- Pridružio: 11 Jul 2007
- Poruke: 72
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Avantasia - The Metal Opera
Avantasia (The Metal Opera) is a symphonic metal project created by Tobias Sammet, vocalist and frontman of the power metal group Edguy. The project's title is a portmanteau of the words "avalon" and "fantasia" ("fantasy") and describes "a world beyond human imagination" (a quotation from the booklet). The project consists of two CDs containing 23 pieces, which tell a fictional story about a Dominican monk, Gabriel, in the early 17th century. On December 28, 2006 Tobias Sammet announced to be working on another conceptual album with different musicians and singers.
The main character of the story is the young Gabriel Laymann, novice of the Dominican order in the abbey of Mainz. It's the year 1602 and, with the rest of the order, Gabriel joins in the witch hunts. But when he is unexpectedly reunited with stepsister Anna Held, who is awaiting trial as a witch, Gabriel begins to doubt. He sneaks into the library, where he reads a forbidden book. His mentor Bruder Jakob notices him, and Gabriel is thrown into the dungeon.
While there, he meets an old man, Lugaid Vandroiy, who introduces himself as a druid ("Reach Out for the Light"). He tells Gabriel about another dimension, the world Avantasia, which is in great danger. Vandroiy offers to help rescue Anna if Gabriel agrees to help Avantasia. They manage to escape ("Breaking Away"), and Vandroiy takes Gabriel to an old stone pit, which hides a portal between the two dimensions, and uses it to send Gabriel to Avantasia.
In the meantime, Johann Adam von Bicken, bishop of Mainz, Bruder Jakob and the bailiff Falk von Kronberg are traveling to Rome to meet the pope Clement VIII ("The Glory of Rome"). With them is the book Gabriel read. Old documents tell that the book is the last of seven parts of a seal, which will help its owner to absolute wisdom if he brings it to the tower in the center of Avantasia.
When Gabriel arrives in Avantasia ("Avantasia") he is welcomed by two inhabitants, the elf Elderane and the dwarf Regrin ("Inside"). They tell him about a war against the forces of evil, of the pope's plan, and its consequences ("Sign of the Cross"). If the pope uses the seal, the link between Avantasia and the human world will break down with grievous consequences for both worlds. Gabriel arrives at the tower just in time, and while the pope talks to a mysterious voice from the inside, Gabriel manages to steal the seal and, in the chaos he causes, bring it back into the elvish city ("The Tower"), which marks the end of the first part.
But Gabriel isn't satisfied yet. He wants to find out more about Avantasia, so Elderane sends him to the tree of knowledge. There Gabriel has a vision of Bruder Jakob enduring great pain in a lake of flames ("The Final Sacrifice"). Elderane tells him about a great golden chalice in the catacombs in Rome, in which innumerable tortured souls are trapped, and warns him of a beast that guards the chalice. Despite the elf trying to discourage them, Gabriel and Regrin go back into the human world. They find the chalice and knock it over, allowing many souls to escape ("Chalice of Agony"). The beast awakes and attacks both of them; the dwarf is killed but Gabriel manages to flee.
Afterwards, Gabriel returns to Vandroiy, who has been waiting for him. The druid now fulfills his part and sneaks into the prison by night to free Anna. In the process, he finds a "refined" Bruder Jakob who plans to do the same. Falk von Kronberg, who has been having doubts of his own ("Memory"), catches them and approaches to arrest them. A fight breaks out; Vandroiy is killed by Kronberg who is then slain by Bruder Jakob. Anna escapes and is reunited with Gabriel, and together they go into their unknown future ("Into the Unknown").
Dopuna: 08 Sep 2007 12:25
Ayreon - The Final Experiment
In the year 2084 scientists have found a way to send messages back into time using time telepathy. With the earth nearly destroyed by many different causes, they have one hope for the experiment: warn the past of the future to avert the fate of earth.
