Endless Forms Most Beautiful Album Review

Endless Forms Most beautiful album cover

As a Nightwish fan, I was looking forward to the first album with new vocalist Floor Jansen, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”. In fact, I have attended their concert in Lebanon two years ago, and was amazed by the talents of Floor Jansen, and this is why everyone was waiting for the new album.

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is not only a transition album with a new vocalist, but also a transition in the music, lyrics, and general atmosphere and feeling of the music. It offers a new style of poetry and bombastic music that took advantage of scientific inspiration and transformed it into beauty about nature and appreciation of evolution and how the universe works.

Definitely, like any other Nightwish album, the topic is more deep than the title or the lyrics. It holds several depths of general and personal meaning for Tuomas Holopainen, the writer of the songs. After listening to the album few times, you can clearly see how things get emotional at some point, and it is not difficult to guess to whom the words are directed against. Having said so, still the lyrics might have a completely different interpretation of the original writer.

The album starts with “Shudder Before The Beautiful” which has Richard Dawkins as a guest speaking in the beginning. The song reminds me of Nightwish old songs like “Ghost Love Score” or “Chest of Wonders”, where the bombastic start is followed by a more quiet transition and the finale. And let us not forget, the song mentions Oceanborn at some point, so is it a reference to the album “Oceanborn” or just an old Nightwish song?

Second in the album is “Weak Fantasy”. Well, this song can be first explained at how sometimes religious people start believing blindly in their religions and do not see the complete truth. Religion and God are not about torture, sins, fear, or hate. God is loving and caring, this is if we agree on the existence of God. Another interpretation can be personal for Tuomas, and refers to personal experience.

“Elan”, that was the first single to be released, comes to tell us about letting go of all worries and hardships we had in our lives. It talks about the free fall and giving up for the moment and experiencing something we never dared to do before.

After “Elan” we arrive to “Yours Is An Empty Hope”, which ignited many debates and fueled the excitement of many die-hard fans. Floor Jansen growls and shows a wide range of vocals. Honestly, the song reminds me of “Wish I Had An Angel”. Reminding someone of how heavens is, and all the things they could have received. This song is a very personal song, and this is why Tuomas left it open for interpretations. I won’t say what my opinion of the song is, because I took it very personal (excuse me for this).

“Our Decades In The Sun” is a powerful emotional song about the parents and it really touches the smoothest places in your heart. Then we have “The Walden”, another mature song from Nightwish about life and dreams and the feeling of achieving something in one’s life.

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” takes us on a long journey about life, evolution, universe. It has the general theme of the album and summarizes quite few of the important faces of the new music of Nightwish.

Then, “Edema Ruh” and “Alpenglow”, two of my top favorite songs of this album. I really liked the music of “Edema Ruh” and the general meaning of the song. It speaks for itself. Tuomas does know how to touch those deep feelings in your soul. Similarly, “Alpenglow” offers a nice ride into how the band sees itself roaming in this world, spreading their music all over the world, and behind all mountains.

Inspired by the National Geographic cover of Sharbat Gula’s piercing eyes, “The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula” delivers a nice and emotional melody about the suffering in the world. Because it was difficult to describe all this in words, Tuomas decided to keep it as music only. Still it is highly expressive of its true meaning.

And to end all of this, “The Greatest Show On Earth” ends an epic album with a grand finale (these songs are getting longer from one album to the other?). Take a ride through the history of our universe, and our beloved planet Earth. This is a proper finale for such an album!

Definitely this is one of the best albums by Nightwish! To be honest, I got hooked on all the songs of the album since the first time I listened to it. You can clearly see how the band matured and the amount of work they did in making it something so beautiful and attractive.

This is my humble opinion about the music, and as I said several times before, the lyrics are open to different interpretations and explanations. Isn’t this what we all love about Nightwish.

Happy listening metalheads!

 

Anathema Distant Satellites Review

Anathema formed long time ago in a galaxy far away as a metal band, initially dubbed Pagan Angel. They used to tour with bands like Cannibal Corpse. Then some things began to change. They started using exclusively clean vocals, and had a few lineup changes (though the core members of the Cavanagh brothers is somehow intact today), and now today that finds me reviewing a fairly tame progressive rock album – with more emphasis on the “progressive” than on the “rock,” even. The current lineup of the band includes 4 of the 5 founding members. This includes the 3 Cavanagh brothers (Vince and Daniel playing guitar and vocals, Jamie on bass), and John Douglas on drums. John Douglas‘ sister, Lee Douglas, has been with the band since 2006 providing additional vocals. Lastly, Daniel Cardoso, the touring keyboardist, has recently been made a permanent member of the band. While all accounts show Jamie Cavanagh as a current member of the band, it appears that the bass duties on the album were fulfilled by producer, Christer-André Cederberg. Some songs were mixed by Steven Wilson ofPorcupine Tree. The album contains 10 tracks with a runtime of 56 minutes and released by Kscope Records.

