Archive for the Instrumental Category

Apocalyptica – Cell-0

Posted in CD, Instrumental, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 22nd January 2020 by izaforestspirit

Apocalytica
Cell-0
Released 10th January 2020
Neoclassical Metal/Symphonic Heavy Metal/Instrumental
Released via Silver Lining Music
Apocalyptica - Cell-0

Apocalyptica don’t need much of an introduction. There are very few bands who have achieved what these guys have – bridging the gap between classical music and heavy metal with their unique mixture of the two styles. I’ve been following their career from the very start, the humble beginnings when the quartet played cello covers of Metallica classics. There has been some line-up changes, a few collaborations with guest rock and metal vocalists… But the real surprise came in 2015 when an American singer called Franky Perez joined the ranks for the album ‘Shadowmaker’. In many ways the ‘Shadowmaker’, however good it might be, seems like the odd one out in Apocalyptica’s discography – like an experiment that worked though it may never be repeated. With the exception of a handful of successful collaborations with guest singers, the band’s best work is predominantly instrumental. This brings me to their latest effort- ‘Cell-0’, an instrumental album with the old line-up sans Franky Perez.

And we’re off to a good start with Ashes of The Modern World, delivering everything that I was hoping hear from the Finnish quartet. It’s a beautiful song with lots of variety in terms of style and pace. It starts off slow with a sombre sounding melody, then picks up the pace half way through the track. As soon as the drums kick in the music takes on a more aggressive, “heavy metal” sound, with the cellos crushing through at full speed. Then they mellow things down again towards the end. I also really liked Fire & Ice. True to its title, it comprises two contrasting styles: the melodic part with mostly cellos and a keyboard at the forefront and the more aggressive part with faster paced cello and drums. So the latter was the fire I guess… Then it’s back to the “icy” sombre cello work at the end. The title track also deserves a mention being the longest and the most complex song on the album. Again, there are lots of changes in pace, mixing the melodic classical cello sounds with a touch of metal. The chorus is easily one of my favorite parts of the whole album.

I’m not going to discuss all the songs in detail but generally speaking I am pleased that Apocalyptica chose to go back to basics with this album. They are sticking to what they do best. No need for singers or guest appearances. It encompasses all the aspects that make this band special. There is not a single track on here that I do not like. Some, such as the title track require a bit of patience to fully appreciate.

Overall, I really like this album. Unlike ‘Shadowmaker’, which took me a few listens to get into, ‘Cell-0’ immediately drew me in and kept me interested throughout. It’s the best album Apocalyptica has made in years.

9/10

Iza Raittila

 

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Instrumental, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again. Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. 2019 was a eventful year for alternative music. There was a lot of new material that caught my attention which made selecting a top 10 much more difficult than last year. After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to the following albums:

1. Eluveitie – Antegnatos
Genre: Folk Metal
Eluveitie - Ategnatos
2. Children of Bodom – Hexed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/ Power Metal
Children of Bodom - Hexed

3. The 69 Eyes – West End
Genre: Goth n’Roll/ Gothic Rock
The 69 Eyes - West End

4. Mgła – Age of Excuse
Genre: Black Metal
Mgła - Age of Excuse
5. Combichrist – One Fire
Genre: Industrial Metal/Electro-Industrial
Combichrist - One Fire - CD

6. Hocico – Artificial Extiction
Genre: Electro- Industrial/ Aggrotech
Hocico - Artificial Extinction - CD

7. Blutengel – Un:Gott
Genre: Synth-pop/Darkwave

8. Darkthrone – Old Star
Genre: Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Darkthrone - Old Star

9. Sabaton – The Great War
Genre: Power Metal
Sabaton - The Great War
10. Ad Inferna – Des Diables et Des Dieux
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Honorable mentions:
Aurelio Voltaire – She’s Glowing
Taken from the album What Are The Oddz?

God Module – Cross My Heart
Taken from the album The Unsound

Scandroid – The Writing’s On The Wall
Taken from the album The Light

The long-awaited new Rammstein album also came out this year. Sadly, despite a having handful of great songs including ‘Deutschland’, it was a little disappointing. I expected more from them after a decade of waiting.

Best live show of 2019
Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Runners up, honorable mentions go to: Behemoth live in Tampere and Blutengel live at Hellsinki Industrial.

New discoveries for 2019
Raven Said, Priest and Cygnosic

Most anticipated releases for 2020
a new albums from Helloween and Vader
Mono Inc- The Book of Fire
Celldweller – Satellites

That’s all from me. Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Lumous Gothic Festival 2019

Posted in Festival, Instrumental, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Golden Apes, Danse Society, Das Ich
Pakkahuone and Dog’s Home, Tampere, Finland
12-13th July 2019

Summer is here again. One of my summer traditions since 2012 has been to attend the Lumous Gothic Festival. This year was no exception. The only minor change was that of the main venue. Throughout the time that I have been going there it the main acts have always performed place at Klubi. However Klubi is currently being renovated so the event was moved to Pakkahuone, a much larger venue located in the same building. I have seen several metal shows there before but this was a first for Lumous Gothic Festival.

