After barely listening to one of my top favorite bands ever, Finnish power metal Sonata Arctica, for almost half a year, I’ve fallen back again – ofcourse resulting in listening to them almost exclusively. Especially their latest album Unia (2007) has caught my attention, and it all started as I heard the bonus track “Out in the Fields” (Gary Moore cover) for the first time, a few days ago. Unia is also one of those albums you really don’t get the first time, but after a few listens… it’s great. Caleb is still my favorite song on the album, and one of their best songs together as well.And the fact that I’ve fallen back into Sonata Arctica is great for the fact that I’m seeing them live on November 1st as well!
Today, Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish released their third single from their Dark Passion Play album, “Bye Bye Beautiful” (preceded by “Eva” in May 2007 and “Amaranth” in August). This is clearly the best single of the album, and one of the best songs, together with for example “The Poet and the Pendulum”, “Sahara” and “7 Days to the Wolves”.
The standard version of the singel features this tracklisting:
- Bye Bye Beautiful
- The Poet And The Pendulum (demo version)
- Bye Bye Beautiful (DJ Orkidea remix)
Except “Bye Bye Beautiful”, this features “Escapist”, a bonus track for Dark Passion Play’s Japanese version, as well as two unreleased versions of two songs; a remix of “Bye Bye Beautiful” and a demo version of “The Poet and the Pendulum” where Marco Hietala performs all the vocals, with changed lyrics at some points. Frankly, DJ Orkidea’s remix sucks big time. But also, I’ve never really liked techno music. The demo version is ofcourse a demo version, and ofcourse it’s silly to believe Marco can sing the parts of a boy soprano. White Lands of Sympathica, which is a sad part, really makes me laugh on the demo version. I like the lyrics in “The Pacific” part of TPTP though, that got banned from being published.
On June 5, 2007, American power metal band Kamelot released their eight studio album entitled “Ghost Opera”. I downloaded (I am ashamed, please forgive me) the album the same summer.
Since I first heard Kamelot (with first loves like “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)” and “The Black Halo”) in the summer of 2006, I’ve loved the band. There is something special with their ability to combine some of my favorite genres in metal: symphonic, progressive, power and (on later albums) gothic. My love for the band is nothing that changes with this album, not at all. As a first comment on it… I love the title and art work… I will buy it as soon as I get some money, I promise. However, I more want to buy their “One Cold Winter’s Night” DVD. It seems cool.
Over to the review.
The album kicks off with a one minute instrumental entitled “Solitaire”, that really feels like a waste of time, or an excuse to have eleven tracks on the album, cause it sounds much better than eleven…. A solo violin playing the most boring notes, where’s the KAMELOT? Just skip the track… I do.
“Rule the World”, the second track, is one of those songs that has nothing special that sticks out, but that it’s nothing wrong with. I like the raise of Roy Khan’s voice in the chorus, and it’s quite speedy. It doesn’t really touch me otherwise, but it’s really an okay song.
The main track has an eponymous title with the album. “Ghost Opera” is a speedy, interesting breaking-border song. And GOD that video’s fabulous! It’s quite boring in a way, though… I can refer to Sonata Arctica’s song “Wolf & Raven”; the song seems to have a great potential but everything fades when it sounds the same without grande changes. It’s not catchy enough.
“The Human Stain” is the fourth track of the album. It is a cynic’s view of the world: everything bad, human kind’s selfishness (“No one really wants to die to save the world”), and the wish to be an innocent child again. It is a good, cool and catchy song, that is sad and interesting with gothic metal-similarities such as the keyboard playing throughout the song.
“Blücher” is based on the sinking of the the German cruiser of the same name in World War II. It’s a bit like “Rule the World” but better; it’s quite neutral, nothing good nor bad about it… It’s cool with the intro as well as some parts of the background that’s just filled with sounds of the war; screaming, shooting etcetera.
And here comes what I would presume is my favorite track of the album. “Love You to Death” is a beautiful story about a couple where the girl is dying, and this is his speech to her about how he will stay by her forever, love her to death… It’s the longest song off the album (5:13) and for that I’m glad. It has a cool intro and a catchy chorus… Me like.
“Up Through the Ashes” is what I would call one of the heaviest song of the album. It’s quite angry. I like it.
“Mourning Star” is quite neutral. I’ve got nothing against it, despite it’s not one of my favorite. Guess I miss some kind of turn that never shows up.
Vocalist Roy Khan tries lots of new vocal methods in the song “Silence of the Darkness”. It also holds a great guitar solo that has a cool, outstanding sound. I guess I’ll try it as soon as I have the powers. This is one of the songs that seems really cool live (I might go to their Stockholm concert in May, 2008, wih).
Kamelot is really good on slow, sad songs, and they usually have at least one per album. On Ghost Opera, “Anthem” is the one. It is a sad piano song with a fascinating chorus and beautiful yet sad lyrics. I keep listening for the introduction of sudden drums in the end, by “I’ll be the best I can”. That would sound great… WHY NOT?
The final song of the album is “EdenEcho” which is another song that would be lovely live. It doesn’t really make it unto my mind, so I cannot count it as one of my favorites. Yet it has a cool chorus.
- “Solitaire” – 1:00
- “Rule the World” – 3:40
- “Ghost Opera” – 4:06
- “The Human Stain” – 4:01
- “Blücher” – 4:03
- “Love You to Death” – 5:13
- “Up Through the Ashes” – 4:59
- “Mourning Star” – 4:37
- “Silence of the Darkness” – 3:43
- “Anthem” – 4:24
- “EdenEcho” – 4:13
The album also features two bonus tracks (“The Pendulous Fall” and “Season’s End”), both which I haven’t heard.