Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#80: Music by 311
To me, 311 are just a damn good time and this album will forever bring a smile to my face. These guys also put one hell of a show bringing music fans from all walks of life together to jam on some crunchy grooves. Their debut, Music, will always be my favorite album by them with songs ranging from the ‘hazy’ and lazy “My Stoney Baby” to the funky, hard rocking styling of “In Your Face” all tied together with some great duel vocals bouncing between spacy sung vocals and old school hip hop vocals. I like the constant theme throughout the album of ‘just relax and take it easy, man’ (Story of my life 😉 )
You know the phrase “one step forward, two steps back”? It usually means that one tried a different approach to something and it didn’t really work out, but you need to commend the subject for trying. Well, for the first half of the new version of one of my all time favorite power metal bands, Rhapsody (the other half being Alex Staropoli’s Rhapsody of Fire), I need to make an amendment to that age-old phrase. On Ascending to Infinity they took two steps back and then two steps forward arriving at the same point in quality on the vertical plane but at a different horizontal point. I could have said that this new version of Rhapsody had a change in sound, but that just doesn’t do justice to what was done on this record. Luca, who more or less wrote the entire album, deconstructed some things that were established on the past couple of Rhapsody albums (which were some of the best in the history of the band) and reconstructed the ‘Rhapsody’ sound in his own personal vision. Gone are the songs of dwarves, elves, dragons, epic journeys, and other high fantasy troupes filled with bombastic medieval orchestral sections, high-flying guitars, and copious amounts of cheese. Now, with Luca Turilli’s singular vision we have an album that embraces a love for cinema like I’ve never heard before filled with Renaissance-styled orchestral sections, over-the-top guitars, and a massive deluge of cheese. All with a nice, modern, 21st century touch to it all.
It looks like Max Cavalera era Sepultura took home the belt for “Best Max Cavalera Band”. It seems that classic Sepultura album Chaos A.D. was a big deciding point for the win. Congrats!
This week we bring you 3 music videos that portray powerful and emotional performances by both the band and the supporting cast of actors. You will also witness mind-bending special effects and epic fantasy storylines that would make J.R.R. Tolkien weep. Watch the videos for Alternate Reality‘s “The King That Never Was”, Rhapsody‘s “Rain of a Thousand Flames” (NSFW alert, there’s boobies) and Dio‘s “Holy Diver”, and vote for the one who deserves to win the Heavy Metal Oscar, and if you’re up for it, let us know which performance moved you more and why down in the comments. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Alternate Reality – “The King That Never Was”
Rhapsody – “Rain of a Thousand Flames”
Dio – Holy Diver
2011 was yet another great year for concerts both in metal and outside the realm. I feel blessed living in Milan with the vast majority of artists making this Italian metropolis their main Italian stop on their tours and usually that stop is just a couple of metro stops away from my home. Can’t beat that. Here are a handful of the concerts I went to this year that really stuck out as awesome shows in no particular order. Now onward to 2012 and looking forward to more great shows(Dream Theater and Gods of Metal(Black Sabbath and Opeth!!!!!) tickets purchased, so can’t wait!!). Enjoy and let us know what your favorite concerts this year were! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Helloween/Stratovarius: These two bands made a great show filled with a night of top-notch Power Metal. Even though he was coming off of a sickness Stratovarius’ Timo Kotipello put on a great vocal performance and the rest of the band was electric, especially their new guitarist who blew me away with his skill and stage presence. Helloween headlined and proved why they are lauded as the kings of Power Metal. Their setlist was great mix of new and old with a really cool medley of Keeper of the Seven Keys songs and a great performance of “I Want Out” with lots of crowd interaction. If either of these bands pass your way check them out, they’re tons of fun.
Rhapsody of Fire: A couple of weeks after the Helloween/Stratovarius show I was able to catch Italian Fantasy Cheese Power Metal live for the first time and the last time with both Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli sharing the stage together. Their live show is as big as their recorded sound and was special that they played a couple of their songs in Italian for the Italian crowd(and the audience all knew the words). Fabio Leone really stood out as his voice was wonderful that evening nailing the high power metal notes, the deep operatic sounds, and ripping apart the occasional Black Metal rasps(“Reign of Chaos” FTW).
