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Music My thoughts on...

Symphonic Metal recommendations

By Clayton

The last few weeks and month there have been a lot of new album releases by many of my favorite bands. They have all been amazing. So much good music, so little time to listen to them all. But I have a lifetime to enjoy it, so actually this isn’t a real struggle. 🙂

hydracoverFirst we have Within Temptation’s latest album Hydra. This album was released at the end of January, so I have been listening to it for a while now. The album is far better than I expected it to be. I was not all too thrilled about the previous record, The Unforgiving, but Hydra seemed to be an improvement. The album has many guest vocalists and I was quite worried when I read that the band would be working with Xzibit. Yes, the rapper from Pimp My Ride. But believe it or not… that IS my favorite track on the entire record.

It is a fact that Within Temptation has stepped away from their symphonic metal sound and is more of a rock band with some symphonic elements in their music, but Hydra is listenable nonetheless!

Delain - The Human ContradictionI have already written about Delain’s latest record The Human Contradiction. It is still a nice album that I enjoying singing along to in the car on my way to work. Still think it should have been a much longer album, but who cares, they have enough albums now to enjoy their music. I have been checking out some live videos of them and seems that the promotional tour for this album seems to be going great as well.

LACUNA-COIL-BROKEN-CROWN-HALOLacuna Coil has been a bit disappointing for me on their last few records and I barely even listen to them. Their new album also didn’t impress me that much. The band recently released a new album called Broken Crown Halo. It does sound better then the previous 2 records, but I think I need to give it some much more listening. Then again their music isn’t all that “symphonic” if you ask me.

Diabalus-In-MusicaDiabulus in Musica, a band that I took way too long to listen to, because they are amazing!! The band released a new record called Argia, and I love it as much as the first 2 albums. I don’t listen as much as I probably should be listening to them, but DIM is totally the type of band that I love: symphonic songs, operatic vocals, choirs, latin chorus; they have it all. You should certainly check them out if this is your kind of music. And while you’re add it check out their 2 previous records too. Note: Mark Jansen from Epica grunts on one of the older albums.

SOP-AWOOOStream of Passion also released a new album called A War of Our Own. This has been the first SOP album that I loved at the first listen. So many great songs that get stuck in your head as soon as you listen to them. All the trademark SOP elements are on this album: violin parts, high vocal notes by Marcela Bovio, Spanish lyrics and catchy guitar riffs. I am totally in love with this record.

tuomas-scroogeTuomas Holapainen, the mastermind behind Nightwish, has released a solo album recently called: The Life and Times of Scrooge… yes, Scrooge! As in: Scrooge McDuck! I had no idea what to expect, but since this is Tuomas Holopainen we’re talking about I was very confident that this was going to be a great record. Seriously, anything this guy composes turns to complete an utter epicness. This record is exactly THAT!

It’s mostly an instrumental album with some vocals here and there, but don’t worry, this album will have your attention from the first to the very last minute. I am totally in love with this record. If you love movie scores and epic long songs, go check this album out!!

Xandria-SacrificiumSo I am still eagerly awaiting the release of Xandria’s new record Sacrificium. I have already heard the 2 singles from this album and they are very promising. I have still to listen to the full album, but have been too busy with Epica’s new record, which got released on the same day as Xandria. About Epica I will be writing next!

Music My thoughts on...

Delain – The Human Contradiction

By Clayton

Delain - The Human ContradictionDutch female fronted metal band Delain has recently released a new album called The Human Contradiction and I have to say it KICKS ASS!! 😀

I am totally in love it and have been listening to it constantly ever since I’ve heard the album. I have to say that this Delain’s best work to date. Much heavier that before, but still easy to listen to. The only downside is that the album only contains 9 tracks. Seriously?!

Okay, there is an extra disc containing 2 more tracks and a few live tracks from the show in Haarlem (which I had attended last November), but officially The Human Contradiction only has 9 tracks, which is quite a bummer. Maybe we should see the 2 other new tracks on the mini-CD “Interlude” as tracks that were supposed to be on this album?

Anyways… back to the album now.

I love almost everything about this album. Delain has really stepped up their game with this record. They have 3 guest singers Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot), George Oosthoek (Orphanage) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist, Kamelot, Arch Enemy). And funny enough my most favorite tracks on the album ARE the one WITH the guest vocalist. Hmm… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but let’s not over-analyze that right now.

