not all awesome singers…

…are amazing lyricists.

That’s Anneke van Giersbergen, and yes, same as Tarja, she isn’t exactly young but somehow still feels she needs that sort of stage clothing to sell the music. Okay, whatever makes them and their fans happy, I guess. Thankfully I got other style icons.

But the point is – I don’t know for sure who writes lyrics for Tarja’s solo stuff, and yet they are quite good. On the other hand, Ms Giersbergen has been writing lyrics for like twenty-five years, I guess, and, well, let’s just say I don’t see any progress (the lyrics to the song above you can find in the comments on youtube). You will probably call it “style”. Anyway, that writing style is the reason why I physically cannot listen to Anneke stuff, even though I have adored her voice since forever.

Nonsensical syllables, I say. Pseudolanguages, I say. All the way. Just not that sort of whatever it is. Please.

…anyone remember those Beauty in Darkness DVDs?

I don’t know what I think about it

The singing is awesome. The lyrics, not so much. Why don’t you people just use nonsensical syllables instead of doing weird things to innocent words? That would be way more mysterious and interesting, IMO. Or you can always just use vowels. Why not?!

The video… okay, avalanche, avalalalavalanche, I thought they are a mountain thing, not a desert one.
And then…
Did you, o esteemed Anna Murphy, really need all that fanservice to sell the song?

that Sabbath was “my” Sabbath

Dehumanizer may’ve been my first Sabbath album and remains one of the two top favourites to this day music-wise, the other being Sabbath Bloody Sabbath obviously, but the Tony Martin years were the time I have a special emotional connection to.
Again, Tony is way more of a rock singer than a metal one. But isn’t it the same with Ozzy? Supposing Mr Osbourne qualifies as a singer at all. While Mr Martin does.
Yes he is very light. Very, I daresay, lyrical. But damn ain’t he agile! Exactly because he doesn’t have to haul around all the weight.

And don’t forget that Cozy Powell was there for a few years, too.

One studio track and two live versions of another – one with Sabbath in freaking Soviet Union, the other with a solo band a gazillion years later.

and here, o dear ladies, gentlemen and young ones of all ages…

…we hear what a badly set up compressor can do to your live sound.

I have an audience recording of this show (it’s also on youtube), and I have wondered about the vocals – audience recordings are always hit or miss; a lot will depend on the particular recording equipment, any frequency band can drop out. Now that I have found this clip, I understand that it’s not just about the camera; the problem was what was coming out of the PA.
But the problem here, contrary to what the comments speculate, isn’t that Hansi was that ill or whatever, really. I’m not sure he even was. He did have certain “register blending” issues all over the late 90s and early 2000s – I’m using inverted commas because these aren’t limited to your traditional concepts of vocal registers aka mechanisms; we’re also dealing with extended technique here, that raspy thing. But really, most of the time – with Blind Guardian and their magically oiled touring machine – he managed just fine (outside of shows like Moscow 2002 where our gruesome reality likely threw his monitors off big time and caused all sorts of WTF).

Why does his lead part sound so freaking weird here, then?

Because from the sound engineering point of view, getting a mixed-technique vocal line to survive electronic processing required for amplification and recording is not exactly a trivial task (I’m speaking from experience).

The thing about classically informed clean singing is that it carries effing well. It’s designed for that. With a peak around the “singer’s formant” range.

Whenever you manipulate your instrument to produce extended technique sounds – or even “folk” style sounds – your peak frequencies shift.

So if you have a multi-band compressor set up way too far on a way narrow band (around the traditional singer’s formant frequencies), or an equaliser in your FX chain before the compressor, again, emphasising the singer’s formant (but this time your “generic” compressor is too lax)… you’ll get this weird overdone dynamics that actually sounds wrong because cleans shouldn’t overshadow those aggressive parts, y’know. And yet it happens because your cleans are focused already, they don’t need that extra boost, while the “harsh” parts could use some because the energy of your sound wave gets kinda dissipated when you add rasp via this particular technique. But the frequency band is selected incorrectly.
That’s all.

