Archive for the ‘Melodic Mondays’ Category

Hello music fans,

Putting my iTunes on shuffle, today’s bringer of melody is Italian gothic rock band Lacuna Coil. The original lineup in 1994 consisted of vocalist Andrea Ferro and bassist/composer Marco Coti Zelati, Raffaele Zagaria on guitars, and Michaelangelo on the drums, with which they released two demos. They originally called themselves Sleep of Right. After some lineup changes that included inviting singer Cristina Scabbia and second guitarist Claudio Leo, in addition to switching out Michaelangelo with drummer Leonardo Forti, the band changed their name to Ethereal in 1997. They came to soon find out that the name ‘Ethereal’ was already taken by a Greek band, so they decided on their current moniker.

Shortly after the release of their self-titled EP, Zagaria, Leo and Forti were replaced by Cristiano Migliore and Cristiano Mozzati and the group went on tour with Moonspell. In 1999, after a second European tour, the band released their first full length album In a Reverie to not great, but adequate reviews. They continued touring and went on to record four more albums. Off of their 2006 release Karmacode came today’s feature on this blog To The Edge. This song is a great example of this band’s vocal dynamic: not quite a call-and-answer, but definitely setting the male and female singers opposite one another. Scabbia sings each verse, while the male voice (Andrea Ferro) accompanies her in the chorus and it creates a powerful harmonic sound. Give it a listen:

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From the oft-frozen land of Finland comes one of the best power metal bands among the many from this particular area of the world. Celesty was formed in 1998 in Seinäjoki, Finland. The original lineup of the band included bassist Ari Katajamäki, drummer Jere Luokkamäki, and in 1999 guitarist Tapani Kangas. This quartet apparently released a demo that was never released, nor saw the light of day. According to the band’s website, Katajamäki and Kangas had to depart the band due to military obligations in 2000, after which the band’s search led them to add guitarist J-P Alanen and vocalist Kimmo Perämäki. It was with these final two additions that Celesty got in the studio and released their first official demo, “Warrior of Ice” in 2001. Though I was able to dig up no audio, the demo has been described as “typical power metal vocalist soaring over the double bass and speedy guitar riffs filling for an epic atmosphere much like you would find on Destiny-era Stratovarius.” With the release came the addition of keyboardist Juha Mäenpää.

Their second demo Times Before the Icewas released in 2002 to “even better reviews” [than of their previous demo] and the band’s popularity began picking up steam. That same year, they signed with Spanish label Arise Records and released the Reign of Elements album to wide acclaim. As the band crept more and more into the consciousness of the metal world, their success and popularity grew, as did their catalog of music. After another change in label and lineup (as with all bands), Celesty released Vendetta in 2009. From this most recent release comes today’s Metal World/Melodic Mondays installment: “Like Warriors.” I chose this song because it excellently displays the blistering guitar solos that metal lovers have come to expect and because of its sheer epic sound. Judge for yourself and leave a comment:

Hailing from Moscow, Russia, Dark Princess reminds me of all of the great gothic metal bands of Scandinavia. There is a great list for you to check out on Facebook. Formed in 2004, the blistering guitar work of guitarists Aleksandr Lubimov and Ilya Klokov compliments the seemingly love-hate nature of the lyrics in the powerful track The Deepest Fall off of their 2008 release Stop My Heart. Unfortunately, Due to the nature of this particular feature on this blog bringing you obscure bands from around the world, as well as the fact that the Dark Princess website is in Russian, there was not much else in the way of background on them. So, just sit back, relax and enjoy the music video for The Deepest Fall by Dark Princess:

For the final shot of Irishness during this most Irish of months I bring you a band that is a little closer to home. Formed in 1997 by Irishman Dave King, Flogging Molly eventually got all the right characters in place: Dave King on guitars, vocals and bodhran; Dennis Casey on guitars and vocals; Matthew Hensley on accordion, concertina, piano and vocals; Nathan Maxwell on bass and vocals; Bridget Regan on violin, tin whistle, classical guitar, uilleann pipes and vocals; and Robert Schmidt on drums. The group also had a growing following at Molly Malones, the Los Angeles bar that gave them their start. Though they didn’t start out with a specific ‘signature’ sound in mind, how could they not pay homage to the homeland of founding members Dave King and Bridget Regan? I would put their sound somewhere between punk rock and Celtic rock. It’s just fun, rowdy, usually feel-good music. Though they have some more serious, even melancholy themes, I prefer the good timey songs such as the Devil’s Dance Floor, from their 2000 album Swagger:

