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Album Review: Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

613dW-xBHFL._SY300_Album:  Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Songs:  22 (deluxe version)

Length:  2 hours; 38 minutes (deluxe version)

Previous Albums:  Angels Fall First (1997); Oceanborn (1998)’ Wishmaster (2000); Century Child (2002); Dark Passion Play (2007); Imaginaerum (2011)

Genre:  Symphonic Metal

Location:  Finland

I had high hopes for a newly invigorated Nightwish.  Not that Anette’s departure was a blessing, I actually liked Anette with Nightwish quite a bit.  Lineup changes happen and sometimes it is unfortunate. But, after hearing Floor’s initial performances with the band on various YouTube clips I maintained the hope that Nightwish would continue to pump out highly fervent symphonic metal to the masses. I read that Floor was with the band during the recording process which was something new for the band.  This led me to believe things would be just different this time around.  Sadly, the only thing that is different that Nightwish acquired a new singer that’s sounds equally as excellent their previous front-ladies, but the passion in their music seems to be largely absent.  Read the rest of this entry

Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for March: Part 2/2

SC logoHere are the second six of the 12 female-fronted albums our friends at Sonic Cathedral reviewed during March. I’m still trying to determine if the Christopher Backeberg who does reviews for SC is the same one who posts as ChristopherMammal on Metal State. Every time I look for him, he seems to be looking for me.


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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1998 / #15 – #13

MetalCatI could have used up the remaining 12% of my working brain and cut the list for 1998 to ten songs. The trouble is that many favourite songs change places quite often on anyone’s list, and I didn’t want to leave any of these out.

Dark Metal Cat says I lack self-discipline. I retort that he lacks opposable thumbs.


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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1997 / #10 and #9

MetalCatAs I’m preparing this post, a troop of vervet monkeys from the forest is having a team shouting and bickering match. The males are getting the hots for the girl monkeys. It’s that time of year, the coldest time of year here in Zululand. The temperature at sunset is down to below 20C.

I shouted through the window,  “Hey! Guys! I’m trying to listen to music from Scandinavia, where monkeys know how to behave!” They ignored me. Maybe they’re Viking monkeys.

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Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #20 & #19

Warlock-Metal-Master-Blade-MMWGSVBKI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

20.  Last of the Wilds – Nightwish

This song has a steady cadence that I like and also has some folk elements that give it a nice touch.  Symphonic metal bands do a good job with instrumental songs in my opinion.  My kids actually like this one too, they think it has a cool beat. When I first heard Dark Passion Play, this song was an instant stand out for me.  Other than that, this is one of the more simple entries without any in depth explanation…I just like it.

19.  Canto 34 – Five Finger Death Punch

I can’t say I wholeheartedly appreciate the direction this band has taken, but I am fond of the War Is the Answer album where this instrumental appears.  It’s a pretty mellow tune compared to most the album’s songs, but I like the guitar work; the riffing and the solos are the driving forces and for me that works out nicely.   The song has nice flow and up to now in this list you can probably tell that most instrumental songs I like are not necessarily the heaviest o
f songs.  There are some heavy songs on the way.

Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #66-70

Top100A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum almost a year ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.


#70 Nightwish – Dark Passion Play

I was sad to see Anette Olzon leave Nightwish, she was the reason I started to really like this band and their music. Anette and Marco (bass player/vocals) really complement each other so well. The folk music influences makes this album more interesting than their previous ones and it doesn’t have a single bad song on it. Fortunately I had the chance to see them live with Anette after this album was just released and it was a really great show.


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Album Review: Nightwish – Imaginaerum

Imaginaerum is the sophomore effort for (not so) new singer Anette Olzon.  This is important for her to finally prove herself to the die-hard (Tarja) Nightwish fans that she can hold her own.  I think Anette proved that already with Dark Passion Play for the most part, but some people need more convincing.  I am not sure they are going to get that this time around simply because of the style of the new album.  Imaginaerum is more like a soundtrack or a Broadway musical than it is your standard symphonic metal album.  Having said that there is supposed to be an associated fantasy-adventure movie coming out sometime in 2012.  That obviously explains the Broadway musical feel to the album.

