocalyptica album “World’s Collide” because I already knew that the band which consisted of only three cellists and a drummer was one of the most interesting endeavors that I have heard in the realms of Experimental and Avantgarde types of Metal in some time. To me, the band not only raises the bar in the creative sense but also reminds us of just how many different roads one can take in a Heavy Metal band. The idea intrigued me from the beginning and I had owned copies of their “Cult” and “Reflections” albums along with their concert DVD “Life Burns Tour”, so while in possession of some idea of what they could do I was admittedly curious about what we would find with their newest CD. Over the past few years the band has seemed to be on a rather steady climb in terms of their success and overall appeal to a wide musical demographic and found fans of conventional Metal joining in with more Experimental fans at their shows. They have had guest spots on their albums by notable singers such as Ville Vallo (from HIM) and Lauri Ylonen (The Rasmus) as well as performing on a track for The 69 Eyes and this couldn’t do anything less than help them out in the long run. “World’s Collide” finds the band in exceptional form once again but when it came to the guest appearances I had to say that I think they over extended this a little bit. The opening track is classic Apocalyptica as far as dramatic presentation goes and one feels as though they are at a classical recital that was done next to a Metal rehearsal studio.
Continue reading “Worlds Collide” by Apocalyptica

“Gothic Kabbalah” by Therion

Artist: Therion
Title: “Gothic Kabbalah”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 2/6/2007
Genre: Operatic Symphonic Metal
Rating: 4/5

Therion is always an interesting and impressive band to listen to and for twenty years they have brought the Metal world some of the most amazing Symphonic Metal that often touched upon a number of other areas like Folk, Gothic and Progressive long before it became a common occurrence. With Gothic Kabbalah, they have once again defied the conventional musical boundaries as they bring to life their latest epic adventure. This album finds four individual lead singers (two male and two female) and they immediately enrapture the listener for each of them brings a unique presence to the musical table. Given that each of them acts as a soloist rather than merely providing backup for the others it adds a more intense feel to an already dramatic CD. Band founder Christopher Johnsson (guitars, keys/organs) chose not to sing on their recordings anymore and has left this role in some truly capable hands. The singers feature among their number Mats Leven, who also served as lead man for the German Power Metal band At-Vance. If you heard that group before, you know exactly how good this guy can sing and believe me I think we have a lot more greatness coming from him in the future. Although it possesses the expected Symphonic elements that Therion are known for I did not see an over abundance of them as we found in the double CD masterpiece Lemuria/Sirius B. This album instead focuses on a moody and intense darkness at times and has some truly foreboding riffs and structures. I found this feel most prevalent during “The Wisdom And The Cage” as it mixes some growls amid the clean vocals. The other singers who are making the magical tale come to life are Snowy Shaw, and the incredible female contributors Hannah Holgersson & Katarina Lilja. The changes and grooves continue to amaze the listener for tracks like “Son Of The Staves Of Time” is a hard core rocker, but it begins with a solo operatic vocal by one of the girls. It is one of my favored tracks along with “The Perennial Sophia” (a name that is heard across a number of songs on the album). I also felt that this recording was a little more accessible than some of their others. It is deep and complex at points, but it does not tend to mystify you too much and instead will find you playing air keyboards, guitar and drums. “Trul” is one track that did that for me, and I even found some Jethro Tull feel going on in a portion of it. Outstanding music tends to find people finding their inner Rock Star.
Continue reading “Gothic Kabbalah” by Therion

“The Infinite Wonders Of Creation” by Luca Turilli

Artist: Luca Turilli
Title: “Infinite Wonders Of Creation”
Label: Magic Circle Music
Release Date: 6/6/2006
Genre: Operatic/Symphonic Rock
Rating: 2.5/5

Not only is guitarist Luca Turilli a shredder of some repute for the Mighty Rhapsody (now referred to as Rhapsody Of Fire), but he is also a stellar keyboardist. “Infinite Wonders Of Creation” is the musician’s third solo outing and is considered the end of his epic trilogy, which was begun with the album “King Of the Nordic Twilight” and continued into “Prophet Of The Last Eclipse”. I admit that I did not hear those other releases but saw some favorable copy on them which made me eager to absorb this one and sadly I cannot say that this impressed me all that much. There are no real similarities to Rhapsody on this release and perhaps this was done to keep his main band fresh and exciting yet I feel by not offering his fans technical displays of shredding thunder that he has cheated the same fans who might have forgiven some reference to the band. “IWOC” does have a lot of nice sounding music on it, but it is not truly heavy to any blistering extent. If you were a listener expecting supremely powerful metal then keep moving on this one. Joining Turilli on the recording would be the same performers that featured on the songs of his two previous efforts; Olaf Hayer (vocals), Sascha Paeth (bass), Robert Hunecke-Rizzo (drums) and Bridget Fogle (female vocalist). Collectively there is a tightness of the players and the operatic vocals by Ms. Fogle are amazing to listen to and perhaps could appeal to those who enjoy bands like Nightwish. They should be aware that the release does not hit you like a Nightwish record as far as delivery is concerned.
Continue reading “The Infinite Wonders Of Creation” by Luca Turilli