these are in FastGrab today…

…and I confess I do not see the point.

The alterations these – or any other “bend fixers” for Genesis 2 and beyond – bring are minuscule. I need to really scrutinise the renders to see the difference. It’s not Gen4 or earlier Poser stuff, where the improvements introduced by similar products jump out of the screen.

And none of those ever made raised-arm poses look believable.

Is it just me?

PS I think I’ve only seen two “hand fixers” in my life: one for Genesis, which makes the results even less realistic IMO (at least when I compare the promo renders to my own hands); the other for G3F, which I have obviously not even looked at because I use G3 in a very limited capacity (and actually I’m thinking about transferring those morphs back onto a more manageable figure like the original Genesis…). Which is weird because hands are the second most important thing in portraiture after the face.

a question to native speakers of English…

…who also happen to be metal fans.

Why do many American reviewers seem to be obsessed with accents the singers have? And not in the way I would expect – not necessarily bashing those who have never bothered to actually pronounce English words, but more like, y’know, being fascinated by someone’s “subtle accent”.

Okay it’s subtle. Good thing it is subtle. Bad thing it actually is noticeable, but hey. We have forever had to bear with classical singers butchering various European languages to various degrees. Kinda… yeah.

But why the need to point this out at all? And in words that suggest some of those reviewers actually may _enjoy_ a singer displaying an accent?! Not “hey it’s subtle, which is awesome because I have had enough of Mr Kakko’s one!” – but “oooh a subtle accent, neeeeaaaaat”.

Is it a fetish or something?!

I personally hate it that we Europeans can’t speak perfectly unaccented English. Not without extensive training, at least; and most singers can barely afford to pay attention… yeah right, I mean, afford to actually get vocal training. Though there is that (rather large) number of people who clearly never paid attention at school, like, at all. I happen to love some of them regardless, and yet. I don’t understand why they are not being constantly bashed in every review and by every English-speaking producer and reporter they run into. I am normally against bullying, but sometimes I’m not sure anything but brute force could work. You have to be incredibly full of yourself to go on singing on an international level when your English doesn’t sound like English at all. Not like you’re forbidden to write songs in your first language, huh? And often, the worse your pronunciation is, the worse your lyrics are – bad grammar, horrible vocabulary, this sort of bad. It’s hard to see anything artistic in a mess like that.

Is it just me?

oh the balance

The lyric vid: just about perfect, nothing is jumping around, the font is legible yet not goddamn ugly.

The lyrics: yeah right, starting a song out with that sort of grammar blunder is so metal it hurts; and it’s not the only spot that makes me kinda fume. It’s 2017. You can learn English for free online. You can ask your native speaker friends to go through your lyrics and your pronunciation. Elisa, I love your voice, but this sloppy attitude to your working language is so 1992 it’s unforgivable. Makes me irrationally want to butcher some Spanish in return.

The music: flower/prog is what Elisa’s Hamka has always been about, but JB’s drums… supposing these are actual drums and not a sequencer… dude, either lose the triggers or use better samples. Or do something to your tracks when mixing.

But of course, the focal point is Elisa’s voice. And there’s no denying she’s one of the best metal vocalists ever.

Those drums, though, now talk about distracting.

some people definitely have too much time and talent =)

There’s that dude I follow on youtube who plays guitar, sings (both clean and extreme) and in general records amazing ambitious covers, always fairly faithful to the original and yet with a touch of his own. And this time he (and a couple friends to help out with choirs) outdid himself.

You are reading that right. It’s a cover of ATTWS. Mind.blown.
Go give the kid some love, he deserves it.

my firm conviction is…

…most metal album covers suck. Some more than others.

It’s obviously subjective, like any opinion re:anything “artistic”. But it’s funny how people differ in that regard. If you take the time to read the comments to that news item I linked to in the previous post, you’ll see some love the new live album cover, some aren’t that impressed.

I’m personally kinda torn – on the one hand, it’s so damn dark; c’mon dudes, you are not Lucifer’s Heritage anymore, are you. On the other hand, it has that 90s feel and a vague Heretic/Hexen flair, and in terms of subject matter there is nothing idiotic going on, so it’s awesome in that regard.

