Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Aggronymph “Moonlight”

Band photo 

It's been a while since I've done a “repeat performance” featuring a band I have written about here before, but this has been a relatively slow week, and this video is still fairly new so I thought now was as good a time as any to do a write-up.

The last time I wrote about Aggronymph, their brand-new video “`Til Life Sets us Apart” had just premiered, and this video that I am reviewing now (“Moonlight”) had been released shortly before that. With all the attention and promotion the band wanted to give to “Life”, “Moonlight” tended to get lost in the shuffle, so I thought I would let a little time go by before picking it up and giving it some attention.

As I mentioned before, Aggronymph's style is a melting pot of genres ranging from electronica to gothic metal to pop; with enough melodic sensibility to ensure that the music never gets overwhelmed by too many differing sounds piled on at once. That's a tricky balancing act for even the most accomplished artists to pull off, so it says a lot about Aggronymph's talent that they can pull this off with such panache.

Visually, however, the “Moonlight” video is opposite from the band's overall sound: it is is a basic 5-minute journey through busy city nightlife. The buildings are illuminated with neon lights, while the moon hangs unobtrusively above, almost invisible. A camera captures the shuffling feet of people walking to and fro, as we view them from upside-down. The bright headlights of cars and buses whiz past us as they race through the city streets. All of these sights make the lyrics more profound: “Gaze at the moonlit sky, it is the most divine of sights...This beauty of the moonlit sky is my only source of light”.

For more information on Aggronymph, visit the band's official website.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Death Dealer “K.I.L.L.”

Band photo

When you put a band together consisting of bandmembers from Into Eternity and Lizzy Borden, then add some other musicians who have worked with such vocal legends as Udo Dirkschneider and Rob Halford, throw in Sean Peck, known as “the man of a thousand voices”, and then top it all off with none other than ex-Manowar's guitarist “Ross the Boss”—you have all the components for a kick-ass metal band. That metal band is called Death Dealer, and while “supergroups” have become common in the music world these days, you would be hard-pressed to find anything common about Death Dealer.

Fusing together their respective musical genres such as thrash and speed metal, Death Dealer is bringing back traditional metal in a big way, but never sounding outdated or predictable. This is metal brutality that makes you pump your fists, bang your head, and kick some ass.

In their video for “K.I.L.L.”, the band rocks their asses off in a rehearsal space, as confirmed by a Google Earth-type navigational system (the term “target acquired” reiterating that whatever is going on at this place is of interest to us). Simultaneously, at another location, there are two “hot chicks” in bikinis, hanging out in a hot tub, rubbing lotion on each other, and tanning on lounge chairs—whom, at the beginning of the video, are identified by the navigational system as “agents”. But that is easy for some of our viewers to forget once the lovely ladies are on-screen!

As the video progresses, one of the women receives a text message: “They're a threat—take them out!!!” The two women give each other a knowing glance, and before you know it, they are dressed in sexy black uniforms, and hit the road in their sleek black sedan. As the band rips into a killer guitar solo, the women are packing heat. Without revealing the video's ending, I will simply say that the band has quite the sense of humor when keeping to the song's title.

For more information about Death Dealer—currently working on their upcoming 3rd album—visit their official website.

Thanks to Benjamin at Lords of PR.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: The Silent Wedding “A Dream of Choices”

Band photo

In my weekly quest for music from across the globe, it seems that certain regions have been producing talent in a given genre at quite the impressive rate. Last year, I discovered many bands from Italy in the melodic metal style; but not too far behind them was Greece, who was also churning out their fair share of top-notch music. From symphonic/gothic metal such as Fallen Arise, power metal such as Wardrum, or progressive metal such as Black Fate; just to name a few—Greece has made their presence known on the world map of metal.

Over the last decade, one of the many talented bands hailing from Greece is progressive metal band The Silent Wedding. Working behind the scenes with some of the same people as Kamelot, Opeth, and Rhapsody of Fire—among the most respected names in their genre—this quintet has gotten off to a good start and now, with their second album, promises better things to come.

