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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Let Me Hear Review


Fear and Loathing is a very interesting band musically.  They range from electronica metal, to flat out hardcore metal.  This gives the band a sound that is very unique and something you really don't here out of too many other bands.  Their unique style has propelled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to fame in Japan and has helped them achieve a good size audience among other metal lovers around the world.  Their songs are featured in many anime shows, like their Just Awake song as the ending in the Hunter X Hunter anime, and this one as the opening for the Parasyte anime.  Considering all this, it is hard for me not to want to talk about one of their songs.

Musically, there is a lot going on in this song.  First thing I want to point out is the guitar playing of Sxun and Taiki in this song.  It has a good heavy sound that really gives the song a good energetic boost.  The keyboard playing of Keisuke Minami are also pretty good and is part of that electronica feel that I mentioned earlier. When it comes to the vocals, I like the singing melody of the clean vocalist, So Takeda.  My one criticism of  his singing is the fact that he is singing the entire song in auto tune.  I think the song would be fine without it from my perspective.  However,  I do believe that he does it for the electronic feel and I will give him credit for at least not trying to hide it like many other artists have done.  He is basically using it as an instrument.  The composition of this song is the most interesting thing about this song.  Through out the song they go trough many types of metal and music genres.  At first it is an electronic metal song, then goes into new metal, to metal core, back to the electronic style, and ends with metal core once more.  Even though it changes the tone often, it actually works.  The transitions are executed very well and the song doesn't feel choppy which very hard to pull off if you are going to do a song like this, but these guys did it very well.  

Lyrically, this song works pretty well for the anime it is attached to.  Lyrically this song is about humanity believing that it is superior on Earth and taking it for granted.  It's about finding out humanity's real place and purpose in the world.  This matches the Parasyte anime theme perfectly and is very effective in portraying the anime's message.  However, outside the anime, the song lyrics don't really stand out all that much. The lyrics are not bad, but for a song that is as musically driven as this one they are not that notable.  

While the lyrics may not stand out that much, the music certainly does.  With the deep heavy guitar and the interesting musical transitions this is defiantly one of the more interesting songs I have heard.  The band did not take a traditional route musically and really experimented with song transitions that you really haven't seen anywhere else except some prog metal.  For their different song structure and successfully making that structure sound good, I give this song a 4.5 out of 5.     

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Top 5 Disney Ride Soundtracks

When it comes to theme parks and their rides one of the most important components of those rides is the music and sound effects they use on them.  While you may not need it for thrilling roller coasters, you certainly need it for the slower rides and themed rides.  One reason you need music in rides is because without it the ride feels weird and uneasy.  Another reason is because, if you don't feel uneasy, then you get board.  Music and sound effects play a big part in a rides entertainment factor and without it theme park rides are not as entertaining.  This time around, I will give the top 5 ride soundtracks from the iconic Disneyland.

5.  Indiana Jones 
One thing I like about this soundtrack is how well it executes a story like feel to it.  This is a soundtrack where even if you are not on the ride and you just listen to this you get a good feel of what the ride will be like and what components will be in it.  Another big plus for this soundtrack is how well it utilizes John Williams's classic score for the movies.  It is pulling mainly from The Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Temple of Doom movies.  While it may only be small chunks from the songs, they flow well and it sets up not just a great ride experience, but a great listening experience as well. The music is available on ITunes bit without any of the voice acting or narration.  Even without that it still capture the magic of not just ride, but the movies as well, buy it.

4.  Soarin Over California
This music is a beautiful orchestra song that makes for both an amazing ride experience and listening experience.  Composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who has composed for movies such as Alien, Rudy, and composed the score for Disney's Mulan in 1998, delivers a score that matches each scene in the ride perfectly and really enhances the experience of the ride.  From the calm feel of going through the Redwoods, and Palm Springs, to the powerful energy of Yosemite and the Navy Carrier, this song captures all that with an amazing flow to make the ride feel smooth.  This is song that doesn't just belong on the ride, but with its great composition it makes for a great orchestra song on its own, I highly recommend buying it on either ITunes, or one of the Disney music collections that includes it.

3. Phantom Manor
While I love the Haunted Mansion ride we have in Anaheim California, I cannot deny the effective soundtrack of the Phantom Manor ride in Disneyland Paris.  One thing I like about this soundtrack is that, while the American  Haunted Mansion is more comedic this soundtrack at times actually makes you feel uneasy and makes you feel like you should be scared at times.  This is an approach I wish the American ride would take a little more.  The first thing I would like to point out in this soundtrack is the excellent narration performed by Vincent Price.  Price does a good job caring out a creepy sounding guide that sticks with you in the ride and plays a huge part in keeping you engaged with the ride.  The second thing is the brilliant musical composition done by John Debney.  The music he composes really helps to create emphasis on Vincent Price's narration, and also creates a very spooky atmosphere that keeps you on edge through the ride.  This Suite is available on ITunes, but you can only get it if you buy the entire Haunted Mansion soundtrack, which is not a bad soundtrack itself.  If you want a physical copy, they sell it in Downtown Disney at the Disney store, or if you are in Disneyland you can pick it up in the park, whether it is California, Florida.  


