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I love Last.fm. It’s a music tracking site wherein users’ songs are “scrobbled” as they play them. Basically, you download a small app that sends an update to the Last.fm servers whenever you play a song. The site tracks things like the number of times you listen to a particular artist or song. Since 2011 just started, I thought I’d look back on 2010 and see my top played tracks. More »

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I was just perusing my Google Reader when I see this headline from Kotaku: More »

So my post yesterday alluded to this album. The most fitting description of their sound is “Killswitch Engage meets Dream Theater”. They blend metalcore with some soaring melodic passages and they have the technical skill to go with it. My favorites on the album would have to be “Falling Forever” and “Undone”. “Falling Forever” has such a catchy chorus and the opening note by vocalist Chris Clancy is such a breath of fresh air. I’m a big fan of irregular time signatures and the 7/4 chorus of “Undone” is no exception. The trading 3’s and 4’s feel which gives it such a natural flow. I’ve read people here and there disapproving of the screams, and to some extent I agree. But at the same time, it does serve to shake things up a bit and provide contrast to the melodic vocals. Overall, the album is really enjoyable and like many others look forward to hearing more from these guys.

I don’t think there’s a good way to transition back to what this blog was supposed to be about… So I’m just going to try to push past it and move on.

Earlier this month, God of War: Blood and Metal was released. On it are six tracks from six bands signed to Roadrunner Records. Track listing is as follows:

Killswitch Engage – “My Obsession”
Trivium – “Shattering the Skies Above”
Dream Theater – “Raw Dog”
Taking Dawn – “This is Madness”
Opeth – “The Throat of Winter”
Mutiny Within – “The End”

Overall, this is an incredible EP. KSE and Trivium put forth some pounding tracks, both with catchy hooks. Dream Theater’s instrumental starts off very jarring: the meter changes every bar and it has a very uncharacteristic heavy and distorted sound. But the track evolves into some blistering solos. I really appreciate Myung’s bass line in this track during the chorus, if only because they weren’t as prominent in Black Clouds and Silver Linings. The only real outlier would be Taking Dawn’s “This is Madness” which quotes heavily from the movie 300 which makes it pretty hilarious. Opeth’s “Throat of Winter” sees a kind of (de?)evolution of Opeth’s sound: all acoustic with a meandering song structure. I personally like it as it makes the track very unpredictable. Akerfeldt wrote on his MySpace page:

At this point I’m complete and utterly bored with new streamlined music. Bored to tears by conventional metal arrangements. I think the future album will be more or less devoid of any fluid writing. It will be all over the place I guess, because that’s what I and ultimately Opeth as a band find interesting these days. I want it to be fucked up! I’ve written a 10 minute + piece so far and it’s miserable sounding (in a good way, for me at least) and quite disturbing. Don’t know whether it will make the final cut, but it’s certainly set the tone for what type of music I want to write right now.

so if the God of War track is a preview of what’s to come, I’m pretty excited for their next album. “The End” by Mutiny Within is a great track to end with. They’re a new band who just released their debut album this year, which I’ll be writing about soon enough (spoiler: it’s really great).

Well, since I have the time on my hands, let’s talk music.

I was never really into death metal. However, one song changed that, Dethklok’s Murmaider. I don’t watch Metalocalypse — I don’t even have cable — but I listened to the song on YouTube on a whim. Brutal. And yet at the same time hilarious. So I got hooked into Dethklok and ever so slowly the death metal growl didn’t seem to bother me as it does so many other people.

In college, I started listening to Dream Theater (There’s another story behind that). Which branched off into Symphony X, Spock’s Beard, and Porcupine Tree among others; great progressive rock and metal bands. I had heard that Opeth tours with Dream Theater often, but never got around to listening to them because I wasn’t really a fan of the death metal growl.

So one day, slightly bored of my current music, I download Opeth’s Blackwater Park. I doubt I would’ve liked it when I first started listening to metal, but once you take in the growl as another musical timbre, it’ll suck you in. What a great album.

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