Archive for November, 2016

Civil War – The Last Full Measure

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on November 29, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

Swedish metalband Civil War is FINALLY back with their third album – “The Last Full Measure” following up the success of “Gods and Generals”. I have personally waited for this day to come, as I couldn’t exactly get enough of “Gods and Generals”, so this album could not have come sooner. And with the teaser in “Road to Victory”, the anticipation grew even bigger.

And I was not disappointed, or at least not exactly. While there were maybe one or two tracks, three if you include the bonus track, that felt a bit like transport, the rest of the album was well pleasing! The album has an epic opening with keyboards before launching into heaviness – bringing your thoughts back a bit to “USS Monitor”, at least to begin with. But seriously, I can’t get over the pre-chorus – I have a tendency to get stuck on small things that I like in songs, and for “Road of Victory” it’s the pre-chorus. Cannot love it enough.

Most of the songs are in the same vein as in “Gods and Generals”, and also “The Killer Angels” – it’s the big, epic songs with amazing vocals that we are used to. Some are heavier – some are a bit calmer, and the whole album is very enjoyable and most importantly – most of the songs are very headbang friendly, which is something that has become more and more important for me over the years as someone who loves going to live shows.

Then we have the two couple of songs that had me startled a bit – starting with “Savannah”. It’s a very good song – trust me, I enjoyed it a lot, but that vocal work Nils Patrik has going on in the beginning had me startled. I can’t exactly fingerpoint what it is – but it brings me back to those cocky 90’s kind of teenage singers when I hear, and I absolutely love it.

The second one is, as most of you might be able to guess – “Tombstone”. I literally sat wide-eyed when this song began. Sure it’s not superoriginal-never-ever-been-done-before, but seriously hearing Civil War go that distance, put a BIG smile on my face. I found myself bouncing around with a wide, very wide smile on my face and if that isn’t an accomplishment, then I don’t know what is. I love it.

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// Sara

REVIEW: Nightmare – Dead Sun

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 27, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

Nightmare – France’s metalpioneers goes way back in time – all the way back to 1979, when it was originally founded. Debutalbum was released in 1984, and after their second album release in 1985 the band went on a large hiatus and returned to the scene in 1999. From here, you could say the road has been filled with obstacles – difficult endings with members and change of recordlabels didn’t make it easy for them, but they decided to come back stronger than ever. Now the band consists of Maggy Luyten on vocals as well as Olivier Casula on drums.

The album starts off with an epic opening which emerges into a heavy and fairly aggressive, yet melodic tune that I fell in love with already at first listen, “Infected”. This is the kind of song I’d easily put in a festivalplaylist, or more as, already have. It’s easy at times to look too much into musicianship – is this new enough, is this advanced enough, when sometimes, all you need is a good mood in the song.

The album continues on in the same vein – it’s heavy, it’s aggressive but with the small tint of melody that makes classic heavy metal exactly that. It’s a consistent album that doesn’t really have any low points at all – but instead a few peaks, one being “Seeds of Agony” that simply got me.

When listening to the album, I can’t help but notice it’s a bit heavier than the more previously released albums, which in this case is actually a good thing. I can admit right away, I wasn’t having too high expectations on this album, but it was very, very good and very enjoyable. It’s a very headbang friendly album, while still showing up some supreme talent and skills within the band.

However, what I really fell in love with is Maggy’s voice. She has one of those powerful voices that just knocks you over and yet give you chills all over, her vocal work in “Tangled in the Roots” is simply phenomenal. When listening through this album, I found myself being enchanted by her voice, just taking it in. They made a really good choice in replacement singer, that is for sure.

This album was a lot better than I actually expected it to be, and I’m very glad that I got the chance to review it – it’s just that good. I can warmly recommend this to everyone, you’ll love it.

