One classic rock band I always felt were always grossly underrated were the gents in Uriah Heep. They did find a nice chunk of commercial success during the 1970s with their first wave of records including Salisbury, Return to Fantasy, and their most celebrated album Demons and Wizards. But somehow, probably due to the general public’s shift towards a more ‘modern’ sound that pervaded the 80s, the band kind of fell off the map even though they continued to release stellar records. Fortunately the countries of Northern Europe never gave up on the band and they continue to thrive selling out arena shows in that region allowing the band to continue producing records so us in other parts of the world could be graced by their proggy sounds.
Being Finnish and incorporating elements of heroism, pub style sing-a-longs, and fantasy into their music it’s pretty obvious that the popularity of Uriah Heep in Ensiferum’s region played a nice part in helping shape the bands sound. And as most bands do with the artists that influenced them, a cover was sure to be done. Taking one of Uriah Heep’s biggest hits, Ensiferum transformed the folk ballad about the Lady of Death (depending on how you want to interpret the lyrics, as the clever way they are written, different cultures will find many different meanings to the song) into one hell of a raging metal song. Keeping that original feel of “Lady in Black” in tact along with all of its infectious harmonies and memorable progressions, the extra punch of metal transforms a somber yet punchy little ditty into a song of raging heroism. Enjoy (and check out some Uriah Heep if you dig on some classic rock and haven’t done so already, you won’t be disappointed)!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Original Uriah Heep Version:
Just when I thought 2011 was a banner year for metal, I think 2012 might be equal to or better in terms of both quality music and sheer volume of albums released. It surely was not a dull moment if you ask me; it seemed like I was listening to at least a couple new albums each week. Interestingly, I can probably look at half my list and tell you that some of these albums, I had no idea were coming. They completely snuck on me or I never expected them like Kreator…a band I nearly forgot about came out with a killer album. The band at #15 I never knew existed until just a few weeks ago and I am still impressed with them. There are definitely some surprises on my list this year. Some of these bands have been around for years and I am only now getting into them. I hope you had a great 2012 in metal! Here are my Top 15 albums of 2012.
Tags: A Band of Orcs, A Eulogy for the Damned, Adding Heads to the Pile, Baroness, Biker, Clockwork Angels, Dark Roots of Earth, Eluveitie, Ensiferum, Equilibrium, God Forbid, Helvetios, House of Gold and Bones Part I, jeff loomis, Kill Devil Hill, Kreator, metal, Orange Goblin, Overkill, Paradise Lost, Phantom Antichrist, Plains of Oblivion, Rock, Rush, Six Feet Under, sludge, Stone Sour, Testament, The Electric Age, Thrash, Top 15 of 2012, Tragic Idol, Undead, Unsung Heroes, Yellow and Green
High above the ground
Beyond the thunderclouds
A Black shade is flying alone
Once so feared among men
Now the legend is becoming too old
But finally the horrifying truth is about to unfold…
I like the story-telling in Ensiferum’s music. I have to thank my blog parter (atleastimhousebroken) for getting me into this band. I have thoroughly enjoyed their folk-metal stylings. Today’s #11 is Deathbringer From The Sky which appears on the album Victory Songs released in 2007. A very consistent band, Ensiferum is all about telling cool stories of which, this particular song could apply to end of the world prophecies. I can’t believe we are down to 10 days already. I guess I should start looking into a song for when (if) we wake up on the 22nd. Enjoy and happy 12/12/12.
As we journey down the path to my number 1 favorite album of all time, you will more than likely see some classic metal albums. Many of these albums have been my favorites for years while some are relatively new….only came into my life in the last couple of years. This all-time list is an ongoing effort started by our friends at The History of Metal page on facebook. Each day we list another album until we get to the end which should take us just up to the end of the year. Below is my next list of five as we near our way to the top.
One thing I really appreciate in music is when a band uses an album title that really fits with what is contained on the record. Such is the case with Ensiferum’s new release, Unsung Heroes. Throughout all of Ensiferum’s previous releases my favorite tracks off each album weren’t when they turned the speed dial to 11 and galloped forth with abandon. It was when they slowed down a bit to a mid to fast-mid pace and really took their time to let their killer melodies sink in. Songs like “The Wanderer” off of Victory Songs or “Smoking Ruins” off of From Afar only came as a few on each record, but always shined as the unsung heroes on their respective albums amid all of the blistering quality songs surrounding them. While there are some classic, lightning speed tunes on Unsung Heroes there is also a definite homage paid to those mid paced, anthemic songs that really made their past albums stand out.
As if I couldn’t get hyped enough for the upcoming Ensiferum record, Unsung Heroes, which is scheduled to be in my hands on August 27th, they go and release a cool video packed with an abundance of headbanging and more LARPing than a D&D convention. Oh, and the song itself is quite kick ass too! They are pretty much doing what Ensiferum does best; epic soundscapes, huge guitars, sing-a-long choral vocals, and plenty of heavy to keep the neck thrashing from start to finish. Check it out! Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Making of video:
Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
#80: Music by 311
To me, 311 are just a damn good time and this album will forever bring a smile to my face. These guys also put one hell of a show bringing music fans from all walks of life together to jam on some crunchy grooves. Their debut, Music, will always be my favorite album by them with songs ranging from the ‘hazy’ and lazy “My Stoney Baby” to the funky, hard rocking styling of “In Your Face” all tied together with some great duel vocals bouncing between spacy sung vocals and old school hip hop vocals. I like the constant theme throughout the album of ‘just relax and take it easy, man’ (Story of my life ;) )
Over the past month Finnish Folk Metal band Ensiferum has been releasing weekly studio diaries chronicling their progress and hijinks in the studio (more of the latter). The still-to-be-titled album they are recording will be their fifth release and if it is just as awesome as their previous offerings metal fans are in for a doozy. The forthcoming album is slated to have 10 songs on it and it is rumored that there will be a second disc containing acoustic and/or orchestral renditions of their previous material, but that has yet to be confirmed.
If anything, everything sounds to be shaping up rather nicely and we should have an awesome album in our hands sometime in 2012. Check out the studio diary videos (NSFW, some ‘censored’ male nudity) and let us know how hyped up you are for the new Ensiferum album. Peace Love and Metal!!!
P.S.- Click the ‘CC’ button on the Youtube player to turn on the subtitles unless you happen to understand Finnish ;)
The rest of the videos after the jump.
A good intro to a record serves many purposes, but most importantly it is the bands starting point to grab a listener’s attention and set the mood and tone for the rest of the album. If it is a concept album it sets up the themes and story if there is one, if it’s a straight up brutal album it should be a track to really get the adrenaline running. And so on and so forth. Intros come in the form of an instrumental song, spoken word, or just a really strong track to get things started off on the right track.
Here are some of my favorite album intros. Some may be composed of 2 tracks due to the first part seamlessly transitioning into the second more or less making the 2 part of 1. Enjoy and let us know what some of your favorite album intros are! Peace Love and 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!!!