And then there is a book advertised which deals with all those metal covers, y’know, including Blind Guardian’s A Night at the Opera. I adore that album (can’t even begin to express just _how_ much), but I’ve always thought it had one of the worst covers the Bards ever allowed to happen, if not _the_ worst. Not exactly as bad as the one (dis)gracing Hanging in the Balance by Metal Church (rly, a superb record in every aspect save for that atrocity – and the band had thought a couple years before that that their Human Factor cover was weird! at least that one had a photo that was rather easy on the eyes)…
And apparently there are people out there who like the ANATO cover.

That reminds me that one of my fanart plans is to finally make decent covers for the records I like. To spare meself the horror while looking at the media player screen, y’know.

One more reason to survive June, again.

more reasons to survive June

The Bards are releasing their 3CD live opus July 7th – I counted seven tracks written after the “Live 2003” one was released, which is not bad. Although I was hoping for The Curse of Fëanor and Miracle Machine, at the very least – since, to be honest, of course, Blind Guardian do not _need_ all those classics like Valhalla up there once again, but there is always label pressure, and probably fandom pressure from certain parts thereof.

Well, there is always the bonus track paradigm *rolls eyes*. I just hope they aren’t going to sneak anything interesting on the vinyl edition because I am not buying vinyl, period. I am not _that_ old or tr00-n-olesk00l, y’know.

*eyes the FLAC download section of the Nuclear Blast website* You’d better get it there on time, folks.

…and yes probably iTunes too because it may well carry the booklet and NB doesn’t seem to bother.

can’t figure it out ATM…

…what exactly the refrain reminds me of, but the whole song is on the level of the Cleanse the Bloodlines one – legit melodeath rather than that “flower/core” blend their stuff sounded like on the previous albums. Partly I guess it’s because of improved guitar tone, but the whole songwriting approach has shifted, and I applaud the move.

The lyric vid itself, though… *shakes head* Yeah it’s legible, but the yellow sans font is kinda ridiculous in the context. And why all the vertigo-inducing motion, huh? Cuz trendy?

more anniversaries

André Olbrich, the one responsible for at least 60% of Blind Guardian’s music (that’s what Hansi says!), is 50 today.

His name somehow doesn’t seem to pop up much in all those “best guitarist” lists – and Hansi even gets asked why is that and what André feels about it (well, obviously Hansi gets asked about everything because that’s the frontperson’s job). And Hansi says that thankfully, André doesn’t care – as long as Blind Guardian can carry on and André can keep on writing music, it’s all fine.

According to Hansi, again, at the moment André is already writing new stuff for the Bards. And the orchestral album is getting closer to being finished, and the live one is being mixed… all guns blazing.

Let’s see what we’ve got here… twelve minutes of André’s solos from the Imaginations DVD; and why not Grand Parade, the non-bonus-track closer from their 2015 LP, which the Bards describe as probably the best song they’ve written by now. A real orchestra, tempo and tuning changes, anything you may ever wish for. Remember: the person behind the instrumental splendour is André.

And for those who can stomach a yet another Judas Priest cover with Ralf Scheepers on vocals (yeah, that ex-Gamma Ray dude who could’ve been there instead of Ripper Owens)…

there’s that band called…

…Nightmare, which was technically formed in the 1980s.

It’s a French band.

But you won’t ever tell either of these facts if you just listen to some of their latest stuff.

First, the only link between the original and the current line-ups is the bass player.

Next, currently they play a mix of melodeath and American power metal.

Right now they’re fronted by the amazing Belgian singer Magali “Maggy” Luyten, who is something of a female Chuck Billy: one of the few aggressive melodic singers who seamlessly blend in growling (not screaming) into their style. Moreover, same as Chuck, she doesn’t flip into head voice that often. Her tessitura obviously sits higher than that of Chuck’s, but hers is still a voice that some mistake for that of a dude’s.

You can kinda tell I adore her =)

Her older stuff ranges from similarly heavy Virus IV to a Europower collaboration with Helloween’s Uli Kusch in the form of the Beautiful Sin project, with proggy stuff like Ayreon inbetween. And she even records some pop rock covers for fun.