Monday, November 13, 2006
I downloaded this album on a whim awhile back, I don't remember from where. This one is quite a piece of work, despite some initial misgivings.
First, the bad. The riffs in the album are for the most part generic melodeath fare. Don't expect to be seeing massively technical, amazing solos here, either. The sound on the surface should be very familiar by now, and many of the songs don't move beyond chorus-verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus format.
But to start off the good news: none of those things really matter here!
This album's greatest strength is making something really new and interesting out of 1/3 elements boring old dogshit, 1/3 classical elements, and 1/3 kickassery. This is a concept album, folks; although you *could* listen to it by individual song, you'd be missing the massive story behind the album: the WWII battle of Stalingrad and its human repercussions. Not to mention, this is a well-done concept album -- even if you can't understand the lyrics (considering one song straight-up isn't in English, this is understandable), you can at least understand kind of what's going on and what the album is about from the music and skits alone. Speaking of the skits, there are two -- the title track and Prospekt -- and they are both quite descriptive in their content. In terms of classical elements, a chorus and some female vocals are used on some songs, and they sound perfect along the orchestration provided (strings, piano, and horns on a few songs). When I say these are used, I mean used in the sense of "all the freaking time, seamlessly", and it works so amazingly well.
Overall, SUCH a good album. I'd say this is at least at my top 10 for 2006.
8.9sampled Russian victory marches out of 10.
Click, and thou shalt receive!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Yes, I know this isn't metal. I don't care. I said in my first post that some of the stuff I post won't be metal. Tough shit, deal with it. Or better yet, keep reading.
If I had to pick a favorite classic rock album, this would be it. This is mainly because it engenders the two best things about music of the era. Side one of the album is basically side blues-rock. The music isn't going for too much depth, though it is certainly there in the arrangements; this side is here to rock and to please the fans and sell albums, plain and simple. That being said, it's still great stuff; notable is Robby Steinhardt's expressive violinwork and gritty vocals. Third track "Lonely Wind" is a slow ballad-type song, and it soars far above almost any other song of the type, especially with the harmonies on the third chorus.
Side two is where things get interesting. Excepting the fluke song "The Pilgrim" (which isn't bad at all, it's just kind of out of place), two of the songs are 8 minutes long, and the other is about 9:30. Considering this was 1974, holy shit! The first, "Journey to Mariabronn", tells a story in a very expressive manner. Instrumental breaks, subtle time changes, and violin and keyboard work make this one shine like nothing else. The 9:30 song, "Apercu", is all about the buildup and the grandeur. The song takes a very mellow break in the middle, then comes back full-force at the end. It transitions exactly into the next song, "Death of Mother Nature Suite". This one is fairly straightforward in the beginning, but a similar mellow break happens in the middle, which transitions to a fairly hard part, then an interesting, different coda.
A great album even today, 22 years later. An even better album considering when it was released. Good stuff.
8.5 crazy violin solos out of 10.
Clizzle to Downlizzle, Hizzle