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Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

By Clayton

Nightwish - 2015 - EFMB

It has been two weeks since the release of Nightwish’s eight studio album “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, and I have not been able to stop listening to it from the first moment I have heard the latest masterpiece by this Finnish band.

I took my time to listen to this fully, before writing about it, because usually I write with utter excitement and sometimes my opinion can be just in the moment, but I can assure you that my fondness of this album is still the same as two weeks ago.

First of all I will not spend too much time on how excited I am about Floor Jansen singing on it. I have been a fan of her since 2003 and am more than familiar with her outstanding vocal abilities. A fact that she has been proving year after year, no matter in / with which band she is singing with.

On EFMB she lets us hear all her vocal capabilities, from clear vocals to screaming, to growling to full high operatic. After all these years I am still in awe of her amazing talent.

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most BeautifulNow (finally) on to the record itself.
Tuomas Holopainen is one of the best composers to walks this earth. His songs / lyrics tell a story that you are able to decipher, but are able to enjoy with such pleasure. It’s poetry mixed with music, which creates magic. . Tuomas has described this album as a mixture between Oceanborn and Once, and I totally agree. Those are my two previous favorite NW albums and EFMB sounds exactly like that.

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Concerts & Shows Things of the day Video of the day

Short videos of Revamp and Kamelot

By Clayton

Here are 2 videos, which I forgot to share earlier of Revamp and Kamelot in Tilburg last month. Since my camera battery was low, I wasn’t able to film the entire songs. But there will be a Kamelot documentary from that night coming out eventually, so there is still a chance to see more.

 

Concerts & Shows Music

Kamelot + Revamp live in Tilburg

By Clayton

Kamelot live in Tilburg posterYesterday I attended one of the best live shows I’ve been to: Kamelot!! The best show AFTER the Epica ones I’ve attended of course (hihi) But seriously now! Kamelot is great; both on their albums and on stage. The entire band is full of energy and Tommy Karevik is one awesome singer and entertainer. I left the venue with a feeling of complete and utter satisfaction.

Let me start at the beginning.
I had ordered my ticket for the show in September via Patrick (as usual) and since there was a VIP package available I went for that. It’s not every day you get to see a band like Kamelot – at least I don’t – so I went for the ultimate experience. The VIP ticket held in that you get to enter the venue an hour earlier than the rest of the crowd, get a signing session with the band and got to take your picture taken with the entire band.

I arrived at in 013 an hour before the VIP ticket holders were about to be let inside. Luckily I got to skip the long line and didn’t have to wait very long outside. Once inside I bought the latest Kamelot record Silverthorn, which I didn’t own physically yet, and went to the signing session with the band. Got a signature from all band members on a poster and on the CD and after that my photo taken with them.

SAM_0492 SAM_0505 Me-and-Kamelot

After the VIP session we were let into the concert hall. The openings band Tellus Requiem was still busy with their sound check. About an hour later they took the stage. Tellus Requiem wasn’t really that special. I honestly don’t remember one song and the vocalist also didn’t stand out that much to me. There songs were a bit all over the place and weren’t catchy and lacked rhythm. This is just my personal opinion, but from the reactions I’ve heard, I wasn’t the only one that wasn’t really amused by this band.

tellus-requiem1 tellus-requiem2 tellus-requiem3

Luckily the band that most people were more excited about – besides Kamelot of course – soon took over the stage: REVAMP. The Dutch band from no one other than the amazing Floor Jansen. This was my first time seeing Floor live; first time was with Mayan in 2011, but I was very excited, because I’m a huge fan of Floor’s voice and her band’s music. Sadly, they weren’t the main act, so the set list wasn’t that long, but it was long enough to fully enjoy the powerful voice of Floor. The crowd seemed to be very excited just as I am, because everyone was cheering “Floortje, Floortje, Floortje!” very loud. Revamp rocked!
(See the set list they played here)

revamp01 revamp02 revamp03
revamp04 revamp05 revamp06
revamp07 revamp08 revamp09

As soon as Revamp was finished playing the stage was cleared for Kamelot. There was a huge curtain set up and in about half an hour we could hear the intro music of Kamelot. It was showtime!!!

 Kamelot-live-Tilburg-01 Kamelot-live-Tilburg-02 Kamelot-live-Tilburg-03
Kamelot-live-Tilburg-04 Kamelot-live-Tilburg-05 Kamelot-live-Tilburg-06

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Music

Floor Jansen IS the new singer of Nightwish

By Clayton

Floor Jansen live with NightwishWell, it’s official now!! BUT no shocker at all!!
HOWEVER…. still very pleasant and exciting news!!!

After having performed as the temporary lead-singer of Nightwish for a year (wait… it has been a year already?), the amazing Floor Jansen has been officially added to the Nightwish lineup.