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(Label: AFM Records)

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// Sara

REVIEW: Words of Farewell – A Quiet World

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 25, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

Words of Farewell is a melodic death metal band with its roots in Germany. While the band was formed already in 2007, it took up to 2011 before the signed with AFM Records and released their highly acclaimed debut album “Immersion”. 2013 they followed it up with yet another successfull album named “The Black Wild Yonder” and now, three years later they are finally back again with their third album, “A Quiet World”.

The album opens up with a strong track in the shape of “My Share of Loneliness” which gives you a promising outlook of the album with it’s interesting rhythm patterns and great melody sections. It does continue on throughout the album – the songs are well produced with a lot of earcandy going on in several songs, the one catching my attention the most “Gaia Demise”, and not to speak the variety of intro’s used – none of the songs were the same. You’d find oriental elements in “Gallows Frame”, only to get a more futuristic sound in “Limit Cycle” to a very interesting intro to “Oversoul”.

While the album does have it’s moments of heaviness in songs as “Zero Temperance”, I do feel that this album is a bit lighter than the previous albums – taking a softer approach to it all, without losing the headbangfriendliness that comes with heavier music.

The album is wrapped up in the melancholic – why do all the bands write melancholic dystopic songs nowadays? Is it some sort of trend? – dreamy, almost cinematic kind of song in the nine minutes long finale of the album. “This Shadow My Likeness” is an experimental kind of song, and it just became the perfect ending for this album.

Overall, I think this is a step up for the band. The music might have gone a bit softer than you might be used to, but the material is a lot better, if you ask me. I’d warmly recommend this album to you guys, if you are into heavier melodic metal, and into screaming vocals. I really enjoyed this one.

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(Label: AFM Records)

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// Sara

 

HammerFall – Built To Last

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on November 23, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

After all these years, HammerFall’s still going strong. “Built To Last” marks no less than the tenth studioalbum from the Swedish Heavy Metal crusaders from Gothenburg. As the, now, longtime HammerFall fan that I am, I was as usual looking forward to see what they could come up with this time. Ever since “No Sacrifice, No Victory” I have somewhat felt it going a bit downwards – “Infected” being a basic disaster, and “(r)Evolution” starting to pick up the pieces of a shattered era. So, will “Built To Last”, well, last?

To be honest… The album is a bit so-so. It’s still not really reaching the heights that I would want it to do. It starts off with a pretty bland song, for being HammerFall. After having albums open with songs as “Any Means Necessary” and even the more recent “Hector’s Hymn”, “Bring It!” feels very bland. It’s not exactly the punch in the face, or even the premonitions about an epic adventure that you’ve gotten used to over the years.

Right after the bland opener, it picks up the pace – and it’s essentially like all the interesting and good songs managed to find themselves chunked together in the beginning here – powerful anthem “Hammer High”, the “here I am, here I stand” in “The Sacred Wov”, the heavy, fast and anthem like “Dehtrone and Defy” as well as the beautiful, interesting and fairytale like “Twilight Princess”.

After this chunk though, the album loses its magic again and goes back to being a bit of a transport, and a bit bland. The songs melt together, no one really stands out and I find myself sitting there like “Ok.”, probably because I know they can do, and have done, better than this. But I guess it’s a good thing, on the one side, as it leads up to a very mysterious and interesting last song – that opens up with a keyboard solo, and evolves into a melancholic, yet at times aggressive dystopia kind of song. Very interesting and good end to an album that was otherwise a bit bland.

So, how do I conclude all of these shattered thoughts – while there’s a block of good songs in the beginning stretching to the middle, it’s still overall a bit bland, BUT, IT IS a step forward from “(r)Evolution”, so at least it’s going in the right direction after the painful “Infected”. So, well done in that perspective, and, still a little bit to go to get back to the REALLY good days.