The album opens with “The Lost Song Part 1,” which is followed by “The Lost Song Part 2.” Both of these tracks are fairly straightforward modern prog rock tracks, with conventional instrumentation and vocals (except with the two and three voice harmonies that occur in Anathema). “The Lost Song Part 2” is a much slower track than “Part 1.” “Dusk (Dark Is Descending)” is up next with a weird little guitar part that is definitely saturated with a certain type of vibe. “Ariel” is up next, which is primarily a keyboard/piano track and depends heavily on solo vocals by Lee Douglas. Later in the track more instrumentation comes in, and the Cavanagh brothers provide some vocal harmonization, but Lee‘s voice and the keyboard stay as the central theme of the track. “The Lost Song Part 3” is up next, oddly enough, and this is where the melancholy vibe of the album started to get a little heavy for me. The bass guitar on this track really shines. The next track is named “Anathema,” with the best part of the song being the awesome guitar solo that probably takes up a fourth of the track. “You’re Not Alone” is a very repetitive song which utilizes chanted repetitious lyrics, as well. While the track does build up some, it is mainly electronic except for having some heavy guitar briefly in the second half of the track. “Firelight” is basically an instrumental track, really more of a keyboard and synth solo piece, and honestly unless you look at it as an intermission in the album, it is basically a waste of space on the album. The title track, “Distant Satellites,” is over eight minutes long, and is another song that is full of electronic elements more than anything else. The album closes out with “Take Shelter,” which (guess what?) is pretty much an electronic music track.

Vocals are provided by Vincent Cavanagh, Daniel Cavanagh, and Lee Douglas.Vincent and Daniel are both competent vocalists with their own unique sound, but Lee is who makes the band shine with her almost haunting vocals. The three vocalists together create a lot of variety in the sound on the album. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the track “You Are Not Alone“: “never could be what you want to be/ never could say what you want to say/ never could be what you want to be/ never could see you’re not alone/ you’re not alone.” Then from the track, “Ariel” you have: “I found you in the dark/ I found you in the dark/ don’t leave me here, love/ don’t leave me staring at the sun/ love’s so strong it hurts/ staring at the sun/ love’s so strong it hurts.

Their sound is significantly different than the old Anathema I remember, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you don’t think of them as the same band, because they really aren’t. The ’90s Anathema was a metal band, though sometimes they strayed into more of a hard rock sound. The current Anathema isn’t even remotely metal or even hard rock – they are purely prog rock – except for a few brief moments of heaviness and then a lot of electronic elements that is an even newer addition to their sound. With that being said, the songwriting and composition on the album was impressive, and while this isn’t one of my favorite prog albums released this year (sorry, this has been a good year for prog releases), it is definitely a decent album if you stop listening after the track “Anathema.” I’m not sure what was going on after that point in the album, but there is definitely a sudden change into a much more electronic music type of sound after that track, which I just wasn’t feeling.

Adapted from “Ultimate Guitar”

Within Temptation Reveal Release Details + Guest Musicians for New Album ‘Hydra’

Within Temptation have announced that they will release their sixth studio album, ‘Hydra,’ on Jan. 31. In addition, the Dutch band has revealed some unexpected surprises in the form of guest appearances on the disc.

Known for creating their own brand of symphonic metal, Within Temptation have a few surprises in store on ‘Hydra.’ The guest list includes collaborations with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, former Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones and perhaps the most surprising of them all – hip-hop artist Xzibit. The set also includes the recently released track ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ featuring former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen.

Xzibit joins forces with Within Temptation on a track called ‘And We Run,’ a song described by frontwoman Sharon Den Adel as an anthem about how to live your life. “He’s rapping at full force on this song, it’s really heavy,” says Adel. “Xzibit brings a new element to our music that we’ve never had before! It’s a new cross-over and we love it!”