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Music Video Mania- Finnish Metal

If heavy metal had a Mecca right now I would say it is Finland.  The cold country seems to be the breeding ground of a myriad of high quality metal bands spanning through many genres.  I don’t know what the Finns are drinking (maybe some of that ceremonial thunder brew that was the inspiration for Korpiklaani‘s latest album Ukon Wacka), but if there is one thing that they can do, it’s write some of the best metal that the world has to offer.  According to many statistics, Finland has the most metal bands per person with for every 4 people there’s 1 metal band.  That’s a lot of metal.

This updated repost of a Music Video Mania I did last year will be the first part of a 2 part series.  Next week I will take a look and give my opinion as to why Finland has so much great metal going on in the country.  If any Finnish readers (or any readers) would like to give their opinion why Finland is so rich with metal, I’d really love to hear it!!!  Enjoy the videos!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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iTouch Report – October 2011

It is that time of month for a heavy metal discussion piece.  As usual, it’s time to look at the play count on your personal digital music player…if you have one.  If you listen to CDs then you can guess what you have been listening to the most.  I will do this again for November and December, but will probably discontinue this post.  Mainly, my iTouch is screwy with its play count.  I am not sure why, but there is no way possible that I listened to one song over 1,300 times in one month.  I am not sure why that happened, but I reset the play count every month and refresh my playlist with new music every month.  So, for the play count to be nowhere near accurate defeats the purpose of talking about what I listened to most this month.  December will be my last post on this topic.  For now, here is what my iTouch thought I listened to the most in the month of October.  I can’t say I disagree…I just disagree with the number of times played.

10.  Symphony XWhen All Is Lost – I still can’t get enough of this album.  It is more than likely going to be a top 5 of 2011…easily.

9.  OpethHaxprocess – Although not my favorite Opeth album, I don’t think its as bad as some folks made it out to be.  It’s actually great as a 70s prog album.  But we all know what kind of Opeth we want to hear.  Next time…I hope.

8.  Machine HeadI Am Hell (Sonata in C#) – What an amazing opener for Unto The Locust.  This whole album has great potential for my #1 of 2011.

7.  Amon AmarthDoom Over Deadman – Surtur Rising is another great album release of 2011.  Nuff said!

6.  NightwishThe Poet and the Pendulum – Not sure how this popped up so much on the playlist, but it is a great song.  We should see something new from Nightwish in 2012.

5.  NevermoreThe Termination Proclamation – I never got into this band until this album.  I am glad I did, but also bummed that they done.

4.  Dream TheaterOutcry – Dream Theater is back!  Can’t wait to see them next year.  In fact, my tickets just showed up today and planning to take my son to his first show.  Nothing like spreading the gospel of metal to the generations 🙂

3.  Megadeth1,320′  – This is probably one of my favorites on Endgame.

2.  Chimaira – Scum of the Earth – Chimaira took a bit of flack on some sites, but I dig this album a lot and I am quite happy that they were able to keep the machine working despite a heavy turnover in personnel.  Again, can’t wait to see them next year.

1.  TriviumWatch the World Burn – Another one that took some flack.  In Waves is not their strongest album, but it’s still good music.  This is probably going to at least be in the top 1o for me at the end of the year.

So what’s been causing the ringing in your ears this October?  Is there anything on my playlist that surproses your or something you haven’t heard in a while?  Whatever is your metal pleasure, let’s hear it.  Perhaps you will introduce me to something new.  Have a great night!

Theme Thursday – The Women of Metal

For many moons men were the dominant gene fronting some of the most brutal and sometimes most haunting metal bands.  This is still true as men outnumber women as front-men (front-people, singers, vocalists).  Women, now more than ever, are taking the lead role and doing a damn good job maintaining the feel of a metal band, but with (usually) heart-piercing vocals.  The other end of that spectrum are bands like Arch Enemy and Kittie whose female vocalists kick you where the pain shoots to your stomach and paralyzes you for a while (men know what I am talking about).

It’s time these women get their own theme of the week at A Metal State of Mind.  Let it be known that women and metal unite and kick ass.  Here are just a few of the many bands out there with women leading from the front.  If you know of any others that kick-ass and take names, let us know.

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