2. Splash Mountain
The Splash Mountain soundtrack is like a mini album of fun sounding songs.  From the opening How Do You Do, to the classic Zip A Dee Doo Dah, you get good collection of great Disney music.  Each segment of the ride feels like your heading into a music video for each song and the atmosphere is executed well. While there is a story in the ride it isn't the main focus.  This is a ride where the music is the main focus and because it is well executed it makes the ride very enjoyable.  While the movie it is based on may be controversial, the music is still great and I recommend you go on to ITunes and by this soundtrack


1.  The Original Pirates of The Caribbean
The original Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack is a classic ride soundtrack.  From the classic songs such as Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me, to all the amazing instrumentals such as the bayou banjo music and Dead Men Tell No Tales section.  This soundtrack is one of the best, if not the best examples of Disney matching the music and sound effects perfectly.  Each scene is memorable and all the different takes on Yo Ho are entertaining and fun to hear.  Disney Studios certainly did an amazing job of not just creating a great sounding soundtrack, but matching it with atmosphere and feel of the pirate times perfectly.  The soundtrack for this ride is available on Itunes, as well as the Disney Store in Downtown Disney, and in many areas of Disneyland itself.  Do whatever you have to, but get it and listen to it



   

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sammy Hagar Vs David Lee Roth

One of the great music debates of all time is without a doubt the one about the 2 great Van Halen singers.  On one side you have the very first singer that helped get Van Halen off the ground, David Lee Roth.  On the other side you got the well established singer that already made a name for himself in other bands, Sammy Hagar.  Both men have brought a lot to the famed band and have done a lot for it.  Til this day, people are constantly debating who is the better singer in Van Halen and it is one topic that I personally have wanted to give my 2 cents on.  With that, lets get started

Pros of David Lee Roth


It goes without saying that David Lee Roth is very good at showmanship.  From his outfits, to his energetic and athletic stunts on stage.  During his time in Van Halen he was also a good singer and was very entertaining to listen to.  I love hearing him in songs like Panama and Hot For Teacher.  He had a real party, good time feel to his voice and it was conveyed perfectly on those first 4 Van Halen albums.  It is also something he would go on to carry in his solo career.    

 



Cons of  David Lee Roth
One of his cons is that, while he is a good singer he isn't great.  His voice doesn't have a great range that limits what he is capable of.  He was also very narrow in his musical approach.  Like I said, he was a party, feel good type of singer.  This was his approach to music, not just in Van Halen, but in his solo career as well.  You listen to songs like Yankee Rose and Going Crazy and the message is pretty much about partying and girls.  Luckily for him, he would have great musicians like Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan who would play a huge part in the success of his solo career.  If not for them, his message and music could of gotten old very quickly and his solo career would have been short lived.

Pros of Sammy Hagar


Sammy Hagar is without a doubt an amazing singer that still sounds great today.  He has a great range that allows him to go in several directions and experiment a lot musically.  He is also a good guitar player as well.  Don't get me wrong, he is not even close to the capability of Eddie Van Halen.  However, he is still good at guitar, which is very well showcased in songs like There's Only One Way To Rock, the times he played guitar on Love Walks In, and Eagles Fly.  He is also a great song writer.  He has written so many great songs from Cant Drive 55 to Why Can't This Be Love, the man truly is very talented and diverse.  





Cons of Sammy Hagar

When objectively compared to David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar does not have the same level of showmanship as David Lee Roth had.  Where David Lee Roth was athletic and had the outfits to execute good showmanship, Sammy Hagar was pretty average, going out in normal close and while energetic was still not at the level of David Lee Roth.  Sammy Hagar is not a bad at showmanship but he didn't reach the level that Roth had.  

Conclusion
Both singers have their talents and are certainly worth recognizing.  However,  when I look at them overall, I have to give it to Sammy Hagar.  While Sammy Hagar didn't have the showmanship of David Lee Roth, he more then made up for it in his music capability.  Replacing David Lee Roth was no easy task and the fact Sammy Hagar took that on and did it well is worth recognizing.  Also, people are quick to blame Sammy Hagar for the direction that Van Halen went in when he joined the band.  However, when you think about it, Eddie Van Halen wanted to go in this direction before Hagar joined.  When you listen to 1984 and hear songs like Jump you realize in retrospect that 1984 was a precursor of things to come.  

