Jag är pedofil och innehavare av barnpornografi

Jag är pedofil och innehavare av barnpornografi. Om Svea hovrätt får bestämma.

Idag dömdes Simon Lundström, en av Sveriges mest kända och respekterade experter inom japanska serier (manga), för barnpornografibrott. Målet gällde 51 olika bilder som funnits på hans dator, alla tecknade och alltså inte innehållande riktiga barn. Vissa var från serier han översatte (han är den svensk som översatt allra flest mangaserier till förlag som bl a Bonnier Carlsen), andra var för hans rena nöje, och andra var, enligt honom själv, som del i hans studier av manga, som den expert han faktiskt är inom området.

Jag äger flera av de serier han dömdes för. Det är några av de mest sålda serierna i Sverige, och för den delen i världen. Aldrig har jag känt en sexuell njutning av att se exempelvis Dragon Balls Son-Gokus penis, och även om jag skulle ha känt det, och om Son-Goku fanns på riktigt, skulle det ändå omöjligen klassas som barnpornografi. Son-Goku är nämligen inte människa, han är en utomjording av slaget Saiyan, och eftersom detta folkslag åldras annorlunda än människor är han inte ens vad vi skulle klassa som barn.

Nej, det är inte barnporr. Naket är inte nödvändigtvis porr och en tecknad seriefigur är inte ett offer. Om exempelvis Dragon Ball eller Love Hina eller Ranma ½ var barnporr skulle dess målgrupp säkerligen vara äldre än den var idag – jag och många med mig konsumerade allra mest manga och anime i barndomen, från att jag fick Dragon Ball nummer 1 i julklapp av min faster när jag var åtta år gammal.

Ja, ni hörde rätt, jag har varit pedofil sedan jag var åtta år gammal. Äntligen har jag kunnat komma ut, tillsammans med min likartade garderobskamrat Simon Lundström.

Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)

Images and Words may be the second Dream Theater album after 1989’s When Dream and Day Unite, but by many fans (including me), it is thought of as a kind of debut. It is the first album featuring vocalist James LaBrie, who took over from Charles Dominici in 1991, and it is definitely a leaps and bounds development from the actual debut when it comes to both catchiness of tunes, technicality in the songwriting and the lyrics.

Often considered their best work today, I have yet to decide over this one and almost every other DT album, in particular 2002’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Still, Images and Words is an incredible album, especially considering it being only the second album by a band whose debut was so poorly received. The track ”Pull Me Under”, the bands one and only big radio single, may be weak in comparison to many other tracks, but it is a good leading, introductory track. The album is highlit by the close to ten minute epic ”Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper”, an incredible technical, epic and catchy melody still seen as their best by many fans, and constantly played as the final encore on concerts. And while the other epic on the album, ”Learning to Live”, isn’t quite on pair it still works very well.

The album’s two ballads are some of Dream Theater’s best. The now replaced keyboardist Kevin Moore wrote the lyrics to both ”Surrounded” and ”Wait for Sleep”, and also composed the latter, one of DT’s shortest tracks at 2:32. Wait for Sleep works beautifully in creating a sad and still creative keyboard-piano atmosphere alongside LaBrie’s mournful vocals, and it is often (quite rightfully) credited as a Kevin Moore song, and not Dream Theater.

The album is also cornered by several songs that could rightfully be described as pop rock at best, with interesting DT instrumentality moments thrown into the mist – examples include ”Another Day” and ”Take the Time” especially. Dream Theater stepped away from this direction of semi-metal in later years, focusing more and more on the longer, technical songs with heavier guitar riffing, especially notable in 2003’s Train of Thought and 2009’s Black Clouds and Silver Linings. While I have nothing against the more melodic tracks, I always tend to prefer the heavier and more technical stuff, which probably also is the reason I wouldn’t call Images and Words my favorite Dream Theater album, even though it is indeed a massive success, especially for such a young band at this time.

Music releases of 2011

Within Temptation's "The Unforgiving", coming on March 25.

I entered 2011 thinking most music releases came in 2009 and 2010, and this would be a pretty calm year. I’m slowly realising I was damned wrong.

Symphonic metal act Within Temptation will release their first album since 2007, the experimental ”The Unforgiving” on March 25. The album is released alongside a comic book series written by Steven O’Connell, and six pages of the prequel is already out on Within Temptation’s website.

