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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top 5 Dynasty Warriors Series Soundtrack Songs

There are not too many video game soundtracks out there like the Dynasty Warriors series.  While Koei Tecmo is known for throwing together a rock and orchestra combo in their video games, none are done as well done as Dynasty Warriors.  With great energy and melody, Dynasty Warriors makes for one of the best video games soundtrack Koei Tecmo has to offer.  Here is the top 5 soundtrack songs from the Dynasty Warriors Series.

5.  Avenging Battle

Avenging Battle from Dynasty Warriors 4 is  a great battle sounding song with great guitar and a some hints of Japanese music.  Right off the back you get some great dual guitar soloing that really drives the energy and creates a tense feel.  It is followed up by a soft Japanese flute solo, that tones the song down a little bit. Then they end the song with a good melodic guitar solo.  The only flaw in the song is that the final guitar solo is a little repetitive, but it is still a good song and certainly worth listening to.

4.  The Final Battle
The Final Battle from Dynasty Warriors 7 may be one of the longest songs in the the Dynasty Warriors series but it is still very good.  The melodic dual guitar solos are good, and the small bits of power metal sounding guitar is certainly worth noting.  The orchestra in this song is pretty good as well, it may be subtle, but it does add a tension building feel that is effective.  My favorite part of this song is the guitar solo in the middle of it.  It is not tricky, or shredding like, but it has a great melodic sound that goes well with the rest of the music and in its simplicity makes the song better.

3.  Teary Edge
 Teary Edge from Dynasty Warriors 7 Extreme Legends is a little bit different then the other songs on this list so far.  Where as the other songs have been mainly guitar driven, this song is actually piano driven.  While the guitar solos are certainly present in this song, they don't make up the main portion of it.  Overall, the melodic piano leads this song with the orchestra joining it in the chorus.  The piano may be a little repetitive, but the melodic feel it brings is a different take on the series and a welcomed one.

2. Vanish
Vanish from Dynasty Warriors 8 Extreme Legends is one of the best examples of orchestra and rock working together I have ever heard.  The orchestra builds up that battle feel and the melodic guitar solos in this song actually give a good emotional feel that makes the song feel more personal.  When you play a level in the game while hearing this song you really start to get a drive and determination to win the level, which is not easy to convey with music in video games.  

1.  A Thousand Suns
A Thousand Suns from Dynasty Warriors 8 is a great instrumental rock song.  The guitar solos are some of my favorite in the Dynasty Warrior series.  the dual solo's are very energetic and the melodic nature of the solos is amazing.  The part where the orchestra and guitar are playing back to back is awesome and builds into a great moment where both intertwined musically.  Then the guitar build up towards the end of the song is great way to lead to the final section. With great guitar and very energetic rock music, this is one of the best songs in the Dynasty Warriors series.    


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Top 5 Video Game Soundtracks

Although people don't always think about music in video games, it actually plays a very important roll.  Music in a video sets the tone and helps boost someones experience when playing the game.  Just like when you hear music in a movie, music in video games helps create that memorable experience.  With that, here at the top 5 video game soundtracks


5.  Mass Effect 2
 
Mass Effect 2 may go down in history as one of the best video games of all time even with all the controversy that it's sequel games would make.  Along with the great game play and fantastic story, it also had one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time.  The soundtrack in this game is good combination of a good space scifi and orchestra music.  The scifi music give a good feel of exploration while in space, towns, or exploring a room.  The Orchestra really captures the intensity of the combat you get thrown into.  With such a great combo, this makes a good soundtrack.

4.  Halo Combat Evolved

While Halo may also be a scifi game as well, it's soundtrack is more orchestra and vocal driven then Mass Effect.  When you listen to songs like Truth and Reconciliation, you get feel for what this soundtrack is about.  You start with the mysterious sounding vocals, followed by battle driven orchestra, then comes in with some mysterious sounding space music, and ending with the classic vocals.  Those elements make up this soundtrack and they all blend in well with every level and it really enhances all the combat and mystery you as the player experience in this game. A great piece of orchestra music not to pass up.

3.   Jet Force Gemini

Jet Force Gemini has one of the most diverse soundtracks I have ever heard in video games.  The orchestra driven music is different depending on which level you are on.  Some levels give you a straight up battle feel, some make you want to explore the level, and some make you scared and cautious.  What makes this soundtrack great is not just the music, but how well each song fits the level it is attached to.  The music on every level is perfect and sounds amazing and really makes this sound track unique.