The receiver of the telepathic messages is Ayreon, a blind minstrel living in 6th century Britain. He's lived his life in darkness from the day he was born, but one fateful day everything changes- Ayreon can see images. The minstrel believes these visions are sent to him by the Lords of Time. Unaware of how much time there is left before earth is destroyed Ayreon sets out to tell the tale of earth's demise singing songs of wars, natural disaster, and computer technology. The terrifying tales frighten the villagers who run him out of town.
Alone, and cast out of his village, Ayreon goes to King Arthur's castle, and, being a famed minstrel, he is allowed to sing of his visions in the King's very own court.
Jealous of his ability to foresee the future, Merlin, the court's wizard, isn't pleased with Ayreon's message, convincing the court the minstrel must be a charlatan.
Merlin believes it is necessary to silence Ayreon forever and curses him. With the curse completed Merlin realizes his error, but it is too late. The wizard then predicts that the message will arrive in the mind of another minstrel at the end of the 20th century…
Dopuna: 18 Sep 2007 18:55
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy
On 'Actual Fantasy' Arjen wanted to stimulate fantasy, not simulate reality. Actual fantasy is the opposite of virtual reality.
This song is the intro of the CD and starts like a fairy-tale, beautiful, with a classical orchestra.
Abbey of Synn
Synn is the old spelling for 'sin' and also refers to the important role of the synthesizer on the CD. Inspired by the movie 'Name of the Rose' with Sean Connery, the song tells the story of a monastery where laughter is strictly forbidden. One by one monks die mysteriously each having a blackened finger and tongue. It turns out that the monks have discovered a book of comedy written by Aristotle, but the pages are poisoned; if you lick your finger to turn a page it will kill you.
Stranger From Within
In this story that Arjen wrote himself, doctors are trying to find a way to help a girl who is in a coma. In this state she begins to fantasize about some stranger. He could be dangerous, or harmless, or just a magician. The stranger tells her that she can cure herself using her own imagination, and then he allows the doctors to 'shoot' him as he takes the disease with him. The girl wakes up and the stranger from within has become part of her.
This song is a story Arjen wrote himself. It is about someone who has been playing a computer game for days. At a certain time he isn't able to tell anymore whether he's playing a game or has become part of it. He doesn't feel any emotions and has become like a hologram unable to find a way out. This song is certainly not an attack on computers, for this album could never have been made without computers. It just all depends on how you use computers and virtual reality.
Beyond the Last Horizon
This is story Arjen came up with during the last few days of his father's life. The story is set in the Middle Ages during the days of the crusades. One of the crusaders is ambushed and killed. After that it's a familiar story: he sees a light and he rides towards it on a road that disappears on the horizon. Beyond it is the 'last horizon': death. In most stories it says there is a beautiful light or heaven. But where he is, there is darkness. There is nothing beyond the last horizon; he will disappear.
Farside of the World
This song is based on 'The Navigator', an obscure Australian movie. It's about a boy in a medieval English village where the plague is killing most of the inhabitants. The boy falls and has a vision: in order to cure the village they must dig a hole straight through the earth, and- on the other side- place a cross on top of a silver tower.
Back on Planet Earth
In this story, written by Arjen himself, a boy lives in a space station. Humans have lost the ability to feel but he overhears the older people telling stories about the days when they lived on earth. On his computer the boy finds images of the most beautiful things, such as flowers and mountains, but he also finds out that earth was destroyed by wars and environmental disasters and people eventually had to live in space in order to survive. The boy realizes that after seeing people with emotions, and their laughter, he would rather have died on earth, than be in the cold space station.
Based on the movie 'The Neverending Story'. A boy steals a book from a store. The boy arrives too late for class, sneaks into the attic and crawls under a blanket to read the book. The fictitious world of 'Fantasia' is falling apart; it's being eaten by the Nothing. Symbolizing the fact that nobody's fantasizing anymore. The hero in the story has to cure the empress from her disease, and save 'Fantasia'. He does so by giving the Empress a name.
Dawn of Man
This is a very experimental song with vocoder and scratches on it. The story is based on Stanley Kubrick's '2001' and '2010', but with Arjen's own fantasy and interpretation incorporated. The listener should do the same; the lyrics cannot be explained one way. Just use your imagination!