Mr. Tuomas Holopainen, you musical genius, you have picked an awesome singer to carry on the legacy of your Tuomas Holopainen and Floor Jansenband. I seriously cannot wait for a future Nightwish album featuring Floor on vocals. And hopefully I get to see NW live with Floor one day.

The official announcement can be read on the band’s website. Be sure to also check out the news on the upcoming Nightwish Live/ Tour DVD, featuring Floor: Showtime, Storytime. This will keep us all patient until the band starts to write new music.

The new NightwishI think 2014 promises a lot of greatness for the female fronted metal bands. Lots of new albums are currently being written/recorded and they will all be released next year. I’m already totally excited as I am thinking about it. Which I lived closer to where all the epic concerts take place though. But I’m sure my time will come. For now I always have Youtube and from time to time I have the ability to fly over, which makes such a concert even more special. 🙂

Music My thoughts on...

Symphonic Metal recommendations

Revamp - Wild CardI’ve already written in depth about Revamp‘s new album Wild Card earlier. 2 weeks later I am still enjoying it every much and start liking more songs. Now that I also have memorized (or starting to memorize most of them) I am able to enjoy the songs not only musically, but also lyrically and understand the story behind them. This certainly is a must have for all progressive, symphonic metal lovers. If I say “Floor Jansen” I think that should be reason enough to go listen (and buy) this album.

Tarja - Colours in the darkLast week the birth mother of the so-called “opera metal” genre Tarja Turunen released her fourth studio album: Colours in the Dark. Tarja Turunen is another name that doesn’t need clarification. If you know Tarja, you KNOW what that woman is capable of doing with her voice. I needed a few listens to feel the new album, but as soon as I did I was hooked. So much musical and vocal diversity on one album. Not exactly metal, but also not too soft. It’s hard to describe the music genre. Just listen to it 🙂

Sirenia - Perils of the deep blueThe latest Sirenia album Perils of the Deep Blue has been out for nearly 2 months now, but ever since its release I have been not able to stop listening to it. The album is typical “Sirenia/ Morten Veland”, BUT somehow it keeps working. The whole dark gothic theme music and Latin choir; I don’t know why, but it keeps sounding good and not repetitive. Alyn has never sounded better in my opinion. I love here high vocals on this album. Very nice artwork on the cover too. Visit their official website for more info.

Music Song of the day

Revamp – Wild Card

By Clayton

Revamp - Wild Card

I just love it when one of my favorite symphonic metal bands drops another bomb of epic music, which is exactly what Revamp did last Friday. Their long awaited new album “Wild Card” was released last weekend and this album is a total epic eargasm.

What you don’t know Revamp? Does the name Floor Jansen ring a bell? After Forever? Current temporary singer of Nightwish? Uhu… I thought so 🙂

Well the very talented Floor and her team have released another great album. I think it’s even better than the first self-titled album Revamp released in 2010. Floor uses her operatic vocals a lot more on this album and y’all know I’m a sucker for operatic vocals. I mean, if you have a soprano vocal ranger USE IT!… which is exactly what Floor did. She has always shown us that she is able to go from very low, to very high within minutes, without cracking her voice, but on Wild Card Floor has surprised us with some new vocal styles; she does grunts. Yes, the tall, opera singing Dutchie does grunts now. And it sounds great. So much aggression. With all these vocal styles you would maybe think it would be a total mess, but it all works out perfectly.

The album does have a few guest musicians too. One is no one other than the-one-and-only Mark Jansen from Epica and MaYaN. Although Floor and Mark have the same last name, they are NOT related. The song they made is probably my favorite on the album. And I’m NOT saying it, because Mark is on it, but it’s a total blend of aggression, opera and haunting choir parts.

My favorite tracks SO FAR are: The anatomy of a nervous breakdown: on the sideline, Precibus, Nothing, Distorted Lullabies, Amendatory, Misery’s No Crime and Infringe (bonus track).

There are so many aspects of this album I love. I think it would be just best to listen to it yourself. If you love After Forever’s music, I’m sure you will love this album. One thing is for sure: I am sure that I will be listening to this album for years to come.

Congratulations Floor & Revamp!

PS: I posted on Twitter that I loved the album and Floor retweeded me! 😀 yay!

Music My thoughts on...

Nightwish gets a new (temporary?) singer: Floor Jansen

By Clayton

Floor JansenThe metal world got shocked a few days ago when Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish announced that they have decided to part ways with their singer Anette Olzon. All of this came as a shock to the world, at least it was to me, and even more shocking was that they already had replacement and no one other than the beloved, Dutch power-house Floor Jansen.

So hold on one minute… I need to process this!

Not only did Anette get fired after being hired in 2007, after Tarja Turunen got fired in 2005, but they also have a new singer in a matter of days (maybe even hours?)