However, the big thing that makes me pick Sammy Hagar over David Lee Roth is their difference in musical talent.  No matter how much you love the Roth era music, you have to admit that Sammy Hagar was musically way ahead of  David Lee Roth.  While you can argue that Sammy Hagar may not have sounded as good on Panama and Jump as David Lee Roth was, Sammy Hagar could still sing those songs and make them sound good.  When David Lee Roth tries to sing Sammy Hagar songs he can't do it.  David Lee Roth cannot match Sammy Hagar vocally.  The difference in their singing ability is especially clear today.  When you listen to them today, Sammy Hagar still sounds amazing and his voice hasn't changed all that much.  However, David Lee Roth doesn't sound like he used to today.  You can hear the difference in the videos shown below





I want to be clear,  I am not taking shots at David Lee Roth here.  I love those early Van Halen records and think they are amazing.  However, I cannot deny the musical genius that Sammy Hagar has, and for a guy like me who is more focused on musical talent then showmanship I got to give it to Sammy Hagar.  I turn to recent talk that Eddie Trunk did on his radio show about this topic.  He covers these  points very well and gives very good perspective on them.  Check out the video below to listen to his talk.  Like I said, I love both era's and both these guys deserve their place in the rock n roll hall of fame, but when I look at their musical talent objectively, I cannot deny that Sammy Hagar has the edge. 






Monday, April 24, 2017

Top 5 Cover Songs

     Music covers can go one of two ways in music.  They can either be paying tribute to a band you really like that influenced you, or it can be executing a different vision then the original artist had.  Either way, if they are done well, cover songs can be a great addition to a bands catalog and sometimes go down a historical song.  Here are 5 covers that are very well done and worth recognition.

5.  Shinning Star by Stryper


Originally done by Earth Wind and Fire, Stryper decided to take this 70's hit and put a metal spin on it on their 1990 Against the Law album.  It may be a little eye brow raising at first but when you listen to it, this truly is a great cover.  Stryper almost completely changed the song, from adding heavy guitar and heavy drums.  Their is some funk like guitar that reminds you of the original song, but aside from that the two versions sound completely different.  Michael Sweet does a great job on lead vocals, putting his own vocal style to the song and delivering killer vocals on it.  This is a good example of taking a certain song and making it your own,

4.  Let It Go by Hyolyn


With Let It Go becoming one of the most iconic Disney songs in history, Disney took it abroad to have many nations perform and cover the song in their country's language.  Their are many different people who would sing this song but one of the best takes on it comes from Hyolyn from South Korea.  Famed for being the leader of her main group, Sistar, Hyolyn is considered to have one of the best singing voices in Kpop and she carries that into this song.  Musically, the song doesn't change much except that it is slightly softer then the original.  But Hyolyn's singing ability makes this a very good cover and one that is defiantly worth listening to.

3.  Sunday Bloody Sunday by Pillar

  

Sunday Bloody Sunday was originally recorded by U2 in the 80's and would go on to be a very successful hit for the band.  Decades later, it would be picked up by Pillar who would put their own spin on it.  Pillar would chose to put a more heavier metal sound to it, resulting in heavier lower tuned guitar work with the military style drum beats to back it up.  Rob Beckly does a great job on vocals.  Delivering a very chilling feel for a song about war brutality.  This is one of the most underrated songs off the bands Where Do We Go From Here album, one I wish people would listen to more often.

2.  Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzy


Many people don't know this, but Whiskey In the Jar is a song that dates back to the 17th century, and has been done by many artists in Ireland since then.  Now, a lot of people will say that Metallica's version surpasses this one, but I personally think this one is better.  With the melodic guitar work of Eric Bell and the Phil Lynott's voice, Thin Lizzy's version has a good feel that reminds you that this is a folk song in Ireland.  With a good acknowledgement to the past, and foot in the present (at the time the song was recorded) you got one cover that is very underrated and deserves more attention. 

1  Hurt by Johnny Cash



With out a doubt, one of the best covers of all time has to be Hurt by Johnny Cash.  A lot of people actually don't know that this song was originally written by Nine Inch Nails in the 90's.  Johnny Cash would pick up on the song in 2002 and put a country twist on the song.  This version without a doubt has a much bigger impact then the Nine Inch Nails version, in fact Trent Reznor himself has said that he felt like he wrote this song for Johnny Cash to use.  With that single acoustic guitar and Johnny Cash's voice, you really get a feel for the pain this song is portraying and results in one of Johnny Cash's biggest hits.  Sadly, Johnny Cash would die 5 months later after the song was released.  He would go down in history as one of the greatest country performers of all time.  RIP Johnny Cash. 





Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jackyl Lumberjack Review


     Jackyl is without a doubt one of the most interesting bands I have come across. From their unique combination of blues, southern rock, and metal, this band certainly has a different sound.  What is also impressive and crazy is how active this band is.  They tour constantly, to the point of having two Guinness World Records.  One for performing 100 concerts in 50 days, and another for performing 21 concerts in a 24 hour period.  Although they debuted in 1992 when their kind of genre was considered dead, the band has since been pretty successful, going to sell 12 million records world wide.  One song that certainly contributed to their rise to fame was The Lumberjack.

     Musically this song is mixed in it's composition.  One thing that stands out is the high raspy voice of Jesse James Dupree.  His voice has good southern rock feel that takes me back to the 70's which was very nice to hear.  Guitar wise, it is a little simple for my liking.  All the guitar players are just simply repeating that simple blues riff with a slight southern rock tone to it.  This hinders the song a little in my opinion.  However, the big standout in this song is the fact that they use a chainsaw as an instrument!!  No where else I have seen, or heard anyone try this, and to Jesse Dupree's credit, he actually makes it sound musical.  He successfully hits the pitches that make it sound decent and pretty entertaining.  