Continuing with our theme this month, today’s band comes to us from Armagh, Northern Ireland. Formed in 1993 by brothers Cíaran and Dermot O’Hagan, Waylander originally envisioned their style to resemble that of an ’80s metal band. As if by accident, or perhaps fate, the first song they wrote turned out to be more in the Celtic style. Indeed, according to the metal-archives website, most of the band’s lyrics focus on Celtic mythology, folklore, and history. Though obscured in many biographies found online, the group endured several lineup changes before settling on Cíaran O’Hagan (vocals), Dermot O’Hagan (guitars), Den Ferran (drums) and Jason Barriskill (bass) and recording their debut demo, “Once Upon an Era” in late 1994.

In late 1995/early 1996, the band recorded their second demo “Dawning of a New Age” after removal of bassist Jason Barriskill. He was replaced by Michael Proctor and the band went on to add Máirtín Mac Cormaic on the tin whistle to give their sound a decidedly Celtic-folk feel. This turned out to be a boon for the band’s popularity throughout Ireland, Scotland and England. Then in 1998, they hooked up with Century Media Records and renowned producer Andy Classen at his Stage One Studios in Germany. They recorded and released their debut album “Reawakening Pride Once Lost” to ‘excellent reviews,’ according to their website. By 2008, Waylander had released their latest album Honour Amongst Chaos.

Check out “Born to Fight” from their 1998 Reawakening Pride Once Lost album.

Happy St. Patrick’s week!

Albeit one day late, today’s installment comes from none other than one of the most famous and successful bunch of musicians to ever come out of Ireland, indeed of all time– U2. This iconic group of rockers has been entertaining the masses since forming in 1978. Although they didn’t know much about playing music at the time, this quartet knew they had something special right from the start. All that had to happen to get these guys together was for Larry Mullen, Jr. to post a want ad on the bulletin board at the school they all attended. By practicing in Mullen’s kitchen in Dublin, they whittled the six respondents to the ad down to five and they had their band. Next, they decided on a name. Not knowing much about music at the time, they called themselves ‘Feedback’. They began as a cover band, until, according to Wikipedia, their growing popularity drew four of the band members together, causing the fifth, Dik Evans, to feel like an outcast and leave the band onstage during a show. From there, as they say, the rest was history.

I felt like I had no choice but to pick one of the most famous of their legendary Irish rock anthems. Sunday Bloody Sunday became one of the band’s signature songs. Heavily laden with emotion, the lyrics speak to one of the most horrific events in Ireland’s tumultuous history. ‘Blood Sunday‘ began as a planned civil rights march by protesters in the city of Derry in Northern Ireland on Sunday, January 30 1972. Northern Ireland at the time was in a battle against internment by the British and would-be civil rights marchers feared military action that would aim to stop the event. In the end, 14 protesters were shot and killed that day by British troops. Granted civil rights can be an incendiary, divisive issue, but by all accounts, the people that died that day were fed up and wanted what any free-thinking human being wants: freedom. Despite the deeply emotional issues about which this particular song was written, U2 remains one of the most widely respected and best selling bands of all time. Although I do not own any of their albums, my own Irish heritage cannot help but draw me into their mesmerizing charisma and sound.

Greetings,

Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I thought I would dedicate this month’s Melodic Mondays to that joyous day of celebration. Normally you might expect to find a great band playing traditional Celtic folk music in Ireland, the birthplace of such music. In 1992, however, longing to perform fairly exclusively classic Irish music, the drummer in Serbian band Roze Poze Dušan Živanović learned to play the accordion to expand his musical repertoire. He also formed his own band with Ana Đokić (violin) and Dejan Lalić (mandolin, banjo, tin whistles). Later Aleksandar Petrović, Vladan Jovković, and Dejan Jevtović joined the group and together they became the Orthodox Celts. After playing mostly small shows, the group released their first album in 1994, which featured covers of Irish folk songs.

Since the only significant source of information about the band is on their Facebook, I will not just regurgitate it here. I just really appreciate their dedication to such a lively and cheerful music style that is so steeped in tradition. Go to their page and check them out. Also, take a look at one of their videos below: