2010 m. rugsėjo 16 d., ketvirtadienis

Epica live in Lithuania – Review

How I Designed My Universe on Sunday evening. (Photos by Junija Tamošiūnaitė)

Sometimes dreams come true even not dreaming about them a lot. I wasn`t expecting to see Epica in Lithuania soon, so I was thinking to visit them somewhere in Europe in a couple of years, but here they are standing in front of me.

I won`t do a big introduction, so lets move forward to my impressions of one hell of a show.

First thing that came to my mind when I arrived to the club where the show was held, was the lack of audience. I felt ashamed for my country, that a band which gathers thousands of fans everywhere, found only 200 people here. But as it came clear later – What a people they were!

So with us shouting Epica, they started and I immediately realized what is the benefit of small venue – The contact between the band and the audience. This time I have chosen an headbanging evening (in order to see one of my favorite bands from a close distance) instead of better sound quality by standing somewhere in the middle of the venue and I have no regrets, cause being so close to the band you love and make fun is amazing (especially when my hair got stuck in one of the guitars ;D). 

So what`s the pluses of the performance?

The setlist was amazing (even if I missed Mother of Light and Kingdom of Heaven). Band played songs from all their albums and it was amazing, especially for those who follows the band since the beginning.

Then the sound and heaviness. For example I never have noticed that “Consign to Oblivion: or “Fools of Damnation” are such a heavy tracks. When I came back home I checked them again and I was right. The band made them much heavier during the live performance and made us to feel pain in the neck for a couple of days.

Furthermore, the band communicated with the crowd as they were friends for a very long time. That made a strong impact to me, cause usually such caliber bands are not so down to earth.

The whole performance wasn`t something boundaries breaking, but it was cosy. For example: The lights were perfectly attached to music, even if there wasn`t so many special effects. Everything in it`s place.

If I have to mention drawbacks, the first thing that comes into my mind is too short setlist. But taking the hot and smoke at the club in to consideration, I believe the band did everything they could to make us enjoy their job as long as possible. 

Despite the small amount of people, the Band seemed to be very happy and pleased by our support. Well yeah, there were some persons who were acting, if I could say unprofessional, or maybe more Obsessive (it fits perfectly in this context), but I hope the band didn`t scared off and they will really be comin back as they have promised.  
I wish the band good luck in their upcoming European tour, and I hope that next time Epica will be promoted better in Lithuania, and they will play in Vilnius, and then they see, what Lithuanian fans are really made of.
A big THANK YOU to all Epica members and the crew.


Resign to Surrender 
Fool Of Damnation
Martyr Of The Free World
Cry For The Moon
Tides of Time
Blank Infinity
The Obsessive Devotion
Design Your Universe
Sancta Terra 
Consign to Oblivion  

Performance - 9
Show – 8
Sound – 8
Effects – 8

2010 m. rugsėjo 5 d., sekmadienis

Tarja - What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath
Atmospheric Gothic Metal/Rock

Tarja aka Wine?
Ex-Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen is back with her second solo album „What lies beneath“. I was never a big fan of Tarja neither in Nightwish, neither in her solo career. But curiosity killed a cat again and the newest Tarja album is spining in my player. 
This time Tarja really delivers a surprise, cause „My Winter Storm“ were just an average album, with only 2-3 songs been well composed, and only few great vocal parts been written, when „What lies beneath“ is totally different. First of all, the songs are more mature, it shines with memorable melodies and diverse compositions, which are much better than in previous album. Take a first track „Anteroom of Death“ for example, where acapella metal band Van Canto joins Tarja and creates a great musical-type song together. Then songs like „I feel Immortal“ or „Falling Awake“ are potential hits that takes listener from the first time you hear them and shows  an emotional side of Tarja`s music.

The strongest side of the album is a that it fits a very wide range of listeners: from pop music fan to heavy metal or even opera lover. The recipe is very simple: some crunchy guitars, some ballades, then cheesy and catchy melodies with cold gothic keybords. It seems how can it be interesting and enjoyable, but somehow it catches your attention, somehow it attracts you. And the answers lies beneath the same matureness I talked at the beginning of this review. Tarja and her team becomes better songwriters with time, they manage to serve an old and unoriginal product in new fashion. 

Tarja is like a wine – It keeps better with time and never stop to impress, even if she has never impressed you before.

1.Anteroom Of Death  
2.Until My Last Breath  
3.I Feel Immortal  
4.In For a Kill  
6.Little Lies  
7.Rivers of Lust
8.Dark Star
9.Falling Awake
10.The Archive of Lost Dreams
11.Crimson Deep

Songwriting: 9
Performance: 8,5
Lyrics: 7
Originality: 7
Quality: 9,5

General: 8,5

2010 m. rugpjūčio 30 d., pirmadienis

Tristania - Rubicon

Gothic Metal

Imagine – You sit in a cafe and order an Ice-Cream with some fruits and chocolate. You taste it and you feel that this will become your favorite dessert. But then the waiter comes and takes fruits from your Ice-cream.  You are shocked, but you try it again and after first bite you almost can`t feel the difference because some crumbs of fruits are still left, however few next bites are different and not so satisfying than first ones. After some time, you get used to it and then it becomes delicious too. But guess what? The waiter comes again and suck the whole chocolate from your Ice-Cream and replace it with some chili peppers. No you are really pissed off and you refuse to taste it. Then you stand up and start to shout over the whole Cafe that this Dessert is a piece of shit, and no one will buy it!