    Lyrically, there is nothing really all that special in the song.  It's basically about seeing a girl and getting turned on and wanting to have sex.  Pretty generic kind of lyrics considering how much music has that kind of lyrical content in the 80's, the 90's, and today.  The way that they are executed musically sounds good and makes the song entertaining.  However, it still doesn't change the fact that the lyrics are generic.

    As far as this song goes, it is really simple compared to a lot of the bands in their genre at the time such as Tesla, Ratt, and Guns N Roses.  However, that doesn't mean that the song should be written off.  For all its simplicity it is still very entertaining.  Jesse Dupree's voice sounds great and the fact that he makes the chainsaw sound musical is very cool.  This is a fun song with a unique instrument in it and if you can get into that I advise you to get this song.  I give this song a 3 out of 5.     

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Circle, A Combination of Greats





Sammy Hagar is without a doubt a man of many talents and skills.  From his own music, to his own club, to producing his own liquor, the man is without a doubt very diverse in talents.  One talent I would like to add to the list is his ability to bring great musicians and deliver great music.  He did it with Chickenfoot and has done it once again with The Circle, At Your Service.  Consisting of Sammy Hagar on vocals and guitar, his partner in crime Michael Anthony on bass and backing vocals, Jason Bonham on drums, and Vic Johnson on guitar, the circle debuted in 2015. With a live album consisting of Sammy Hagar, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Montrose songs,  they four men deliver a fantastic live performance that echoes well in this album.  

One of the first things I would like to point out is Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony's vocals.  Despite their age, they still sound almost as good as they did in the 80's.  Sammy's voice hasn't changed much and Michael can still hit those high notes even today.  Vic Johnson does a great job on guitar on this record. He stays true to the songs he's performing while at the same time sneaking in his own style to deliver a great sound.  Sammy Hagar does good guitar work when he is playing as well.  While he is not the best guitar player in the world, he knows what he is good at and delivers well at it.  Michael Anthony still has the amazing bass skills he had in Van Halen and continues to display that bass work in this concert as well.  Jason Bonham defiantly still has his fathers touch.  He delivers great sounding drum work that is best heard during his drum solo and Moby Dick.   

Like I said earlier,  the music sounds awesome on this record.  All the songs sound good and a few of them have new takes on them.  The best one is the acoustic take on Dreams.  It sounds amazing and is a nice spin on a great Van Halen ballad.  Another great song is the the great Montrose song, Rock Candy.  With the amazing opening riff, you are in for trip back in time to some of the most underrated classic rock in history.  If you like Led Zeppelin, or Aerosmith  you need to look this band up.  Aside from Sammy Hagar's vocals, Ronnie Montrose does some fantastic guitar playing that has inspired many great musicians.



With the musicians sounding as good as ever and paying big respect to these classic songs your in for a real treat.  If you like good old classic rock n roll and/or good Hagar era Van Halen music, then you need to get this album.  The Circle, At Your Service is available on ITunes and Amazon, but if you ask me, this is a record deserves getting a physical copy of.  If you find this at your record store don't think twice, buy it.    





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Top 5 Replacement Singers

     Bands go through changes all the time and members get replaced either because they quit, or die, or many other reasons.  Singers are no exception to this reality.  Sometimes however, the replacements are sometimes just as good or better.  Here are 5 singers that did justice to the people they replaced.

5.  Brian Johnson


After the untimely death of ACDC's legendary front man Bon Scott, the band weighed their options carefully.  It was either they decide not to replace Bon Scott and call it a career, or try to find a new singer and carry on.  They chose to carry on and they were fortunate to find Brian Johnson.  As far as his vocals, you could not find a closer sounding voice to Bon Scott then this guy. Brian Johnson's true test was learning all the songs in a short time span before the band went on tour.  He only had a week to get ready for a tour after he joined the band and he rose to the challenge and delivered an amazing performance.  His first single Back In Black, a tribute to Bon Scott,  would go down as one of ACDC's best songs in their catalog. Along with that, he would go on to help deliver many other big hits for the band such as Thunderstruck, You Shook Me All Night Long, and Moneytalks.  I had the fortune of seeing ACDC back in 2009 during their Black Ice Tour at the Honda Center in Anaheim California and I will say that it will go down as one the best concerts I have ever attended and I consider myself very fortunate to have seen ACDC before Brian Johnson's departure.  It is sad that he is no longer in the band but he will surely go down in history as one of the best rock vocalists of all time.