For the album's first single, the band joins forces with another highly-respected name on the scene, and someone I have mentioned here before—Evergrey's Tom Englund, who generously shares his voice with anyone who asks. And why not? Tom is an amazing vocalist and anything he adds his voice to is just going to sound that much better.

The song, “A Dream of Choices”, starts off with slow, melancholic pianos that builds to an atmospheric burst of symphonic-influenced gothic melodies. The video itself is a lyric video with images of dark clouds, withered trees, and black birds flying across the screen as the words scroll past. The vocal interplay between Marios Karanastasis (the band's singer) and Tom Englund is quite complementary to each other: Marios' impassioned, pleading vocals in contrast to Tom's husky, tortured voice further emphasizes the emotional content of the lyrics.

For more information on The Silent Wedding, or to purchase a copy of their latest album, Enigma Eternal, visit the band's official website.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: The Rue “Third Time”

Photo courtesy of Lucky Shot Studios

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year. I look forward to bringing this weekly feature into 2017 and having a full year of new music to share.

My first entry for 2017 is a musical duo called The Rue, whom I briefly wrote about here when I made my list of favorite albums back in 2015; but I really haven't had the opportunity to write about them too much here on this blog. The Rue is an acoustic “father/daughter music project”, as described on their site. Hailing from Seattle, this musical pair consists of vocalist Rylie DeGarmo—a talented young lady in her early twenties with a very “old soul” quality to her voice (citing legends such as Billie Holiday to be among her main influences); and her father, Chris—whom, if his name seems familiar to you, then congratulations! You have visited this blog before. (But in all seriousness, Chris is an accomplished musician in his own right and if I need to list all of his credentials here, then you do not visit this blog nearly enough, nor do you spend much time at a place called Wikipedia. See there, I even provided a link for you. Onward...)

Now, that being said, if you visit here regularly enough or even pay attention to some of my most-read posts, I do not try to hide or deny that I am a longtime fan. I make no bones about it—I openly admit the impact DeGarmo's music has had on my life; I even credit it for saving my life (because it totally did).

However, if you have read previous reviews I have written about The Rue, I try very hard not to let this cloud my judgment or make this the only point of reference when discussing the music, because I like the music for itself. I do this because I think this is not only unfair to both parties, but also because I think Rylie is a fantastic vocalist and I will keep on listening to her no matter what she does or who she collaborates with in the future. I think she is a bright talent of her own and do not think she should constantly be overshadowed by the past of her dad, who happens to be her bandmate (for that matter, I do not believe he should be overshadowed by his past efforts, either). I would not even address this in such detail were it not for the fact that I have written extensively about the music from his past, so to not bring it up now would only be too obvious that I was trying to avoid it (and I am just not that cunning). So, now that I have gotten all the disclaimers out of the way...

The Rue's latest video is for a new song called “Third Time”, a track which will be on an upcoming release scheduled for sometime this year. Now, what I like about The Rue's music is that it's very relaxing and mellow. Their chill, laid-back ambiance needs no accoutrements, and is melodic perfection in its simplistic loveliness. Much as I love the over-the-top bombast of symphonic metal, or the intricate virtuosity of progressive rock, I can also appreciate music that is stripped-down and needs little more than a clear, pure vocal and a clean acoustic guitar to create an atmosphere. Sometimes less is more, and The Rue pulls this off with finesse.

The video itself also matches The Rue's musical motif: filmed in black-and-white, very minimalistic and straightforward; the video features Rylie walking around a house in a flowing white dress (or is it a nightgown? Fashion has never been my strong suit!). Musically, it has this bohemian feel to it, and I love the fluctuating of high and low that Rylie does vocally here. There is not much more to the video than this, other than some photographs on the wall or on desktops and tables, that we see vaguely as she makes her way to the front door at the end of the video to patiently wait for someone (obviously the subject of the song and the person in the photos). Can I just say off the subject for a minute that I really like Rylie's arm tattoo?

For more information on The Rue, visit their official website.