Well, hells bells! Time to kick this off with the first-ever Intermittent Best of… of the RockmusicRaider story.
This was quite a run from no website a few months ago. To a blog that starts to pay off to some very, very limited fame. And this is just the beginning with – surely – many more reviews to come. With the limited time that I have at my disposal with a day job and many other duties.
The first review that started me off was Hydra from Within Temptation. This record is frankly not the best offering these guys ever produced. This is just a friggin’ attempt to get into the vile mainstream in my book. And that is a pity. Just consider that they produced a ton of stellar stuff before. Real pearls like Enter or the delicious The Silent Force. The one that still sends shivers down my spine whenever I fire it up.
Black Sabbath then came along with their latest masterpiece 13. A bunch of grumpy old men strumming away, just stellar. No meek chanting in there, but rocking away with Doom and Heavy Metal at its best. It is a pity that their long-time drummer kind of lost himself for the sake of a contract. This last record really reminded me of their beginnings. Albeit with a much more powerful fare than the somewhat watery style of the ’70s. And I love them for it. Ways to go Ozzy, Geezer, and Tony! They still play for the thing that stands before me.
And then, talk about female-fronted super-power! Blasted to space with unknown thrust by Arven with their newest concoction Black is the Colour. They really let the Holy Metal Cow out alright. After their first album Music of Light I expected something of a similar spirit. But thanks to Loki, most of it went the metal way.
The gloomy fog of down yonder soon started to creep up on us, the Insomnium way. With Shadows of the Dying Sun, a stellar piece of Melodic Death Metal saw the day of light. This one by far surpasses past glories like One For Sorrow. And we enjoyed every note of that new piece. It just rumbles comfortably across your stomach. Neat.
Then Arch Enemy graced us with their presence, with their newest concoction War Eternal. This record really took off like there is no tomorrow. What a friggin’ great sound! And Alissa White-Gluz in full glory, right there where she needs to be. Some fucking Melodic Death Metal alright and a blast for our boomboxes for a long while.
Eluveitie tried to convince me of the value of no clean singing. Not that they quite succeeded with Anna Murphy‘s cleans. Yet, they did take us back in their time machine to an era where the Romans ruled with Origins. Kind of akin to its predecessor Helvetios. It seems to be a favorite pastime of this band, this obsession with the old Helvetic tribes and their tribulations.
But then, a clear, yet rough metal sound reached us from the Teutonic hills of the Finsterforst with their stellar new toxic brew Mach Dich Frei. Kind of folksy, but straight up without Lederhos’n. German Folk Metal of sorts? Quite. And a tasty version at that.
But then we met the Sorcerer band with their new debut album In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross. This indeed was a juicy and most welcome surprise for this Intermittent Best of...! Their doomish Heavy Metal sound just blew me off across the room into the next wall. Holy Metal Cow.
Good was – however – that a Harry Potter soundalike rescued us later, called Serious Black (no kidding). Their sound on As Daylight Breaks is a welcome breakfast burrito of the metal kind. Older guys who – oddly enough – cannot wait to morph to grumpy old status. At least they let everyone know every five fucking seconds that they are kind of old. Guys, get a life, will ye!!
An introduction to Gothic Metal is afoot. Illuminata delivered a ton of very enlightened sound to our mighty turntables. They are – by the way – named after a saint. Not the infamous Illuminati. I really do fancy A World so Cold. Whereas the follow-on Where Stories Unfold – Cinematic Metal – already earns many brownie points less. Let’s see what they come up with on their next record. Albeit, my gut tells me that not much will be forthcoming.
The masters of arcane linguistic delights crept up on me with Kanseil offering their newest, best and only album Doin Earde. This is one helluva crunchy record. Down to earth, and straight from Italy, no less. I really enjoyed reviewing these guys. And they have promise.
Epica finally redeemed themselves from their overdone turkey feast and somewhat wrecked album The Quantum Enigma. With – surprise – their very first production The Phantom Agony. I am intrigued by this band. They deliver good stuff, usually. But demonstrate that urge to bombast that is frankly disturbing sometimes. Well, what can I say? They found their niche!
Then we went on a naturalist journey with Moonspell. Those try to convince us that Darwin will prevail with Extinct, their latest very gloomy pot of rotten ale. We are all gonna die or something, which we certainly are. But hey – we just don’t know when! Tough stuff, as usual, but good tough stuff.
In the meantime, Nightwish graced us with their presence with another epic by the name of Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Quite good, but not the best ever – never surpassing stellar stuff like the aforementioned Dark Passion Play.
And yet something else from Nightwish’s corner. I was actually most impressed by a musical comics book called The Life and Times of Scrooge. A story told by Tuomas Holopainen right before the delivery of the latest Nightwish album. This one’s not really up my metal alley, but remarkable nonetheless.
So, this was the first-ever Intermittent Best of…, and I hope you enjoyed the story. All this and more transpired in a very few months, which feels to me like a very many years. I am thrilled by the progress and hope to write for very many more months about music I love. Check out some more stuff on the blog, by all means, and do speak your mind in the comments section below!