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Friday, May 8, 2009

Songs Of The Week: Scar Symmetry - The Illusionist | Amorphis - House Of Sleep

You say Jonas Brothers-I say Kamelot
You say Soulja Boy-I say Slipknot
You say Miley Cyrus-I say Nightwish
You say T-Pain-I say SOAD
You say Flowers-I say Deathstars
You say Pink-I say Children of Bodom
You say Hip Hop-i say shut the fuck up
You say Pop-I scream Heavy Metal!!
92% of teenagers have turned to Hip Hop and Pop.If you are part of the 8% that still listen to real music,copy and paste this message.

Hm... sorry for that random and lengthy apophthegm, but I just had to put it up to show my unwavering support for metal! Found it on YouTube by the way, the speediness of mass spreading of trivial information brought about by mass media, the perfect icon to represent the current zeitgeist I might say.

Okay going back to what I was originally supposed to talk about, if you have always been someone looking for that legendary vocalist who could handle both harsh and clean vocals brilliantly, congratulations. You have just found your Holy Grail. Ah, which reminds me, my girlfriend has asked me out for Angels & Demons next week. :D

Anyway, sorry for the diversion yet again. Genuinely good music needs no words to complement it or bring about its message, the music itself does it! But what the hell, if zesty ol' Zen and I truly adhered to that principle, we probably wouldn't have gotten this site up in the first place. Ah pardon me, there I go again, rattling off about irrelevant information.

Sharing the same name as a hit movie a few years back, this SS song certainly brings magic to the name, literally, just like how the movie had done so. Starting off with a string ensemble, the song already strikes a melancholic chord deep within the listener, connecting the listener to the surreal yet hauntingly beautiful (sound familiar, Zen? xD) world of "Pitch Black Progress", that is, the 2nd album of SS released back in 2006. It then surprises the listener with a sudden dramatic descending glissando on the good ol' electric guitar, following up with an opening that would make any power or lesser melo-death bands proud. Christian Älvestam, that guy who is superbly good at both growls and clean singing, then propels the song into an aggressive start with his quality growls that thrash just about nearly 98% of all growls out there on the metal market. Pity he left the band last year, now they have TWO vocalists to replace him, one for growls, one for clean singing. Man, you are g.o.o.d.

Of course, Christian then rapidly switches pitch to that amazingly clear and mellow voice in the chorus, and it certainly sets the new benchmark for aspiring Metal's-Next-Kamelot/Scar Symmetry metal bands who want to stop turning new fans off with unprofessional growls 24/7 throughout the typical catalog of headbanger numbers. The keyboards are particularly prominent in this song too, which certainly gives the 'melo' in 'melo-death' for all melo-death bands apart from SS. Noticed how the keyboardist was windmilling his hair about in the video? Now, that is what long hair is for!

The original Scar Symmetry: From left to right - Jonas Kjellgren (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Christian Älvestam (Growls/Clean Singing), Per Nilsson (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Henrik Ohlsson (Drums), Kenneth Seil (Bass Guitar)

Hope you enjoyed the song. Now, on to the next!


You know, there really is one thing about Amorphis you should know. They were all old school death metal back in their early years, which were the '90s. After numerous line-up changes (which Zenny and I are vehemently opposed to since it taints the original sound of the band), they finally have mellowed all the way down the rungs of the metal ladder into the boundary separating rock from metal, as they sound really alternative rock-like on "House Of Sleep". Luckily, the overall thunderous presence of dual electric guitars, and the sombre thudding of the bass guitar are still there, signs which indicate that this song is still a brethren of our beloved genre. :)

Overall, this is one song which would be classified as what many people would call "emo", and yes, it is "emo" in both videography (for the music video, as seen above from vocalist Tomi Joutsen's moody moment in the pre-climax) and melody. The guitars may not be particularly melodic in the celestial kind of way, but you really cannot deny that their emotional wailing throughout the entire length of the song doesn't tug at your heartstrings. The incorporation of the piano as the main accompaniment for Tomi's moving voice is also a nice element, as most progressive metal bands hardly ever do this. Instead, they mostly prefer to have repetitive guitar riffs that generally tend to lull one into a state of hibernation, as heard on Opeth's "The Drapery Falls". Being a pianist myself, I really admire the keyboardist's skill in creating a sorrowful musical line with simple notes and chords alone, that are even in fact repetitive, but which still effectively dissipate into an atmosphere of sadness and yearning. It also has a very lethargic feel to it, making it the perfect solution to insomnia for metalheads. This is "Rock-a-bye Baby" for metalheads indeed.

The Patriots: From left to right - Santeri Kallio (Keyboards), Esa Holopainen (Guitar), Tomi Joutsen (Vocals), Niclas Etelävuori (Bass Guitar), Tomi Koivusaari (Guitar), Jan Rechberger (Drums)

Lyrical-wise, Amorphis might be a little boring. Apparently, they base their lyrical themes largely and mostly on the Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala. Thus, fans of meaningful lyrics that deals with the questioning of human existence, ethics and the likes probably will not be wowed by this band's somewhat uncreative songwriting.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, this is the song to blast! Err... I mean nod off to. Let's hope Amorphis stick with their current style all the way.

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