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Monday, November 27, 2017

Tarja O Come O Come Emmanuel Review



When it comes to metal and classical vocals, few have  made that combination work as well as Tarja Turunen.  Tarja rose to fame during her time with the famous band "Nightwish".  While there were plenty of female vocalists in metal before Tarja, she brought her classical style vocal to the genre, which no one had done before her and it made a huge impact on the metal music scene.  Her vocal work would play a huge part in the creation of symphonic metal.  This would make Nightwish one of the biggest bands in Europe and would earn them a strong following through out the world.  Sadly, Tarja got fired from Nightwish in October 2005.  The reasoning for this is still being debated today among Nightwish fans today.  However, Tarja moved on and has since had a pretty successful solo career.  Most recently she decided to try her hand at Christmas music and put out her version of the classic hymn, " O Come O Come Emmanuel.

From a musical stand point, she certainly has taken a different take on this song. It sounds more mysterious and classical.  Early on in the song, it sounds mysterious with subtle orchestra music playing and Tarja singing with it.  The bridge really gets louder and more energetic.  The sound is deeper, heavier, and more big as the song goes on.  She does this to try to add more depth and it actually works.  The one problem I have with this song is how she tries to make it sound dark at times.  For example, when the orchestra really pics up at first, it sounds more like trying to escape in a horror movies then listening to a Christmas song.  I understand that she is going for that, but for an uplifting hymn like this I don't think it fits.  She doesn't go too far with it though and she brings it back to more classical feel it started with.  Tarja's vocal work is superb in this song.  She continues to display that amazing deep classical voice she has and it really brings a unique spin on this classic hymn.

When it comes to the lyrics, there isn't much to explain.  Whether you are Christian or not, you have heard this hymn more then a few times in your life.  The message is basically about awaiting the birth of Jesus Christ and celebrating his arrival.  The message is simple and very effective.  It gets to the point and is written in a way that both Christian and non Christians alike can really enjoy it.  It never gets old and is something everybody can pick up on.

I must say, I give props to Tarja for will to trying something different that hasn't been done before with a Christmas song.  I think it gets a little darker then a Christmas song should be, but it doesn't get over blown and she seems to keep it in check, more then some of the other songs on the "Am Spirits and Ghosts" album.  However, this isn't a song for everybody though, even among rockers and metal heads.  If you prefer Trans Siberian Orchestra or the classic style Christmas music, then you will not like this song.  On the other hand, if you are a Tarja fan and/or you are looking for a new take on Christmas music, then you might enjoy this song.  I give Tarja's cover of O Come Emmanuel a 3 out of 5.  


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gary Moore Over The Hills And Far Away Review



Gary Moore is famous Irish guitarist who has is famous for his time with the famed Thin Lizzy, as well as his amazing solo career.  One of his songs that brought out the best in him was "Over The Hills And Far Away".  Most people who know of this song know the Nightwish version.  However, it is actually a cover of the version written by Gary Moore in the 80's and while it wasn't huge in the U.S., it is a classic song in Europe and has established Gary Moore as a rock hero in that continent.  

The music in this song does a great job of catching that Irish feel.  The way that the violin and the bagpipes are used in this song is really unique and and wasn't common in rock music at that time.  The instruments blend really well together and create a really cool intro that hooks you into the song.  Gary Moore's guitar playing is very superb and well executed in this song.  His guitar solo is very well done and continues to display the guitar excellence he has.  Gary Moore isn't a fantastic singer, but he is decent and he does a great job of carrying this song.  Overall, a fantastic song from a musical stand point.

The lyrics in this song tell a story about a man accused of a crime he did not commit. The lyrics tell this story very well and the flow very nicely.  You can tell whats going on and easily pick up the progression of the story.  It starts out with the guy feeling hopeless when imprisoned and ends with him having a glimmer of hope while reading letters from his wife.  I love it when people are able to write good stories in lyric form and this is one of the best I have ever heard.  The lyrics are solid, easy to understand, and flow very well.

It's a shame that this song isn't that well known here in the U.S. and even in Europe a lot of people think that Nightwish wrote it.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Nightwish version and think it is amazing.  What I am saying is that this version has become very underrated and deserves a lot more recognition then it has.  I give Gary Moore's version of Over The Hills And Far Away  a 5 out of 5.     


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creed One Las Breath Review



Creed has defiantly become one of the most controversial bands in history.  Some people hate them because they think they are a hallow band with no real substance.  On the other hand, people think they were a very talented band that made great music. However you feel about the band, they certainly have made an impact in music.  In late 90's they were one of the most popular bands on the music scene and had a good number of hits.  One of those hits was "One Last Breath".

