Edguy – Rocket Ride

     Rocket Ride is a good example of a band having fun with music and damn what anyone but them think. There are two songs that delve back into their PowerMetal past but aside from that this album is straight out rock and hard rock.
     Edguy has never been a band that bent to what fans wanted. The have always put out releases and hoped you liked them as much as they did. If not, oh well, maybe next time. Rocket Ride is this sort of album tenfold.
     There are ultra-cheesy lyrics that are not meant to be taken seriously, some of the goofiest voice effects used in Metal, keyboard sounds that were new to the ears in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and one of the sappiest ballad’s ever written. But, it sounded fresh to the ears because no-one was doing music like this anymore. Some fans detested the album and some loved the daringness of it. Whatever the case is, it is still well written music fined tuned with the ears of a band that can write and compose as good as, and better than, most.

     Edguy has always struck me as a band that would have been huge had they been around in the 1980’s. There music, while even when trying for a darker sound, is fairly upbeat. Like fellow German rockers, Scorpions, Edguy has an Americanized sound. Even their earlier PowerMetal releases had this element underlying within the music.
     Their are PowerMetal fans who like nothing but PowerMetal. Any straying from the distinct sound is reason enough to ex-communicate themselves from the band and decry them as sellouts – but true Edguy fans know that Edguy are not sellouts. Hell, they didn’t even buy in. What they are is a group of guys who like their music to be fun and they want you to have fun listening to it. Then again, Within Temptation has dramatically changed their sound too and people are loving it. So why not give Edguy credit for having the cajones to alienate their fans rather than making Mandrake part II.

     As far as Rocket Ride is concerned… Yeah, it’s ultra cheesy at times and there is nothing, musically, new being done here either, but give it a chance to grow on you. If anything, put it on at a party and just let go and have a damn good time.

Track listing for Rocket Ride:
01: Sacrifice
02: Rocket Ride
03: Wasted Time
04: Matrix
05: Return To The Tribe
06: The Asylum
07: Save Me
08: Catch Of The Century
09: Out Of Vogue
10: Superheroes
11: Trinidad
12: Fucking With Fire (Hair Force One)
13: Land Of The Miracle (Live in Brazil)*

* limited edition bonus track on all releases

Leaves’ Eyes – Meredead

     A band made up of members from Norway and Germany playing music inspired by Celtic/Gaelic sounds and instruments while still remaining true to their own sound?
     For those of you who do not know the band Leaves’ Eyes, the vocalist is ex-Theatre Of Tragedy singer, Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull (get it? Leaves’ Eyes?) and the band itself is made up of members of AtrocityAlexander Krull – keyboards and vocals. He is also Liv‘s husband. Roland Navratil – Drums, Thorsten Bauer – bass and guitar. And not in Atrocity,  Sander van der Meer – guitar). 
     Leaves’ Eyes loves to tell stories from the past and incorporate olden-style instruments so that the music itself is speaking the story too. That could easily place them in the FolkMetal genre, but, they also use a lot of symphony, death metal growls, choirs… You never know what to expect from song to song and album to album. That not many in the U.S. have heard of them is not their fault. Many tours have been planned and then scrapped at the last minute and the cause is never that of Leaves’ Eyes. Had all the planned tours actually happened, I think word of mouth would have brought this band the popularity they deserve.

     I, of course, like to get the version with as many extras on one release as I can. Therefore, I had to wait a bit while the limited edition digipack with a bonus DVD included was ordered and delivered but the wait was worth the product as the DVD is a live recording of Leaves’ Eyes performance at Metal Female Voices Festival 2010 in Oktberhallen Wieze, Belgium.

     Meredead is a great album through and through. The way the songs come across, the instrumentation and the choosing between vocal styles by the singers, is nothing short of performing each song for the sake of the song. There are no hits or fillers here. Meredead is an album of songs that are well thought out in theory and composition. I would be amazed if the band does not get recognition for this album the world over.
     While I mentioned vocal styles, I am not only speaking of the male voice, which cycles between smooth and death growls, but those too of Liv‘s. Her styles flux between classic style, regular delivery, and almost pop sounding at times.
     The voices, along with the music, make the album eclectic but never infringe upon the listening experience as the band pulls off the change with grace and style. Upon first listen I was surprised at what a great album Meredead is because the band talked it up in the press quite a bit and the hype was big which can spell letdown quickly. But no, the band’s talk was not hype.

     This is a great year for EuroMetal. With new releases from Within temptation, Midnattsol, Nightwish, Rhapsody Of Fire, HammerFall, Edguy, DragonForce, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, Virgin Black, Delain, Demons And Wizards, Stratovarius, Sirenia, Battlelore, Power Quest, Visions Of Atlantis, Children Of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Symfonia, Cruachan, Omega Lithium, Alestorm, Arch Enemy… way too many more to get to!
      Leave’s Eyes Meredead is one album you should get. You will not be disappointed.

