yes we can go back to breathing now

I kept all the possible fingers crossed for this, and then some. Not just because Stet has been one of my alltime favourite drummers since forever. But because he’s really the best drummer for Metal Church today.

Jeff Plate is a good drummer, but rather… straightforward. At least, with the Church. You could probably think of him as following the style Dave Holland mostly kept to while with Judas effing Priest. Economical, to the point, you know the drill.

Stet is Stet is Stet. His playing is… lush. Yeah, this is the best word I can find. He is different enough from Kirk Arrington, the original drummer, but they share the same intensity and freedom. They create a foundation that breathes. Which is the perfect complement to those little rhythmic shifts and accents you find in Mike’s melodic phrasing.


PS I still owe y’all that concert review! I remember!

it’s out

The FLAC version off Nuclear Blast’s website doesn’t seem to be up yet, but the iTunes version is rolled out already (booklet included).


…and I still owe you an impression of the Metal Church gig last Sunday. Still on the lookout for more videos (and trying to find the right words, yeah).

everything’s under control (c)

Okay, the topic of suicide in metal lyrics, you say, Kettu, you criticise the way Orden Ogan did that, now who did that right?


Dontcha know.

Cantcha guess.

Funny how both these songs ended up as “official promo videos”. Funny how both are sorta kinda edited out of live footage. Because how the hell are you going to stage a story to that?

In chronological order. 1993, the USA. 1995, Germany.

Nothing is framed as certain in the character/narrator’s fate. And yet..

Whether this narrator is more optimistic or not, is up to you to decide.

I hope Liv Kristine is going to…

…be more choosy onwards when it comes to collaborations.

Orden Ogan is one of those bands that are not bad and seem to have amassed a considerable fandom, but fail to impress me specifically. Now, this particular song is definitely way too repetitive. There is an interesting variation towards the end, but then we go back again to that chorus that is simply overdone. Good melody line, but it doesn’t develop anywhere.
And those lyrics, hey they definitely glorify suicide. The band may have thought they were writing that in-character, demonic, for a concept album (maybe? no idea if it’s going to be a concept one); they may have thought they were “exploring” the point of view of a clinically depressed person (was that sudden switch to “light” at the end meant to signify the light at the end of the tunnel? nah, even if it were, it is a failure – there is no musical weight assigned to those lines, they’re entirely disposable in the whole context); but out of context, it just sounds cheesy at best. There is no depth to those lyrics. The very premise of the narrator trying to – ahem – seduce someone else into killing themselves… I mean, if it were the 90s, yeah sure all the way. Goth was goth back then, we knew how to play those games.
But goth is dead.
I’m not some politically correct wimp. I actually do believe that there is a place for suicide in certain circumstances.
There is a difference between writing lyrics that are personal, conversational, intimate, if you wish – “the only way to get out soon is suicide” (c) Hansi Kürsch, Born in the Mourning Hall, just how much more direct can it get? – lyrics that reflect your own inner monologue (whether you are actually medically suicidal or not is irrelevant; a phrase like this is what everyone, outside those clinically manic and implausibly pampered, must’ve surely thought at least once in their lives), and playing a coy game with the audience.

promises promises

I did play with G8F a bit, but haven’t yet put together a render I could like. Which is like the whole point of “reviewing” the package.
So, more rock’n’roll, dudes and dudettes (and anyone else in-between and out the spectrum).

I got recently reminded that this cover exists.

Actually I have the whole album somewhere, I believe, but the production is just… unimpressive. It’s a bit better outside this overcompressed youtube version, but very sterile.
And yet.
Ain’t he plain out phenomenal on this.

It’s not a well-publicised fact about myself – because I don’t really talk about it much – but Jani Lane is one of my – okay, here comes that rarely used word that fits – idols. It’s customary to spit out “Poison-Warrant-FasterPussycat-whateverpopmetalhasbeenyoucancomeupwith” in a single breath – but hell. I realised it’s an unfair sort of – ahem – classification, the moment I heard freaking Cherry Pie on the radio.
Yes, this very fact should tell you this was well over ten years ago, when I still listened to FM radio here in Moscow. Closer to fifteen, like.

Jani Lane was an unbelievable songwriter and quite possibly the best “glam metal” singer of the whole scene.

In the 00s, when Jani was still alive, saying that you’re a Warrant fan could mean being ostracised from just about any metal or even “glam” community. Things have sort of changed since he died – the way they always do *rolls eyes* – but it doesn’t make it easier for me to talk about him. His whole life was one downward spiral. And he found no redemption. It’s just so sad.

So let’s just remember that weird Rush tribute album on Magna Carta, shall we. If there was a tribute that sparkled one holywar too many, it was this.

Jani Lane, lead vocals; Alex Skolnick, lead guitar.
Yup. Gotta love that combination.
Now, generally, whenever Alex plays a cover, it sort of transcends the very idea of “weird”…

Oh, and of course, Warrant’s own stuff. Just one example. One of my favourite tracks.
The better bands of the late 80s/early 90s consistently had awful album covers (interestingly how Lizzy Borden managed to have quite tolerable ones for the 1987 and 1989 releases, though), so I’ll go with a new!MadMax fanvid to represent this song. Even though I’m not a fan of the whole MadMax franchise. Not even the old stuff. Yeah, sue me.
Still, Dog Eat Dog is consistently dark lyrically and imaginative musically. Just don’t look at the cover.

Obligatory live version (audio only). No idea if Jani was ever fully sober onstage, but he delivered 100% every time.

…no retreat!

The Bards are apparently compensating the fandom for all those variously horrid (or simply missing) promo videos over the years =)

Frederick the drummer had a birthday on Wednesday but we weren’t celebrating it here much because it’s not an anniversary yet =) Either way, fun fact: Frederick is the youngest Bard and the only one who has actual music education.

And a couple of fan bootleg vids from a recent (June 16th) RockFels appearance – Prophecies is sadly incomplete, but just in case…

I have to say that this stage looks _a_w_e_s_o_m_e_.

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?