Dopuna: 20 Sep 2007 18:31
Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle
'Into the Electric Castle' tells the story of 8 stereotypical characters from different periods of time who suddenly find themselves in another dimension. A Highlander, Knight, Egyptian, Indian, Barbarian, Roman, Hippie and Futureman each try to understand where they are and what they are supposed to do. It is then that a voice rings out from the sky to tell them that the dimension they have arrived in is built on dreams and fears. In order to find their way back to their own dimension and time, they must go in search of The Electric Castle. During the search every character is forced to confront his or her innermost fears, and not everyone survives the treacherous journey to the Castle.
At the end of the journey those that successfully dealt with their personal demons find out that the voice belongs to an alien named 'Forever of the Stars', a member of an alien race living in a distant galaxy. These aliens created planet Earth and its people as an experiment so they could study, and hopefully one day experience emotions, as they themselves lost feelings eons ago.
'Into the Electric Castle' is a double CD. On disc 1 we experience the journey to The Electric Castle and on disc 2 we find out what happens when they arrive there.
Dopuna: 27 Sep 2007 20:46
Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer
The Dream Sequencer
On 'Universal Migrator part I: The Dream Sequencer' Arjen picks up the story of The Final Experiment and the year 2084. Over a hundred years have passed since the last world war destroyed all life on earth, which the main character Ayreon already predicted in the 6th century (see the first Ayreon CD 'The Final Experiment').
During the battles a number of colonists resided on Mars, witnessing the destruction on earth from afar. For years they managed to keep themselves alive with the supplies they brought with them from earth. These supplies ran out and almost all colonists have died. The main character in the story is the last surviving human being, a child of the first colonists. He has never been on earth.
To make the boredom on Mars somewhat bearable, clever technicians designed the Dream Sequencer, a machine that allows Colonists to travel back to their own youth by means of hypnoses, but also to their lives before; their pre- incarnations so to speak.
It is in this machine that the Colonist relives his youth on Mars, his death as a woman on earth during the war of 2084, the first moonlanding of 1969, and his life as the standard bearer in the famous 17th century painting of Rembrandt: The Nightwatch. He stood on the shores of England as Queen Elisabeth I, watching the English fleet sail out to stop the Spanish Armada, and as a Mayan girl he witnessed sacred ceremonies in Tikal. We find out that the Colonist once was the minstrel Ayreon and that, in another even earlier incarnation, he was present during the construction of Stonehenge. His soul's first incarnation was the first human being on earth.
Dopuna: 27 Sep 2007 20:47
Ayreon - The Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator
Flight of the Migrator
The Universal Migrator Part II continues the story of the last man alive on Mars as he decides to venture further back in time. He wants to go all the way back to the time right before the universe was created, a time when there was nothing but chaos. The Colonist witnesses the big bang and the creation of the first soul: The Universal Migrator. This soul divides in various new souls that each go in search of planets they can inhabit. This is how they bring life to various planets and start different civilizations.
In the Dream Sequencer program the Colonist follows the soul that is headed for earth. On his long journey through space, he passes astronomical manifestations such as quasars, pulsars, supernovas, black holes, and wormholes. He finally enters the solar system, but the DS program goes on overload. The Colonist should never have ventured that far back in time. The Dream Sequencer is desperately trying to wake the Colonist from his deep state of hypnoses, but it is too late; the Colonist dies in the machine. Then the Migrator speaks to him without words: "Eternity lies before you. You are the new Migrator!"
Dopuna: 01 Okt 2007 19:08
Ayreon - The Human Equation
A man has a car accident and ends up in hospital in a comatose state. The car accident was very bizarre: it was broad daylight and there was no other car in sight. His wife and his best friend are keeping a vigil at his bed, trying to understand what happened, hoping he will wake soon.
Cut off from the outside world, the man finds himself trapped in a strange realm where his emotions- most of which he's ignored for a long time- have come to life to confront him with all the choices he has made in his life.
As he is taken from one memory to the next, he slowly becomes aware of all the events leading up to his accident, and realizes that if he ever wants to wake up from his coma, he must find a way out of his prison...
