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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!

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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