Jones’ contribution comes on ‘Dangerous,’ one of the heavier tracks on the disc. “I always loved Howard’s voice,” shares Adel. “He makes the song even heavier than it already is. That song is one of my favorite songs on the record and one of the fastest we’ve ever written. It has the most bass drums we’ve ever used, too, and a very fast riff which we doubled with synths. It’s not a typical synthesizer, though — it’s distorted like a guitar, and it’s very aggressive.”

‘Hydra’ is currently available for pre-order in two different luxury formats – a digital premium version and a deluxe box set. The digital premium version also contains a handful of cover tunes including Within Temptation’s versions of Imagine Dragons’ ‘Radioactive’ and Lana del Ray’s ‘Summertime Sadness.’ Get full details on the album, as well as the pre-order info, at Within Temptation’s official website.

‘Hydra’ Digital Premium Album Track Listing:

1. ‘Let Us Burn’
2. ‘Dangerous’ (feat. Howard Jones)
3. ‘And We Run’ (feat. Xzibit)
4. ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ (feat. Tarja)
5. ‘Edge Of The World’
6. ‘Silver Moonlight’
7. ‘Covered By Roses’
8. ‘Dog Days’
9. ‘Tell Me Why’
10.’’Whole World Is Watching’ (feat. Dave Pirner)
11. ‘Radioactive’ (originally performed by Imagine Dragons)
12. ‘Summertime Sadness’ (originally performed by Lana del Ray)
13. ‘Let Her Go’ (originally performed by Passenger)
14. ‘Dirty Dancer’ (originally performed by Enrique Iglesias)
15. ‘And We Run’ (evolution track)
16. ‘Silver Moonlight’ (evolution track)
17. ‘Covered By Roses’ (evolution track)
18. ‘Tell Me Why’ (evolution track)
19. ‘Paradise (What About Us?) ‘(feat. Tarja) music video (exclusive to iTunes premium version)

‘Hydra’ Deluxe Box Set:

-’Hydra’ 18-track album including bonus tracks in the form of a media book with a hot foil print cover, featuring a 100-page booklet consisting of unique photos
-Double gatefold black vinyl version of the album including bonus tracks
-Instrumental version of the entire album
-Songbook with sheet music of the songs of the album
-’Hydra; guitar pick
-Packaged in an especially designed LP-sized box

Watch a Preview Clip of Within Temptation’s ‘Hydra’:

So who is excited?

Full explanation of Blue Eyes by Within Temptation (Afghani Girl and Islam)

Among all the bands I usually listen to, Within Temptation has been a favorite.

They have true music and the band spends a lot of time working for a single album, from the lyrics to the music and the cover pictures.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the members of the band are pagans. For all those who are not familiar with pagans, or with stereotypes against pagans, I have to clarify that paganism is not devil worshipping. Pagans consider nature as their mother, their God. And this is very clear from Within Temptation’s first albums “Mother Earth” with very paganism-obvious songs as “Ice Queen” and “Never Ending Story”.

Today, I will not be writing about their believes or principles. Instead, I want to shed light on a curios song for them. Its name is “Blue Eyes”.

Here are the lyrics for the song:

“Blue eyes just smile to the world
Full of dreams and with fascination
Too soon she saw that her hands were chained and pulled without any freedom
It’s always the same, the fear no way out
I cannot break it
I can take it no more

It’s burning me up inside
Lost all my tears, can’t cry
No reason, no meaning
Just hatred
No matter how hard I try
You fear the beast inside
It’s growing, it’s waiting
Just to hurt you

This heart was hurt by the light and
I see your world that tries to deny us
Now everything that I love has died or has been shattered to pieces
It’s always the same, they fear no way out
I cannot break it
I can take it no more

It’s burning me up inside
Lost all my tears, can’t cry
No reason, no meaning
Just hatred
No matter how hard I try
You fear the beast inside
It’s growing, it’s waiting
Just to hurt you

Just to hurt you
Just to hurt you

Can’t you see their eyes, what lies inside
They’ve given up, they no longer shine
Too soon they close with one last cry
Before they turn to white

Just to hurt you

It’s burning me up inside
Lost all my tears, can’t cry
No reason, no meaning
Just hatred
No matter how hard I try
You fear the beast inside
It’s growing, it’s waiting
Just to hurt you

Just to hurt you.”

For the first time you read the lyrics, you will assume that the song is about love, peace, pain, and innocence.

But what if I tell you that there is a “sheikh” chanting an Islamic quote in the beginning. Does it make any sense to you? No! It does not.

