Music Video of the Week – “Amon Amarth – Father of the Wolf”

In this special instalment of Music Video of the Week (and please, excuse my lateness in posting this one. Been quite busy this week helping my sister move house, among other things, so it took me a little longer to get this out than I would have liked), I have the pleasure of presenting to you guys Amon Amarth’s latest single, “Father of the Wolf” (only just released a couple of days ago). But what makes this edition of MVotW special is the sheer production value and thought that went into this video.

Something I personally love at the moment is how many bands are currently treading the still rather unexplored waters of converting music videos into what are essentially mini-films (think Nightwish’s Imaginaerum and Metallica’s recent film, Through the Never). And that’s exactly what you’re going to get with this video: a great script accompanying a story of a prophet’s ominous words of the coming of the Trickster; the fire god, Loki. And of the confrontation between Loki and the Norse thunderer himself, Thor.

For the Amon Amarth fans out there, remember the front and back cover artwork for Deceiver of the Gods? You know, the epic clash between Thor, backed by the Einherjar, and Loki and his Army of the Dead. Yeah? Well, get ready to watch that whole battle unfold before your eyes while Johan Hegg and the rest of the Amon Amarth gang do their thing and deliver yet another delicious slice of their fantastic brand of Viking-themed melodeath.

It’s quite a treat, I’ll say that! I loved every minute of it.

Enjoy the journey, guys!

Music Video of the Week – “A Rose For Epona – Eluveitie”

Under the eyes of Epona, a Gallo-Roman fertility goddess and protector of horses, donkeys and mules, Eluveitie deliver an amazing performance is this amazingly produced video. Bathed in the light and spirit of the Celtic countryside, Anna Murphy takes up vocal duties and delivers what I still feel is one of her best performances to date.

Through gorgeous shots of woods and mountainsides, the band feel right at home here. I’ve got to say, this is one of my favourite music videos, and once you watch it, I’m sure you see why. The direction is fantastic, and Patrick Kistler’s tin whistles! Oh man, this guy is awesome.

While not a traditional melodic death metal song like the majority of their singles – and equally discography – “A Rose for Epona” is, however, a great example of Eluveitie’s diversity and talent as a band. Murphy’s vocals weave so beautifully around the arrangements, and the almost mystical-like shots of her standing before the bonfire are gorgeously done.

All the elements come together to build a sorrowful tale that you can’t help but become immersed in. It reaches its peak around the midway point when main frontman, Chrigel Glanzmann, enters, and he and Anna sing in harmonious union. The instruments are fantastic, and there’s such wonderful melody to it all. You really feel as if you’re peeking into another time, a world that took place in the one we occupy now, but yet was so different.

“A Rose for Epona” is an excellent single, and an even better produced music video. Go check it out, I’m sure you’ll come to adore the experience as much as I do.

Retro Reviews #1 – “Overlord – Overlord” EP (2012)

Hey guys, and welcome to my first ever instalment of Retro Reviews! In this new segment, I’ll be writing reviews for, and talking about any and all, full-length albums or EPs I’ve found interesting, enjoyed, or was disappointed by (whether they be old or new). Also, don’t expect just the usual blend of albums and EPs, either. I plan to occasionally mix things up a bit with compilations or “Best Of’s” (or anything else I may find) that I own in my collection, as well. Hell, it’s a blog, and I figure I’m not as restricted in the content I can provide, so why not, right?

To kick start this new segment, I’ll be opening with an EP I came across only recently. It’s the self-titled debut by Oxford-based stoner rockers, Overlord. They liked me on Twitter at one point, and that was how I discovered their bandcamp page (links at the end of this review), and I have to say it was quite a cool little find!

So, read on, and I hope you enjoy this new segment.

Retro Reviews #1

Overlord – Overlord, EP (2012)

Cover Art

Cover Art

Founded in 2011, the aim of Overlord, according to their bandcamp, is to “play a fresh, modern take on the dark, progressive rock/early metal bands of the 1970s, informed as much by modern thrash/groove metal as they are by traditional blues.” This is quite a good summary of this band, and listening through Overlord, the 70s are made immediately noticeable as the high level of fuzz and distortion blares through the amps and assaults the senses in only the first few opening seconds. As the hefty rhythm section kicks in, the evident groove sways over the fine vocals of Tal Fineman, leaving a warm sensation in the ears, and building an ambience that really draws you in.