4.  Ronny James  Dio

   

Due to Ozzy Osbourne going through a downward spiral with drugs and alcohol Black Sabbath decided that they needed to fire him.  Instead of trying to find a singer that sounded like Ozzy Osbourne, they decided to take a different musical direction.  They decided to take a more fantasy driven direction musically and for that they brought in ex Rainbow singer Ronny James Dio in 1980.  He would debut on the album Heaven and Hell.  True to the fantasy direction, Dio really delivered a good fantasy vocal style that was a welcomed change for the band.  While he did not sound like Ozzy Osbourne, he brought a good sound to Black Sabbath that fans welcomed and it didn't rely on their past music which is very hard to pull off, but he did it.  His time with Black Sabbath would be short, as he would go on to have a successful solo career.  However, he would reunite with the members of Black Sabbath in 2006 to form Heaven and Hell.  They would tour together and perform Heaven and Hell era songs until Dio's death in 2010.  Even though he may be gone, he has left a long legacy of fantastic music that is worth checking out.

3.  Phil Collins




After Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, Genesis tried recruiting a new singer.  After going through a number of tryouts and none of them working out they turned to their drummer, Phil Collins. Phil Collins is yet another replacement that did not sound like the original but still took the band to greater success.  He doesn't bring the same vocal style as Peter Gabriel did, but his own style more then made up for it.  He would go on to deliver some of the bands biggest hits such as Land of Confusion, Invisible Touch, and I Can't Dance.  He would also go on to have a very successful solo career, going on to win an Oscar for the 1998 Disney Tarzan Soundtrack, one of my favorite Disney soundtracks of all time.  Phil Collins has great catalog of music, both in and outside of Genesis and it is something worth adding to your music collection for sure.

2.  Sammy Hagar 

 

Sammy Hagar was already an established musician before he joined Van Halen. Having been in the 70's band Montrose,and then having a  huge solo hit, Can't Drive 55, Sammy Hagar had already proven he had talent.  After David Lee Roth Departed Van Halen in 1985, Sammy Hagar would join Van Halen and would debut on the band's 5150 album.  Through this album Sammy Hagar proved that he not only could sing, but he could build on the momentum the band had going.  He would go on sing on many Van Halen hits such as Love Walks In, Why Can't This Be Love, Runaround, and Right Now.  Unfortunately, tensions between Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar would come to light in 1994 and by 1996 it reached a boiling point and Sammy Hagar left Van Halen, creating one of the biggest rock feuds in history.  After leaving Van Halen, Sammy Hagar would do a million things, from his solo career, running his club, Cabo Wabo, starting other bands like Chickenfoot and The Circle, and making his own liquor.  Many people tend not to give Sammy Hagar credit for his time in Van Halen and I think that's a mistake. While he wasn't the showman that David Lee Roth was, he was still a good front man and  he was a much better singer then David Lee Roth.  Don't pass Sammy Hagar, the albums he did with memorable as well as his solo records and all the other bands he's been in, check out his music.  

1.  Ripper Owens



Filling in for the legendary Rob Halford from Judas Priest was not only a big, but bold task as well.  Luckily for Judas Priest, they found a voice just as powerful as Rob Halford in Ripper Owens in 1996.  He would sing on the bands Jugulator album in which he would get nominated for a Grammy.  He would go down as one of the best replacements in metal history.  Some would even go as far to say that his voice might actually be more powerful then Rob Halford's.  His time with Judas Priest would end in 2004 when they decided to bring Rob Halford back in the band.  Since then hey has been in many bands ranging from Iced Earth, to Yngwie Malmsteen.  He also has a solo band that is very good as well.  Ripper Owens is not a singer to pass up.  He did an amazing job in Judas Priest and has done very well in all the other bands he has been apart of.  Look him up and check out his music.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Angelica, Walkin In Faith





     Walkin In Faith by Angelica is without a doubt one of my favorite records of all time.  I love every single song on the album and can't count how many times I have listened to its entirety.  Debuted in 1988, Angelica was a Christian band founded by guitarist, Dennis Cameron.  Sadly, they debuted too little too late, for in a few years grunge music would become the new thing and as a result the band disbanded in 1992.  It's a shame because these are all talented musicians, and if they debuted just a few years earlier they might have been right behind the big Christian band of the 80's,  Stryper.  As good as their music in general is, the one album I will recommend from this band without hesitation is Walkin in Faith.  

     Musically, what I love about this album is how much everybody put's into it.  From the melodic speed guitar solo's of Dennis Cameron, the heavy bass playing of Robert Pallen, and the intense high vocals of Jerome Mazza, everybody gives it their all.  The three songs that demonstrate this best on the album are Hold On, Bring Into Being, and Sing and Shout.  Both show cases the members talents well and you really get a good sense of their chemistry.  My personal favorite on this record is with out a doubt Sing and Shout.  The guitar driven intro in the song is awesome and the rest of the song is good heavy rock while at the same time being one of the most uplifting songs I have ever heard.  Like I heard a YouTube guy named Razorfist once say, some good Van Halen style worship. Check out some of these songs shown below.  


Sing And Shout
  

Bring Into Being

Hold On

     Lyrically, this albums is very successful in as well.  Much like Stryper, these guys are very open with their Christian Faith, and that message is made clear in this album.  The lyrics also flow very well together in every song which is always helpful when listening to a song with a message this driven.  Best song on the album lyrically is Hold On.  The lyric structure in that song flows very well and is much like a story.  With the verse being about being in your darkest hour, the pre chorus showing hope, and then the chorus being the light at the end of the tunnel you get a well written story in the form of a song.  

      It's a shame that this band's career was so short lived, because they are so talented and sounded so good together.   I feel they could have gone on to be a very good band.  The good news, is that what they did put out their is fantastic and is available.  I personally say that this entire album would make for some great worship music.  With the uplifting message and not afraid to express a humans painful side, the church could use this music.  If you are a Christian rocker, you need to get this album.  Even if you are not rocker and just like Christian music, you should get this album.  Also, if you are a fan of good 80's metal, this is an album you should get, Christian or not.  This album is on Spotify to listen to.  If you like it, the album is available on ITunes and Amazon, listen to it, buy it, love it.  

     
  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Top 10 The Legend of Zelda Ocarina Of Time Sound Track Songs




     When it comes to the Legend of Zelda games and their soundtracks the possibilities are endless.  Every game soundtrack is great and sounds amazing.  However though, for me the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time soundtrack will always be my favorite.  Composed by Koji Kondo, who has written the soundtracks for many Legend of Zelda and Mario titles really brought this game to life through these songs.  Everything from the Hyrule Field theme song to epic Ganadorf Battle theme is some of the best orchestra music I have heard in a long time.  It's catchy, it's memorable, and you can listen to it repeatedly in  the game and not get bothered by it.   There are many different variations of these songs to get, but the one I recommend is the performance done by the Trend Orchestra.  In my opinion, they do these songs more justice them most.  The performance is available on Itunes and I highly recommend it if you love this soundtrack like I do.  With that, check out my top ten songs from this amazing soundtrack.

10.  Fire Temple (Original Theme)

While the second version is still good, nothing beats the original.  I remember playing this temple for the first time and actually getting  scared and being on edge because of this song.  The music itself creates an weird feeling as soon as you enter and then when you hear the chanting, you start to freak out and feel like your walking through a haunted temple.  In the end it got changed and modified because the chants were that of an Islamic prayer.  It's a shame because the chants were a big part of giving this song it's scary feeling without them it didn't feel the same.  


9.  Ice Cavern Theme

This was a song that could have many moods depending where you are in the Ice Cavern.  If you are in an area with no enemies or danger it can sound beautiful and mystical.  However, if you know you are entering a room with danger in it, this song puts you on alert you are looking for something to come at you.  What's great is how simple the music is and yet be able to capture those moods.  It's only a few notes and it is only a minute long, yet you can get so many feelings with it and I think that is really cool.


8.  Lost Woods Theme

Without a doubt one of the most fun songs in the game.   With the dual leads and upbeat rhythm section you are in for a real entertaining song.  Which a nice addition when you are trying to navigate the Lost Woods, especially your first time through the game.  The song is also a good exploration song as well.  When you are going through the Lost Woods the tone of this songs encourages you to want to explore every aspect of it and not just get to the main phase.  



7. Middle Boss Theme

This is one of best battle songs ever.  Every time I fought a hard enemy this song made me feel like I was in a fight for my life and created that intense feeling when in combat.  The best example I can think of is when I fought Dark Link in the Water Temple.  The faster pace drum beat and the combination of  uneasy and intense music makes me anxious for a fight when I hear it.  



6.  Song of Storms

You can't do a list like this and leave out Song of Storms.  This is without a doubt one the most popular songs in the Ocarina of Time soundtrack and for good reason.  It's catchy, it's fun, and at the same time slightly mysterious.  The rhythm instruments are what create the fun and while there are some fun parts in the leads, they are what add the mystery in this song and it works very effectively. 



5.  Sheik's Theme

This is a very nice beautiful easy listening song that puts you in a good mood.  The harp playing is really good and while it sounds good in the game it is also fun to listen to when your not playing.  There have been plenty of time where I was lying around relaxing and I would put this song on to reinforce that feeling.  If you ever want a beautiful song to listen to while lying down, this is it.



4.  Zora's Domain Theme

This is song that is good for listening to while relaxing and/or sitting on the beach.  The simple drums and acoustic guitar work together perfectly to give that vibe.  It also works very well for the location it plays in, considering that the Zora's are water dwelling people, you can't do much better then this.  It was a really smart move on Nintendo's part to use this in the sequel because in my opinion there is no better song for the Zora's then this one.



3.  Hyrule Field Theme

This is a fun exploration theme song.  It is fun to listen to while you are exploring the games map and its uplifting and positive feel plays a part in you wanting to continue the game.  This also one the best orchestra songs in the entire game.  The rhythm section sound very good and all the different lead instruments and the combination's of those instruments used in the song makes it very unique and from many game soundtracks of the time and even today.  



2.  Gerudo Valley Theme

Another favorite from this games soundtrack.  The finger picking of the acoustic guitar is amazing with a good combo of classical and Latino music that is great.  The horns also deserve credit as well. their lead sections are good and when they combine it takes the sound to the next level.  In the game it fits the desert perfectly.  You feel in the right location when listening to it in the desert and this is the kind song that could of also worked in old westerns back in the day.  One movie that comes to mind is John Wayne's The Alamo.  Now, you may not notice the similarities right away but trust me, they are there.  