Tristania is in a similar situation. With first two albums they offered us a delicious Ice Cream, then after Morten`s departure World of Glass was still in a vibe of earlier releases, but Ashes and Illumination were slightly different. And then Vibeke left. Everyone started to dig a grave for Tristania (I was one of them) and as it seemed that it couldn`t be worse, then band hired some Spanish “chick” and  many fans turned into biggest enemies of the band labeling them as a traitors.

Tristania waited, they didn`t stated any official announcement regarding the case, and only after 3 years of big drama they finally did that, they let the music speak for itself  – Tristania released “Rubicon”.

My reaction after first listening was shocking. I just started to like new Tristania few years ago, when Illumination came, and thought it was amazing album, but now after 3 years of lost hope and absolutely no interest in this album I got a slap at my face. Tristania brought us the best album in female fronted metal scene this year and let me explain why?

What makes a good album for me is a song-writing, originality and vocal parts. Tristania mixed all those components very good. Songs are diverse, the mood is different in every song, atmosphere is really dark and gothy. The vast amount of different guitars and playing styles impressed me a lot, then the melodies aren`t  ripped off, and even if they are not so catchy as we are expecting from Gothic metal, it is more mature and more finished.

The next factor – Vocal parts, needs a wider attention. Tristania uses 4 different male vocals – Clean and growls, than add Mary`s vocals and you get a dream team.  This is the first time when we hear Kjetil on Tristania and last time when we hear Osten, but both of them done amazing job in vocal lines. Every song is interesting to listen because of those curvy, original and polished vocal parts.  And Mary appeared to be a very good replacement for Vibeke. She fits the album perfectly. And what I like the most, is that the songs has the vocals that they need, for example if the song doesn`t asks Mary`s vocals, then Mary is not on that song. No raping here :)

Not everything is so perfect here, for sure. For example, the return of Pete wasn`t so pleasing as I was expecting. Few lines in some songs, but nothing heart-breaking or very memorable (except Amnesia).  Then also band could worked harder on some of the songs like “The passing” and “Magical fix”, cause those are good compositions, but it lacks of some feeling and maturenes.

Talking about songs I can`t not to mention  Illumination. One of the best songs I have ever heard, and it really shines above other songs. Melody, vocals, lyrics – everything perfect. And also I am a fan of albums that are finished with the best song in it. My other favorites “Exile”, “Protection”, “Patriot games”.

Tristania brought us an unexpected gift, and yes, they have where to work, but Rubicon proves us, that Tristania`s composing skills are still at it`s best. And even if missed some more melancholic songs and maybe more catchy melodies, let me welcome Tristania to be back on the throne of Gothic Metal.

1.Year of the rat - 8,5
2.Protection  - 9
3.Patriot Games - 9
4.The Passing - 7,5
5.Exile - 9,5
6.Sirens - 9
7.Vulture - 8,5
8.Amnesia - 8
9.Magical Fix - 8,5
10. Illumination - 10

Songwriting:  8
Performance: 9,5
Lyrics: 9
Originality: 7
Quality: 9

General - 8,5/10

2010 m. rugpjūčio 20 d., penktadienis

Immediate Music - Trailerhead:Sagas

Immediate Music
Trailer Music

Track list:

Hymnus Orbis
Glory Seeker
Oratio Sanctus
Emergence Of Empire
In League With Cerberus
Darkness On The Edge Of Power
Ashes Of War
World On A String
Salvation For A Proud Nation
Fatum Plebis
Darkness On The Edge Of Power (Live)
Surrender To Hope

I wanted to start this review with a phrase – „Immediate Music – One of the leaders of trailer music“, but then I thought, „Hey, Immediate, are the leaders of trailer muisc“, so here is a review of the newest Immediate Music commercial release – Trailerhead:Saga.

Last year Immediate brought us their first official commercial album „Trailerhead“ (if we don`t count Globus project). It contained rearranged Immediate music, that was used in various movie trailers. By following the success of it`s predecessor, Immediate releases a sequel – Trailerhead: Saga. So what`s the difference between them and how good Immediate did it`s job this time?

The main difference between first and second albums are arrangements. Trailerhead, was a collection of best Immediate music to date, but with small changes in arrangements and compositions. This time there are heavily rearranged songs, with much better quality than it`s parental tracks. Some compositions are mashed up like Salvation and Proud Nation („Salvation of a Proud Nation), some are left untouched in composition way, but all of them flows perfectly.

Immediate composers proves us again, that they are masters of their job, because they managed to make, generally great tracks into a masterpieces.
So what gives the songs new feeling? Guitars, new age elements, new choir verses. Everything is polished perfectly. Also we can`t forget Symphonic orchestra and Choir, which made amazing job again. Every new element was needed to remake these compositions into new ones.

Album contains a big range of songs from fast and epic, to more mid tempo hymns, and even to ballad style compositions. It would be hard to pick some best tracks from Trailerhead:Saga, but „Glory Seeker“ , „Invictus“, „Darkness at the Edge of Power“ and „Salvation of a Proud Nation“ really stands on the top of whole trailer music.

If you are new in this genre, this album is a perfect way to start. If you a an experienced listener of trailer music, that you already know how good is Immediate Music, and you can just agree, that this is by far the best Trailer Music album this year.

Composition – 9
Arrangements – 9
Performance – 9
Quality – 9