While it can be said that on this debut EP Overlord come across as a band still coming into their own, and maturing as an act, it can also be said that the level of groove and melody to this EP is quite commendable, as well. This is a band that clearly know their niche and have wholeheartedly embraced it.

The undeniable flare of the 1970s shines through in every riff, every pulsing drum beat, and every coursing bass line, thrumming with the distorted, fuzz-laden power of Black Sabbath, Graveyard, and Orange Goblin.

Overlord’s English roots are only further welcomed here, serving to hearken back to the golden era of British rock and heavy metal; channelling at times the likes of Jimi Hendrix, and at others, the psychedelic, droning beauty that is early Sabbath.

It’s got to be said that Overlord is one of those EPs that only seems to grow on you with each listen. While it didn’t immediately grab me at first, on repeat listens, I said to myself, “how the hell did I not get this the first time round?” The riffs, the rhythm section, and Fineman’s vocals are the absolute highlights of this record, and in every minute of the 18 that make up Overlord you can feel the raw grittiness of stoner rock blaze up within you (feel free to make weed jokes there, too).

Overlord are one of those bands that really understand their genre. They’ve infused their stunning blend of rock perfectly in-sync with the psychedelia that makes up the mix.

Alongside all the 70s throwback, there is also a fantastic slice of melody inserted in here, as well. This is especially evident in the third track of the EP, “The Valley”. With an opening segment that recalls the softer, ‘ballady’ (if that’s not a word, it is now) tracks of Pantera, “The Valley” explodes around the one-and-a-half minute mark as it thunders into an excellent rhythm that is very hard to not sway or headbang along to.

All props must go to Rhys Williams. His guitar work is incredible, and fits so amazingly in with this bands style. I was engrossed in every second he appeared in all his blues, stoner-fuelled glory.

For fans of bands like Graveyard, Clutch, Led Zeppelin, and Electric Wizard, there is a bit of something for everyone here. And Overlord is quite a stellar debut, and I honestly cannot wait to now go check out their most recent instalment, Authors, which was released in December last year.

Go over to Overlord’s bandcamp page and check them out for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Track listing:

1. Crawl On

2. What The Hell

3. The Valley

4. Blind

 

Links:

http://overlord1.bandcamp.com/album/overlord

https://www.facebook.com/overlordband

https://twitter.com/overlordband

The Top 5 Best Singles of 2013 (according to me)

2013 was quite an interesting year for music. There were a host of awesome new bands that cropped up, and many great singles were released during the course of the year as a result.

This list isn’t me trying to be pretentious here. It’s really just a list of singles that were continually played over on my iPod many times, and songs I couldn’t get enough of. Many of the bands featured here happen to be from Australia, and it’s wonderful to see the wealth and diversity steadily emerging from our country in both the metal scene and the music world in general.

P.S. If you guys like, you can also check out my Best Albums of 2013 list that I wrote for Metal Obsession here. It’s my hope you may discover a bit of new music here yourself, but if not, it’s all good. I hold no grudges. It was regardless still an awesome year, and I had a lot of fun discovering so many great new bands and albums to add to my collection.

But now, to the list!

The Top 5 Best Singles of 2013 (according to me)

5. Written in Stone – Thunder and Lightning

A great heavy metal single that helped introduce me to this band from Berlin, Germany. A combination of heavy metal with melodic power and speed interspersed into the mix. Solid vocals, with a great rhythm section. Definitely check it out!

4. Put Your Curse on Me – Stonefield

I was lucky enough to discover this band when my sister suggested we go to a gig down at the Ferntree Gully Hotel (before it sadly closed down) late last year, as one of her friends was doing the sound engineering for the show. I was so glad I did, though! Stonefield are amazing, especially live. They’re a rock group comprised of four sisters from Darraweit Guim, a small town in rural Victoria. They honestly put on one of the best live shows I’ve seen, and were incredibly engaging with their crowd for a band so young and new. I immediately bought their self-titled full length debut, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, the production value mightn’t be as solid as their live act, but it’s still a great introduction to the band, and I don’t doubt will also serve as incentive to head over to one of their shows at some point. The trip’s definitely worth it.