2.  Super Mario 64
 

Super Mario 64 is good fun music soundtrack, perfect for this game.  It is not orchestra driven like most of the game soundtracks on this list but it doesn't need to be.  They did a good job creating fun sounding music to fit a game more comical game like this one.  There is one sooth sounding song in this game and that is the Water Theme Music.  It has an overall more relaxing feel to it compared to the rest of the music in the game.  However, it still fits its level perfectly and is fun to listen to.  

1.  The Legend of Zelda Ocarina Of Time

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time is without a doubt one of my video game soundtracks. While this soundtrack once again fits perfectly with the areas it's attached to, it is also has some great unique music.  With so many classic songs ranging from Song of Storms, The Hyrule Theme, and the Gerudo Valley, you got one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time.  Even some of the less famous songs such as The Ice Cavern, The Spirit Temple, and Ganodorf's Battle Theme, are still very well composed and I enjoy listening to them.  I can't recommend looking into this soundtrack enough and if you want to see live performances, every year Nintendo does a Legend of Zelda Symphony world tour that consists of many songs from this specific game's soundtrack.  Check it out and see if the symphony will playing in or near your town, you won't be disappointed.     

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas Eve and Other Stories Album Review


When Savatage decided to become TSO in 1996 they decided to make the Dead Winter Dead  be their inspiration for their music going forward.  They would focus on a combination of Christmas themed music and their classical metal style they used in Savatage. This combination would come to be when TSO debuted in 1996 with the Christmas Eve and Other Stories albums.

Musically, they deliver big time on this record.  This album has some of the best instrumental songs I have heard in a while.  From the heavy hitting Christmas Eve Sarajevo, to the classical rock combo of O Come All Ye Faithful, this album is full of amazing instrumentals.  The vocal songs are amazing as well.  You have great classical voices on songs such as An Angel Came Down.  Then you got more bluesy style vocals on songs like Good King Joy and This Christmas Day.  The music on the vocal songs is nothing to overlook as well.  The guitar solo in This Christmas Day is a great melodic solo that helps give that powerful feel to the song.  The same thing can be said about An Angel Returned, the melodic solo helps drive that Christmas Spirit the song is going for.

 

Lyrically, this album is all Christmas themed, like the music.  What makes the Christmas theme work so well lyrically is how the band makes every song with lyrics in it a story.  For example,  Good King Joy does a great job of sing about the Nativity.  When you listen to that song you hear a great blues take on the journey of the wise men and the birth of Jesus Christ.  Another example would be This Christmas Day.  This song is about a families daughter returning home on Christmas Day and them celebrating Christmas joyfully when she returns.  With each set of lyrics telling a great Christmas story, you are in for a series of very compelling lyrics.  


Christmas Eve and Other Stories is not just a great Christmas album, but a great rock album as well.  It is one of the few albums I have seen that successfully reaches both the rock crowd and the non rock crowd.  If you are a metal head or rocker you need to buy this record.  If you are looking for good quality Christmas music you need to buy this record.  While the album is available on ITunes, I recommend getting a physical copy of this record.  The album artwork is amazing and seeing how many people contributed to it in the booklet is memorable.  If you see it in a record store in a CD section don't hesitate, buy it!! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Top 5 Gackt Songs

Gackt has become one of the most famous singers to come out of Japan.  Getting his start in the 90's with the visual kei band, Malice Mizer, Gackt developed a reputation as a good singer and after seven years with Malice Mizer he left the band to pursue a solo career that would make him one of the biggest celebrities in Japan  and would develop a good following in Europe and the U.S.  He has written several hits and is without a doubt one of the biggest rock stars in Japan.  With that, lets count down the top 5 Gackt songs.  

5.  Black Stone

 Black Stone is one Gackt's early songs that is basically a love song about that talks about going through life together through the good and bad times.  Gackt sounds great in this song vocally, and the band and music overall sounds great as well.  Compared to a lot of his other songs, this is a good soft easy listening enjoyable song.  The guitar solo is a little repetitive, but the overall the song is enjoyable and certainly worth a buy.  

4.  Stay The Ride Alive

Stay The Ride Alive is a good combination of rock and orchestra music.  Some people think that the two styles of music don't work well together and I greatly disagree with that. The orchestra really helps the song sound more powerful and while the song would not be bad without it, the song wouldn't be as powerful without the orchestra.  Lyrically, this is a good inspirational song about not giving up about no matter how bad things get. Sadly, only the live orchestra version is available on ITunes, but you can get this CD on Ebay and I highly recommend it.

