Blog Archives

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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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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Matt’s(Atleastimhousbroken) Honorable Mentions of 2011

Man, what can I say?  2011 has been a hell of a year.  First things first, since this will be my final post of 2011, I just want to thank all our readers old and new for tuning in to Metal State.  The site has grown so much over the past year and I’m honored to have all you readers and commenters here for the ride!!  And a thank you to my blogger in crime Reggie(Plantera7) for being a completely awesome blogging partner and brother in metal!!!!  And to everyone I say Happy Holidays and have a great start to your New Year, may it be great 2012 overflowing with copious amounts of Peace, chock full of Love, and tons upon tons of glorious Metal!!!

So onwards, like every other media website, Metal State will also be doing “Best of 2011” lists, I’m sure you’ve already seen/read a few of our other various “Best of” posts, and naturally we are waiting till the end to unleash the big daddy, the “Top 15 Albums of 2011”, which you will be able to read as soon as we return from our 2 week holiday break which will start today(we will still be around here and there to respond to comments, report any “huge” news, etc, but the regular posting will be on hiatus while we enjoy our holidays).  On Jan. 4, 2012 we will be posting our “Top 15 Best Albums of 2011”.  While making mine I had a bit of difficulty getting all the albums I really enjoyed honestly on the list, so I decided to make a mention of a handful of some great albums that ultimately didn’t make my personal Top 15.  Some factors I used when doing my list were how often I returned to the album, my initial reaction to it or how well it grew on me, and most importantly, how much I personally and unbiasedly enjoyed it.

The great thing about reading all of the year-end lists for me is being able to see some of my favorites get mentioned, and if there is someone who mentions a good amount of albums I like, chances are there are some great releases on their list that might be right up my alley.  Anyways, here are some of my honorable mentions in no particular order.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Matt’s(Atleastimhousebroken) Favorite Concerts of 2011

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 😉

Theme Thursday- Metal Songs of Epic Proportions

A nice quick 2-5 minute metal song is a great thing.  The band gets right to the point, does their thing, closes up shop, and then gets right to kicking your ass with another great metal song to keep your blood pumping.  That’s all fine and dandy, but sometimes I want a song that I can really sink my teeth into, to take me on a musical journey, and that’s where the longer songs come into play.  They take their time to build up and when they get going they take you on a ride that can’t be fully realized or appreciated in just a few minutes.  To successfully pull of a long song is no easy feat on the bands part, they need to have the skill to compose a track that will keep the listeners attention for the whole expedition and also make that listener want to come back to experience it again to gain a deeper appreciation for the song.

Here are some metal songs that successfully pull off the long song format and make you want to come back for more(well me at least, but I think many of you out there will enjoy them as much as I do).  I’ll limit myself to not going over 2 songs per band, as some artists are masters at crafting some epic journeys and will start the qualifying time for entry at 10 minutes.  A couple artists have crafted albums that are essentially one long song, so I will only be posting a part of that song(if you get into it you can most likely listen to it in it’s entirety on Youtube, or better yet, purchase the album).  And as always, What are some of your favorite long playing metal songs? Read the rest of this entry

Plantera7’s Top-10 of 2011 So Far

This year has been great for metal and I feel the best is yet to come later in the year, namely September 2011.  Housebroken did a great job outlining his top-10 for the first half of 2011.  Let’s see how die-hard metal fans tastes compare and contrast.  Here is my top 10 for 2011, January through June.  I will keep this relatively short since I will be posting a full report on the Big Four sometime this weekend.

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Theme Thrusday- Happy Metal

I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the stereotype that all metal is dark and angry and that people who avidly listen to the metal are the same.  Well, as you all know, that is not the case with most metal heads.  Of course there are those who fit perfectly into that stereotype, but more often than not, that’s not the case.  Like mostly everyone else in the world we like to laugh, smile, and be merry, we’re a happy people.

It’s true that a lot of metal albums are full of anger and sorrow, and that’s cool.  A lot of music portrays anger and sorrow, even in pop and jazz music, but the extreme nature of metal intensifies it.  It’s normal to enjoy songs about the stated feelings, just about everyone does.  But like any good thing, moderation, moderation, moderation.  And moderation does exist in metal.  Not all metal has to do with anger and hate, the vast majority of the songs deal with various other subjects including love and happiness.  So, if the extreme nature of metal can intensify the anger and hate emotions, inversely it can intensify happiness and joy.  So today I bring you a nice little list of metal bands, albums, and songs that make me a Happy Metal Guy™.  I hope that this list puts a smile on your face and makes you merry(and maybe even introduces you to some new music).  This list is just the tip of the iceberg on metal songs that could make someone happy, what are your favorite Happy Metal bands, albums, and songs?  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

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Best of 2011, So Far….

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!!!!