Track listing for Meredead:
01: Spirits’ Masquerade
02: Étaín
03: Velvet Heart
04: Kråkevisa
05: To France
06: Meredead
07: Sigrlinn
08: Mine Tåror er ei Grimme
09: Empty Horizon
10: Veritas
11: Nystev
12: Tell-Tale Eyes
13: Sorhleod

Track listing for bonus DVD:
01: Njord
02: My Destiny
03: Ragnarock
04: Elegy
05: Froya’s Theme

Kamelot – Limited Tour Edition Live From Wacken 2010

     I don’t believe this has been released in the U.S. or the rest of America (North, Central, or South). I got my copy by ordering from overseas. I paid a lot for shipping but I had to have this edition of Poetry For The Poisoned because it has the last recorded live performance of Roy Khantatat before he actually quit the band.

     As far as the initial album, Poetry For The Poisoned, all the song/track listing is the same but that this is a European release and it includes the European bonus track, Where The Wild Roses Grow, a cover song originally recorded by Nick Cave – it features vocalist Chanty Loch from German PopRock band, Fräulein Wunder, singing with Roy Khan.

     Poetry For The Poisoned had not yet been released when this show was recorded a month earlier, August 6th, 2010.
     A few things stand out about this show.
     It was Roy‘s last show before telling the band he was quitting.
     Roy is off in this show. Ever the professional that he is, there is no hiding that his heart is not into it… Which leads to the main stand out…
     Roy is cussing/cursing/using foul language, whatever you want to call it and he’s using it alot.

     All one has to do is listen to prior live recordings, or, if you’ve seen Kamelot perform live (I did on the Black Halo tour with Epica opening. Met Roy too. He was a gentleman through and through) you will know by comparison that Khan seems stressed.

     Putting it all aside, Kamelot lost an exceptional vocalist who was beloved by their fans and I am sure that any live recording with Roy, be it legit or bootlegged, will be sought after by fans and collectors.
     I know that already The Expedition has went up in price (even used copies).

Track listing for Live From Wacken 2010:
01: The Great Pandemonium
02: Human Stain
03: Center Of The Universe
04: Pendulous Fall
05: Hunter’s Season
06: Karma
07: Forever
08: March Of Mephisto

Tarja – Henkäys Ikuisuudesta (Breath From Eternity)

Walking In The Air

     This is not a metal album in any way. It is Tarja‘s first solo album after her tenure in Nightwish was revoked (she was unceremoniously and publicly dumped). The version I own is the original 2006 release. It was re-released in at the end of 2010 with a different track-listing.

    With the background Tarja has in classical singing, it is no surprise that she made an album geared more toward vocals and words than music. But then, let’s face the truth; without Nightwish, when you go to hear Tarja perform live, the music playing in the background is incidental. It is all about that beautiful voice.
     With the exception of the first song, “Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta“, this is a CD full of holiday/Christmas songs written and previously recorded by other musicians.
     I cannot say, but for one song, whether or not they have some personal meaning in Tarja‘s life. The song “You Would Have Loved This“, originally written and performed by American folk-singer, Cori Conners, is performed here as a reflection and tribute to Tarja‘s mother, who passed away in 2003. It is a very good, and moving version of the song.

     For anyone who is a fan of Tarja‘s, or a fan of excellent vocal abilities, both the original and new release of this album are must haves.

     My own mother was half Italian, half Ojibway (Chippewa) and I grew up listening to Opera like Enrico Caruso singing Ave Maria. Tarja performs the song on this album and upon first hearing it I stopped doing anything and listened and remembered my own mother.
     What I am getting at is Tarja‘s singing on this album is very beautiful. So beautiful I believe even angel’s stop and listen when it is being played. It is not metal but that is okay; it is still music sung by the true First Lady of Metal.

track listing for Henkäys Ikuisuudesta:
01:  Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta (The Breath of Eternity)
02: You Would Have Loved This (Cori Conners)
03: Happy New Year (ABBA cover)
04: En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa (I Seek No Power, Glory)
05: Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon)
06: Varpunen Jouluaamuna (A Sparrow On Christmas Morning)
07: Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
08: The Eyes Of A Child (Air Supply)
09: Mökit Nukkuu Lumiset (Cottages Sleep Under Snow)
10: Jo Joutuu Ilta (not sure about translation: It’s Already Evening)
11: Marian Poika (Mary’s Boy Child)
12: Magnificat: Quia Respexit (literal translation: Magnificent: He Regards Humility)*
13: Walking In The Air (Howard Blake)
14: Track listing for 2010 re-release
01: Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta
02: You Would Have Loved This
03:  Heinillä Härkien
04: En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa
05: Varpunen Jouluaamuna
06: Ave Maria
07: Maa On Niin Kaunis
08:  Mökit Nukkuu Lumiset
09: Jo Joutuu Ilta
10: Magnificat: Quia respexit
11: Kun Joulu On
12: Arkihuolesi Kaikki Heitä
13: Walking In The Air
14: Jouluyö, Juhlayö (Silent Night)

     Again, it is a Christmas album. Tarja has stated she is Lutheran, as are many from Finland (Soumi). In December, Tarja does Christmas performances of these songs at churches in Finland. The shows are always sold out.

* Magnificat was written by Johann Sebastian Bach for orchestra, choir, and vocal soloists. The words are The Canticle of Mary from The Gospel of Luke.
The song is the second Aria from Magnificat entitled: Quia respexit humilitatem.