Or maybe I should… I think that Delain should use more grunts in their music. Those tracks seem to turn out the best and when they performed here in Suriname last year, those were the tracks that stood out the most.

My most favorite tracks on the record are:

  • Here come the vultures
  • My masquerade
  • Tell me, machinist,
  • Sing to me
  • The tragedy of the commons

If I have to pick one, it would have to be the last one – The Tragedy of the Commons. Charlotte Wessels has really started showing us since the previous record “We Are The Others” that she can sing high. And on this album and especially on that track she lets us hear it again. And since I’m such a major opera geek this musically turns me on very much 🙂

To sum all of the above up, go buy this album, it’s awesome! 🙂

Concerts & Shows

Delain in Patronaat – My Masquerade

By Clayton

Before the Retrospect movie premiere I had asked my photographer friend Sharik if I could stay at his place after the movie, because the next day I wanted to go to a Delain concert, which Sharik (whom I’m gonna be calling Mc Sharq after this; because that’s how he’s better know – check mcsharq.nl) also had to be there. Mc Sharq had to take pictures for the metal webzine Dutch Distortion which he works for. I had stayed at Mc Sharq’s place in Reuver (Limburg, NL) before earlier this year, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do again.

The next day we had quite a road trip ahead. Reuver is quite the distance from Haarlem and that’s where the Delain show was. First we had to pick up 2 friends from Mc Sharq in Eindhoven, had a quick bite at the McDonalds drive-thru and on our way we were.

Once at De Pratronaat we had to stand in line, but luckily not too long. Very soon the doors were opened and inside we were. Since this was a masquerade show, we were offered masks at the door and lots of Delain fans were dressed in costumes. We found a spot at the back of the concert hall where the lighting engineer’s booth was. I didn’t need to stand at the front row, since I had already seen Delain live in Suriname, plus I also didn’t want to leave the group.

The show was opened by Serenity, whom I had also seen earlier this year before. This time they were the openings act, so their setlist wasn’t that long. They performed a few of their well-known songs and soon after it was time for Delain to enter the stage.

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More photos from Serenity by Mc Sharq here.

I have seen Delain earlier this year before in Suriname, as I already mentioned, but I have to say that in their own home country they are a lot better. I do get it though. The stage is bigger and they were able to have all their stage props with them, which they can’t fly across the ocean.

delain-patronaat1 delain-patronaat2 delain-patronaat3

The band opened with a new track called My Masqurade, the same title as the name of this show. Soon after they performed a lot of their mayor hits and had lots of surprises and guest musicians on stage, including Georg Neuhauser (from Serenity) and Marcela Bovio (from Stream of Passion). I had a feeling that Marcela would be a guest on stage as soon as I spotted her husband Johan van Stratum in the crowd.

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Concerts & Shows

Delain in Suriname – Unkies Open Air Rockfest 2013

By Clayton

Delain_promo

April 20th – the day that many Surinamese rock and metal music lovers have waited so long for. The day that the 4th edition of Unkies Open Air Rockfest would take place. This wouldn’t be just any other Rockfest in this “small” tropical country; but this time we would have a special guest performance all the way from The Netherlands. None other than the symphonic metal band Delain would be live on stage… here… in Paramaribo.

At first we thought this was a hoax – I surely did – but this fact was very soon confirmed by the band themselves. I was very excited about this news. I have been listening to Delian for years now, but never seen them live before, but I they’ve certainly been on my bucket list. I was hoping to maybe catch them during one of their live shows when I was in Holland on one of my other Epica-adventures, but they never had a show while I was there myself.

I came THIS close to not attending the show last Saturday, due to some personal drama I had faced earlier that night. I’d rather not go into that. My life is just one drama pool. But about 1,5 hours before Delain was about to enter the stage I was finally able to go to the place where Unkies Open Air Rockfest 2013 was held. The place is a 7 minute drive from my house – and that includes a lot of speed bumps. I arrived around 23.00hr, bought my ticket and quickly found my way to the center of the crowd. Local rock band Apoplectic had just entered the stage and was giving quite a good show.