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// Sara

Hulking Dynamo

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, this day was haard man. First of all, Paula woke us up in the morning (thanks dude!) as her plane was leaving earlier than ours, and then, after trying to catch one more hour of sleep (thank God I packed everything the day before, huh?) it was a heartfelt good bye between Nathan and I as I went out to get to the airport. Because of tubes and people, I ended up taking a taxi and traveling with the kindest of taxi drivers. Seeing that he saved my day, I tipped him pretty big. Seriously, people should appreciate service workers more.

Once at the airport, I checked in my luggage and I was happy to learn I had been upgraded to SAS Plus!  I don’t know why or how, but I didn’t really care that much. Hello, PLUS!

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Because of me being a bit late, I didn’t have time to catch something to eat – but you know, thanks to the upgrade, that was not an issue! Food was included! Damn, I wanna travel SAS Plus every time now, simply because of this. This plane was outbound to Oslo, so once landed in Oslo I bought myself a cup of coffee and sat down to organize things on my computer, in my very long wait for the bus.

Later in the evening, I got on my bus and started my journey home to my town.

Seriously. Last minute trips are for some reason one of the best trips. I guess it’s because of the spontaneous nature. That you just GO. I love that. Again – thank you all wonderful people who were a part of this trip. I love you all.

Til next time!

// Sara

Lordi @ o2 Academy Islington, London, United Kingdom 20/11 – 16

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 20, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

— WARNING. I sadly do not have many pictures at all from this show! Sorry about that! —

SO THE BIG FUCKING DAY WAS HERE. Getting to bed waaay too late of course, because of some CERTAIN people sending me pics all night. At about 6 or 7 in the morning Nathan gave me a call and made it to the hotelroom. Just as about as tired as me, he crashed in bed and we went back to sleep for a couple of hours until it was time to get up and start getting somewhat ready for Paula’s arrival.

As per usual, I had a hard time deciding what to actually wear, so of course, even after Paula’s arrival, we still wound up a bit late. Or well, late for my own personal taste. We headed off to McDonalds for some quick lunch/dinner whatever it actually is on days like these, before heading home, collecting the necessities and then headed off to the venue.

As we forgot to actually check the tube at home, it was a bit of a questionmark once down under, but gladly, Nathan, who’s been at the venue before lead us there with GRACE. And once there, yes, much to our dismay we discovered some people were already waiting, but what can you do?

The first people we run into though is Michelle and Alice. I haven’t seen Michelle since Powerwolf, and this was also my first time seeing Alice, and we started hanging out a bit, when the wonder of all women was coming around the corner. And I can honestly say, I don’t often run up to people and attack them with hugs, but when I do – it’s when I see Niki. Jesus! This is one of the girls I met at Extralordinary earlier this year, so I’ve been looking forward to see her again, and spend some proper time with her.

The line got divided in two – the people who have 02 and the people who don’t. Gladly, as an 02 holder, you could bring a couple of people with you, so all of us moved to the other line. We had a lot of fun in the line – catching up, running around for coffee, being on a look out, planning and joking around with a lot of things. I’m fairly certain Nathan might be scarred for life because of this queueing.

Sadly, some unfortunate things also happen – all of a sudden, the two people infront of us in the line became 12, and despite trying to question this, they kept on fighting. Like… When the guard asked “who has 02?” only two of them raised their hands, and all of a sudden, well they became six times as many. But they stood their ground, apparently. Good thing Karma is a thing, right? I’ll get back to this one later.

Anyway, time passed on, and as darkness came, the temperature dropped DRASTICALLY. I said that after a while like, “Now it can’t be just me” and everyone agreed. Thankfully, the guard eventually let us in, and for the unusual sake, we wound up on OX’s side. I haven’t been on his side for I don’t know how long, so, well, I guess change is good right?

And with that, it was time for the first band of the night: Silver Dust

Silver Dust

As per usual, the band delivered a GREAT set – however, a very short one. I was surprised to see exactly how short it was, a lot of the songs you’d be used to hearing – not to mention “My Heart Is My Savior” was cut out of the set.  But I guess what made up for it was that it got to be a proper show – including the mirror as well as actors. Very pleasant to see!