1.  Spirit Temple Theme

Out of all the temple themes in this game this one is my favorite.  Not only does it match the Egyptian feel perfectly but its mysterious and eerie sound it makes the spirit temple experience truly feel unique and very much like walking through an Egyptian palace.  What makes this really different from all the other temples is that while it is mysterious, it isn't haunting.  I never feel on edge or freaked out at all when listening to it.  In fact, I actually find it helpful in not only getting me through the temple, but actually wanting to explore it and collect everything. It is because of that difference that this is my favorite temple song.  





      

     

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Iced Earth, The Glorious Burden

 



    I don't think there are many albums that combine War History, and Metal as well as The Glorious Burden from Iced Earth.  From the opening instrumental Star Spangled Banner, to the heavy Hold At All Costs, this is without a doubt one of the best albums not just in Iced Earth's discography, but in Metal.

     The first thing this album has going for it is the amazing vocals.  With the great Ripper Owens joining this band after his time with Judas Priest he brings the same amazing vocal work from that band into Iced Earth.  Not only does he show the high voice he had when in Judas Priest, he also has a deeper range to the point where some times he sounds like James Hetfield from Metallica.  The guy has a good range giving the album many directions to go vocally.  The backing vocals on the album are to be admired as well.  With the backing vocals sounding very haunting, it truly gives you a feeling of horror of what it is like to be in the middle of battle.  One of the best songs that demonstrates this is The Devil to Pay.  The chorus in that song is very chilling and gives a great effect of war.

      The music on this album is very well composed and flows very well.  Guitar player Jon Schaffer composes some real heavy rhythm guitar while delivering amazing melodic duel lead guitar on the album.  The 2 songs that demonstrates this best from my perspective are Declaration Day and Hold at All Costs.  Both have great heavy guitar while giving us some great melodic leads that are almost, if not just as good as, Iron Maiden songs.

Lyrically this one of my favorite albums ever.  Almost every song on the album is about a specific battle or event in war history.  Declaration Day being about the beginning of the American Revolution, and Waterloo being about the Battle of Waterloo you basically get a history lesson in the form of some awesome music.  The biggest highlight though is the final three songs that are about each day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  This section operates like a concept record telling the story of the events of all three days of one of the bloodiest battles fought on American Soil.  Big Props to Jon Schaffer on not only composing great music, but also writing some of the best lyrics I have seen.

If you are a history lover you should get this record, if you are a metal head you should get this record, and if you are both then you need this record.  With great lyrics and brilliant composition, this is an album that is all power and no filler.  The Glorious Burden is available on Itunes, but I actually recommend getting a physical copy of this record if possible.  The artwork is amazing and when you have and album like this, a physical copy does it justice.  Click on some of the links below to preview some songs, and if you like them buy them, and the rest of the album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuzltpk-q_g  (Hold At All Costs)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i-chlRhdAU  (Declaration Day)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dadaroma Risley Circus Review



     Dadaroma is defiantly one of the most Goth and darkest Visual Kei bands I have ever seen, and it is a trend they carry well into their song, Risley Circus.  Dadaroma is a band that is known for their very dark goth looks and their dark creepy sounding music.  I tend to think of these guys as like a Japanese Marilyn Manson.  They debuted in 2014 at an Aids Medication festival in japan and while they are not one of the biggest visual kei bands ever they have developed a good cult following which is a good sign for them considering that this band is only 3 years old.

     Musically, there is a lot I like about this song. If you ask me, the music fits the songs title very well, you feel like your in a strange circus while listening to it and that is nice bonus points to add to this song.  The opening drum and guitar combination is really cool and the singers creepy sounding monologue makes a great intro to the song.  I also think the main intro is guitar riff played by Takashi is pretty cool.  Same is to be said of the bands drummer, Yusuke.  Yoshiatsu delivers some pretty good vocals on this song.  With a spooky monologue and verse he then moves into a more melodic pre chorus that follows up with a melodic chorus.  I do think the solo section could have been a little bit better though.  I feel it was a little repetitive and could have been a little bit longer.  However, overall the music is pretty good.

     Lyrically, the song is pretty good as well.  Just like the music, it matches the the title of the song perfectly.  It is basically talking about wanting attention in a circus and the things that people are willing to do and the dangers they will take for that attention.  Whether there is an underlining message or not, I will leave up to you to decide.

    The music video, again, matches the title of the song perfectly.  The set basically looks like a deranged group of circus people, with the singer looking like a scary clown and the rest of the band having their typical goth look.  However, their look does blend in well with this particular set.  The only problems I have with this video is its opening and the girl featured in it.  I personally feel like the opening dragged out a little longer then it needed to.  As for the girl, I feel like she was not necessary and the video would have been fine with out her in it.  Having said that, the music video is still pretty good and worth checking out.