Now let’s try to find out the true meaning of the song.

As a first step, I want you to look at the below image.

Actually, this is the picture for an Afghani girl in 1984 captured by the photograoher Steve McCurry and it made it to National Geographic’s cover picture. The picture summarizes all the pain, hope, and despair that people suffered during the war between the Russians and Talban in Afghanistan.

The girl has blue eyes, doesn’t she?

So now go back to the song and try to join all the points together. Does it make sense now?

The song talks about her life, and all the pain she had passed through. It also tackles the fears that the muslim extremists have from women. How they perceive women as lower creatures and beasts that should be always tamed and kept in captivity.

“No reason, no meaning
Just hatred
No matter how hard I try
You fear the beast inside
It’s growing, it’s waiting
Just to hurt you”

Do you want to see how the girl looks now? Here is another recent picture for her!

Finally, I want to share with you another picture that I came across on Facebook last few days ago. It also tells how the situation is in Afghanistan after the extremists have ruled.

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I guess it is self-explanatory.

In the end, I believe each religion has its own dark ages. Will Islam’s dark ages take us to the end of everything?

Only time will show.

Meet Emma: Gaga’s Wheelchair

Lady Gaga, 26, had to cancel the rest of her Born This Way tour to undergo emergency surgery on her hip — and now she’s facing even more setbacks. Gaga shared a photo of her new wheelchair on Twitter Feb. 16, writing:

“This is Emma. twitter.com/ladygaga/statu…

— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 16, 2013

Mother Monster canceled the 25 remaining dates of the U.S. stretch of her tour due to her hip injury, that was causing her chronic pain.

Get well soon, Gaga!

Unseen Beatles Photographs

When Henry Grossman was 27 years old, he was hired to photograph the Beatles‘ U.S. TV debut on the Ed Sullivant Show.

He spent the next four years traveling with the band, spending time with them in their houses and the studio. The surprising part: nearly all of his 6,500 photographs of the Fab Four have never been published.

Grossman, who was also a tenor and an actor performing on Broadway, has just published his memoirs, Places I Remember, with Curvebender Publishing, who are only making 1,200 copies available to buy at $495.

Check out these unseen images of the Beatles by Henry Grossman:

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Red Carpet Escort Pens Tell-All Book About A-List Celebrities And Award Shows Behind-The-Scenes

Ever wonder how award shows with celebrities (and celebrity egos) up the wazoo run so smoothly? Wonder no more. Apparently, there’s such a thing as a “celebrity escort.” And no, it has nothing to do with sex.

Christopher Gaida, 38, is one such escort and has been for the past 14 years. He now has a book out, a tell-all titled “Arm Candy: A Celebrity Escort’s Tales From The Red Carpet,” where he spills the secrets the stars would rather keep hushed.

Gaida started escorting A-listers to award shows and benefits when he was 24 and temping for MTV, reports New York Post. He has since been to 150 events and escorted huge names like Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, Megan Fox and Julia Roberts.

At the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, for instance, Fox started freaking out backstage. Gaida was the one who calmed her down. That same year, he was the one who suggested Jessica Alba change into a different dress at the Taurus World Stunt Awards. At the 1999 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards, Sharon Stone acted like a total diva and asked him to walk three steps ahead of her and never look back, Gaida told NY Post. At the 2000 GQ Men of the Year Awards, Julia Roberts yelled at him backstage. 10 years later he escorted Roberts to an event and mentioned the incident to her. She apologized.

So what does an escort do, really? “When the star arrives at the carpet, Gaida introduces himself to the star’s staff — publicists, managers, etc. — and then to the star directly,” explains the NY Post. “From there, they quickly discuss a game plan. How long will they stay on the carpet for photos? How many interviews will they do? What media outlets need to be avoided completely because they’ve written negative things in the past?”

You would think red carpets and award show teleprompters would be a cake walk for such well-versed celebrities. But “they are actors, so they are used to having lines prepared for them, and they get several takes,” Gaida told NY Post. “These shows are mostly live, and they have to be themselves, which is sometimes hard.”

And how does Hollywood feel about Gaida sharing all these intimate details about the faces of the industry? “Some insecure management-level people are worried that I’m revealing too much,” he said. That, evidently, hasn’t stopped him.

To learn more about Gaida’s brush with the stars read his profile in the New York Post, or better yet — buy his book, which comes out today.