3. Angus McFife – Gloryhammer

I first heard about Gloryhammer earlier last year, the new power metal project being helmed by Alestorm frontman, Chris Bowes. Already a fan of Alestorm and Chris (who I also had the pleasure of meeting during the Alestorm gig earlier in 2013; he was just as humble and fun to be around as you’d expect), Gloryhammer was a great find. Cheesy as all hell as you’d expect, in no way does it detract from the pure epicness that oozes from this album; a concept centred around an alternative history of Scotland filled with magic, wizards, and knights – the usual power metal fodder, basically. But that being said, the great arrangements and Thomas L. Winkler’s vocals make it all worthwhile. If you’re a fan of Rhapsody-level cheese, go check out this single, and then go pick this album. You won’t regret it.

2. Sans Memoria – Orpheus Omega

Orpheus Omega are a fantastic band, and one of the hardest working acts in Australia. Virtually every new show I see announced seems to feature them on the bill. That being said, this is in no way a bad thing. Orpheus are also one of the best melodic death metal bands I’ve heard, whether from Australia or otherwise. If you’re a fan of Euro-melodeath bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and At the Gates, you’re going to adore these guys! I know I do.

1. The Magic of Mithren’s Ring – Bane of Winterstorm

It has to be said that Bane of Winterstorm is the best discovery I made all year. Thanks to the guys over at Metal Obsession who first offered me the chance to review their debut full-length, I was absolutely blown away by The Last Sons of Perylin. I don’t think I’ve  heard a symphonic power metal album as strong as this one, and that’s coming from someone who loves both old and new, Fabio Lione era, Rhapsody. The fact these guys came out of Melbourne, Australia is just further proof of how far our country has grown in the music world, and makes me proud to say I come from the same city as them. Trust me when I say this is one of the best albums to ever emerge from our humble country, and one of the best symphonic power metal albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. It’s certainly set the bar very high for future releases and new bands, and it featured as my number 1 for the Best Albums of 2013 list, and once you have a listen to it, I’m sure you’ll understand why. (P.S. If you’d like to read some more about my thoughts on this album, you can check out my MO review here)

Here’s to a great year of new singles and albums in 2014!

Music Video of the Week – “Thunder and Lightning – Written in Stone”

Bit unconventional for a Music Video of the Week, I know, namely because it’s mainly an assortment of photo’s and titles, but regardless, I discovered this neat little band from Germany earlier in 2013 and was quite impressed with them. This is one of the best heavy metal tracks I had the pleasure of listening to in the recently past year.

With solid, melodic vocals, and an undeniable, excellent rhythm section that only helps heighten Norman Dittmar’s vocals, it can be said that Thunder and Lightning are a great find. And I’d go so far to say that track “Written in Stone” is on my list of top singles for 2013.

Definitely go check these guys out. You won’t regret it!

1st ever Music Video of the Week! “Dokken – Dream Warriors”

Hey guys,

I feel this is somewhat of a momentous occasion (for me, at least, haha). I’m presenting to you all my first ever ‘Music Video of the Week’.

When this idea of a ‘Music Video of the Week’ first occurred to me as something I could do for my blog, I already had the perfect idea for what I’d use as my first MV. And thus, here we are now with Dokken’s successful 1987 single, Dream Warriors. Released to coincide with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, this single, and indeed music video, all hearken back to this awesome Freddy Krueger tale, and personally, what is also one of my all-time favourite films and sequels.

Just as corny as you’d expect, the main premise behind the Dream Warriors music video is the American band, Dokken, use their brand of heavy/glam metal to defeat and drive away Freddy Krueger who is terrorising Kristen Parker, Patricia Arquette’s character in the movie. Combining a small amount of footage from the actual film, it’s interspersed with clever little nods to camera angles and shots used in the movie. For example, a couple of my personal favourites concerns drummer Mick Brown playing his drum lines within the oven in the boiler room, his face partially burned, to the scene where Kristen finds the young girl on the tricycle. The other is George Lynch’s fantastic intro to his guitar solo busting through the room that gets ripped to pieces by the ‘Freddy Worm’ in the feature film. Using one of his signature ESP guitars, decorated with skulls and bones, he rips into his excellent solo, further building the positive rock dream energy that will ultimately slay the Dream Demon that is Freddy.