Friday
This was the main day for me as most of the bands which I wanted to see were playing then. I was mostly looking forward to Das Ich and I had limited knowledge of the other bands.

First up was a Spanish darkwave band called My Own Burial. These guys are really into old horror movies and the performance had lots of eerie visions. The music was catchy and fun to dance to. They reminded me a little of Los Carniceros del Norte minus the punk elements. So a good start to the night. 3.5/5

Then it was time for a German Goth rock band Golden Apes. I’m not a massive fan of Goth rock but I have to admit that the vocals were pretty good. Their singer’s vocal style sounded like a cross between Elvis and Jyrki from The 69 Eyes. 3.5/5

Finally it was time for the main band that I came to see. I discovered Das Ich at the same festival four years ago and it was great to see them live again. I loved the stage actics and the music was fantastic. They played some new material plus some classic hits including ’Destillat’, ’Gott ist tot’, Das dunkel Land’ and my personal favourite ’Reaminat’. 5/5

Saturday

Day Two of the festival started a little earlier since I decided to catch some of the bands playing on the second stage located at a different venue called Dog’s Home. Dog’s Home is essentially a pub or bar near the train station. Unlike Pakkahuone which is primarily an event venue, Dog’s Home is mostly used as a bar but it also doubles as a small gig venue. The stage is pretty small and rather low down.

The Swedish occult dark electro solo artist Blood Magick was on first. The project was originally known as My Own Sorrow and the lyrical themes are centered around horror and the occult. Sadly the venue didn’t do the performance justice. That place really isn’t ideal for an electronic show. For instance, the stage is tiny and there is limted space for props and no means to project any visual imagery. Still, Blood Magick did his best with the limited resources. He managed to convey the creepy atmosphere through which was good. 3.5/5

Next up was a Finnish goth rock band called Murnau’s Playhouse. These guys drew in a bigger crowd and they put on an entertaing show. 3.5/5

Then it was time to move to Pakkahuone for the remainder of the night. The main band that caught my attention, my new discovery was the Russian Gothic rock duo Raven Said. The clue is in the name, Raven Said… I guess that ”Quoth the Raven” might have been a bit too obvious. Oh yes, this band is all about Gothic horror and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. They even have a song called ’Lenore”. The visuals worked a treat too. I will definitely have to give their music a listen. 4/5

Sadly I was unable to stick around for the main headliners, Inertia. So the last band I saw was a British Goth rock band called The Danse Society. More Goth rock… There is not a lot that I can say about their performance. It was fairly good as far as Goth rock goes, I’m just not a massive fan of the genre. Also with a name like The Danse Society, I expected something a bit more dance-inspired. 3.5/5

In summary I had a great time at Lumous Gothic Festival. Das Ich were excellent and I made a new discovery in Raven Said. Blood Magick’s performance would have worked better at a different venue. Kiitos Lumous Gothic Festival! See you next year!

Iza Raittila

Calea Dreaming – The Rainforest Canopy

Posted in Instrumental, Metal with tags , , on 4th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Calea Dreaming
The Rainforest Canopy
Released 9th December 2018
Atmospheric Post Black Metal / Ambient
Self-Released

Calea Dreaming - The Rainforest Canopy

‘The Rainforest Canopy’ is the debut album from the Australian post-black metal one-man project Calea Dreaming. All his music is instrumental and it is inspired by nature, specifically the landscapes surrounding the New South Wales region of Australia where the musician is based.

I’m not all that well versed in post-black metal but based on my limited exposure to this sub-genre, anything with a “post” prefix, be it metal or rock tends to imply that it is a mixture of that style with some added ambient. This is definitely the case here. Aside from the guitar riffs and some of the drum work, this album has very little to do with black metal. As stated in the intro, there are no vocals on this album. The songs are melodic, atmospheric and very long, with the shortest track Rivers of Rosewood clocking in at over nine minutes. This is what I would describe as “chill-out” music, the kind that you might want to put on when you want to relax, enjoy a hot drink and a good book. I almost dozed off in my chair while writing this review!!

If any of you suffer from insomnia I would recommend that you give this album a go. It creates this tranquil mood, inviting the listener to close his or her eyes and picture themselves in one of the landscapes referred to in the songs. You can actually hear the sound of rain falling in the background on A Storm In The Mountains. There are also violins and other string instrumentals present on here, all contributing to the relaxing atmosphere.

Overall, ‘The Rainforest Canopy’ is a very atmospheric album which I would recommend to those who enjoy ambient and instrumental metal. It’s very relaxing and pleasant to listen to. It is not really my type of music though so I am unlikely to play it again unless I have trouble sleeping.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Klaus Schulze – Another Green Mile

Posted in CD, Experimental, Instrumental with tags , , on 30th November 2016 by izaforestspirit

Klaus Schulze
Another Green Mile
Released 30th November 2016
Experimental Electronica, Ambient
Released via M.I.G. (Made in Germany) Music

Another Green Mile’ was originally released back in 2002 as a part of a very limited edition and long out-of-print 5CD box set known as ‘Contemporary Works vol. I & II’ by the German electronic artist Klaus Schulze (ex- Tangerine Dream). This is a re-issued version of that album featuring the bonus track ‘Voice’n’Harmony’ (which was originally released on ‘Contemporary Works II’ CD 10 – ‘Adds & Edits’.