Dopuna: 07 Okt 2007 20:13
Grave Digger - Rheingold
Rheingold is a concept album by German band Grave Digger, based on Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung.
The plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold stolen from the river Rhine. Several mythic figures struggle for possession of the Ring, including Wotan (Odin), the chief of the Gods. Wotan's scheme, spanning generations, to overcome his limitations, drives much of the action in the story. The hero Siegfried wins the Ring, as Wotan intended, but is eventually betrayed and slain. Finally, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, Siegfried's lover and Wotan's estranged daughter, returns the Ring to the Rhine. In the process, the Gods are destroyed.
Dopuna: 02 Nov 2007 11:50
Queen - A Night At The Opera
Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)
"Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)" could only be referred to as Mercury's hate letter toward Queen's ex-manager, Norman Sheffield, who is reputed to have mistreated the band and abused his role as their manager from 1972-1975. Though it never made a direct reference to him, upon listening to the song, Sheffield attempted to sue the band for defamation. During live performances, Mercury would usually re-dedicate the song to "a real mother-fucker of a gentleman", although this line was bleeped out on the version that appeared on their Live Killers album in 1979, possibly to avoid further legal proceedings.
As with 'Bohemian Rhapsody', most of the guitar parts on this song were initially played on piano by Mercury, to demonstrate to May how they needed to be played on guitar. As for the piano intro itself, it reportedly took Mercury many attempts to achieve the final result .
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
"Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" was another song by Mercury. He played piano and did all of the vocals. The lead vocal was sung in studio, produced through headphones elsewhere in the studio in a tin bucket. A microphone picked up the sound from the bucket, which gave that hollow "megaphone" sound.
I'm in Love with My Car
"I'm in Love with My Car" is amongst Roger Taylor's most famous songs in the Queen catalogue. The song initially began life as a joke, at least according to Brian May, who thought that Taylor was not serious when he heard a demo recording.
Taylor played the guitars in the original demo, but were later re-recorded by Brian May on his Red Special. All lead vocals were sung by Roger Taylor, showcasing his spectacular countertenor range. The revving sounds at the conclusion of the song were recorded by Taylor's then current car, an Alfa Romeo. The lyrics were inspired by one of the band's roadies, John Harris, whose Triumph TR4 was evidently the "love of his life". The song is dedicated to him.
When it came down to releasing the album's first single, Taylor was so fond of his song that he urged Mercury (author of the first single, 'Bohemian Rhapsody') to allow it to be the B-side and reportedly locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed. This decision would later become the cause of much internal dilemma for the band, in that while it was only the B-side, it generated an equal amount of publishing royalties for Taylor as the main single did for Mercury.
The song was played live often during the '77-'81 period. Taylor sang it from the drums while Freddie Mercury only played piano. Roger would recover the song for his concerts with The Cross and solo tours, where instead of drums he played rhythm guitar.
You're My Best Friend
"You're My Best Friend" was John Deacon's first single, which he composed while he was learning to play piano. He does piano on the recording and overdubbed two bass lines. The song was written for his wife.
"'39" was Brian May's attempt to do "sci-fi skiffle." He sang the lead vocals and jokingly asked Deacon to play double bass. Some days later Deacon dropped by in the studio with the instrument and said he'd already learned how to play it. There are backing vocals by Mercury as well as very high and fairly low harmonies by Taylor, and some falsettos by May. The B-side of "You're My Best Friend" and one of the band's most popular songs, "'39" relates the tale of a group of space explorers who embark on what is, from their perspective, a year-long voyage. Upon their return, however, they realize that a hundred years have passed, due to the time dilation effect in Einsteinian physics, and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead. (Because the "year of '39" resembles 1939, some have speculated that this is actually a song about the beginning of World War II; however this is not the case.)
Following his performance of '39 at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, George Michael cited this song as his favourite Queen song, claiming he used to busk it on the London underground.