Filled with tons of references to the Dream Warriors flick, and equally a number of shots that take place in locations from the movie, this music video is still one of the best examples I’ve seen to date of a film-to-music video crossover. And it does so extremely well.

Cleverly incorporating the great talents and wiles of Robert Englund, the man who portrays and brings brilliantly to life the character of Freddy, his scenes throughout as he keeps getting sidelined by Dokken on his mission to take out Kristen are great and enjoyable to watch. It ends on an amusingly ironic note, too, when Freddy wakes up terrified after a bad dream holding a dolly which he then tosses aside before speaking directly to the camera, asking, “What a nightmare! Who were those guys?”

This video is pure 80s indulgence, and is just great fun to watch and listen to, with Don Dokken’s vocals at their strongest. A classic blend of 80s culture if there ever was one!

*Video above is copyright of Dokken and the poster

On Peter Jackson and his Hobbit film trilogy (a non-biased, and non-angry rant)

Here is my first rant for my blog. It all just flooded out of me earlier after reading through a stream of angry complaints about Peter Jackson’s latest series, the Hobbit film adaptations. I’m wanting to present in this rant a non-biased, non-angry rant that weighs the reasons behind Jackson’s decisions, changes, and additions to the script. Please conserve whatever criticisms you may have unless you wish to add something both constructive and sensible. Thank you.

I’ll never understand why people insist on bitching about Peter Jackson’s recent Hobbit adaptations. Since ‘An Unexpected Journey’ came out, and now with the upcoming release of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’, all I ever seem to see in comment sections is supposed fans ragging on these films.

For a start, that’s exactly it, these movies are adaptations, they’re not carbon copy replicas of the book. No one adaptation will ever be exactly as people pictured it in their heads while reading it as everyone’s interpretation is different. Case in point, the Harry Potter series. People view the books and the films very separately.

Secondly, people always whine that we’re not getting a Silmarillion or any of Tolkien’s other writings, but the second Peter Jackson decides to add a bit more weight and depth to the book to further connect The Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings (something which, mind you, Tolkien regretted not doing in his time anyway), people start moaning about that. I honestly believe sometimes people just want to jump on the hate bandwagon without knowing anything about the actual story itself, or the motivations behind the additions and/or changes. So Legolas and an added female elf character feature in the Hobbit, even though they weren’t in the book. So what? If Tolkien had created Legolas during the time he wrote the Hobbit in 1937, he would have included Legolas anyway. Elves are immortal and live extremely long lives, and that’s not to mention the fact Legolas is the very son of Thranduil, the Elvenking, also. Having his character present in the timeline adds another dimension the films only gleaned about the animosity between dwarves and elves, and how these later come to develop into strong alliances by the time of the Lord of the Rings.

What Peter Jackson did is expand upon a storyline that wasn’t necessarily complete. When you read the Hobbit, very little about what happens to Gandalf when he ventures away for a time from the Company is told, and at the time of the Hobbit’s publication was instead only hinted at. Tolkien later wrote what happened here in the appendices at the end of the Return of the King. The scenes where Gandalf meets with the White Council, and his journey to Dol Guldur all featured in these appendices, and the movie brought to life these scenes spectacularly.

The other aspect is there a scale between people who complain about the light-heartedness of the Hobbit adaptation in comparison to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the ones who state there isn’t enough of it. Let’s look at this from a few angles. First, Tolkien later said in his life, he wished he’d written the Hobbit more seriously. On that same token, this is what Peter brought to it. A balanced mix of light-heartedness in keeping with the book, and a measure of serious drama that suits the darkness that befalls the heroes once the Lord of the Rings begins. The Hobbit spoke of the coming of the Necromancer (who is Sauron in a weaker state). It’s ridiculous to argue that everything was all jolly and merry, and that no blackness swept over the lands during Bilbo’s journey. It’s very clear from the Middle-Earth legendarium that it did. The last point is characters like the Spiders. I’ve heard people complain that they weren’t the bickering old men from the book. Look at it from the perspective of later written characters like Ungoliant (Silmarillion) and Shelob (Lord of the Rings). These creatures represent the ‘Unlight’, the source of darkness and horror that Melkor brought to the world when he fell. While it’s good to represent the Spiders as they are in the book, there needs to be a level of realism and accuracy that’s shown through the films as to what these creatures ultimately represent (not to mention the fact it seems people conveniently forget the fact that while they bicker amongst themselves at first, when they come to find Bilbo in their midst, they’re just as horrible and aggressive as you’d expect from arachnids). Like the Orcs, the Spiders are essentially avatars of darkness and shadow, where Morgoth and Sauron were their masters.