In March also, Swedish thrash metal act The Haunted will release ”Unseen”, the follow-up to 2009’s ”Versus”. The song ”No Ghost” from the album has already been performed and filmed live and can be seen on YouTube already. Generally well received, I take it as an awesome return to the more experimental ”The Dead Eye” era.

Sons of Seasons' second album "Magnisphyricon", coming on April 1.

In March also, German power metal project Avantasia plan to release their first live CD/DVD, The Flying Opera, filmed during their 2008 The Scarecrow tour.

On April 1, the German symphonic progressive metallers Sons of Seasons, the project of Kamelot keyboardist Oliver Palotai, will release their second album Magnisphyricon. Judging by the cover and tracklist alone, it looks like an incredibly promising album, and hopefully with a better production than their debut Gods of Vermin.

In the third or fourth quarter of the year, symphonic power metal giants Nightwish will hopefully release their seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2007’s Dark Passion Play. I have high hopes for this, believing Anette Olzon has grown into her role as the new lead singer, and developed her voice to better suite the music.

After founding member Mike Portnoy’s sudden leave in the past autumn, Dream Theater‘s remaining members are working on an upcoming album, the successor to 2009’s incredible Black Clouds and Silver Linings, presumably with a new drummer they have yet to reveal to the public. I have no idea whether the album will be released in 2011 or not, but as I understand it they have at least entered the recording process, and so the album should be released in late 2011 or early 2012.

Avantasia – Angel of Babylon (2010)

I have troubles not being too harsh when discussing Avantasia‘s Angel of Babylon. As it was, Tobias Sammet decided that the material he had gathered for the latest Avantasia album was too much, and he split it into two CDs released simultaneously – The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. But as it seems, I can’t help but think that Angel of Babylon was the dump station of everything not good enough for ”the real album”. An additional CD for the special edition, filled with bonus tracks, some extremely good ones.

Okay. The introducing track ”Stargazers” is extremely good, as is the following ”Angel of Babylon”, but they are still just average Avantasia songs on the whole, and every other song on The Wicked Symphony beats them both by a longshot. ”Death is Just a Feeling” is a good song, yes, but it doesn’t fit at all with the rest of the album, and neither does the Cloudy Yang-epitomic symphonic metal track ”Symphony of Life” (which for the record is the only song in Avantasia history being written by Sasha Paeth and not Tobias Sammet). My feeling of both of these songs increases my belief that this is an extra CD with bonus tracks, some of which were skipped simply because they’re not that good (”Rat Race”, ”Your Love is Evil”) and some that didn’t fit the rest of the album enough (”Death”, ”Symphony”). And other songs – ”Rat Race” and ”Alone I Remember” – have garage rock introduction that makes them sound like jokes in the midst of epic power metal.

But the album isn’t all bad. The ballad ”Blowing Out the Flame” sound incredibly cheesy on first listen but sound extremely good after a while, similarly to The Scarecrow‘s ”What Kind of Love”. The last power song ”Promised Land” is one of the best shorter songs Avantasia has ever produced (but I find trouble counting it, seeing as it’s a re-recording of the b-side from the Lost in Space Part II EP). Journey to Arcadia is probably my favorite Avantasia song throughout history, or at least it’s up there in the top alongside ”The Seven Angels”, ”The Scarecrow”, ”Blizzard on a Broken Mirror” and ”Runaway Train”.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010)

I have loved the strange power metal project Avantasia since I first heard The Metal Opera Part II in 2007, and they were in fact the band that made me fall in love with concept albums (alongside Kamelot and their Epica / The Black Halo albums). I loved both two Metal Opera albums, and I loved The Scarecrow when released in 2008, even though I considered and still consider it to be below the Avantasia average of earlier albums.

The Wicked Symphony is the continuation of The Scarecrow, and it is followed by Angel of Babylon which was released simultaneously. I was afraid that The Wicked Symphony would fall below the average settled by The Scarecrow, especially when it came to the poppier tracks such as ”Carry Me Over”, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Out of The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, I place my vote on The Wicked Symphony. The album is covered with three giant epics (two of which follow eachother!) – the title track, ”Blizzard on a Broken Mirror” and ”Runaway Train” – and the latter two are easily in my top of favorite Avantasia tracks, alongside beauties such as ”The Scarecrow”, ”The Seven Angels” and ”Journey to Arcadia”. Even though ”Dying For an Angel” sound like an Bon Jovi meeting pop metal, it is rescued by the multiple heavy immediate power metal classics on the album, including ”Wastelands”, ”Forever is a Long Time” and ”States of Matter”, and ”Crestfallen” proves yet again that Avantasia easily can reach beyond traditional power metal.

