Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Theatres des Vampires - Nightbreed of Macabria

On this occasion I bring to you an album I very much like.
This is Theatres des Vampires, a band that despite the French name, hails from Rome, Italy.
I actually once had a debate with some ignorant about the language of the band's name... she said it was Italian, but it takes only a little bit of knowledge in that language to know the name would be Teatri dei Vampiri. Her argument was that it didn't "look French." I had to explain to her that it doesn't "look French" because they omit the accents in the band's spelling; otherwise it'd be Théâtres des Vampires.
Contrary to popular belief, the name translates to English as Theatres of the Vampires, rather than Theatre of Vampires.

Irrelevant linguistics anecdote aside, this band was founded in 1994, after the demise of Sepolcrum (which later became VII Arcano), by their former members Lord Vampyr and Count Morgoth, real names Alessandro Nunziati and Roberto Cufaro, respectively.
They began playing black metal, of the more melodious sort, and became increasingly so, to a point where they became more of a gothic metal band with more extreme overtones, perhaps also a bit on the symphonic black metal path, one could say.
With this album, their sixth, and the following too, they dropped nearly all of their extreme metal elements and adopted a gothic metal sound closer to deathrock than their roots.
Lord Vampyr would leave the band and instead focus on his solo band after this album, and Count Morgoth would follow after the next album, leaving female vocalist Sonya Scarlet and company in charge of the band. They shifted to a gothic sound closer to darkwave, EBM and industrial in their latest album at the time of this writing, titled Anima Noir. They have an album scheduled for release in 2011.

Personally, I think this band's best era was the mid-period, when they went softer but kept it metal, still. This is their last great album according to me, and my favorite by them, without a doubt.
Whether you're into metal of all sorts, or into the numerous varities of gothic music, but particularly if you're into gothic, metal, and gothic metal, I think this album has something for everyone.
Gothic dance-ish beats like Macabria, symphonic metal stuff with great choruses like The Jester's Shadow, sorrowful gothic rock moments like in The Curse of Headless Christ, double bass drumming over plam-muted riffs on A Macabre Banquet, vocal duets in Lady In Black... and so on.
Another thing I like about this album, is that despite the variety, it does feel like a cohesive work. There are some themes here and there repeated throughout the album, but it's not made blatantly obvious. There are also certain atmospheres achieved throughout the album with different songs. On occasion, I play only a selected portion of the album so stay within a specific ambiance. And I'm able to play another portion to seek out different things.

In conclusion if this is the sort of stuff that appeals to you, you'll likely love this, if not as a whole, at least many of the great individual songs in this opus. If you're the kind of person who uses the term "faggoth" often, you're better off sticking to the first couple of albums, 'cause you'll hate this, no doubt.

Lastly, if you like this, you may want to check out Lord Vampyr.

Theatres des Vampires - Nightbreed of Macabria


1. Welcome To Macabria
2. A Macabre Banquet
3. Lady In Black
4. Angel of Lust
5. Luciferia
6. Incubo #1
7. Macabria
8. The Jester's Shadow
9. The Golden Sin
10. Carnival Day
11. Incubo #2
12. The Curse of Headless Christ
13. Mourning Day
14. The Undertaker & The Crow
15. The Beginning of The End
16. La Danse MacabriA du Vampire

Carnival In Coal - Collection Prestige

Today I bring you some unusual music. This is Carnival In Coal, a French band formed in 1995 and disbanded in 2007, after a demo and four albums, this being the last of them, released in 2005.
This band plays a form of extreme metal mixed with pop, funk, disco and more, creating an extravagant, avant-garde style.
Truly, even if you're a fan of avant-garde music, you'd have to listen to this one for yourself.

Be warned, though: this band is not for everyone, and this album even less so. I would only recommend this to fans of the band and fans of the avant-garde and weird.

Carnival In Coal - Collection Prestige


1. Party At Your House
2. Fuckable
3. Satanic Disaster
4. Right Click... Save As...
5. Cartilage Holocaust
6. The Lady And The Dormant Sponge
7. Delivery Day
8. Ohlala
9. Living In the Plastic Age (Buggles cover)
10. D.O.A. (Drunk Once Again)
11. Promenade

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rammstein - Rosenrot

Rammstein is a band that should need no introduction. Among the most successful bands from Germany in recent times to be sure.
They play either a very commercial form of Industrial Metal, or a very Industrial form of Nu-Metal. Different people have different views on that particular subject, but regardless, they are among the pioneers of the sound that has been called Neue Deutsche Härte; indeed, if the merit of starting the genre goes to Oomph!, the credit for making it as big as it is goes to this band.