It seems sometimes people can’t view the ‘bigger picture’ in things. What Peter Jackson has done with his adaptations is connect the two storylines, and have them intertwine as Tolkien wished, but was unable to do in his own lifetime. People state the the three parts are ‘money grabs’, but in reality, splitting them as such is the only way to fit in the entire story, and tell it as it’s meant to be told. Jackson deserves to be condoned for what he’s achieved here, not condemned.

A long while coming…

Hey guys,

I’m not sure if there are many, if any, that read this blog, but if there are, I apologise for not posting in so long.

As the saying goes, sometimes life gets in the way. If I’m to be honest though, it wasn’t only that. To be honest, I was afraid. Afraid that people wouldn’t want to read what I have to say, wouldn’t be impressed by what I have to say, or even enjoy it.

It’s taken me a while (understatement of the year?) to realise that this doesn’t, and shouldn’t, really matter. It isn’t to say you, as the reader(s), don’t matter. It’s more that I shouldn’t concern myself so much with trying to please others, because let’s face it, there isn’t a single thing around today, or has been in the past, whether in media, the world of literature, computing, gaming, or anything else you can think of, where everyone is pleased or satisfied. It’s one of the few things in our world that is literally impossible. You can’t please everyone; you simply can’t. But it can take a while for one to realise this fact, because I think sometimes you become so concerned (some may even say ‘obsessed’) with whether people will enjoy your work that it clouds this logical and sensible forethought, and shrouds it over with the black veil we all know as ‘fear’. That’s what has taken over my creative side and my life for as long as it has. I feel ashamed to admit it. It’s silly to have even thought like this, but it’s true. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one who gets these thoughts.

I’m not the world’s greatest writer. I’d be a fool to ever say I am, nor do I ever think I will be. But I do know that I can write. Whether people enjoy or understand my style of writing is an entirely different subject, and I think perhaps it was this idea — that people wouldn’t ‘get’ my work, wouldn’t understand my ‘genius’ (and I say that in the sense of creativity, not in the sense of me thinking I’m Albert Einstein or something because I know I’m clearly not) — that scared the crap out of me (excuse the profanity).

Over the past few months, I like to think I’ve changed quite a bit; ‘evolved’ even. Not in the sense of Darwinism. Can’t really say I became an X-Man or something (as awesome as that’d be), but a part of me did change. And, personally, I think it was for the better. For the past eight or so months, I’ve been writing for a local Australian website known as Metal Obsession. I think personally, but for my own self-development, my self-esteem, and humbly, my ego, it’s probably been the best thing I could have done (aside from TAFE, which really changed my life for the better, but more on that topic another time).

Since writing for this webzine, it’s not only aided my skills in writing (both personally, and to an audience), but it’s also really helped me with developing my self-esteem. I’ve met, and currently work alongside, a great batch of people; all of different varieties, personalities, and writing styles.  And since having done the many projects I’ve done for them across the year (nigh 20 reviews, both live gig’s and album reviews), I’ve learned a lot and I can’t thank enough the people who gave me this opportunity. I’d mention them here, but I want to respect their privacy.

What you guys have given me is truly priceless. You’ve renewed me with purpose. Me, an unemployed guy with a Dean’s Award and a Diploma, and a guy with the balls to call himself a “writer” with purpose, inspiration, and direction. A mere “thank you” will probably never seem enough.

Sometimes I feel I’m not good enough. Not as a writer, and on those really awful days, even as a human being. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say about myself, or who I am. Sometimes I really don’t know. Those are the days that consume you; the days where you stumble out of bed, groaning, sleep in your eyes, only to ‘wake’ yourself up, and still feel just as tired and exhausted, and just as unmotivated and unenergetic. Those are the days that suck. But in these past months, I’ve realised something. We’re really the ones that make these days ‘suck’. We’re the ones who say we’re “not good enough”, that “no one will ever like or enjoy our work”; the ones who believe we’ll never amount to anything. And I think, no, I’ve discovered, that it’s because we feel no one recognises us, no one sees that we really do have something wonderful and unique to offer them. We feel we’re the minority in the world, the ones who wander through life always in the shadows; the ones who don’t shine, who never will.