Bon Jovi: Believe it or not I’m a born and bred Jersey boy and I have never been to a Bon Jovi concert before. Well, since they are my wife’s all time favorite band I got to surprise her with tickets to see them in Udine, Italy. Boy, does that man know how to put on a great show. Bon Jovi’s stage presence is unmatched and the energy he puts into the show is immeasurable. The stage was gigantic with 2 jumbotrons on each side and one jumbo-jumbotron in the center showing live footage and all kinds of video to match the songs. The crowd was impressive as well as the 40,000 at the sold out soccer arena sung louder than Bon Jovi could through the P.A. My ears are still ringing from “You Give Love a Bad Name”. If you ever get a chance to see Bon Jovi live do not turn it down, they are some of the best in the game hands down and put on a top-notch concert and will be worth every penny.
Cake: I went to a couple non-metal shows this year, but it was CA’s Cake that stuck out the most for me. Coming home from work one evening my neighbors(who have a great band called Selton whom you should check out, especially if you like stuff like The Beatles and surf rock) were heading out to see them and invited me any my wife along, boy am I glad we took them up on the offer. The venue was outdoors and it was a beautiful evening out and Cake put on such a fun concert playing for over 2 hours with new songs and old ones. The crowd was in great spirits and everyone was dancing around(even me?!?!). John McCrea is a great frontman and for as monotone his voice is he has great personality and kept everyone moving and full of smiles. Cake is also the first and only band I know of that has had a horticulture quiz during a concert with a sapling as a prize, huge win in my book!!
Opeth: I know I said that I will not number these, but, I’m cheating. Opeth was hands down the best concert of the year as my first concert experience with them, and they blew me away. They played a growl free set to match with the mood of Heritage killed it. Never again will I miss Opeth when they come my way, there is a reason that they are one of the most popular current metal bands out there right now. Pain of Salvation opened and also put on a great set and I’m looking forward to seeing them when they head out on a headlining tour. Check out my review of the show if you want 😉
I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again, I like a good heaping dose of thick cheese on my metal. Not always, as some cheese is a bit sour or over aged, but a good stinky cheese, say, like Gorgonzola, mmm mmm mmm.
Italy needs no introduction to cheese as the whole world is familiar with the best cheese the Big Boot has to offer like Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Provolone, and my favorite, Rhapsody. In the metal realm nothing is cheesier these cinematic fantasy power metal masters, and when I didn’t think that Rhapsody could possibly get any cheesier, they took a Burratta and then slathered it with just about every other tasty cheese there is and released an album trailer like I’ve never seen before. It looks like a teaser for the campiest epic Hollywood movie ever, and that’s just the part where the words fly around on the screen really big. Check it out below.
And to clear up the name thing with Rhapsody which may begin to get more confusing than the L.A. Guns, when Rhapsody of Fire‘s two main men Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli decided on a “friendly split” earlier this year the name rights of Rhapsody were tweaked around a bit. Luca took current Rhapsody of Fire members Dominique Lerquen(2nd/touring guitarist), Alex Holzwarth(drums), and Patrice Guers(bass) with him and now uses the moniker Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. The new singer and keyboardist will be announced when “the moment is right”. On the flip-side Alex Staropoli took Tom Hess(2nd/touring guitarist, now playing lead guitars), and Fabio Leone(vocals) and will continue the current band moniker of Rhapsody of Fire which they switched to in 2006 due to some trademark issues from the band’s original name(and the one I will always use when referring to pre-split) Rhapsody. Alex also recruited Oliver Holzwarth(bass, and brother of L.T. Rhapsody‘s drummer, and Blind Guardian studio bassist), and Roberto De Michele(2nd guitar). Got all that? Good! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Today it has been announced that Luca Turilli will be parting ways with his long time band Rhapsody of Fire. “10 albums released and the end of the saga represent, musically and lyrically, an important artistic goal finally reached, underlined by the success of our last release From Chaos To Eternity, for which we want to thank our wonderful fans once again. Now it came the time when new artistic stimulation need to be found, in respect of both parts’ visions and perspectives and of our longtime friendship” stated band founders and leaders Luca Turilli(guitars) and Alex Staropoli(keyboards) in a joint statement.