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They left the stage, and soon thereafter, it was time for Shiraz Lane.

Shiraz Lane

Shiraz Lane delivered a good and energetic set – even though, just as Silver Dust, they had to cut their set very short – but still enjoyable. Thank you for this last night!

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And then the wait for Lordi began. Oh by the way – remember how I spoke about karma? Well, one of the loudest and most bitchy out of the group got so sick from all her drinking she had to be evicted. Karma, bitches, karma. Anyway.

And you know – there’s something very special about when the light goes out and “God of Thunder” starts. At first you’re surprised, and then you feel the warmth on the inside spreading in your body and the heart starts racing and the excitment begins as the smile spreads across your face because now you know it’s about five minutes ’til stage time. And then – Opening Scene and Greyskull gets on stage.

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This is the third time I’m seeing Lordi this tour, and yet it feels like I’m witnessing a different show – this time, Greyskull actually brought us He-Mans head and put it on a pole. They continued on with “Babez for Breakfast” and seriously – and it’s time now for some serious music talk here – ever since Lordi got themselves a better skilled drummer, “Babez For Breakfast” has just elevated so much. I enjoy the live version of this song way more than the studio version.

The followed up with “The Riff” and “Hellbender Turbulence” before it was time for OX’s little bassolo. I have actually come to grow very fond of it – it’s just right down my alley with the funky and dubstep rhythms. And when OX singled me out in the audience to “Shake my ass” it felt even more like, yes, okay, here we go! Sadly metalnun comes and interrupts it, and the band continues on into “Bite it Like a Bulldog”.

Next on the list is one of the songs that I have personally been begging for for years to be played. Honestly, you guys have no idea how guilty as charged I feel whenever Mr Lordi imitates the begging fans for this song, because I sure as hell am one of them. You know it – “Icon of Dominance”. Seriously – I can honestly admit that I never thought I’d ever get to hear this song live, and having heard it live for the second time, it’s just… I cannot express enough gratitude to the band, nor can I ever be more satisfied.

Mana’s drumsolo was up next, and speaking about feeling like you see a completely new show – we got the dancing skeletons! Basically, three skeletons come on stage and they dances rhythmically to “The Unholy Gathering” as Mana plays it. The drumsolo levitates into “Hug You Hardcore” and you know, I might have had my ups and downs with this song, but this song live is just beyond amazing.

“It Snows in Hell” is next on the list, with “Children of the Night” parts of it. Mr Lordi coming over tilting his head and OX aiming pics at my cleavage always make it a bit more worth it, but at this time, I want to give a big hand and kudos to the security guard. We had talked to him beforehand about our little trick, and he said we could do it if he thought it was safe enough. So what happened is that he actually walked over to us when it started and became our personal security guard for the entire song, and then gave us all high fives for the show. That made me unbelievable happy.

Hella’s solo coming up next with the little baby, followed by “Down with the Devil”. This is also one of those songs who are just incredibly amazing live. Much better than on the album, I’ve found myself after Dublin and Galway to listen to it, and it doesn’t quite measure up to the live version. This, my friends, is a good thing.

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The crewmember comes back on stage, OX beating her down and we all know what it is time for – “Blood Red Sandman”. And after this, Amen guitarsolo. He’s had a pretty good one this time around – first starting off with some known riffs, and then going to a smooth, sultry, sexy kind of romantic atmospheric kind of playing with romantic lights going all about… and then… The missus comes on stage and just adds to the effect with her stripping. Absolutely perfect. Fits his character as well, don’t you think?

“Hard Rock Halleujah” is next on the list and then they wrap it all up with “Devil is a Loser” before leaving the stage. Later on, they return and wrap up the whole set with “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Would You Love a Monsterman?” and with that, Monstour was over for this time.

It’s an empty kind of feeling that fills you up this time when “The Night the Monsters Died” comes on. I guess it’s because it’s the last gig of the tour that, no matter how much you want another show, this is it until next time.