But you know what? We are. We are the ones who’ll shine; we are the ones who’ll find purpose and show the world what we have to offer. But to achieve this, you need to remove that part of yourself — that inner voice that’s always against you, that’s always egging you to fail — and say ‘sayonara’ to it. Say adios, farewell, goodbye; say whatever you like. This voice, ultimately, doesn’t matter. It’s like the critic that feels the need to insult everything you do, only because it can. When you think about it though, we’re the ultimate critics, especially to ourselves. It’s not always a bad thing, however. Being objective can be good, but not if it holds you back. Not if it is always the one that dictates your life, the one that tells you to give up because you “can’t do this”.

I’ve come to realise that I’m the only one who can decide what I make of myself, and it doesn’t matter if there aren’t many that’ll read my work, not if everyone enjoys it, because as has been shown in countless cases through history, the ones who become the most successful in life are the ones who don’t worry about this, who don’t concern themselves with ‘pleasing everyone’. People like J.R.R. Tokien, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, etc. These people wrote from that elusive place known as the ‘heart’; they wrote with their soul. And when you write from that place, that place of raw emotion, sensibility, and that place devoid of worry, fear, and concern, you truly achieve a work of art. And it is that that people love. Anyone can write a fantasy novel, but the ones people remember, tales like A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin are the ones written from that place within the artists heart — their spirit juxtaposed with the typing of their fingers — that people remember, that people adore, and the ones that become immortalised as masterpieces and works of art, creativity, and genius. These were stories written from that place, from the place we often, or sometimes, find clouded by the horrible gremlin that is ‘writers block’. For a long time, I’ve experienced this term for myself, and sometimes still do, but since taking this new outlook on both life and myself (sounds clichéd, I know), it’s been happening far less.

I’ve noticed a significant change, in myself and my writing. And it’s because of that that I’m here now writing this post. Because I want others to see this, to hear my message, but hey, if they don’t, that’s fine, too. I know I wrote it from the heart, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all we really want in life anyway? A voice from which we can express ourselves, a platform from where we can be ourselves. My reviews, my novel I’m currently writing, and now this blog can all be those platforms.

It can be difficult sometimes (trust me, I kn0w), but the end result is always more than worth it. In the end, I think just being yourself is honestly all that really matters.  If you do that, people will naturally see your genius. Everything else is trivial.

P.S. I plan to start writing for this blog much more regularly from now on. To open up this new chapter, I’m going to be introducing a few new features:

  • First, there will be a new section opening up that I like to refer to as the ‘Music Video of the Week’. This will be a slightly serious, yet more satirical take on music videos (of all musical genres, not only metal) where I make observations on the many odd ones I come across, taking note of such things as clever set and prop designs, quirky aspects, things I found awesome and/or amusing, and more! Hope to see you all there🙂
  • Secondly, there will be another exciting new section making its grand debut also. This section will be a new music review area (mainly focused on rock and metal music, as that’s what the majority of my collection consists of, but there will be other genres too, where I’ll be doing reviews, both great and small, of the many albums I have in my collection. Expect many ‘golden oldies’ (ranging from the 1950’s to the early-to-late 2000’s), and classics that I adore. I look forward to sharing with you guys the many awesome albums I’ve discovered and possess, and maybe even help to introduce some of you to records you mightn’t have even been aware of yourself (God knows I’ve discovered many new bands in random and odd ways and locations)🙂

P.P.S. There isn’t enough space in this post to fully thank the people that have helped me towards this point. It’s been a combination of many wonderful people I’ve met, and even more wonderful experiences I’ve had, over the course of these past few years, but to all of you (you know who you are), I can only hope everything I achieve, and can  hope to achieve from this point forward, will be thanks enough. A special thanks, however, to Cristian Mihai (a fellow writer on this website) whose many inspired and honest posts have rang true to me over the course of this year, and have helped me more than he knows. Thank you, and I wish you all the best with your future writings.

P.P.P.S. (yep, that’s a lot of “P’s”) A special thanks to any, and all, who took the time to read this. Even if it was just for myself, you’re the ones who really make this special. You’re the ones who makes words more than just words.