3.  P.S. I Love You


P.S. I Love You is one of the most powerful and most depressing songs I have ever heard.  Basically, the whole song is someone reading a farewell letter from their spouse that just passed away.  Gackt's vocals and the music match the mood of the lyrics perfectly.  The piano  fits the sadness and then the heavier music expresses the grief one feels when the person they love passes away.  This song is well written, well composed, and is worth a buy, get it on ITunes, Ebay, Amazon.

2.  Jesus
  
Jesus is a song about someone contemplating suicide and the mind set one has when they are going through that.  Now, some people think that this is an anti Christian or an anti religious song.  I personally don't see it that way.  It is about someone who is considering taking his own life, nothing more.  The music is a good combo of dark and heavy rock gives the song the song it's desperate feel. The music video fits the song perfectly and I highly recommend checking it out to get the full feel of the song.  Disclaimer, their is violent imagery in video, but none the less I recommend it.  Both the music video and the song itself are available on ITunes, buy them.

1.  Setsugekka- The End of Silence
  
The End of Silence is another sorrowful song about missing someone you care about deeply that passed away.  I really like the composing method that is used in this song musically.  It starts out with the soft piano, then you get a slight build, a soft verse and pre chorus, and then they bust out a power heavy chorus.  You think you are in for a softer ballad and then you are hit with a powerful chorus and I think that is awesome.  Another musical element I love about this song is the violin solo.  It is a good twist and very unique, especially in an age where you don't see violin in rock too much anymore.  This song in my opinion is a must.  It is available on ITunes, Amazon, and Ebay.  Do what ever it takes, but buy this song.   

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nocturnal Bloodlust Libra Review


Nocturnal Bloodlust is one of the most interesting visual kei band and death metal bands I have ever heard.  While they certainly have a good amount of songs that fit in the traditional death metal, hardcore feel, they are also very melodic with good riffs and powerful vocals.  This song brings out all those different elements this band has very well and as a result you got a unique metal ballad.

Musically this song has a lot going on.  It starts with that mellow build up and then goes into a powerful intro with  Daichi playing a melodic solo and Natsu playing a unique drum beat as he is famous for in this band.  Hiro's vocals are very good and very mixed in this song.  In the verse and chorus he gives a good melodic singing voice and in the middle he gives his death metal, hardcore vocals, giving a good diverse feel to the song.  I personally am not the biggest fan of growling and screaming vocals, however it doesn't kill the song for me and it adds a nice twist to the song that  I can appreciate. Cazqui's solo is a good combo of melodic guitar playing and speed.  He starts out with the classic Japanese speed solo and then goes on to add melodic touches through out and delivers a very good solo.  Cazqui is a very good guitar player and in my opinion he is very underrated.  He is very diverse in his playing and is able to go in whatever direction he chooses rather then sticking to a certain style of soloing as many other guitar players do. 

Lyrically this is a good song as well.  It is basically about standing by the things you love you matter what the obstacles are.  A good message and one that I wish music brought up more often lyrically. The lyrics fit the tone and music perfectly which really makes the message stick out more.  The lyrics are deep and with Hiro's singing matching that deepness, the message really comes through and resonates with you.  

This song certainly has a lot going for it.  With the deep lyrics and a band that has great musicians, you get a real unique and memorable song.  I highly recommend checking this song out, even if you are not a fan of screaming or growling vocals, this song still has a lot to offer.  The guitar playing of Daichi and Cazqui is amazing, Natsu's drum work is impressive, and when Hiro gets melodic he delivers great vocals.  Considering all that and the deep lyrics I give this song a 4.5 out of 5.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Top 5 Sistar Songs

Recently I have started to get more into Sistar recently after I discovered their song I Swear.  I was really impressed by the girls vocal abilities and was curious enough to look deeper in their catalog.  Overall, they have some pretty impressive music.  All four girls are good singers and are certainly worth recognition.  This time, I count down the top 5 Sistar songs.

5.  Shake It
Initially when I saw this title I was a little worried.  I didn't know who Sistar was at the time and I thought that it would just be another generic pop song.  If you look at it from a lyrical stand point, then there is nothing to be impressed by.  However, with the catchy music and the girls amazing vocals, you got a song that is fun and enjoyable.  Hyorin and Dasom do a great job in this song, with Hyorin singing great leads and Dasom really bringing out the catchy nanana parts, she plays in big part in giving this song its catchy feel.  