"Sweet Lady" is a heavy metal number written by May. Lyrically and musically, it's usually thought to precede 'Tie Your Mother Down' as a loud, riff-heavy expression of disdain for the author's romantic interest. However, 'Tie Your Mother Down' had already been written at the time.
Roger Taylor remembers it as the most difficult drumming part he ever recorded. As DTS tracks reveal, there are several off-pitch notes by Freddie Mercury on the lead vocal, something covered up by harmonies and overdubbing.
"Seaside Rendezvous", written by Mercury, is probably best known for the "musical" bridge section which begins at around 0:51 into the song. The section is performed entirely by Mercury and Taylor using their voices alone. Mercury imitates woodwind instruments including a clarinet and Taylor mostly brass instruments, including tubas and trumpets, and even a kazoo. The tap dance segment is also "performed" by Mercury and Taylor on the mixing desk with thimbles on their fingers. Mercury plays both grand piano and jangle honky-tonk.
The Prophet's Song
"The Prophet's Song" was composed by May. On the show In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted A Night at the Opera, May explained that he wrote the song after a dream he'd had while he was recovering from being ill while recording the Sheer Heart Attack album, and is the source of some of the lyrics. He spent several days putting it together, and it includes a vocal canon sung first by Mercury, then by Mercury, Taylor and May. The vocal, and later instrumental canon was produced by early tape delay devices. It is a heavy and dark number with a strong progressive rock influence. At over eight minutes in length, is also Queen's longest song (Not counting the untitled instrumental track on Made in Heaven).
Love of My Life
"Love of My Life" is one of Mercury's most covered songs (there've been versions by many acts like Extreme featuring Brian May, Scorpions and Elaine Paige). Mercury played piano (including a classical solo) and did all of the vocals with startling multi-tracking precision. Brian May played harp (doing it chord by chord and pasting the takes to form the entire part), Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar (which he'd bought in Japan) and his usual Red Special.
"Love of My Life" was such a concert favourite that Mercury frequently stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over. It was especially well received during concerts in South America, and the band released the song as a single there.
"Good Company" was written and sung by Brian May. All vocals are May, who also plays a banjolele (credited as a "genuine George Formby Ukulele") on the track. The instrument, a combination of a ukulele and banjo, was his father's.
The recording is remarkable for featuring an elaborate recreation of a Dixieland-style jazz band, produced by May using his Red Special guitar, along with various forms of effects processing.
The song is a narrative tale, told by a man who in young age was advised by his father to "take care of those you call your own, and keep good company." In his younger years, the singer follows his father's advice, keeping his friends and marrying a girl named Sally. However, after their marriage, he begins to lose interest in his friends, who gradually disappear. As he grows older, he becomes increasingly skilled at and dedicated to his occupation, working long nights and neglecting his family.
Eventually, the singer's efforts are rewarded, he begins his own Limited company (which is also a pun, since throughout the rest of the song "company" is used in the sense of companions). Even more dedicated to his business, he hardly takes notice as his wife leaves him.
The song finishes with the speaker as an elderly man, puffing his pipe and pondering the lessons of his life, which he has no one left to share with.
"Bohemian Rhapsody", written by Mercury, composed entirely and solely by its author. All guitar, bass and drum parts, as well as the vocal arrangements, were thought up by Mercury on a daily basis and written down "in blocks" (using note names instead of sheets) on a phonebook. The other members recorded their respective instruments with no concept of how their tracks would be utilised in the final mix. The now phenomenally famous operatic section was originally intended to be only a short interlude of "Galileos" that connected the ballad and heavy metal portions of the song.
During the recording, the song became affectionately known as "Fred's Thing" to the band, and the title only emerged during the final sessions.
Despite being twice as long as the average single in 1975, the song became immensely popular, topping charts worldwide (where it remained for an unprecedented nine weeks in the UK) and is now widely regarded as one of the most significant rock songs in history.
God Save the Queen
"God Save the Queen" – Brian May recorded the anthem in 1974 before their Sheer Heart Attack tour. He played a guide piano which was edited out later and added several layers of guitars. After the song was completed it was played as an outro at virtually every concert Queen played. When recording the track May played a rough version on piano for Roy Thomas Baker. He called his own skills on the piano sub-par at the time.