Yours most sincerely,

Jonathon Besanko, Administrator of Never Flick the Nipple

Google’s tribute to Maurice Sendak (10/6/13)

Beloved, if not controversial, children’s author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, was today made tribute by Google in their latest Doodle. For what would have been Sendak’s 85th birthday, Google has made a fine little animation to honour his memory and his works: most famous of which is, arguably, Where the Wild Things Are (published in 1963). Beginning, unsurprisingly, with Max’s journey to the island of Where the Wild Things Are, it then cleverly transitions into the bizarre cityscape of In the Night Kitchen, before finishing with an appropriately placed birthday party scene from the ending of Bumble-Ardy featuring character’s from all three children’s books.

Bravo, Google. And happy birthday, Mr Sendak.

*YouTube video above is copyright of Google and the uploader

Jonathon,

Never Flick the Nipple

Eluveitie – Live Gig Review (24/5/2013)

Eluveitie

Helvetios World Tour (Australian Leg)

(Melbourne, Billboard The Venue, 24/5/2013)

After more than a decade and five studio albums, Swiss folk metaller’s Eluveitie have finally made it down to Australian shores. As a part of the Australian leg for the Helvetios World Tour that the band has been conducting since early 2012, Eluveitie booked three separate shows in three states across Australia. Beginning with Brisbane, the band then flew down to Melbourne where they played for a more-than-eager group of fans at Russell Street’s own Billboard The Venue (a venue which steadily seems to be becoming the ‘place to be’ for extreme metal bands in Melbourne with groups such as Amon AmarthCradle of Filth, and Cannibal Corpse having played there, and Amorphis booked for an October show this year, as well).

After Decimatus and Orpheus Omega both warmed up the crowd, it was time for Eluveitie to take to the stage. Opening with the title track “Helvetios”, they were met by uproarious applause and a sea of horns. Notably, band member Patrick Kistler played a bagpipe that had an Australian flag attached to it, something which the crowd happily embraced.

It wasn’t long before everyone there was completely immersed in the Eluveitie experience. Front man and founding member, Chrigel Glanzmann, has an uncanny ability to engage a crowd. The metalheads were stuck on his every word, and gladly welcomed any opportunity he gave them to throw up the horns, chant, or just shout out to him. Like the mystic druids of old, Chrigel had them under his spell, and held them like that until the show ended.

Performing the Helvetios album in virtually its entirety, while you could tell that not everyone was as familiar with their latest full-length as their older material, it nevertheless didn’t quell the spirit of the crowd. The excellent musicianship and professionalism of Eluveitie cannot be praised enough. All members of the band performed to the best of their abilities, which is much more of an achievement when you consider Meri Tadic had fallen ill and wasn’t able to make it for the Australian leg of the world tour. But even with her absence, Eluveitie put on an incredible and memorable show.

One of the many highlights of the night was when the band performed “A Rose for Epona”. Anna Murphy’s vocals shone through and animated the crowd with a notable sway and lighters held high in the air. During the mid-section, she passed out roses to the people in the front row.

Before playing “Havoc” (their most recent single), Chrigel asked those in the mosh to start a circle pit which they happily obliged to. He then roared to the crowd, “Time to bring some havoc to this mother fucker!” Eluveitie then blazed through five more songs of pure folk metal goodness. Tin whistles blaring, bagpipes squealing, drums and guitars roaring, and Chrigel’s unmistakable growls made for one hell of a sea of Celtic folk metal that not only encompassed the venue, but ensorcelled the crowd.

The energy of the night never died down, and it only served to further heighten when Eluveitie reached their encore phase. Beginning with “The Liminal Passage” and “Otherworld”, the band then exploded into “Everything Remains As It Never Was” from the album of the same name. Followed by “Thousandfold”, the band then made a dedication to a couple celebrating their anniversary that’d travelled from Adelaide to see the band live in Melbourne. They dedicated the track “Quoth the Raven” to them. Closing the night with what is arguably their most well-known song, the crowd cheered in approval as Eluveitie trailed into “Inis Mona” with that familiar whistle-bagpipe intro.

As the band bowed their way out, a sea of heavy metal druids left Billboard The Venue with smiles planted on their faces, and the Gallic spirit in their heart.

Jonathon,

Never Flick the Nipple