This is a pretty good song, and one I think is worth a buy for sure.  While I don't think these guys are great musicians, they are still good and know how to play to their strengths.  With the singers spooky vocals and the good combo work of the drums and guitar you have a great song.  Considering all that I give the song a 4 out of 5

Friday, April 7, 2017

5 Girl Group KPop Songs To Check Out

     KPop is a very interesting genre, with it's over the top videos and dancing it has become a genre that has captured peoples attention all over the internet making it very successful.  To be honest when I first heard of KPop I didn't have much confidence in it.  I was impressed that it was making an impact in America, but I also thought that it would be short lived and would crash and burn very fast.  To my surprise it not only survived but it has also has only grown in popularity.  (I'm still not a fan of the guy groups though, sorry Shinee and Big Bang).  With Girls Generation winning video of the year at the YouTube music video awards, Sistar being featured on family guy, and 2NE1 appearing on The Bachelor and America's Next Top Model KPop has certainly come a long way in the American music scene.  While I don't consider myself a big fan of the genre, there are some groups I have come to enjoy listening to and like much better then a lot of modern American Pop Stars.  It isn't because they are better song writers or have more substance, it's that what they lack in substance they make up for in musical talent.  Some of these artists are damn good soulful singers and make me willing to pick them over Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus any day.  With that, lets get started.

2NE1: Goodbye

     While I am not a big fan of 2NE1 I got to give them big props for their farewell song "Goodbye".   This is truly a song from the heart,  while listening to it you can hear the girls sadness and pain.  CL wrote the lyrics to the song and she does not hold back her thoughts and feelings.  The acoustic guitar sets the mood perfectly and you know your in for a sad song before the girls even start singing.  This is not very common in Kpop that I have seen so far, so to see this kind of approach to a song felt fresh, it's just sad that it is their farewell song. The music video portrays the girls pain and sadness very well.  While I was watching it I could not help but to feel bad for the girls even though I am not really a fan.   I like this song because, unlike how many artists and bands do a farewell show or a farewell tour to try to end on a high note, these girls instead are being genuine with their audience and saying that they are not happy that they are disbanding.  Not only that but the music and vocals are very conveying to the point that someone like me who is not a big fan of 2NE1 feels bad that they are disbanding, and for that I recommend this song.   

Sistar: I Swear

   Next is the fun sounding I swear by Sistar.  One thing that stands out is Hyorin's vocals.  The girl is a great singer and it makes total sense to me why she is the groups leader.  Soyou's vocals are also worth noting. I also like the music for the song as well. I like the horn jam and the funk like rthym seciton supporting the horns.  I also like the music video as well.   Where as most KPop music videos are very over the top with crazy sets and stages, this one is more simple.  Really, it is just simply showing the girls having fun with life by swimming and hanging out in their car.  While their is still many different shooting sets like in most KPop videos it isn't over the top and it's nice to see every once in a while in KPOP. If you like good fun sounding KPop, this song is for you.

Taeyeon: Make Me Love You


   Taeyeon's talent in her main group "Girls Generation" carries well over into her solo career and her latest song "Make Me Love You" is a great example of that.  This is a good easy listening song that makes you feel good and is pleasant to listen to with your spouse, weather they speak Korean or not.  The biggest aspect of the song is definitely Taeyon herself.  She's got a great voice and where some KPop singers have an accent when they sing in English, you really don't notice it with her.  All the English she sings is fluent and crystal clear. This is also another music video that I loved.  It leans more towards the standard KPop video formula but it fits the song very well and the camera movements are awesome. I'm big fan of close ups and camera movements and this video executes both of the well. 


Girl's Day: I Miss You 


      I Miss You by Girl's Day is another good KPop ballad.  However, where as Make Me Love You is about longing to be in a relationship, I Miss You is a break up song about breaking up with your ex and longing to move on from that relationship.  All four girls sound good with Hyeri and Minah taking lead and for good reason, their voices fit the tone this song is going for perfectly.  The piano and acoustic guitar are very simple, but sometimes in a song like this that is exactly what you need.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for technicality and trying to take your music to the next level.  However, sometimes you don't need to and this song is a good example of that.  Out of all the KPop videos I have on the list this is the most simple out of all of them.  There is not much to the sets and the camera movements and angles are nothing too fancy.  However, for a song like this that is a good thing.  Again, sometimes simplicity is better then technicality.  

Girls Generation: Way To Go




     As a rocker this song naturally caught my attention.  With it's heavy guitar and faster pace music I came to really like this song.  One thing I have always liked about Girls Generation is that, even though there are 9 members, (at the time of this song), they all get a decent amount of time and they all sound good vocally.  Like I established already, I like the music a lot compared to a lot of KPop songs.  The guitar is simple chords and riffs, but it works well, especially in a music scene where you don't hear it that often.  The music video is pretty much them having fun singing the song in front of a single camera and a bunch of behind the scenes footage of their set for Gee, the main music video.  While this is not Girls Generation's biggest song, it is good and in my opinion one of their best live songs.  If they ever performed this song with a live band it would sound great.  This song is for those who, like myself, lean more towards rock n roll.  If you are looking for some rock in KPop, then you should check this song out.