4.  I Like That
I Like that has a more darker feel to it.  Basically this is about a women breaking up with her ex because she caught him cheating on her.  The music in this song is pretty catchy and easily hooks you into the song.  This is another song where Hyorin and Dasom shine.  With both of them doing a good job leading the song vocally they capture the mood perfectly.  I would slightly say that Dasom's voice fits this song best out of everybody else, but that doesn't diminish the fact that all four of them are good in this song.

3.  Touch My Body
Touch My Body is a feel good song about the girls having a crush on a guy and wanting to spend time with him.  Lyrically there isn't much special about this song.  This is a message we have heard a million times and it's become a cliche at this point.  However, musically and vocally this is one of Sistar's most catchy songs.  This one I can't really say who stands out most, they all do a good job.  Bora's rapping sounds great, Hyorin, Dasom, and Soyou all sound good when they are singing.  This has been credited as the song that got Sistar world wide attention and I can see why.  With it being catchy musically and vocally it can capture the attention of anybody who listens to it.  

2.  Loving U
Loving U is another feel good song, pretty similar to Touch My Body.  A feel good song about having a crush on someone.  Musically, it is a little more simple but that is made up for in the girls vocals.   I would say that Soyou and Bora are the best in this song.  Soyou's voice matches the mood perfectly and Bora's rapping also fits the song well.  The thing that makes this song stand out so well, aside from the members excellent vocals, is the catchy chorus.  Out of all the songs I have heard from Sistar so far, this is defiantly  one that I remember most for it's chorus.  

1.  I Swear
I Swear is very good song, about being loyal to the person you love.  The music itself is pretty good, with its upbeat vibe and good use of the saxophone this is some of the most memorable music in Sistar's discography.  Vocally, Hyorin and Soyou sound amazing  and once again, Bora does a good job rapping.  Without a doubt this is one of the best songs I have heard Hyorin singing on.  I do feel a bad for Dasom in this song though.  She gets a short section to shine and then sticks to backup vocals on the rest of the song.  Having said that I still think this is one of the best Sistar song and it gave me a good introduction to Sistar.    

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Diaura Lily Review


Diaura is a Visual Kei band out of Tokyo Japan that started in 2010.  Famed for the deep melodic voice of the singer, Yo-Ka, and the melodic guitar playing of Kei, the band has become a fairly popular band in Japan.  They are also one of the most active bands in Japan, constantly touring and writing new music, they have certainly put out a lot of material in their career so far and most of it is pretty decent.  With that lets review Lily.

Musically, this song is a good power ballad feel with music that is heavy, but is soft enough to appeal to easy listening people.  It is not a complex song technique wise, the rhythm is pretty simple and standard, and the guitar is simple as well.  However, even with the simplicity it still sounds pretty good.  One of the biggest highlights is with out a doubt Yo-Ka's vocals.  The guy is a good singer and  his vocal melody adds a great amount of depth to the song.  Kei's guitar solo is also pretty good.  It is not technical or tricky, but it has a good melodic style to is that really works with the song.  

Lyrically this is a great song.  Basically, the song is about someone losing someone they love and the pain that causes and then at the end of the song they wake up to see their loved one is still alive.  the lyrics are a good message  to value those you love and not to let them go.  Yo-Ka has said himself that the lyrics were inspired by a dream he had about him losing his parents. I always love it when a person writes lyrics that come from a real place in their souls rather then from management telling that person what to write and for that the song gets a lot of points from me. 

The music video is pretty simple as well.  First thing to point out is that even though the band is wearing a lot of eye make up, they really are not to over the top with the make up compared to their other videos.  They are not wearing lipstick, no insane colored contacts, and their cloths are not over the top.  Compared to other Visual Kei videos I have seen this one is pretty tamed.  For the most part they look like normal guys in this video, which is refreshing to see every once in a while in Visual Kei.  As for the video it self, it is nothing to special.  I see the symbolism in the chair scene and the scene  where the band members are looking around confused, however though it isn't anything too special.  Having said that, this video goes with the mood and message of the song very well and for that I give this video props.  

While the song is simple in the instrumental section, the lyrical depth is very impressive and defiantly worth noting.  Yo-Ka's voice adds a lot of depth and makes the song feel more effective in it's tone in message.  Kei's melodic guitar solo is a nice section that really adds on to the depth they are going for.  In the end, it is a good song with a very good message and is effective in communicating that message.  I give this song a 4.5 out of 5.