According to the official Nightwish statement, the band and Anette have decided to part ways on a mutual understanding, but after what happened to Tarja I am almost certain that this split did not happen as peaceful as they make it appear.

So I’ve never been a real fan of Anette. I have been able to get used to her on the last record Imaginaerum, but I totally hated her when she sang the old songs (originally recorded by Tarja) live. She butchered the songs. The songs on Imaginaerum worked with her voice and vocal range, but other than that she cracked all the time, from what I’ve seen from Youtube videos.

I was more than happy to read the news that Floor, who is also a soprano singer just like Tarja, has stepped as the lead vocalist to help finish the Imaginaerum tour. I hope that this will open Tuomas’ eyes and he will notice that his songs/music NEEDS to be sung by a strong singer. Floor will fulfill that role perfectly. I have seen the videos and she is doing great.

I have loved Floor since her days in After Forever. And I’ve followed her career through all her side-projects like MaYan and love het own band Revamp too. They say that this is only temporary, but I wouldn’t mind if Floor joined the band permanently. Then again, she does have her own band Revamp to front, which is busy recording their second album. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

But I am very grateful that Floor has brought back memories of the “old Nightwish”.
THANK YOU FLOOR JANSEN!

Click here to read the official press statement!

Concerts & Shows

EPICA live in Paradiso (May 19, 2011)

By Clayton

If the world really were to end tomorrow I wouldn’t care much, because at least I know that I died happy. At least I’ve lived to see EPICA perform live. At least I was able to cross of a few more items of my bucketlist:

– See EPICA live in concert
– Meet Mark Jansen
– Meet Floor Jansen

I’m still in disbelief of how amazing yesterday was. But somewhere I know that it was all real. Unbelievable, but REAL!!!! I had the night of my life. I’ve had the full concert experience: met the band, had a picture taken with them, autographs, fetched their stuff, made new friends, bought official band merch… and memories that will last forever! 🙂

Let’s start at the beginning of the day.
I woke up early around 11.30 AM by a phone call from my uncle (dad’s side of the family), whose digital camera I borrowed for the show, ‘cause as I already mentioned in a previous blog I forgot mine back at home. After that I went back inside to shower and get myself ready.
My uncle and aunt (mom’s side of the family and the ones I’m staying with) weren’t home, because they had to rush to the emergency room because my uncle wasn’t feeling well. Turns out the medications he was prescribed for his liver infection he’s suffering from weren’t working correctly. This could have ended fatally if they didn’t rush to the emergency room. Luckily he’s feeling better now.

After I got dressed… accessorized with my EPICA wristband and necklace… I went to the Albert Heijn nearby to get myself something to eat and drink to prevent myself from fainting during the show. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how I would be overwhelmed, so I had to take precaution.

My concert outfit Concert time!!

A lot happened in one day. If you’re on my Facebook you’ve probably read most of these stories. Here’s what happened to me in the supermarket. As mentioned above, I bought myself a quick pick-me-up dinner and a bottle of Smirnoff. The lady at the counter asked my age and I said I’m 23. She went: oh :-S and I asked her how old I looked and she said: 18 🙂

My lunch before the concert

After the quick dinner I went back “home” to quickly eat and officially head to Paradiso. Unfortunately the pasta tasted like crap and I wasn’t able to get it down my throat. And before I was about to vomit I threw it away and just made my way to the subway station instead. In about 30 minutes I got out at the Amstel Station and took the tram 12 to Leidseplein. By the time I I arrived my bottle of Smirnoff was already empty 🙂
The crowd in front of Paradiso wasn’t big; after all it was about 2-3 hours before the doors would open, so I decided to rush down to Burger King around the corner and bought a cheap menu and rushed to the venue again. I ate my “meal” while listening to the conversations of the fans around me. When I was finished eating I mingled in the conversation between this Dutch and Hungarian guy. They were amazed that I traveled all this way especially for Epica, but I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only crazy fan. There were fans from the US, Spain, Hungary and from other European fans. Yes, that’s the power of EPICA! 🙂

Eventually I also made friends with this guy from Spain who forgot to buy a subscription to enter Paradiso. But he went around the corner to a Ticket Master and still managed to get a ticket. So it was me, the Hungarian guy (Laszlo), the LA girl (Rachel) and the guy from Spain waiting for the magical doors to be opened. Rachel knows people who know people, so eventually she left the group, because she was going to be in a special corner where the press gets to stand. We didn’t mind of course.

Paradiso Paradiso
Rachel and I Laszlo and I

At 18.30 the doors to Paradiso opened and we all rushed inside. I dropped my bag and coat off at the corner for that and as usual I had to pee so went to the toilets.
I then entered the main and there met my Hungarian and Spanish friend again. So it was us three guys, nearby the stage. Not to close, because the stage is high and we wouldn’t have a good view, so we stood about 2 rows in front of the stage. There we had to stand and wait for the opening act MAYAN to play.