This is their fifth album, released in 2005, and possibly my favorite to date. It has many great songs, including Rammstein's tribute to their large and dedicated fanbase in Mexico: Te Quiero Puta!
It's a song symbolic to me, but beyond that, it's of special interest because of the many related things the title can mean. Indeed, there are many different translations around. The word "puta" in Spanish is a shortened form of "prostituta" ("prostitute", clearly), but with time has gotten a meaning of its own. In Mexico, and quite probably most of the Hispanic world, the word is used as "whore" and "bitch" would be used in the anglo-parlant world... one being the perhaps relatively derogatory form of such profession (or behavior reminiscent of the profession) while the other is merely an insult typically (but not exclusively) directed at females; in fact, one of the two possible forms of "son of a bitch" in Spanish is "hijo de puta".
In addition to not knowing which of the two meanings of that word is, the lack of a comma could mean many things.
And finally, the verb "querer" (from which "quiero" comes) can mean to want, to like or to love, but it's very important to note that in the latter meaning, it differs significantly from "amar", the other verb used to express the same, because when "querer" is used it indicates more of a crush than true love, or otherwise not romantic love, but instead friendly affection or something along those lines. The cultural connotations of each of those two words as I've described are very common if not absolute in Mexico, and while I'm not 100% sure, I suspect in the rest of the Hispanic world as well.
So the song's title is intriguing because it can potentially mean:
"I Like/Love You[,] Whore/Bitch!"
"I Like/Love You [Being A] Whore/Bitch!" as in "I Like/Love [That] You [Are Being A] Whore/Bitch!"
"I Want You[,] Whore/Bitch!"
"I Want You [To Be A] Whore/Bitch!"
Et cetera...
The lyrics, unfortunately, do nothing to clear this up, and though they may not mean anything to those who don't speak Spanish, most of those who do --myself included--, find them highly amusing.

Sorry, [/endrant]
Now, on to the good stuff.

Rammstein - Rosenrot


1. Benzin
2. Mann Gegen Mann
3. Rosenrot
4. Spring
5. Wo Bist Du?
6. Stirb Nicht Vor Mir (Don't Die Before I Do)
7. Zerstören
8. Hilf Mir
9. Te Quiero Puta!
10. Feuer Und Wasser
11. Ein Lied

And for fun, here's a translation of the tracklist, for those who don't understand German:

1. Petrol
2. Man Against Man
3. Red Rose
4. Jump
5. Where Are You?
6. Don't Die Before Me
7. Destroy
8. Help Me
9. I Love You Whore!*
10. Fire And Water
11. A Song

* = Very roughly, and open to interpretation. See my rant above...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sigh - Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien

Sigh is a black metal band from Tokyo, Japan, formed in 1990, and led mainly by multi-instrumentalist and composer Mirai Kawashima.
Originally a black metal band, and notably signed to Deathlike Silence Productions (which released Sigh's debut album in 1993), the record label of Norwegian musician Euronymous, of Mayhem fame. With the years, Sigh took an increasingly experimental path to forge their distinctive progressive sound, leaving behind much of its black metal roots.
This particular album, one of their latest, sees a partial return to the band's older sound... in some way. It is far more oriented towards the old black metal than it is to their more recent experimental, avant-gardish form of progressive rock/metal with only black-ish vox. But it's not quite that either. The production is very clear, especially compared to everything they did before, and I dare say the extreme metal elements are more appriopriately described as modern rather than classic. It also features very strong symphonic elements, which they included before, but not in the past couple of albums if I recall correctly.
Additionally, I might as well call it a concept album, at least as far as music goes. Many themes or motifs are repeated throughout the album; in a sense, it does come across the movements of a whole symphony, which was probably the band's goal with this record anyway.

So in short, if you're a fan of Sigh, or if you're at all into weird black metal, post-black metal, and/or avant-garde music, I'd say you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien


Act I:

1. Introitus/Kyrie
2. Inked In Blood
3. Me-Devil

Act II:

4. Dies Iræ/The Master Malice
5. The Memories As A Sinner
6. Death With Dishonor
7. In Devil's Arms

Act III:

8. Overture/Rex Tremendæ/I Saw The World's End
9. Salvation In Flame/Confutatis
10. Finale: Hangman's Hymn/In Paradisum/Das Ende