Saturday, 31 December 2011

Machine Head - Unto The Locust [2011]

Before the year comes to an end and the combat boots are changed to dancing shoes, I shall sing yet another hymn to you. A song about the album that shook my world in December and keeps me thrilled till tonight.
I can't say how come I listened to Unto The Locust, since I never liked thrash metal much. Maybe it was fate, maybe it's because I kept coming across it everywhere in Internet? But since I don't fancy philosophical speeches, let's allow music to speak.

I Am Hell (Sonata in C#) opens in a ceremonial, old-church-fashioned way almost like in Septic Flesh. But there's a hell in the title and it soon becomes touchable as the guitars and drums ride a devilish gallop, hurried by growls.
I am hell to thee
Down here all shall suffer with me

Well said, all will suffer from neckaches after that much headbanging.

The guitar introduction of Be Still And Know keeps the fire of sacral atmosphere. Further though they slightly distort, float with choired vocals and fly in bridges. What a power! What a melody! In the heaviness of this tale there is a lot of energizing optimism.

Locust was chose a promo single and I admit it was a damn right decision. It has absolutely everything that good metal song needs – fast solos, catchy chorus, good lyrics, amazing melody all song long and even an emotional bridge (some more famous metal bands would make a 5-minutes ballad out of it:P) Ay, que rico!

The beginning of This Is The End makes you think 'aha, now they'll slow down and get melancholic!' One awesome riff hurries another, and the dissonances in the chorus are like an ironic laughter on my first imagination of song.

Yet each metal album MUST have a song that's more melancholic than others. Darkness Within presents that point of view, changing growls for wonderful clean vocals and pressure hidden in acoustic and almost acoustic riffs. Yes, the sound explodes in chorus and following solos, but the general idea of a song is much calmer – the limited version of album contains acoustic bonus, as well as covers of The Sentinel (Judas Priest) and Witch Hunt (Rush). The strong point of Darkness are beautiful lyrics.
So pray to music build a shrine
Listen in these desperate times
Fill your heart with every note
Cherish it and cast afloat
Because god is in these clef and tone
Salvation is found alone
Haunted by its melody
Music it will set you free
Let it set you free

Pearls Before The Swine
– is it a sad reflection after a concert? For sure it's a sad, dark tune with broken rhythms, quiet distortions and loud neckbreakers.

Who We Are? Children singing, adults screaming, raging drums or guitars mixed with cellos? Recently I heard an opinion that metal is much more popular among people from smaller towns and villages, among those who are bored with their everyday's reality and lies of modern world. The part -
We are the other American dream
Whose characters fight for their lives
And they scream

-seem to perfectly summarize the better part of metalheads' world – people who are not afraid to stand up for themselves and their opinions. And there's something about this song that wakes the fire burning deep inside my heart and makes me wanna scream, yes, scream, what I really think.

What do I think now? Be courageous and keep changing the world in the damn 2012, remember:
We are the young
And young at heart
The strong and the brave that are destined to start
We are the change
The world needs to see
Look in our eyes and see our belief !

Monday, 26 December 2011

Fever Ray - Fever Ray [2009]

Women are said to have a lot of dark secrets and live in their irrational, imaginary world. We like to present ourselves as reasonable, powerful and optimistic creatures though;) Yet when Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife began writing her solo album, she managed to mix both these natures and create the most female album since ages.

If I Had a Heart is indeed a dark, mysterious duo with a trembling bass and almost flat melody that completes the hypnotising atmosphere of the song. Do women have hearts? And if they don’t, is it because they are naturally black-natured or were their hearts stabbed to death?

What’s the favourite saying of every little girl? When I Grow Up, I want to be...!  our singer mentions a number of careers and seems a busy, dedicated person, yet she explains that part of her is still waiting for something/someone special to love her back. I’m addicted to the way this music fills me with energy, its electronic, dynamic melody immediately reminds me of how good it was to be a kid, trusting in a wonderful, dreamed future...

Dry and Dusty on the opposite seems a bit fearful, it’s a tune drowning in melancholy and slight jealousy of every good moment. The only burst of emotion:

Work as I’ve been told
In return I get money
Small feet in the hall
And I long for every moment

is definitely enough though.

Seven is a much happier memoir, a picture of real female friendship (that indeed exists, I tell you!) and inspiration. It also has calm, but electrifying music with the loops that seem to sparkle like J.M. Jarre’s songs. One of my favorites.

I have to admit that even though I love Fever’s lyrics, for a long time Triangle Walks meant to me just one of the best rhythms in the world. Fantastic use of oriental drums and loops + croaking vocals = purr, purr, purr as Sheldon Cooper would say... And there really is something about this song that makes me think of legendary Pass This On by The Knife and song’s episode in Les Amours Imaginaires. Perfect for the end of a party.

Concrete Walls and its heavy, swinging loop would be better for a hangover though. It’s the most instrument-based song on the album and has entrancing, dark atmosphere.

Now’s The Only Time I Know is a heart-breaking Carpe Diem. For the first time in this album, Fever loses her Swedish harshness in her voice and becomes really delicate and romantic, you’d wish to say – like 19th centuries ladies. Subtle music gives a modern breath though, so we don’t drown in victorian sadness entirely.

La Donna Mobile as Italians say, and women don’t like to show their weaknesses anymore as I say. After a little breakdown, we must show our determination. And just as complex, dynamic music in I’m Not Done motivates to fight...

So, I lost my head a while ago
But you seem to have done no better

We set fire in the snow
It ain’t over I’m not done

Some do magic
some do harm
I’m holding on holding on
I’m holding on to a straw

But there comes a time for the best song of the album. As we once agreed with a fellow night traveler – Keep The Streets Empty For Me – is perfect for lonely trips in the dark city, no matter what you did before. The simple music eases the pain in legs and heart and slowly softening voice of Fever begs for company in singing, murmuring or both. It is also a thrilling story of desire, anger, regret, hope and all that storm that goes on in our female minds so often.

is more of an afterword, an entrancing tune, full of musical cookies, with much smaller emotional impact than its predecessor though.

To me, the phenomenon is that even though pop and electronic music usually bores me really soon, I've been loving Fever Ray for more than a year now... The catchy, but not boring sound and amazing lyrics speaking of both – most usual and most extraordinary things – made a real masterpiece!