Category Archives: Backtracks

Here you will find our thoughts on different things such as album reviews and recommendations that are not a current release. This started out as The Album of The Week, then The Month, and now we have settled on Backtracks to give us the freedom to post about a killer album whenever we feel like it.

Backtracks: Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

Fuck yeah!!!! Iron Maiden rules!!!! Buy this album now!!! end of review…

Ok, fan-boyism aside, this is, without a doubt, Maidens best post-reunion album.  Brave New World was super solid but toward the end it dragged on a bit.  The following two seemed to be filled with a lot of filler and sans a few standout tracks they didn’t really grab me in the way they used to grab me during my youth(not in that way you pervert!!).  “The Final Frontier” however is classic Maiden peppered with the progressive style they’ve been reaching for since they pulled it off on “7th Son of a 7th Son”.

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Backtracks: The Sword – Warp Riders

I first found out about The Sword the old-fashioned way(well, old-fashioned for me).  I was flipping through the channels on the t.v. and noticed that the only redeeming thing on MTV was on, Headbangers Ball.  So, like a good little metalhead, I sat and watched some metal videos.  Unfortunately, that evening they were showing a bunch of crap and I was about to give up and change the channel.  Then, a video starts with the words “THE SWORD” flying from the screen with a snowy forest backdrop and a sludgy intro riff.  What ensued after was 4 minutes of kick ass, no-frills, old-fashioned metal.  From that moment I was complete sold.  The next day I went out and pick up their masterpiece album “Age of Winters”.  That was back in 2003.

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Backtracks: Stratovarius – Elysium

It’s hard to talk about Stratovarius without bringing up the recent departure of Timo Tolkki, the bands lead guitarist, head drama king, and main songwriter.  He left(and or was removed, sources are not very clear on what happened) in 2008 and continue to pursue his other projects such as Renaissance Revolution.  So, what’s a band to do now they’re missing a major key component of their structure?  Well, hire another amazing guitarist and keep on trucking.

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Backtracks: Eluveitie – Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion

For some reason, I seem to highly enjoy songs not sung in a language I speak.  I think it may be the fact that I let the music put its own meaning behind the words that are being sung and I allow myself to make my own interpretation of the song without the writers words, only his/her emotions, hinting me in the direction of their intended meaning.  Such is the case with such bands as Moonsorrow (who sing in Finnish) which make images of ancient battles being fought on the icy plains and frozen mountains of Scandinavia dance in my mind, or Finntroll‘s singing in the Swedish language, which will always be a silly sounding language to me thanks to the Swedish Chef, which brings thoughts of drunken trolls marauding through the countryside leaving mischievous destruction in their wake, or even Korpiklaani‘s upbeat use of the Finnish language(ya, I like Scandinavian bands) which make me think of a bunch of medieval farmers and woodworkers hanging out at the pub and enjoying a few pints of beer or mead and singing and dancing.  Other than maybe a couple of liner notes in the CD booklet, I’m pretty much in the dark on the themes and meanings of the lyrics of said bands, and I am quite happy letting my imagination override the areas I am ignorant in.  Now, onto Eluveitie‘s Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion.


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Backtracks: Buckethead & Friends – Enter the Chicken

Guitar virtuoso Buckethead’s musical style is just as eclectic as his fashion sense.  He creates avant-garde compositions deeply rooted in funk, rock, metal, jazz, and pop.  In 2005 he teamed up with a full cast of musicians and songwriters and created the album Enter the Chicken.  To say this album is diverse is an understatement.  He explores musical styles ranging from trance to hip-hop to metal to full on shredding.  Everyone who listens to this album is sure to find a song or three that they will enjoy. Read the rest of this entry

Backtrack – Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Sweden’s Katatonia are about to crack the 20-year mark in December 2011.  They will be playing all the major Scandinavian cities culminating with a headlining show in their hometown of Stockholm.  Katatonia will perform with both current and former members.  The collaboration is promising to be a spectacular Katatonia 20-year anniversary show.

If you have been a fan of Katatonia since the beginning, you know they were much different than they are today, especially in the vocals.  What used to be harsh growling vocals has evolved into a range that is clean, crisp, and haunting.  The transition happened around 1996 when Brave Murder Day was released.  The harsh vocal range took its toll on singer Jonas Renkse.  Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt stepped in to record the (harsh) vocals.  The next Katatonia album, Discouraged Ones released in 1998, was where Renkse’s vocals made the transition to a much cleaner style, which was a big risk for the band at the time.  I’d have to say, ultimately it paid off.

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Backtrack-Bathory-Twilight of the Gods

With bands such as Amon Amarth and Enslaved taking the Viking metal sub-genre to new levels I thought it would be cool to go back and take a look at the band that could be looked at as the inventors of the genre.  With what started out as a black metal band in the 80’s, main man Quorthon(AKA Tomas Forsberg) took his bands a different direction at the start of the 90’s.  He moved away from the speed and intensity of black metal and moved to a bigger and more epic sound heavily influenced by the history of the Vikings and Norse mythology on the album Hammerheart.  For the next couple of releases Bathory would continue to pursue this new musical style, then venture into thrash metal territory before returning to Viking metal to ride it out until Quorthon’s untimely death in 2004.

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A great warrior is standing at the gates of a castle that is about to be stormed looking to the sky as a bead of sweat drops down his nervous brow.  This grand swordsman wipes the sweat from his brow and hides all of his nervous inhibitions so he does not lose the courage of the army standing behind him.  He know he must be brave and strong for the people at this castle have oppressed him and his people and land for far too long.  To muster up his courage and of his men he unsheathes his great iron broadsword made by his brother, the blacksmith.  Light reflects off snow landing and melting on the edge of his blade as he raises high into the air.  This light calls the attention of his men along with the thundering battle cry that come pouring from lungs.  “We have come, and we will take back what you have forcefully taken from us!”  And then turning to the castle, the swordsman thunders, “Prepare to return to where you have come from.  Our blades, our spears, and our arrows are thirsty, and today, they will sated!!!”  The army bellows in agreement and then the epic battle ensues.

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That One Album That Changed It All

Yesterday I read a post on another metal blog that I frequent, Heavy Blog is Heavy(you can read the post here).  Upon reading that post a wave of fun and stupid memories from my high school days in the 90’s came flooding back into my mind as the authors talked about this very special album.  What I was reading was a throwback to an album that I could honestly say had a major, if not the most important, impact on me and how my musical tastes developed into what they are today.  That album is the self titled debut L.P. from Mr. Bungle.

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