I was very impressed with the stage. It didn’t do under of the other international stages I’ve seen. Very well done. I was quite worried, because this was my first Open Air Rockfest in Suriname. I had been to rock parties in Suriname before, and also at the same place this event was held, but it always on the terrace. I didn’t know that there was a huge back yard. I was worried that they would make an international band like Delain perform on a small terrace and try to squeeze a bunch of people on it. Good thing that didn’t have to happen.

Delain was scheduled to play at 00.00hrs. The band entered the stage after a few technical issues – typical Suriname – about 15 minutes later. But they sure made up for this, by giving a kick ass performance and by playing a lot of their well-known songs. They played all (or most) of their singles and the heaviest tracks that Delain has to offer. A full 90 minute set list of songs from all of their three full length albums.

A bit of a pity that a lot of people didn’t know half of the songs performed. I think I was the only one that sang along loud to every single song and knew exactly when to clap or jump. Charlotte looked great and sang her heart out. I didn’t notice a single flaw. Just at the end of Not Enough, where she does her operatic vocalizing, she was over-powered by the crowd that enjoyed the song, but didn’t really know it. So they thought it was over, but she still had a 01.15 minute of angelic vocalizing to do. Oh well, at least I enjoyed it. 🙂

I did notice that the crowd responded very enthusiastic to the much heavier songs, which have grunts in it – which are only 2 songs to be exact. But also the non-grunts-yet-very-heavy-songs were very well received. Before you knew it a mosh pit was formed and people started stage diving. Honestly I have never seen this before in the shows in Europe. Then again, I’ve never been to a real festival before, just club shows. It was fun.

I don’t remember which songs they performed exactly, but I will try to find a set list online soon. At the top of my head, from what I can remember, in random order, they performed:
Sever, See me in shadows, The Gathering, April Rain, Stay Forever, Invidia, Control the storm, Virtue and Vice, Mother Machine (they opened with this track), Electricity, We Are The Others, Milk and Honey, Get the devil out of me and Never Enough.

After the performance of Delain I stayed another 2 hours to meet the band members and I did. I got to meet all of them and had my picture taken with them. Below you can find my own photos, but soon I will upload taken by a professional of myself with the band members.

But to sum all of the above: DELAIN was in one word, awesome! 🙂

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Concerts & Shows Music

Delain is coming to Suriname!!

By Clayton

Delain

Today I heard some very surprising, but pleasant news. One of my favorite Dutch symphonic metal bands is coming to Suriname for a show; Delain (see www.delain.nl). I already heard the news from a friend on Facebook yesterday, but I didn’t believe it. Even when I saw a promo video online, I still was skeptical, because I didn’t see anything about the show on the official website. And also I was thinking: why would a band like Delain, that was performing three weeks ago at the 70.000 tons of metal festival, that has been one of the bands to perform at The Female Metal Voices Fest, that have performed in Moscow, Budapest, Barcelona, Munich, Nottingham and so many other places, where I’ve never been myself, ever want to play in this “little” unknown country in South-America?

Photo by Kris ClaerhoutI sent the singer of the band, Charlotte Wessels, a Facebook message as soon as I saw the video, and she confirmed the news herself this morning. Later I also saw the news appearing on the official Delain website and Facebook page. So it’s true! Delain, the symphonic metal band from Zwolle, The Netherlands is actually going to perform here in Suriname on April 20th, 2013.

 

Read the announcement on the Official Delain website.
Read the announcement on the Official Facebook page of Delain.

*faints*

206297_487582884593901_111097673_nI am very excited, because Delain is also on my bucket list of the bands that I want to see live. This surely saves me one trip to Europe. I admit, I’m not as obsessed with Delain as I am with Epica for example, but Delain surely is one of the bands that I listen to on a regular basis. I love all their 3 albums and there was a period when the last album We Are The Others was constantly on repeat. I even took part in the We Are The Others Photo Project by Delain. See the photo of me here on the right. My photo is also uploaded in the album on Facebook.

So it’s true…. Delain is coming… the first international (female fronted) metal band to come and I’m very excited. See the promo video here.

NOTE: The video is quite exaggerated though! Because Uncle Bunker is just a tiny terras, and not even close to a festival, but nonetheless: I can’t wait! 🙂

we are the others - cover

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