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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Song Of The Week: Threat Signal - Through My Eyes

Tear through the ashes of what still remains
The blood runs down my face
Can't find the reason we're all left to waste
You must awaken

See through my eyes!

I bleed to let myself know I'm alive
As you hide in denial
Break through the clouds and reach out to the sky
You must awaken

See through my eyes!
See through the lies!
We're not far away ~ [x2]

As we crawl ~
To salvation, the rest try to hold us down
As they fall ~
We separate from the hate that will bring us down
Bring us down ~ [x2]

These lacerations!
They will reveal for the rest of my life!
These aggravations!
Will not conceal 'til I die or we end this fight!

As we crawl ~
To salvation, the rest try to hold us down
As they fall ~
We separate from the hate that will bring us down!

Forget the words that they've said!
If it's all deceit in your head!
This life is more than just lies!
Awake and see through my eyes!!

Awake and see through my eyes!!! [x3]

Threat Signal is very fond of fading out their tracks, having catchy, melancholic guitar solos, and very generic guitar riffing to go with the scratchy harsh vocals. That is how I would sum them up in a single sentence.

Pleasantly surprising melo-death aficionados (such as yours Truly) with their soulful guitar solo in 2006's hit single, "A New Beginning", Threat Signal is set to burst back onto the metal scene with their upcoming album, Vigilance. As they are signed onto Nuclear Blast records, arguably one of the rare few music labels around that boasts an elite roster of metal bands (from Avantasia to Wintersun), one can certainly expect some quality music from them.

Probably taking a leaf from the book of fellow American music label, Victory Records, Nuclear Blast has recently adopted the approach of releasing songs from upcoming albums earlier than they should, in the form of their official music videos on YouTube. Thus, the song that the above music video took inspiration from is not out yet. :)

Briefly scanning through Threat Signal's 2006 Under Reprisal to get an idea of how they sounded like 3 years ago, I could not help but wonder about frontman, Jon Howard's claim about his musical efforts thus far.

"It's funny how the whole string section of Threat Signal was replaced, but the most noticeable progression lies within my vocals. On Under Reprisal I was really pushing and forcing my voice trying to find myself. I've found my voice and range with this album and I feel very comfortable." Jon Howard had recently said.

True, as much as Threat Signal's guitarists are mostly successful at crafting kickass guitar solos that do justice to the melo-death genre, Jon Howard still falls short of breaking out of the image of being the stereotypical harsh vocalist. He sounded almost the same on both 2006's "A New Beginning" and "Rational Eyes", and 3 years later, he is still screamin' the same in 2009's "Through My Eyes". By the way, what's with his obsession over eyes?

A foreboding warning to the metal scene - From left to right: Norman Killeen (Drums), Adam Weber (Guitar), Jon Howard (Vocals), Pat Kavanagh (Bass Guitar), Travis Montgomery (Guitar)

Only difference I could make out in his voice this time, is perhaps that of his better-sounding clean vocals during the choruses, albeit a bit too poppy for his (and our) own good. Melo-death harsh vocalists really ought to take a leaf from Scar Symmetry's original vocalist, Christian Älvestam. That guy makes the skinhead look cooler for harsh vocalists than the typical mane look.

All in all, Threat Signal is a Canadian melo-death band any metalhead should certainly look out for. After all, they are part of the Nuclear Blast brethren, and that's saying a lot.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Song Of The Week: H.I.M. - Killing Loneliness

As usual, I am very late in putting up amazing songs up for this section of the site.

This is one of my all time favourite alternative metal/rock songs, 'cos it is just so darned emooo. Thrashes most of those indie emo numbers you see flooding the mainstream music market everyday I would say.

From the opening few notes from the soulful keyboard, to the uncouth but sorrowful entry of the electric guitar, the first few seconds of this song already strikes one so hard in the chest, that your breath is simply taken away as you are led hypnotically and helplessly into the pits of melancholy dug into your own heart by this HIM masterpiece.

As most of you should have realised by now, Finnish metal bands really are a class above the metal bands of other nationalities, probably thanks to their superb education system (one of the few in this sad world that actually promotes creativity rather than stifle it) , and even then, HIM is one of the more popular bands amongst this elite group of musicians in the metal world. They were the first Finnish rock band to achieve a gold record status in the USA (by the way, many people consider HIM a rock band, but I consider them to be metal since the band thinks so themselves, as evidently seen by the 2003 album name "Love Metal"), and that means being the first among an amazing group of musicians to sell 500,000 copies of their album in a foreign land. In fact, the album that gave them this breakthrough in the USA was 2005's "Dark Light", which contained the song of the week I am relentlessly praising at the moment, 'Killing Loneliness'. It was a single off that amazing album, and anybody who just listened to it for the first time a moment ago should really see by now why that album was so popular a few years back.

One reason why such alternative metal songs can manage to sound so melodic even with the punctuations of the ugly electric guitar riffs every now and then, is because of the wondrous inclusion of the keyboard. Without the keyboards, there would possibly be no such thing as a metal ballad, because unlike pop ballads, metal ballads do not rely solely on the vocalist's voice to bring out the emotions intertwined with the lyrics. They rely BOTH on the vocalist's voice and instrumentals to collectively bring out the emotions in the song, of which the electric guitars are definitely out since they are the ugly kick-ass fronting instruments of metal that were not bred for such gentle tasks. The keyboard, is the key to bringing out the colours in an otherwise black and white world of distorted melodies and heavy drum beats, and it is only when a keyboard is included in an emotional metal song can it be truly called a metal ballad. Although there are a few exceptions, such as Children of Bodom's 'Everytime I Die' from their album Follow the Reaper, which is considered a metal ballad by Zen even though the electric guitars sound more pronounced than the keyboard.

Our Infernal Majesties: From left to right - Janne Puurtinen (Keyboard), Mikko Lindström (Guitar), Mikko Paananen (Bass Guitar), Mika Karppinen (Drums), Ville Valo (Vocalist)

That's all for today folks, if you are feeling suicidal or downright depressed, don't fret, HIM is here to emo your way out of it. Watch and listen to the music videos for this song of the week above, and follow the lyrics at the same time if you can to experience the song in the best way possible. Kill some time (and perhaps loneliness) while you guys are at it yeah, life often moves so fast that we barely have enough time to stop and admire the beautiful things around us before the little flame of existence that is each and every one of us is extinguished mercilessly one day.