The song that ends the album, ”The Edge”, is a strange song. I generally don’t like its ”kind”, if I may say so – loveydovey guitar ballads with a theme of hanging on when everything looks bleak. But this one is different. Maybe it’s different simply because I have my own personal interpretation of the Scarecrow saga and its story, and I can imagine what the song is really about. And if I am correct (don’t tell me if I’m not), it works phenomenally to end the album, and lead into The Angel of Babylon.

Amberian Dawn – The Clouds of Northland Thunder (2009)

Though an incredible jump from their 2008 debut River of Tuoni, The Clouds of Northland Thunder is still somewhat lost in the early days of the symphonic power metal act that is Amberian Dawn.

Amberian Dawn makes good, unique power metal with symphonic influences in a genre that nowadays is all too dominated by Nightwish wannabees making it difficult to find the actual good bands, and for that reason alone AD has somehow been lost in the maelström. And on first listen, the keyboard-dominated melodic tunes with soaring soprano vocals by Heidi Parviainen may sound like just another copy, but on further listens one realises the work that has been placed into every note, with exceptional work done by all members. What differentates this band from the rest is the technicality of the instruments (especially guitar and keyboard) that follow the progressive, neo-classical elements made famous by acts such as Yngwie Malmsteen in the 1980’s, and the relentless speed of most songs, with the only exceptions of ”Willow of Tears” and ”Birth of the Harp”, the two ballads on the album.

But in spite of the technicality of the musicians, the beautiful vocals and lyrics by Parviainen, the band falls into the same problem as they did on ”River of Tuoni”. The songs all too often end up in the exact same, traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus pattern of 3-4 minutes, making the music overall sadly predictable. And with the exception of ”Incubus”, the band proves for the first time that they can make tempo-differing, epic tracks above the five-minute mark. And with exceptional, prolonged instrumental sections on before-mentioned track and others such as ”Lost Soul” and ”Saga”, they prove they could easily pull off pure marathons of neo-classical wonder. Somehow, though, it gets lost in the hope of making a well-played radio hit (I will not claim they don’t succeed – songs like ”He Sleeps in a Grove”, ”Kokko – Eagle of Fire” and ”Shallow Waters” are scarily catchy, fast and heavy).

Sons of Seasons to release new album in April

German symphonic metal act Sons of Seasons, who debuted in 2009 with Gods of Vermin, has now announced the release of their second album Magnisphyricon on April 1, 2011.

Simone Simons of Epica reportedly lends her voice to the track Sanctuary.

Tracklist:

1. Magnisphyricon: Temperance
2. Bubonic Waltz
3. Soul Symmetry
4. Sanctuary
5. Casus Belli I: Guilt’s Mirror
6. Magnisphyricon: Adjustement
7. Into the Void
8. A Nightbird’s Gospel
9. Tales of Greed
10. Lilith
11. Casus Belli II: Necrologue to the Unborn
12. Magnisphyricon: The Aeon
13. 1413
14. Yesteryears

Within Temptation – Faster (single, 2011)

I was hoping the new Within Temptation album would lead them into a heavier direction, or at least a development of the symphonic metal of The Heart of Everything, but it seems like I was incredibly wrong. Judging by the early comments by the band, I assumed the new album The Unforgiving, to be released on March 25, was to be in a cleaner hard rock style. With the new single Faster, however, they seem to go more in the styles of a classic techno pop approach. Oh no.

I will not judge the entire album from this, no, but it does make me a wee bit disappointed already. I really loved The Heart of Everything as well as all their earlier albums, and I would hate to see such a band fall into ruins.

I am still really excited about the album, which is created alongside a graphic novel with the same name. The prequel is out already online, and it looks quite cool. The idea overall is great, and I’m excited to see how the story goes and how the lyrics goes into the overall story (I have always been a sucker for good concept albums).

I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that, but… well, the incredibly moronic Faster cover only increases my possible dislike for the song.