Other than that, Demons and Wizards was the band where Hansi the frontman was born. Remember, it wasn’t easy for him to transition from hiding behind a bass guitar to just being up there with nothing but a mike stand for company.

this is actually weird…

…that someone as not exactly opposed to recording (consistently excellent) covers as Hansi Kürsch never released studio versions of those tracks Demons and Wizards played live (when they were playing live, which wasn’t long cuz other commitments =)) To be honest, I’d take either the Maiden cover or the AC/DC one over that Immigrant Song that came with the Touched by the Crimson King album.

Here are two Maiden versions: with more audience participation…

…and a bit less of that:

The AC/DC one is positively phenomenal:

heresy. more of it.

What I’ve never been is a fan of Iron Maiden on the whole or of Bruce Dickinson specifically. I really like the DiAnno albums, but other than that…
I do acknowledge Maiden’s enormous importance in the history of metal as we love it – Rainbow, Judas Priest and Scorpions may have been the first dudes to figure out the simple fact that hard rock needed to be cleansed of all the sins that the bastardised blues had ever committed, and Rush were playing “progressive metal” when the very idea of “metal” wasn’t even truly defined, but it was Maiden who sort of took all their ore snippets, refined them, and forged the template that anyone could use.
I do realise that Bruce Dickinson is a historical figure.
But I can’t make myself enjoy his voice. Blame it on hearing Dio and Graham Bonnett too early in my life. The way Bruce had always been lauded in the press made me expect a voice that could literally blow these two offstage… yeah right.
Not that Robin McAuley could do that either. He’s got what basically is a rock voice, too limited to work in a metal context at all. And yet. There’s a certain charming character to his timbre that I have been irrationally fond of since the moment I heard MSG’s What Happens to Me on an old pirated cassette tape.
Turns out a quality song like Run to the Hills works with a rock voice, too.

That particular tribute also features impressive performances from Dee Snider, Joe Lynn Turner and Mark Slaughter. Yeah, those dudes who can sing (or at least could; Slaughter seems to have developed some problems), but whose recorded output mostly consists of rather awkward and boring hard rock. So, to me, that tribute CD is one of the highest points of their careers.

<3 <3 <3

This song is dangerously close to being my favourite song of all time – at least, one of the two BG songs I’m literally obsessed with, the first one being Bright Eyes. But I swear half my youtube history is bootleg live shots of Prophecies.

And now this! Awwww.

Check out the story about how Frederik Ehmke was putting the vid together!

And here you can get the singles (and older stuff) in FLAC format! C’mon, nothing beats lossless.

Oh, and now that the Bards are hinting they’re not going to tour for the next couple of years after they’re done with the summer dates, what does it mean? Yes. Yes. Don’t say it out loud, lest it be jinxed.

speaking of melodies to latch on

The classic Rage period had those aplenty, both in lead vocal melodies, in guitar parts, and in orchestral parts as well. Yes they had quite a lot of orchestrations during that time  – which is basically “nineties plus”, ending with Soundchaser (2003). Soundchaser I would personally call a “transitional” kinda record – they were trying to become kinda heavier, which isn’t bad per se, it’s just that the melodies got somehow downplayed in the process and not supported throughout the whole instrumental fabric anymore. Maybe this is why there is a backlash against Smolski, but I don’t get it. It’s not like you can publish any material under the name “Rage” without Peavy looming over you. They’re both to blame, if anything.

But when there was Smolski, there was hope. The dude has DA TONE ™, and while yes he can shred along with the Dario Lorinas of this world, he can also play those coveted oldschool melodic leads.

I just can’t seem to really like the contributions of the new guitarist, Marcos Rodríguez. The 2016 record seemed to be written in a way that attempted to mix “classic” and “new” approaches, but here’s the thing: the attempt didn’t exactly work IMO. Either the problem is the new dude’s less bitey tone (even as compared to the tone Schmidt had in the early 90s, yes – he had a damn powerful one), or again, the general structure.

There is a new record about to be released, and here’s a promo vid for one of the songs.

The good thing about the song is that it seems to be melody-centric, and the riffing supports the vocal leads relatively well. Notice the “relatively” thing. I’m trying to figure out if it’s my bias or something more objective. The guitar tone here is definitely on the wimpier side, but maybe this one is supposed to be the ballad? // as ballad-y as it gets with Herr Wagner, sure //

How does it stand against the original studio version of Set the World on Fire?