Rhapsody of Fire will continue as a band with Alex Staropoli taking the helm and pushing forward with Fabio Leone(vocals), Tom Hess(was second guitar player and is now stepping in to fill Luca’s huge shoes while they band auditions for a second guitarist to take his previous position), and Alex Holzwarth(Drums). Luca Turilli will continue the Rhapsody(not to be confused Rhapsody of Fire) namesake with Dominique Leurquin(second guitar), Patrice Guers(bass) and Alex Holzwarth(drums). In case you are totally confused, Rhapsody had to change their band name to something different after some legal battles which led to the band being named Rhapsody of Fire so now each of the founders are taking a part of the band and doing their thing with it. When each band gets rolling on hopefully the naming confusion will iron itself out.
Adding to the joint statement Alex Staropoli has said “While wishing the best to Luca and his new band, I want to tell you that Fabio and myself feel motivated and stronger than ever and that Rhapsody of Fire are already planning a great worldwide tour. More information regarding the new bass player and the new second guitar player will follow. Stay tuned!”
I didn’t find this split entirely surprising as they had stated upon the release of their latest album From Chaos to Eternity that they had finally closed a huge chapter in their career and had interest in pursuing other projects outside of the fantasy niche they had carved for themselves. I am happy that Alex will continue on with Rhapsody of Fire and Luca with Rhapsody, while they may move away from the fantasy themes I enjoy so much from them I am looking forward to hearing where they bring their new paths. VIVA FORMAGGIO ITALIANO!!!!
It’s now July 2011 and we have hit the halfway point in the year. So far there have been tons of outstanding metal releases and there will be some upcoming releases to hit in the second half of the year(September is going to be one hell of a month). I’d like to present you with my top 10 favorite albums to be released so far in 2011. Let’s see how many maintain their hold till the end of the year. A few I haven’t gotten around to reviewing but be sure that will eventually pop up soon. And as always, what were your favorite albums for the first half of 2011. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
If there’s one thing that’s not lacking in the world of metal is music videos. More often than not these videos don’t get much of a budget from the record companies, so the bands need to cut corners and really use their imagination to make a video to promote themselves. Sometimes the band is aware that the video is going to be ridiculous, and often they are completely oblivious making the video even more hilarious. Here’s a collection of some of the most hilariously awesome metal videos, intentional or not. Check them out and have a good laugh. If you know of some other awesomely awful metal videos leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Now this is how you go out in style. Rhapsody(of Fire)‘s new release From Chaos to Eternity brings the Dark Secret Saga to a close and also marks the their exit from the fantasy world of Rhapsody(there will still be tours and concerts under the Rhapsody moniker, and maybe other Rhapsody albums, but none taking place in the world they have created). It will be sad to see the Rhapsody saga come to a close, but they couldn’t have ended it on a higher note. Over the years Rhapsody have captivated their listeners with their unique brand of neo-classical power metal and their world of dragons, elves, demons, angels, wizards, and dark geometry.
In anticipation of the masters of Italian symphonic over the top fantasy power metal band Rhapsody(of Fire)’s upcoming album(there is a leak floating around Youtube, and wow, just, wow) From Chaos to Eternity I present to you the best worst music video ever created. “Rain of a Thousand Flames” come off the 2001 EP of the same name which serves as an expansion to the Emerald Sword Saga storyline. Enjoy hope you laugh and headbang as much as I did!!! And this is mildly NSFW, there’s a couple nipples. Peace Love and Metal
And remember to purchase your copy of From Chaos to Eternity on 17 June 2011 in Europe and July 12th 2011 in the States.
Viva Formaggio Italiano!!!!!(I couldn’t help myself)