The music in this song is not great, but it is good.  The guitar work in this song is pretty good, Mark Tremonti does a great job with the intro and then the heavy chords he plays in the chorus really make  the chorus stand out.  The drum work is solid, but it isn't anything to special.  It is a common drum beat we have heard a lot and doesn't really enhance the song to much.  I like the vocal work of Scott Stapp in this song.  He isn't a great singer but his voice really makes Creed unique and it contributes big to this song.  He sounds really good and you can tell he is giving it his all when he is singing.  Overall, the music is solid and sounds good, but isn't too special.

Lyrically, this song continues with the Christian style lyrics this band is known for.  The lyrics are about being feeling like you've lost it all but still wanting to keep going.  The chorus is basically calling out to God to keep you from falling and losing your way.  I think the verses are pretty good, but the chorus and the bridge are the best parts of the song, lyrically.  While the lyrics do have a more Christian tone to them, they aren't blunt about it.  They have been able to convey it in away that appeals to both Christians and non Christians alike.  

While I don't think this is a great song, it is good and it was actually unique for it's time.  Thanks to grunge, most rock in the 90's was about being depressed and angry all the time.  However, Creed decided take a positive turn.  They still had songs about being hurt and feeling depressed, but instead of being totally focused on the negative, they expressed hope and a way out of the pain.  I give them props for doing something different at the time.  However, the problem Creed had was that a lot of their music sounded the same, they never really experimented outside their comfort zone, which is strange when you look at bands they are in today like Alter Bridge which experiment a lot.  This was a problem with a lot of post grunge bands including Nickelback, Seether, and Candlebox.  They found a formula that worked and they didn't look outside of the formula until it was too late.  People either didn't care to listen to them anymore or hated them because they thought they were hallow and lacked substance.  However, Creed is one of the bands that I feel gets a little more flack then they deserve.  One Last Breath is a good, solid song that I enjoyed listening to.  It isn't great but I enjoy listening to it from time to time.  I give One Last Breath  a 3.5 out of 5.


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Friday, November 10, 2017

Kelun Chu Bura Review



When most people think of the band Kelun, they think of the song "Chu Bura".  I actually discovered Kelun because of this song myself.  Used as the 8th opening theme in the famed anime "Bleach", this song made the band famous in Japan and the song gained cult success through out the world.  Sadly, the band disbanded years ago, but Chu Bura is still a well known song in Japan and a classic among anime fans.

I actually really like the music in this song.  The guitar intro isn't technical, but the way the chords flow when they are being played makes it sound really good.  The guitar works pretty much has this tone to it in the entire song.  It isn't technical, but it is still catchy and you really enjoy listening to it.  The drum work in this song is very solid.  The drummer is clearly giving his all and he puts out some impressive and fast paced drumming in this song.  The bass playing in this song is worth noting as well.  the bass solo is performed very well and while it is a little short, it still sounds great.  The best part of the song though is in the vocals.  The vocals work very well with the music and uplifting voice the singer has really brings the lyrics to life and makes the message stand out better.  

The lyrics in this song use a story style formula to send a message of hope and not giving up.  It starts out with the verse conveying the pain, the pre chorus talks about hope, and then the chorus gives you the drive to not give up and move forward.  I like lyric writing like this because it is a good way to let out grief and pain while at the same time giving you hope.  It isn't one sided, it isn't just happy, it isn't just sad, it brings both together.  This band executed that very well and it sounds amazing.  

This is a very solid song, the energy is great, the lyrics are great, and the music sounds awesome.  I can understand how this is Kelun's biggest hit.  There is a lot of cool things going for this song that makes it great and unique.  If you are a JRock fan, this is a song you should check out.  If you a rock fan in general, you should listen to this song as well.  I give Chu Bura a 5 out of 5.


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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sabaton The Last Stand Song Review



When it comes to making history rock, few do it as well as Sabaton.  Since they started in 1999, Sabaton has become famous for taking acts of heroism, historical battles, and other historical events and turning them into great metal songs.  Some of their most famous songs include Ghost Division, Primo Victoria, Winged Hussars, and Last Dying Breath, all about war history and told very effectively.  One of their biggest hits currently is "The Last Stand".

Musically, Sabaton continues their signature big, heavy sound in this song.  The combination of guitar and keyboards sounds awesome.  You can tell that they are trying to capture the time period they are singing about and they do it very well.  The guitar solo in this song is simple but very effective.  The melodic and medieval combination really sounds great and gives a good heroic feel that the song is themed on.  One of my favorite parts of the song is the chorus. It sounds big and the way it is written makes you want to sing along with it.  Joakim Broaden has a voice that is meant for historical music.  His voice really works well in this song and it is able to communicate the intense situation the song is based on very well.  When it comes to the music, this song is very solid.    

Lyrically, I think this is where this band really shines.  This song is specifically about the 189 Swiss Guard that defended the pope's escape during the Sack of Rome in 1527.  The whole song is telling the story of this event and they tell it very well.  The phrases are written very well, and like I said before, you really want to sing along with the band on this song.  The message in this song is clear and you can really understand the story that the band is trying to depict.  

