some definitely wonder…

…why the hell this particular Russian fox is so obsessed with gnawing at everyone within reach who happen to be saying incorrect stuff about singing in general and singing in metal specifically.

Look here. Find “Halford vs Dickinson”.

That’s your pop media in action.


“… some of the greatest vocalists only have/had  a few octaves in the bag”.

I’m honestly tired of trying to come up with snarky remarks about this depth and breadth of knowledge.

Of course, the ignorance doesn’t end here – the schtick about the lyrics is ridiculous in this context because Dickinson didn’t have that much to do with Maiden lyrics.

But we’re talking about the instrument that nearly everyone possesses since birth – and yet it’s an instrument beyond precious because you can’t just change a string if one snaps. It’s an instrument you can’t see yourself play, which means fixing issues of technique is not a trivial task, even for the best teacher in the world. And issues are bound to happen because we (ab;mis)use the same instrument every day for social communication, and our society is FUCKED UP (no other words work here) enough to impinge on each and every aspect of healthy functioning of our minds and bodies (which need to be perfectly balanced and coordinated for our voices not to self-destruct).

It’s an instrument that requires tremendous attention, care and respect.

All the things that our cultures do not foster in this regard.

Pop media disseminates all this ignorant crap. Random weirdos who found themselves at various levels of stardom make it even worse – think of all the “singers” who will tell you how they always party but never warm up.

As a result, young kids grow up with their minds majorly messed up re:singing.

Which is why the myth that a singer has an expiration date well before they are dead is kinda true. About a bad singer.

I don’t need any more bad singers on this planet.

I don’t need any extra pain and suffering.



nothing to prove; nothing to lose

Leather used to be one of the best singers in metal back then in the 80s (which few people knew about, and yet).

Back then, she sang for David T Chastain, who played neoclassical/USPM (back then!). Decidedly non-commercial, but very enjoyable.

Then she “retired from the music business”. Seemingly forever. But when Ronnie James Dio (her idol, and I’m not using this word lightly) passed away, she decided to get back. Umm yeah, I know how it sounds, but that’s what she says. Either way, it was around 2011; she had a short-lived project with Sandy Sledge, who used to be the drummer in Leather’s pre-Chastain bands, and then she did two records with Chastain again.

Continue reading “nothing to prove; nothing to lose”

come: rooftop. bring your money (c)

Also available on iTunes.

I’ll go the iTunes route cuz regional pricing: musically, this is not the bee’s knees. Just… okay.

But it is so freaking audacious that I want to support these folks.

PS Title quoted from an “obscure text” by Michael Kirkbride – about the humble origins of the Dunmeri (ex-)god depicted on the album cover:

PPS The cover artist has a Slavic name. It’s a trend in the fandom.

where are they now, Russian edition

Well, I honestly don’t know what happened to the instrumentalists, but Nikolay Noskov is still damn big here in Russia. He long stopped playing this sort of VanHagar-lite rock, but he’s still one of the best male singers in our pop scene.

Gorky Park’s second singer, actually their bassist Alexandr “Marshal” Minkov, was never half as good, and when GP fell apart some time in the late 1990s/early 2000s, lost any and all musical credibility very quickly.

// yes Noskov’s solo stuff is musically way less interesting than Gorky Park even (imagine that!!), but as compared to the utter garbage Marshal plays these days, Noskov is amazing //

But damn, Stare was a fun song. Don’t expect me to make any sense of the lyrics, though =D


you’d better believe him

Mike Howe covering Priest’s Killing Machine. I do realise that it must’ve been one of those tracks he cut his teeth on, back then in his home town with his first cover band. And yet.

There are a few other interesting performances in this video as well. Even Stet Howland, who’s thankfully alive (no thanks to the WASP fandom and his ex-employer), plays a couple of tunes.