The music on here is primary instrumental comprising a mixture of acoustic instruments: an oboe, a cello, a guitar and the electronic, ambient sounds of a synthesizer. There are three vocalized tracks: In The Streets, in the Rain, The Story Does Unfold and Vox’n’Harmony; all featuring operatic-style vocals from Julia Messenger. Her beautiful singing is precisely the reason why these songs caught my attention. Her range is very versatile, comfortably hitting the high notes as well as the more mellowed-down, tranquil whispers to match the speed of the music. The complete absence of the lyrics means that the vocals’ sole purpose is to convey emotion and add emphasis to the ambient music.

All the songs have this serene and atmospheric quality creating a calming effect on the listener. This this the kind of music that you might encounter at an art gallery or a lounge. The instruments, especially the synthesizer and the cello, have this sombre yet strangely soothing tone to them. I just wish that the performance itself was a bit more energetic. This just sounds like a soundtrack to an Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.

Overall, ‘Another Green Mile’ is a very atmospheric and tranquil ambient album. Some might find this type of music relaxing but personally I found it challenging to adjust to the slow pace. It’s all very melodic and emotional but ultimately it is quite purposefully low on energy.

3/5
Iza Raittila

Allen Weber – Hot Shock

Posted in Experimental, Instrumental with tags on 7th May 2014 by Paul

Allen Weber
Hot Shock
Released: Summer 2013
Self-Released

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Allen Weber’s Hot Shock’s music gives the impression of peacefully bobbing along the ocean, just offshore of some tropical island. What a shame I had to listen to this during a dreary British winter. The band’s eclectic style includes: Jazz, Caribbean, Funk, Blues, Rock and R&B, which they have managed to form into a pleasantly cohesive sound that benefits from all these influences by never becoming boring or stale.

You can see that certain songs have a particular leaning to a style. For example one song might focus mostly on Jazz whilst another may adopt a more funk orientated sound, but fortunately the music casually blends from one end of the spectrum to the other making it feel more interesting. They call this “Sandunga Jazz Fusion”. I can imagine seeing this band perform in a city centre on a sunny day or perhaps in some cool restaurant. The music totally suits a laid back afternoon – it speeds up, slows down, and sometimes goes off on some interesting tangents as the listener is taken on a journey through funky riffs and bluesy solos.

There’s still plenty of energy too, though far removed from the more intense sounds usually featured on Valkyrian Music. It’s a fun album and just about every song is worthwhile and earns its place on the record. This is a good effort from a talented band.

4/5
Paul Gibbins

Angelspit – The Product

Posted in Instrumental, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , on 13th April 2014 by izaforestspirit

Angelspit
The Product
Released 30th March 2014
Industrial Rock/ Electro Punk
Released via Black Pill Red Pill

 photo angelspit-tp-cover-600_zpsd7f51cdd.jpg

‘The Product’ is the new album from the Australian industrial group Angelspit. This latest brainchild of Angelspit’s mastermind ZooG Von Rock is the follow up to their 2011 release ‘Hello My Name Is’. This album features several guest musicians including Helalyn Flowers, Miss Ballistic, Steve Jones (Agent 13) and Adam Newman (Lab4); each of whom leave their own unique mark on the songs that they contribute to.

Now, my previous exposure to this band is limited to watching their surreal music video for the song ‘Vena Cava’ and listening to the remixes of ‘100%’… So needless to say that I had some catching up to do.

Angelspit has a very unique sound which is incredibly hard to classify. There’s some strong punk-rock elements in there along with some industrial synths as well as raw industrial noise with distorted guitars and vocals. Yet it’s the bizarre vocal style which truly makes these guys stand out. Take the track Because God for instance, the chorus featuring Zoog and Miss Ballistic’s shouting duet in making them sound like the leaders of an angry mob who are out there to cause havoc in the streets. Fight Dirty is a disturbing mix of heavily distorted electro-rock guitar, synths, glitchy noise samples with punk-style shouting vocals and melodic vocals from the Italian Goth Rock duo Helalyn Flowers.

Then there’s the eerie sounding, industrial noise instrumental Creeper (Featuring Steve [Agent 13] Jones) which is true to its namesake. The synth solo really did remind me of the some of the machine noises that you would expect to hear inside a factory. Velocity comes off as a bit of a surprise as it sees Zoog attempt a softer, more melodic and somewhat “cleaner” vocal style. The same vocal style is also present in the ultra creepy, slow-paced industrial rock track Walking In the Woods (Featuring Teknocracy) which is definitely one of the highlights as well as one of the most unique souding songs on this album.

Overall ‘The Product’ features an unsual mixture of different styles but still manages to retain its true identity as an Angelspit album. It takes a few listens to get into it and even then some of the tracks will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Whilst I have no doubt that their existing fans will enjoy it, their music is a little too quirky and experimental for my liking.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila