Paradise

NOTE: Counting down to the end on WordPress. Please see this post and future posts at my new home: 357 Magnum over on Blogspot. And you should update any links. (Posts are in both places right now, but that is a small, but not meaningless bit of work, so it will go on for a VERY short time.)

We haven’t had any Neue Deutsche Härte (or New German Hardness in English) for some time. So let’s correct that with song from Stahlmann.

This song is “Paradies” by Stahlmann. That would be Paradise in English. It is from the 2013 album Adamant. Here’s a link to the lyrics and their English translation.

The Haunting

Kamelot is a Tampa-Bay-Area based Power Metal group. In 2005 Ray Kahn was the lead singer. On today’s song he was joined by Simone Simons, soprano who usually is lead singer for the band Epica.

This is “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)” by Kamelot featuring vocals by Simone Simons. It is from their 2005 album The Black Halo.

This album was rated as the #1 album of 2005 and #22 “of all time” by Metal Kingdom.

The Greatest American Hero of WWI

Alvin YorkMedal of Honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York. He was born on December 13, 1887, and he died September 2, 1964. The image, Copyright Underwood & Underwood, is a 1919 image of the sergeant after his promotion. Click for a larger view and some more info.

York served in the 82nd Division of the US Army, which today is usually known as the 82nd Airborne Division. (That’s important for the Musical Interlude part of the post.)

On October 8th, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Corporal Alvin York’s battalion was assigned to capture German positions near Hill 223. For his actions that day, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, was later awarded the Medal of Honor, promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and he was also decorated by the French receiving the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille Militaire and the Legion of Honour.

So what did he do to achieve all that?

On October 8, 1918, Corporal Alvin C. York and sixteen other soldiers under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early were dispatched before sunrise to take command of the Decauville railroad behind Hill 223 in the Chatel-Chehery sector of the Meuse-Argonne sector. The seventeen men, due to a misreading of their map (which was in French not English) mistakenly wound up behind enemy lines. A brief fire fight ensued which resulted in the confusion and the unexpected surrender of a superior German force to the seventeen soldiers. Once the Germans realized that the American contingent was limited, machine gunners on the hill overlooking the scene turned the gun away from the front and toward their own troops. After ordering the German soldiers to lie down, the machine gun opened fire resulting in the deaths of nine Americans, including York’s best friend in the outfit, Murray Savage. Sergeant Early received seventeen bullet wounds and turned the command over to corporals Harry Parsons and William Cutting, who ordered York to silence the machine gun. York was successful and when all was said and done, nine men had captured 132 prisoners.

His actions were ignored, and then in usual American media fashion blown out of all proportion. Others were ignored, it took until 1927 before two others, Sergeant Early and Corporal Cutting, would be awarded Distinguished Service Crosses.

By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched their German prisoners back to the American lines. Upon returning to his unit, York reported to his brigade commander, Brigadier General Julian Robert Lindsey, who remarked: “Well York, I hear you have captured the whole German army.” York replied: “No sir. I got only 132.”

And so we get another bonus Musical Interlude this week. I’ve put this in Metal for Mondays, for my own benefit, even though today isn’t Monday…

This is “82nd All The Way” by Amaranthe, a cover of a song originally by Sabaton. They released this song in January of this year, ahead of their COVID-19-canceled summer tour. Here’s a link to the lyrics for completeness.

There is a 1941 Hollywood biography of his life, Sergeant York. It stars Gary Cooper. I don’t think it is particularly good, and it is way too long. As I write this it is currently available on YouTube. Free in incredibly low resolution, and paid for higher definition. Though of course that may change at any time.

RIP: Eddie Van Halen

We get an extra musical interlude to mark the passing of a great guitar player. Eddie Van Halen passed away on Tuesday; he had cancer. Two songs. One long, and one short.

In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll. I don’t think that means he was the GOAT, but that he was most popular. And while I don’t think he was the Greatest of All Time, he was no slouch. The first song we have today showcases his ability, without the insanity I sometimes associate with the group Van Halen.

This song is “Respect The Wind” by Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen from the Soundtrack to the movie Twister.

Born: January 26, 1955, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: October 6, 2020, Santa Monica, California, U.S.

Full name: Edward Lodewijk van Halen

And here is a short selection from the band Van Halen, “Eruption” which was #2 on a Guitar World reader’s poll of Best Guitar Solos.

My Apocalypse

Angela Gossow wasn’t the first woman in Heavy Metal, but she may have been the first woman to sing the Death Metal, Death Growl. She is the first I ever knew of anyway. For years she was the lead singer for Arch Enemy. Then she stepped down to be the manager of that group (and a couple of others).

This is “My Apocalypse” by Arch Enemy from the 2005 album Doomsday Machine. Angela Gossow was still lead singer at the time, doing her signature Death Growl. Here’s a link to the lyrics, because Death Growl.

Rock Bottom

There are a number great guitar players who got snubbed by Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 100” list. It doesn’t really compute that list. The order, and who was included/excluded…

Case in point, German rock guitarist Michael Schenker. He was an on-again, off-again member of UFO, and he had his own group. He was snubbed by Rolling Stone. Listen to this song, and see if you agree. (The live version is probably better, even though I usually hate live albums, but at 11 minutes and change, that version is too long for this audience.) And UFO is worth a post, since they bridged the era between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

This song is “Rock Bottom” by UFO from their 1974 album Phenomenon. At 6 minutes or so, it is about twice the length of the single version, which is not worth your time. The guitar solo that starts at about 2 minutes and 40 seconds into today’s song is worth a listen.

The Creeper

Southern Rock. I couldn’t always tell why it was different from any other rock. I only knew if I liked it or not. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. This time is yes.

This is “The Creeper” by Molly Hatchet from their debut album Molly Hatchet. It was released in 1978.

Note. The reason that the video says “bonus track” is because it was originally left off the 1990 Greatest Hits album, when it was released on vinyl. It was included in the expanded CD version. This track was on the original 1978 album. Hat tip to MaddMedic, who has a song pretty much every morning.

Breaking The Law

Judas Priest is probably the quintessential heavy metal band in my mind. They came around during a time when I was caught up in Progressive Rock and Punk, and not too keen on Heavy Metal, though there were plenty of people around me that were into Metal at the time. They had songs and critical success before 1980, but in 1980 they went for financial success, and achieved it. The album British Steel, released in that year, was 34 on the Billboard top 200, and “Breaking The Law” was listed by VH1 as being the number 40 of the best Heavy Metal songs, and the 12th greatest hard rock song of all time.

This is “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest from their 1980 album British Steel. I seem to remember an acquaintance saying something about this being the perfect song to listen to while exceeding the (incredibly fair) 55 MPH speed limit Jimmy Carter imposed on everyone. (When YouTube trips, and says the video is “Unavailable” use the link provided.)

Viral

A COVID-19 Musical Interlude? Sort of. Given that we’ve all been locked up or locked down or whatever it is, I guess it is not surprising that artists pull inspiration from these circumstances. Amaranthe has done exactly that.

As for an explanation of Amaranthe, I will steal shamelessly from myself

Amaranthe is a bit hard to categorize. Some Death Metal. A touch of Beauty and the Beast (the Gothic Metal sub-genre, not the musical). Some call them Metalcore (a mix of Metal and Hardcore Punk), some call them Melodeath (Melodic Death Metal.) A lot of their stuff has a distinctive pop flavor, I think that comes from the nature of Elize Ryd’s voice. They have 3 vocalists, to cover all those bases.

Amaranthe is Nils Molin doing clear vocals, Elize Ryd singing soprano and Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson doing “harsh” vocals. Morten Løwe Sørensen on drums, Johan Andreassen on bass, and Olof Mörck playing guitars and keyboards round out the group.

This song is “Viral” by Amaranthe from their upcoming album (October 2nd) Manifest.

And I do really like being tied into the new music, especially music that I love.

So is this appropriate for the Holiday weekend? Probably not, but then the holiday weekend hasn’t been the best.

Comatose

Ayreon is a Progressive Metal project by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. I ran across them because Anneke van Giersbergen provided some vocals for the work. Progressive Metal isn’t quite Progressive Rock from the 80s, but it isn’t far off, either. You might like it.

This is “Comatose” by Ayreon from their 2018 live album Ayreon Universe. It features vocals by Jonas Renkse and Anneke van Giersbergen. The song was originally on their 2008 album 01011001. (That’s the binary representation of an ASCII letter “Y” if your interested.)

Living In A Ghost Town

New music from The Rolling Stones? I guess so. They were in the studio prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, and thought this was appropriate given the state of our cities.

Life was so beautiful,
Then we all got locked down.

This song is “Living In A Ghost Town” by the Rolling Stones. It was released as a single in April of 2020. The first material since 2012 released by The Stones.

Intermission

Pagan’s Mind is a Hard Rock band out of Norway. (English Lyrics!) I stumbled across this band because Floor Jansen, currently of Nightwish, did a project with guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad of Pagan’s Mind. Their collaboration is Northward. I don’t know if that band will continue, of if the album they produced in 2018 will be the only one.

This song is “Intermission” by Pagan’s Mind from their 2011 album Heavenly Ecstasy. Here’s a link to lyrics, because it is still Hard Rock/Heavy Metal.

I have to listen to more of their work to see if I really like them or not. The guitar work is top notch, but I think the compositions need a bit of polishing. Still, it mostly works.

Descending

We haven’t had any Tool for a while. I have to say that their new album (released last year) is one of my favorites. Their music is complicated in a way that most Rock and Roll, just isn’t. From their rejection of 4/4 time, to the subject matter of their songs. This isn’t your typical Rock and Roll.

You can find the lyrics at this link.

This song is “Descending” by Tool from their 2019 album Fear Inoculum.

Faccions

Soen is a supergroup of musicians from various metal bands. They are solidly Progressive Metal and have been compared to Tool. I really like some of their music. But then Progressive and Metal… What’s not to love? Some of their music doesn’t strike me as metal, being a bit low-key. We might get to some of that eventually.

And while they are singing in English, here’s a link to the lyrics, just in case…

This is “Fraccions” by Soen from the 2012 album Cognitive. The last minute or so, is an a cappella harmony coda, or outro, which is quite nice.

“Fraccions” translates to Fractions in English. It is in Catalan, a co-official language of three autonomous communities in eastern Spain, most notably Catalonia.

While Love Died

Shortly after Floor Jansen joined Nightwish, that band decided to take a break. Well, after an album and a tour they took a break. That gave her a chance to revisit a project she was forced to put on the shelf a few years back. They both have other commitments, and Nightwish is huge. Especially since they fired their previous soprano for daring to have a solo career. Well that and they were in danger of becoming Tarja and Nightwish, and they were not going to stand for that…

This is “While Love Died” by Northward. The hard rock project by soprano Floor Jansen (Nightwish) and guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad (Pagan’s Mind) from their 2018 album Northward. And while she is singing in English, it is hard rock/metal, so here’s a link to the lyrics.

Winternight

Visions of Atlantis is a group I only stumbled upon recently. Austrian. Symphonic Metal. (Don’t worry, they sing in English) Some would say that they have been around since 1995, though they changed the name of the band in 2000, but they have had a large number of personnel changes years. Well, I won’t fight about it.

The biggest personnel change came when Nicole Bogner left the band in 2005. She later passed away after a long battle with a severe disease. (Privacy is a thing in Europe.) Several places list this version of the song as being dedicated to Bogner, and there is a note on the subject in the video itself. Still, Clémentine Delauney, the new soprano, has a beautiful voice.

There are some screaming guitars, though maybe not enough for Monday, but since I make the rules… And it is a beautiful song.