We hang around a little for a while, head off to the merch to pick up some last stuff and say good bye to the Silver Dust guys. We head out, and walk around the block to make it to the tourbus, only to find Mr Lordi in costume! What a pleasant surprise. This meant Nathan and Niki could finally have their picture taken with him, after all this time!

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While waiting for the rest of the members to come out and say good bye for the tour, we met Valentina from Italy, and really just having a good time – waiting by the tourbus for the band (if they come out) is so much more than just hoping to meet the band – it’s the same as queueing, but at the end. It’s the last couple of survivors of the show, completely worn out running on pure adrenaline, but with hearts and minds full of joy, getting them drunk on life. That is the people you find outside the tourbus. The people with pure love in their hearts.

So, evening consisted of us getting a private show by Ralph Ruiz, getting a few good byes by some of the bandmates and crewmembers and awkwardly dancing and waving with “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. We could see that someone in the bus was actually waving back to us, which is very sweet although we do not know for sure who it actually was. And then off we went in the rainy night…

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After this, we were supposed to go to a McDonalds that were “1 minute away” but ended up walking like 20 minutes until we finally found one that was still open – and we had a nice late night dinner talking about how amazing this show was and how much we all loved being there together.

We said good bye to Valentina as she was heading a different direction, and we went to the carpark to pick up Niki’s car and she drove us home to the hotel. 10 intense minutes of headbanging to Lordi songs together in the smallest roadtrip ever, but it happened, and it was amazing.

We then said a heartfelt good bye to her, went back to our hotel and packed our things before crashing in bed.

What a night. Thank you all, all of you involved in this show and in this tour – you guys are the reason I live, and I love you all so much. Til next time, people!

// Sara

Reckless Love @ Electric Ballroom, London, United Kingdom 19/11 -16

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 19, 2016 by Sara Hammerzmith

Alrighty. It was quite the interesting day I guess you could say – straight out of work I went to the bus, that was of course late. And the thing is… I guess, the thing is, I had a pretty narrow flight – the flight was departing two hours after arrival with the bus, and while you know me – I don’t like waiting at airports, so technically, this is perfect for me, but on the same time, I don’t like when the bus is late. I like to have the idea that I can take my time at the airport, to check in and all that.

So, 15 minutes late the bus arrives, but it was no big deal – we made it to the airport almost on time, so kudos to the busdriver I guess! Got checked in, dropped my luggage and proceeded to my plane. I was going through a rather long day actually – due to the last minute decision and last minute bookings, I was having some rather inconvenient flightchanges – first off to Düsseldorf which is the absolute wrong way, and then back up to London.

For the first time in my life I have no experienced a very very turbulent flight. It almost felt like I was riding a roller coaster or something, which made it a wee bit difficult to sleep, which I had planned. Once arrived in Düsseldorf, I decided to get some lunch, only to realize this airport lacks any sort of selection for food. There are some very exclusive places, but barely any for a snack. So I eventually wound up on something similar to 7-Eleven and a halftasty sandwich. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how much your standards just DROP once on tour.

I headed back toward my gate, got on the plane and could FINALLY enjoy any sort of sleep on the plane. Once in London, I got on the train directly to King’s Cross and heading to the hotel and start getting ready for tonights show. I arrived around 15, and much to my dismay and panic, the doors actually opened already at 18.

So quickly getting ready, a quick change and then heading off. Camden is actually only about 5 minutes with the tube from where we lived, and if I wanted to, a 30 minute walk. But if I got myself an Oystercard you can be damn sure I’ll be using it. So, once in Camden, at first a bit disoriented, I found it.

The Electric Ballroom.