Mark Jansen on stage with MaYaN Simone and Floor live with MaYaN
Mayan live in Paradiso Mark on stage

MAYAN is a new band. It’s a side-project of the founder/guitarist of EPICA, Mark Jansen. And this show was the release party of their album. So they performed all or most of their songs.
In MAYAN Mark is not with his guitar and all eyes are on him. It was strange to see Mark without a guitar; he mentioned it himself, BUT…. He did an AMAZING job!!!!! No doubt about it.
Simone Simons (from Epica) also does some backing vocals on the MAYAN album so I saw her before EPICA actually came on stage, but she stayed on the background. She does female backing vocals alongside of Floor Jansen of REVAMP and AFTER FOREVER…. Another favorite singer of mine.

MAYAN’s music is amazing. They totally rocked the stage. I didn’t know any of the songs, besides one, but still enjoyed them a lot. Also they have an Italian opera singer Laura Macrí on a few tracks, and she has a great vocal range. I totally loved it and totally am buying their album.
During one of the stage, Mark opened a bottle of water, took a few sips, sprayed the bottle over the crowd and made us all wet. He then threw the bottle in the crowd. My new Hungarian friend caught it, but gave it to me. That was the first concert evidence I had.
Also the male singer who does the clear vocals for MAYAN gestured to me during the show and then I gestured back. And he put his thumbs up that he was looking at me. I almost went nuts at that point… little did I know that the best was yet to come.

At 21.15 it was time for the main event… EPICA
The intro music “Samadhi” started and the crowd went wild. The first song they played was “Resign to Surrender”. I honestly don’t remember which songs they played, but their most famous ones they did and I must say… even after having watched tons of Youtube videos they are even better if you see EPICA perform live. EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING!!!! The fire, the smoke, the pyro effects, firework, explosions, the light effects…. In one word: EPIC!

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
10 11 12

They also did an awesome disco remix of their song The Phantom Agony. See the video which I found on YouTube below.

Other songs I remember them playing are: Sensorium, Cry for the Moon, Tides of Time, Consign to Oblivion, Kingdom of Heaven, Fools of Damnation, Martyr of the free world, Unleashed, Sancta Terra, Quietus, Illusive Consensus…. Uhm, that’s all I honestly remember. There were more. I’ll get back on the setlist.The highlight of the show (for me) was when Mark spoke in the microphone and pointed to me. He said he recognizes me from facebook and that he knows that I’ve flown over all the way from Suriname for the show. Whole Paradiso cheered me on. I was in total shock. That was awesome and I’m surprised I didn’t burst out in (happy) tears.And not to mention that Simone Simons is even prettier in person. The entire band rocked the stage. I enjoyed every moment and wouldn’t mind seeing Epica again and again.
At the end of the show the band started throwing some merchandise in the crowd. Mark took of his wristband and threw it in the crowd…. And who fetched it? I DID!!!!! 😀

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After the show I lingered around to buy some official EPICA merchandise.
And guess who was in the crowd? Yes…. The EPICA band members. Most of them anyways.
So I went up to all of them to talk and take pictures. Especially Mark I had to talk to and thank him for putting me in the spotlight.
I also met Floor Jansen. She’s really tall in person. Sadly, Simone didn’t come out in the crowd… now if that happened I would have literally DIED out of excitement!  But I understand why she didn’t. A mega fan frenzy might have occurred. I know I will still meet her one day!But the night wasn’t over. Henning Brasse who I mentioned above came up to me and said he saw me enjoying me in the crowd. And I was totally honored. How often do the singers walk up to the fans? Usually it’s the other way around!

mark isaac arien
floor henning

Gosh, I can’t believe that all of this went down. It’s finally starting to sink in. to think that this almost didn’t go through. To think that I almost didn’t fly off here anymore. To think that I wouldn’t have met all these amazing new people, that I would have never met the band… but I did. And it’s all real. And I have no words to explain how content I feel right now. As I’m sitting and writing this story I can feel my eyes burning and tears rolling down my cheek…. All happy tears. It was all worth it…..WORTH capital I-T.

I am in a state of eternal bliss…

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FUNFACTS:

  • I have: Camera: 127 pics + 5 videos and Blackberry: 143 pics + 6 videos
  • Photos with: Mark, Floor, Ariën, Isaac and Henning Brasse
  • 3 new friends from Hungary, Los Angeles and Spain
  • Autographs: Mark and Ariën
  • Fetched: Mark’s wristband and bottle of water
  • The music was too loud for the digital camera or blackberry, so in the videos I took you only hear an annoying peeping sound.
  • The shirt I wore to the concert was a birthday gift from my brother and his girlfriend. This was the first time I’ve worn it.

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