• Thoughts about... Hevisaurus - Jurahevin Kuninkaat (2009)

    Ago 28 2010, 19:09

    I was always skeptical about today's music for children. Even when I was a kid, I really hated the over-simplified structures of the songs, the idiotic lyrics and handicapped melodies, that try to be catchy, but only makes the listeners try to kill the "artist" who done this.
    A few weeks ago, I accidentally watched a video called Jeah! Heviszaurus. And I thought: oh my god, what is this sh*t? Low cost Lordi from Hungary? And I couldn't be more wrong: first, the video was the hungarian remake of the original, and secondly, this band, Hevisaurus prove to be quite good. After listening to their second single, Viimeinen mammutti, I was convinced: I like Hevisaurus.
    Unlike the hungarian version, where the 'band' had two quite deep, bluesy toned vocalist, the original had only one, high-pitched, a typical finnish/scandinavian heavy metal voice, and his voice fits the music a bit better, than his Central-European colleagues'. Musically, the whole album is a mix of traditional heavy metal with neoclassical power metal, with a bit blend of folkish vocal playing. We don't know the real instrumentalists on the record, but here's something we know: there's a round of famous, or at least, well known guest musicians here, including Jens Johansson of Stratovarius.
    There's no complaint about the instrumentals: catchy melodies, heavy riffing, well-known tunes, and of course, metal heaviness can be heard with more than decent instrument use.
    The lyrics are a bit cheezy, but who cares, really? This is a record for children, and you can't expect Steven Wilson-like complex structures, metaphores and poetical pictures, when there's a need of simpleness.
    One of the highlights of the album is the song Viimeinen Mammutti, recalling the metal ballads style of the 80's. The other big shot is Louhikäärme ja ritari, a perfect cloning of the style of Iron Maiden, with heavy bass playing, galloping guitars, with a perfect Maiden feeling in it.

    Pro: very catchy, the best of heavy and power metal, something good for our children, a bit of humor

    Contra: it's not enough for our children (we need more Hevisaurus!), could be with better lyrics

    Recommended for our children, NOW! And everyone who wants to be entertained without being serious, and of course, every heavy/power fans out there!
  • Thoughts about ... Ayreon - The Human Equation (2004)

    Ago 22 2010, 20:57

    Arjen Lucassen ... Is there any prog fan out there, who doesn't even know this name? Well, I hope there isn't. Six years after the breakthrough, cult-like Ayreon album, Into the Electric Castle, the master of modern metal opera once again made his luck.
    Since I'm in "deeper" music, I always felt a sick attraction to complex music, with many to think and argue about. This is one of the reasons why I love bands like Ayreon, Unexpect or Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and so much other. While DT is a prog metal masterpiece of laboratory perfection and Unexpect is a neverending march of a transylvanian circus band, Ayreon, and of course, Lucassen is a modern operatic composer.
    With all the Ayreon albums, The Human Equation must be the most character-centric, with a realistic story (or, at least, realistic until the last momentum) and with some brilliant performances by the singers (listed without order): Devin Townsend, Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth, Irene Jansen, James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Eric Clayton, Heather Findlay, Magnus Ekwall, the late Mike Baker from Shadow Gallery (I really miss you man, please, rest in peace), the gorgeous Marcela Bovio, later in Stream of Passion and Arjen Lucassen himself. The story is about a guy, who's in coma after his crash with his car, and struggling with his inner emotions, while his life, his entourage are hoping the best near his hospital bed. The role is called 'Me', played by James LaBrie, while his entourage is his wife (Marcela Bovio) and his best friend (Arjen Lucassen). The other singers play a specific emotion, except for Mike Baker, who plays Me's father.
    But, without going deeper in the story, the records instrumentals are amazing. Lucassen uses the most of the guest soloists, flutes and strings, while blending all genres of music into a big, enjoyable shake: while Day Seven: Hope is one of the highlights of the record as a synth driven progrock song from the 60's feeling, Day Sixteen: Loser is a heavy, riffy metal song supported by electric violin and a Devin Townsend scream never really heard before, and Day Eighteen: Realization is a Jethro Tull-ish flute driven, but metally fast, mostly instrumental one.
    The only thing that I can criticize (and I can do this on almost all of Arjen's album), that Arjen himself may be a very good music writer, without some help, he's a bit weak lyricist. He too often uses clichés, quite poor and unremarkable lines. Hopefully, The Human Equation was a collaboration between Arjen and his guests.

    One Arjen listener can argue with this, but in my homble opinion, The Human Equation is the best Ayreon yet, but Into The Electric Castle is almost this perfect too (good points: Edwin Balogh is hungarian!). For me, this was the best album for 2004 and the best for the first half of the decade, and it's a quite strong candidate for the Best Album of the Decade title too.

    Pro: ultimate prog, with many influences, guest singers in roles never (really) heard before, quite long (yet can never really get tired of it), interesting story plot.

    Contra: maybe... too short, I won't be angry with a + 1 song, like the track August Fire from the Come Back To Me single.

    Prog lovers must have, but recommended for everyone with a nice taste for music.

    Sorry, if I couldn't write more details about the guests. No space, no time. But everyone was great!
  • Thoughts about ... Revolution Renaissance - New Era (2008)

    Ago 16 2010, 20:33

    I never was a big fan of Stratovarius (although I like it, not to mention) nor Timo Tolkki. Even more, Tolkki's personality irritates me very much, even if I salute to his guitar playing. Thinking back to the 2007/2008 season, the news around the Strato-Timo galaxy were quite funny and a bit tragicomic: the band kicked out Timo from Strato, Timo kicked out everyone else from Strato, sold his rights to Kotipelto (and friends), and laid his hands on the last, unfinished Stratovarius album, codenamed Revolution Renaissance, and form a new band under this moniker with guest musicians and singers, like Tobias Sammet of Edguy, Michael Kiske or Pasi Rantanen of Thunderstone. This wasn't a permanent line-up, but for now, I won't go into this.

    After bringing out the unfinished Strato album, Tolkki immediately began working with his friends on this album. I always had a bit feeling that this is only out of offense, but still, I must say that New Era is a quite good record. Not the best power metal ever, nor the most unique produced. Tobias Sammet sounded familiar with the working methods of Timo Tolkki, while Michael Kiske is still a professional and a legend, even if he's only a guest since... like, forever.
    Because I meant to write this (and the future) journal entries as a musical recommendation, I'll try not to waste too many words on this.
    New Era is a decent, stable power metal album, and unlike it's follower, still has the Stratovarius like power and energy in it. The ballad Angel really sound like it was written for Kotipelto, while the song Last Night on Earth is a very good, riffy and jumpy, in my opinion, the best of the album. I like Heroes too, and I think these songs are the highlight of the record, but in overall, it's still better than the follow-up: Age Of Aquarius.

    Pro: very catchy, Strato-like sound, good production (and thinking about it was recorded quite fast), good voices

    Contra: filler songs, TOO Strato-like sound, the using of the singers are a bit confusing

    Recommended for Strato hardcores, power fans, Kiske/Tobias fans and lovers of melodic, yet heavy and speedy music.