This song is “Winternight” by Visions of Atlantis from their 2016 EP Old Routes – New Waters. It was originally on the 2004 album Castaway.

Do or Die

There aren’t too many women doing the Death Metal, Death Growl. Angel Gossow is one of the best. I can’t say she beat others to that, but she was lead singer for Arch Enemy until 2014. Since then she has managed a couple of groups including Arch Enemy and Amaranthe. This is the first musical outing since she left Arch Enemy.

Amaranthe is usually Nils Molin doing clear vocals, Elize Ryd singing soprano and Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson doing “harsh” vocals, though I don’t think he sings on this song. Morten Løwe Sørensen on drums and Johan Andreassen on bass and Olof Mörck playing guitars and keyboards round out the group.

This is “Do or Die” by the group Amaranthe featuring vocals by Angela Gossow. It from the 2020 album Manifest, which is due to be released in October. You can find the lyrics at this link, because Death Growl.

The Rules

Another band I found via the generated playlists from either Spotify or Pandora… The band is Elysion, which is listed in a couple of places as Gothic Metal, but this song is neither dark, and while the lyrics are a little brooding, not enough for me to call them Goth.

Their F*c*book page lists them as Alternative Metal. Something in the music sounds like good old-fashion Rock and Roll to me. Anyway, as I write this, I have not listened to a lot of their music, but there are a number of songs I do like. Lyrics can be found at this link

This is “The Rules” by Elysion, from their 2009 album Silent Scr3am. (And no, that is no a typo. It is leet, sort of.)

They’re a Greek Band, with a name not quite stolen from Greek Mythology; it is just an unusual spelling in English. But don’t worry, they sing in English, because they know how much you hate foreign languages. The band consists of Christianna – Vocals, Johnny Zero – Guitars, FxF – Bass, Laitsman – Drums, Nid – Guitars. And no, I have no clue about the names…

Vengeance Is Mine

I think Alice Cooper’s long-standing career points out that the whole drugs/alcohol scene in Rock & Roll doesn’t work. He’s been sober since the 1980s. It seems to work for him. (It also worked for Ted Nugent, but that’s another story.)

In 1986, Megadeth opened for Cooper on their US Constrictor tour. After noticing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in the band, Cooper personally approached the band members to try to help them control their abuse, and he has stayed close to front man Dave Mustaine, who considers Cooper to be his “godfather”.[146] Since overcoming his own addiction to alcohol in the mid-1980s, Cooper has continued to help and counsel other rock musicians with addiction problems. “I’ve made myself very available to friends of mine – they’re people who would call me late at night and say, ‘Between you and me, I’ve got a problem.'” In recognition of the work he has done in helping other addicts in the recovery process, Cooper received in 2008 the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in Los Angeles.

Not the image a born-again Christian usually portrays, that’s what Cooper is….

This is “Vengeance Is Mine” featuring guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson) of Guns N’ Roses. The song is by Alice Cooper from the 2008 album Along Came a Spider.

Schism

One of the things I love about the Progressive Metal band Tool, is that they don’t feel constrained to write songs in 4/4 time. For you non-musicians, that is the meter you find in much more than 90 percent of rock music. Some bands I wonder if they know anything else. “Schism” is definitely not in 4/4 time.

The song begins with two bars of 5/4, followed by one bar of 4/4, followed by bars of alternating 5/8 and 7/8, until the first interlude, which consists of alternating bars of 6/8 and 7/8.

The following verse exhibits a similar pattern to the first, alternating bars of 5/8 and 7/8. The next section is bars of 6/4 followed by one bar of 11/8. This takes the song back into alternating 5/8 and 7/8. Another 6/8 and 7/8 section follows, and after this the song goes into repeating 7/8 bars.

But that’s not the end of it.

The other thing to love about Tool, is the way the lyrics are crafted. (See this link.) This song is about how a communication breakdown will doom any relationship.

This song is “Schism” by Tool from their 2001 album Lateralus.