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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Song of the Week: Haggard - Awaking the Centuries

"Something I like more than indie rock is symphonic metal."

Sorry 'bout doing the song of the week so late in the week, just kinda ran outta brain juice these coupla days and had no idea what to put up. Then somebody said what's quoted above last night and it got me thinking.. Symphonic metal, hey why not?

And there are all sorts of symphonic metal, you get the symphonic black metal guys like Dimmu Borgir, symphonic power metal players like Kamelot and even some symphonic death-ish styles from Skyfire. But if you ask me, Haggard is as symphonic as symphonic can get. I mean geez they don't use an orchestra, they pretty much are an orchestra. Do you see how many members they've got? From violins to the flute to the french horn and yet with the perfunctory guitars and bass, you can't help wondering how the hell do they write and coordinate their music.

"Awaking the Centuries" is the title track off their second album, Awaking the Centuries, released in 2000. Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band, Asis Nasseri, has since gone on to feature in two more albums, Eppur Si Muove and Tales of Ethiria, with a constantly changing line-up of musicians. Ironically, Nasseri is also usually the weakest link in Haggard's performances. His harsh vocals are weak, listen to "Awaking the Centuries" and you'll get what I mean. The soprano singers in contrast are so much better that sometimes you wonder why is Nasseri even bothering to do harsh vocals. They don't really fit into the whole classical and medieval music feel anyway.

But ultimately, with its impressive neo-classical elements, the song is awesome. Its totally melodious throughout the whole 9 minutes, the folk-ish moments and the orchestral feel somehow just goes in tandem with the drums and the bass and all. I dunno why, but it just works. I guess it must be the mastery of the music writing, I sure haven't heard anything like this before Haggard. But maybe it just me, the keyboards here are perfectly beautiful, and I've got a thing with 'boardists remember? =D

Yeah I know, Nasseri's not your typical cool, looker of a rocker kinda frontman, but this live performance of the song shows you how good Haggard is. You can skip to about 1:15 in the video if you don't feel like listening to him talk so much at the beginning.

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