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Theme Thursday-The Softer Side of Metal

Sometimes a metal band gets a little bored with writing brutal in your face riffs and songs and to keep themselves fresh they venture into alien territories.  A lot of times those territories show a much more mellow side of a metal artist or band and also allow the artists to explore different parts of themselves and when they return to the metal side of the realm, they are back refreshed and in full force to get back into your face and pound out some more metal.  For a musician, I feel that doing something like this is absolutely necessary, whether it be a song on an album, a side or solo project, or an album with the band, when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, one tends to become disenchanted with what it is they are doing and break is needed to keep the creative juices flowing.

Here is a list of some of the stuff that has been released by metal artists and bands that deviate from the bone crushing force of metal and venture into the softer more mellow side of metal.  Hope you enjoy, and as always, if you see an artist or band not featured here that you know has a softer side, let me know in the comments.  Peace Love and Metal!!

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Do You Know What I Like?

When I refer to “You” I am talking about my iTouch.  That’s what this article is about; what my iTouch plays on random for me on a daily basis.  I work in a comfortable office so I have my little radio I connect my iTouch to every single work day.  I also use my iTouch every single time I go to the gym.  I DO NOT workout without music.  I will literally walk right out the door if I forget my headphones or something like that.  Anyway, I do listen to some certain bands during the day when I have that desire; However, mostly, it’s on random so I can be exposed to as much metal as possible…because I need it.  If you are not a metalhead you will never understand so stop reading now.

I decided to look at which songs get played the most.  So I connected my iTouch to the computer, opened iTunes and looked at some numbers.  I am going to list the top 10 songs here and talk about them.  Now I can’t remember the last time I refreshed my iTouch so I was a little surprised to see how many times some of these songs played and the disparity between #1 and #10.   If you are a statistician I have 548 songs on my iTouch (cause I couldn’t afford one with more gigs).  So 10 songs represent roughly only 2% of the metal library on my iTouch.  Here goes…

#10 – Hellyeah – The Cowboy Way – 64 plays.  This is a good rocking song.  I wouldn’t throw the term metal out there for this band.  Hellyeah are one of those bands that just rock…like you should be chilling with a beer in a bar with Hellyeah in the background.  Some people give Hellyeah a bad rap because they say they aren’t heavy enough.  I guess heavy is in the ear of the beholder.  I saw Hellyeah at Download 2010 and they rocked it.  Plus, it’s great to see Vinnie moving on and doing what Dimebag would want him to do.

#9 – Nevermore – Emptiness Unobstructed – 65 plays.  This band is fairly new to me.  This song rocks, I like Warrell Dane’s singing style.  It is unique and I think it sets apart Nevermore from other metal bands.  I would like to see them live.

#8 – Dream Theater – In The Presence Of My Enemies Pt. 1:  Prelude/Resurrection – 65 plays.  I can never say enough about these musical geniuses.  I am not surprised they are on the list. 

#7 – Megadeth – Head Crusher – 68 plays.  Head Crusher kicks arse and so does the video.  I would have volunteered to get kicked in the face by that female cage fighter.  Oh me, I’ll do it?  I guess a prerequisite was to look like a cage fighter and that…I do not.

#6 – Dream Theater –  A Nightmare to Remember – 68 plays.  The beginning of this song could have been the intro to a Cradle of Filth song.  It’s heavy then it segways to more classic DT song and style; all 16+ minutes

#5 – Jordan Rudess – The Grand Escapement – 79 plays.  Dream Theater’s keyboardist.  He’s got some good stuff and if you like DT you should try Jordan out.  He’s one talented bloke.

#4 – Stratovarius – Darkest Hours – 80 plays.  This band is still new to me so I can’t distinguish by the song title which song this is as I type this article.  So I will intentionally listen to it tonight and probably go…oh yeah that is a good song.

#3 – Slayer – Dead Skin Mask – 80 plays.  Hello Mr. Gein; nuff said!

#2 – Megadeth – The Hardest Part Of Letting Go; Sealed With A Kiss – 129 plays.  A slow one for Megadeth, but a powerful and meaningful song.  Mustaine (in his book) said he wrote this for his wife, played it for her, and she said she didn’t like it.  I like it.

#1 – Megadeth – Foreclosure of a Dream – 260 plays.  Like a fine wine; classic Megadeth.  No surprise here.

I guess it’s plainly obvious what some of my favorite bands are.  If you know me you know Megadeth is #1.  Statistically speaking this experiment isn’t entirely valid for the simple reason that some bands have been on my iTouch longer than others.  So what I am going to do for fun is wipe my iTouch clean every month and load fresh stuff.  Then at the end of each month take a look and see if my iTouch knows what I like.  I encourage you to do the same if you have a digital player of some sort.  It could bring up some interesting conversation.  See you at the end of February with a new list.  I need to start deleting.