One thing I noticed about these 70K jam series over the years is that the ladies of symphonic metal (and “metal”) are quite confident. For instance, here Capri of Amberian Dawn doesn’t seem to be anyhow intimidated by the misfortune of going onstage after Mr Howe (if you ask me, I’d rather jump off the boat instead). And she’s not afraid to sing a Maiden classic in her pop rock style. Dressed the way she is. All the while – I’m pretty sure – knowing that she’d get the sort of comments she got already (check out the youtube page of this vid; sad but true ™). And yet, she went and delivered.

That, o dear readers, takes ballz.

// yes performing dressed the way MH is dressed here also takes ballz, but that’s not the point //

synths do not progmetal make, o Arjen

This is a preview of that mega Ayreon DVD. The chances of me ever getting it are damn slim because no store I know of sells DVDs as digital downloads and I do not buy physical media unless I’m attending a gig… but that’s not really relevant.

What matters is that the editors made a very annoying mistake several times in a row.

Okay I get it, Hansi messed up something in the chorus and they decided to fix it by turning the backing vox up to eleven. Good. Smart.

But why would the video editor ever cut to Hansi then, right at the very moment when you can’t hear anything but the backing vox? It’s just so jarring, so disconcerting. When editing lives, you cut to whoever matters sonically at a given moment. You try to make it a natural experience, and we bipedal unfeathered look at the source of the sound that dominates. At least, that’s the way all good lives I’ve seen in my life were done.

That’s the biggest complaint. It just screams incompetence. Arrrrgh EXTERMINATE.

Complaint no. 2 is the mix overall. It’s uneven; it’s plastic. But I can let it slide because let’s face it, most metal (and “metal”) mixes over the last twenty+ years have been meh. For understandable reasons. Shame, but good sound engineers don’t grow on trees.

Complaint no. 3: it’s third place because it’s been expected. The music itself. I have said it before, I’m anything but a fan of Ayreon. Lucassen has never been a lyricist of the caliber that would impress me; and musically, Ayreon is just very emphatically not.metal. It’s pop music. Hard rock at most. No virtuosity would ever change that. It’s not a problem per se, y’know; but it’s a problem when it gets marketed as “metal”. “Prog metal”, to boot.

Most prog metal is, of course, not even remotely truly progressive; it’s all same old same old chromatic guitar noodling and showy synth runs. Like the ones featured here. But at least prog metal is trying to be “uncommercial” by flirting with unconventional harmonies, experimenting with rhythm, borrowing riffs from thrash and death…

Nothing of the sort here. This music is saccharine. Probably it’s exactly the reason why it’s so popular. Outside of the clever “all star singer cast” marketing.

See, I wouldn’t be talking about this if it weren’t for people like Hansi, Floor and Maggy.

Complaint no. 4: a real petty and silly one, but hey. Suppressing emotions is bad for your (my!) health. So I’m venting. Maggy’s hairstyle. WHAT WAS THAT?! WHY?!?!?!

But hey. At least all these awesome people got to know each other. I truly hope this event sparked some new friendships. If it did, then it’s the only thing that really matters.

fans waiting for the orchestral album…

…having fun with classical interpretations.

and the original, for the uninitiated:

// the wait for “the” album is about twenty years old; I actually understand all the whys, and yet, it’s a bit funny to think about //

You know, on the surface it’s easy to think of BG as exclusively writing in the “European tradition”, kinda classical diluted with folk (or the other way around, depending on your particular preference in classical), but listening to their stuff transplanted into another medium opens up the fact just how much jazz they have in there. Even without every other chord being some sort of a 7. I started hearing it on BtRM with tracks like Distant Memories which are kinda minimalist and not that electric, but unholy hell, it’s been there all the way. Probably because they started out as a speed metal band, and speed did crosspollinate with thrash which is inherently jazzy, a genuine product of US culture and all? Wild theories because I just never saw an interview where any of the two main songwriters were to confess their secret love for jazz.

PS Sorry for the production. I am painfully aware that BG post-Nightfall are hard to listen to sans major remastering.