Sabaton is certainly a unique power metal band.  The way they choose to communicate history through music is very well done and brings a fresh take to the power metal genre.  The Last Stand is yet another great song from this band.  With good music and awesome lyrics, this song is a must for history lovers and metal heads.  I give The Last Stand a 4.5 out of 5.    


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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Skillet Rebirthing Review




It goes without saying that Skillet is one of the biggest Christian Rock/Metal bands in modern times.  Having a style that appeals to both Rockers and Christians they certainly have made their mark on the world.  Most people who know of Skillet today, know them because of the huge success of their album, "Awake".  This album featured some of their biggest hits such as "Monster" and "Hero".  While that album and those songs are certainly great and deserve their recognition, I first got into Skillet when I heard their song "Rebirthing" off the "Comatose" album.

One of the things I really like about this song is the combination of rock and orchestra they have in this song.  The combination makes the song sound more intense and more powerful.  The guitar work is not super technical, but it sounds good and it does its job very effectively in the song.  The vocal work is also very good in this song.  While I don't think that John Cooper is the greatest singer in the world, he is good and you can hear the passion in his voice and it makes the song sound more authentic.  Korey Cooper does a great job when she sings as well.  The way she sings "I come alive somehow" is done very effectively and I think it was a smart move to have her sing it instead of John.  Her type of voice communicates that section better then John's voice could and as a result it sounds really good.  My one problem with this song is the guitar solo.  It sounds pretty good, the melodic guitar playing was awesome, but I thought it was too short.  If they stretched it out for just a few more measures,  I feel like the solo would have been much better.  This is a minor problem though and doesn't kill the song for me.

Lyrically, they did a fantastic job with this song.  Like I said in the beginning, Skillet is a band that is able to appeal to both Christians and Non Christians alike and these lyrics are a good example of how they do that.  To a Non Christian, it sounds like the song is about being in hard times and deciding to come out a better person.  For Christians, it is about needing God and being reborn with his spirit. For Skillet, it is about needing God and being reborn with his spirit.  However, they aren't blunt about it and it doesn't come off as them trying to tell people to go to church like other Christian bands do.  It sends a good message that everybody can relate to in one form or another.    

While I love Monster and Hero along with many other song from Skillet, this is one of my favorites.  The music is good and the lyrics are very well written, making this a must song if your a Skillet fan.  If your a Rocker, Metal fan, or Christian music fan, I recommend giving this song a shot. I give Rebirthing a 4.5 out of 5.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top 5 Horror Movie Theme Songs

In celebration of Halloween today, I will count down the top 5 horror movie themes.  Check them out, let me know what you think of them.

5.  Jaws by John Williams

I love John Williams, he has composed some of the most classics scores and movie soundtracks for over 30 years.  One of his most famous songs is the theme for the movie "Jaws".  The way it builds up and creates a sense of unease is very effective.  When ever you hear this song, you can't help but to be on alert and wonder what is coming.  It makes you be on your guard and it makes the movie feel that much more intense. 

4.  Psycho (1960) by Bernard Herrmann

I love Psycho, it is without a doubt a classic movie.  While Alfred Hitchcock certainly deserves credit for how he directed this movie, the soundtrack for this movie is also very brilliant and this theme song, written by Bernard Herrmann demonstrates that.  This is without a doubt some of the most spooky music I have ever heard out of a movie, even by today's standards.  The way it starts alone makes you feel like you should be running for your life and constantly watching your back. One of the greatest themes ever, even today.

3.  Rosemary's Baby by Krzysztof Komeda

This one doesn't have a huge orchestra like the previous ones do but my goodness that La La La.  Every time I hear that, it scares the heck out of me.  This song is a good example that you don't have to be so big and loud to be scary. Just the way the voice is executed in this song makes it ones of the creepiest things to listen to.  

2.  Halloween by John Carpenter

The piano in this song is creepy enough, but the way that all the other instruments come in and then fade out gives off a great tone of unease and uncertainty.  This formula makes you feel scared while at the same time letting you know to expect the unexpected which is how this movie plays out. This theme resembles the movie it is attached to perfectly.

1.  Candyman by Philip Glass 

What makes this song so interesting is that it doesn't sound simply scary like the rest.  When listening to this song you get a combination of soothing, sadness, and scary.   It is confusing, yet still sounds good and well executed.  I like this because it really makes you uncertain of what your in for and that is one of the scariest feelings in the world.  When you watch the movie, then this theme makes more sense because you realize that your dealing with a movie that is more complex then your standard horror film movie.  Because this song makes you think more and because it is able to combine so many moods and still sound good that I make this song number 1. 

  
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