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I’m not sure how many of you readers know, but The Electric Ballroom is somewhat of an iconic and legendary venue for the sleaze scene in Europe – anyone who’s into, certianly newer sleaze bands such as Crashdïet, Sister or conveniently – Reckless Love, know about this venue. This venue, and this area everyone has talked about. As someone who’s now having one foot in the 80’s and sleaze gutter, and one foot firmly screwed in powermetal, it was a warm coming-home kind of feeling finally getting to this venue. Sofia and I had planned going here many years ago, but because of reasons it couldn’t happen.

I arrived in the middle of the first supportband, that I sadly never caught the name of, which is a big shame as they were actually really really good. At the end of this show, I run into Renata that I haven’t seen for AGES. Oh my God! And the surprised face she gave me as she saw me there. The confusion! It was great catching up with her after all this time.

And then, it was time for The Treatment

The Treatment

So, Michelle and I have some really old inside jokes about this band from years back when they toured with Steel Panther, and it’s honestly so hard not to think about that when I watch the band. But, they delivered a very good set, and the audience seemed to love them!

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I went to the bathroom after the show, and sadly lost Renata and her friends, so I enjoyed the gig from the back, which can also be nice. It has been some time, or well, since maybe Sabaton Open Air, that I actually enjoyed a show from the back.

Much to my enjoyment, the boys opened the set with “Animal Attraction”. I could write about how I actually feel about that song, but that would make the blog Rated R, because it sure as hell are other things in, or on me, that gets happy whenever I hear that song. So, it’s safe to say we were off to a good start.

They followed up with “So Happy I Can Die” and then the videosingle of their most recent album – “Monster”. Seriously, I love this song, and this band so much. Can I just… take them home? “Pretty Boy Swagger” followed suit before it was time for an oldie but goodie – “Beautiful Bomb”. Bubblegum rock at it’s finest, isn’t it?

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The band was very energetic. As I remember them. Always being happy, always giving 110% on stage. They are four happypills walking on two legs forcing you to smile, even if you so wanted to cry. This is why I love them, or well, one out of many reasons.

“Badass Baby” is next on the list, followed by “Edge of Our Dreams”… And you know. This song is pure magic. This, THIS Very song my friends – this song is magic in one song. And the live performance of the song, with the dreamy lights made this one of the biggest highlights of the entire show. I cannot express how much I love this song, or perhaps even, how much this song means to me.

“Scandinavian Girls” was next on the list – and first of all – this is my absolute favorite song off “InVaders”, and secondly… It’s something truly special and remarkable hearing a song about Scandinavian girls, specifically, when you are abroad. At the moment it made me proud of my heritage, and it just gives you that extra sense of… belonging. I always loved that this band singles out Scandinavian girls specifically in their songs (also in “Hot”), finally, you know?

“Born to Break Your Heart” was next on the list, followed by “Wild Touch”, “Rock It” and then my personal favorite off “Animal Attraction” – actually, that whole album is just one big favorite, but I have a soft spot for “On The Radio”, it’s just such a crowd friendly song – and the crowd proved it too!

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I thought the crowd generally wasn’t as active as I would have wished them to be – but I’m starting to wonder if it was a shitty crowd, or if I’ve been away from this scene too much that I don’t even remember how these crowd behaves.

They wrapped up the set with “Night on Fire” and FINALLY, the crowd, more or less, exploded. Finally! Took them long enough.

They left the stage and then returned kicking off with “We are the Weekend” and then ending the entire night with “Hot”. I just love this song. It’s the ultimate jumping and dancing song. Actually, anything Reckless Love just calls for sexual dancing all night long.

The band thanked for themselves, and I headed off to the merch – I can’t control myself clearly, but I also felt the need to really have a souvenir from this pretty amazing night. Thank you so much Reckless Love, this night was just beyond me – throwing me back so many years in my own music listening, and making me eager to get back more to the scene. Some time. You know.

After the show, I headed home pretty directly in an attempt to catch some sleep before the big day tomorrow, which Niki and Nathan ensured I would not get any sleep by texting me all evening, sending pictures from their amazing night. Fuck you guys, I love you, but fuck you.

// Sara