Brian May has stated that the song is a homage to Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner
Dopuna: 11 Nov 2007 12:31
KISS - Music From The Elder
The basic plot of Music from "The Elder" involves the recruitment and training of a young hero (The Boy) by the Council of Elders who belong to the Order of the Rose, a mysterious group dedicated to combating evil. The Boy is guided by an elderly caretaker named Morpheus. The album's lyrics describe the boy's feelings during his journey and training, as he overcomes his early doubts to become confident and self-assured. The only spoken dialogue is at the end of the last track, "I." During the passage, Morpheus proclaims to the Elders that The Boy is ready to undertake his odyssey.
But here is the long review:
Following the departure of Peter Criss and the watered down but still rhythmic Unmasked album, the quartet came out with this concept album about a boy on a quest to defeat some evil power from taking over the universe. It worked for Pink Floyd and twice for the Who, so why not KISS? True, their use of the American Symphony Orchestra may have angered fans, but Ace's guitarwork, Gene's demonic voice, and new drummer Eric Carr's drums really support the album.
After a horns and symphonic fanfare heralding the beginning of the tale, we get the first ballad, of the uncertain chosen one: "if hope are lost than so are we/well, some are searching for one to guide us/some are staring at me/But I'm no hero, though I wish I could be." Paul's falsetto works well here, as does Ace's guitarwork.
That segues into one of my favourites, a romantic piano and strings ballad "Odyssey" detailing the voyage the boy goes through, across the galaxy, through the realms of time and space.
I can imagine some wags thinking "we're notes in the music searching for a remembered rhyme" as equating KISS's career at this point.
The mid-paced number "Only You" reaffirms the boy as the chosen saviour, the one with the answers, and with connotations of a Messiah being: "you are the light and you are the way." Blonde Teutonic metal goddess Doro Pesch later covered this on her self-titled album.
In "Under The Rose", the boy seems to be going under some testing or initiation. The chorus's basso operatic voices in unison add to the hallowed atmosphere of this number.
Ace was disillusioned at the direction KISS's music was taking so he only contributed lead vocals to the more rocking "Dark Light," and his virtuoso guitarwork clearly shows the heavier direction he was aiming for. The solo is just as worthy as his one in the live version of "Shock Me" on Alive II. This song has the darkness and power of the evil force descending.
Yet another symphony-enhanced ballad and favourite, the Gene-sung "A World Without Heroes" is something many of us seem to be living in: "in a world without dreams, things are no more than they seem/a world without heroes, is like a bird without wings/like a bell that never rings/a sad and useless thing."
"The Oath" is the second heaviest song here, and thanks to Ace's guitar and Eric's drums, could enhance Destroyer or Love Gun. After the slow and chugging "Mr. Blackwell" about the villain of this album, the racing metal instrumental "Escape From The Island" courtesy of Ace. A definite candidate for Rock And Roll Over, and it'd be cool to hear this track live on a future collection.
"I" has the boy ready to begin the fight as the chosen one after realizing his strengths. Some of the Star Wars mythos comes in: "I believe in something more than you can understand/I believe in me. Another hard rocker sung by Paul and Gene.
It's interesting to see KISS returning to Bob Ezrin, who produced their hit album Destroyer, and three of the songs, "Dark Light", "A World Without Heroes", and "Mr. Blackwell" had Lou Reed, listed as Lewis Reed, contributing.
The remastered version has the songs in presumably the original order, and hearing them that way, the story makes more sense. If one wants to reduplicate the way it was on the initial CD release, here is the sequence: 8,1,2,4,6,7,5,9,10,3,11.
In retrospect, The Elder isn't as pathetic as deemed by KISS fans. Those who only see KISS as the group of Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, or Lick It Up and Animalize, are being rather short-sighted. KISS's transition period beginning with the solo albums, leading into Dynasty and to Creatures Of The Night, was crucial to their development, as they try new things, at times I wonder if they daringly thought, "Let's pretend we're not KISS." The best album in their transition period.