Album Review: “Ancient Land” by Celtic Woman

42278081_10156688847302838_3619016091595964416_nIt is two years since I actually reviewed a Celtic Woman release. They did have a Live album come out last fall, but since it was really the songs featured on the “Voices Of Angels” album, I decided to not talk about it in fear of repeating myself. The group has experiences some changes here lately, with Susan McFadden becoming pregnant after the summer, she was replaced with Megan Walsh with the rest of the girls: Máiréad Carlin, Éabha McMahon, and violinist Tara McNeil.

The album “Ancient Land” apparently has 18 tracks, but Spotify only has the standard edition with 16 songs instead, so I will not talk about my thoughts for both “The Enchanted Way” and “Ballroom Of Romance” even though the titles read beautifully. I will try to have the English translation of two songs on the list, they may not be correct as I’m using Google to help me there. Okay, I think that’s everything before we begin the review.

We start off the album with our title track “Ancient Land” and I really love this, as it’s an instrumental with minimal vocals in the background. It sounds so gorgeous, you have that authentic Irish sound with the flute and Tara playing the violin throughout. It has this ancient vibe going through it, and sets the tone for what’s to come with the rest of the songs! Next is the first single, “Homeland” and you finally get to hear all three girls singing together. Eabha starts off with her semi-deep voice as she’s an alto, with Megan has a nice high-pitched voice that doesn’t exactly match Mairead, but I like it that way because they’re all unique with their ranges. The song itself is very light and cheery, and you feel that pride for your homeland–no matter where you’re originally from–deep inside whenever you listen to it.

Third is “Moorlough Shore” and of course, I looked this up because I was unsure about it. Apparently, it’s a love song that originally came out in the late 1800’s. Eabha is the soloist featured on this and the lyrics are in English, but she gives it this sweet vibe that I kind of felt like I was in a trance and got lost in her voice! Yup, that happened! The music itself is very loving, but mysterious which works well Eabha’s beautiful soft voice. We move onto “Follow Me” and it had this slow and quiet introduction, that you wouldn’t think it could turn into this is fun song! The first thing that popped into my mind was the fact that it sounds like “Níl Sé’n Lá” in a way where it is a party song. You can easily dance and if you want to, you can sing along too. These last two tracks are my favorite so far!

“County Down” is next with Mairead as the singer on the track. It is this cute little song, with only her almost child-like voice and a guitar and piano playing together in this gentle way at the start of it. Eventually, you can hear more violins joining in and it’s this nice chill out song, that weirdly enough I like a lot! Afterwards, we have “Love & Honour” and this is absolutely beautiful. It’s another instrumental with Tara highlighting the softer side of Irish music. The music does change towards the end into this powerhouse but it still keeps that enchanting sound that makes you want to walk around deep in the woods somewhere.

This next song is “Mná Na hÉireann” which translates into Women of Ireland. I am happy to see a song like this, basically dedicated to all of the beautiful Irish women out there, in the past, present and future. The whole song is in Gaelic of course, which I think is better to if it was to be in English. Now we move on to another cheery track, “Sive” and I was completely surprised because I knew I recognized the beginning but I was sort of unsure, until I heard Eabha singing and then it dawned on me, as she had done it at their Homecoming Live concert. So the song is actually “Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh” This time, it features all three girls taking different verses. It still sounds the same way but just cleaner as far as audio goes. “Shenandoah” is next and I was shocked again, as this is an American based song! The most important part is that we finally hear our newest member at front, and Megan sings it so good! I feel like she has a relatable voice, as it doesn’t have that classical quality, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I feel like it’s a nice country tone for a song like this.

The tenth track is “Long Journey Home” and it is gentle and easy-going. So far, this is the only one that has featured the bagpipes. I had trouble finding the backstory to this one, so if I have any Irish readers out there, do you have any answers for me? I would really appreciate it. Next there’s, “Tara’s Tunes” so it’s a four minute track with only an orchestra and the great Tara McNeil playing her fabulous fiddle in a very fast pace! It is a fun track and it has those good authentic Irish elements too! Now this one, when I wrote out the tracklist after it was posted on Facebook, I was a bit confused if the person who wrote it made a mistake and forgot to correct themselves, but nope it’s correct. “Ae Fond Kiss” is such a mellow sound going all throughout the song. I love the caring nature of this one though. I keep seeing people slow dancing to it in my head.

These are the last four songs off of the album, we have “Faith’s Song” and this is a pretty song, as it’s nice and slow. Celtic Woman creates fantastic slow dance tracks! Megan is at the front of this too, and at first I thought I was listening to Carrie Underwood! She has such an American voice when she sings, this is what I was trying to explain in the beginning where I was talking about her voice compared to Mairead’s. They kind of soundalike, but it has a distinctive drawl in Megan that isn’t shared in Mairead, which again, is totally fine! “Garden Of Eden” is after, and we hear Eabha at the start, and she and the flute that peeks out, are so sweet but it’s still upbeat to dance to with a fairly large crowd as well.

“Be Still” comes in, in this quiet way. Honestly, the whole thing is very soft song, but the only elements are the girls and the male choir in the background. It’s a very short track, but like the saying goes, “great things come in small packages” but honestly, I wanted it to go on a little longer! Our final song is “Going Home” and thankfully, we go back to the lively Irish sound with the pipes in the introduction, but the song starts in this silently way with Mairead and then Eabha and Megan taking over as the tempo expands back to what we heard in the beginning. The bagpipes come back at the end of it, but the song as a whole is really good! If anybody is away from home, whether it’s for school or a job, and you’re really homesick, I don’t necessarily recommend listening to this song.

Well, we are finished and I have to say I really enjoyed this album! I actually liked this one a lot more compared to their previous release. I was never able to truly mesh with it. I feared that “Destiny” would be my only favorite, but I’m glad to say that this quickly another favorite of mine too. What made it better is something that is easily noticed by fans of CW is that, they tend to do newer versions of some of their previous songs, but for this collection seems all new for the fans out there. It is a nice discovery to find out later on. The only one that I knew was “Sive” of course. I am glad they went and recorded that in a studio because it is really good and exciting song to listen to!

Have you listened to Celtic Woman’s brand new album yet? If you have, what were your thoughts? Do you have any favorite(s) that you can list below?

snowflake

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6 Halloween Movies For Teens!

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Howdy!

So, this post will generated for the teenagers in your life that want to explore the mysterious and possibly a little blood for this Halloween! There is not a cartoon movie on it, and I did that for a reason. No teen wants to watch a kiddie film, but I also didn’t want to go too far because despite the whole rating of PG-13, I know some parents will not approve really violent movies either, so I’m hoping I’ve picked out a well-balanced batch of films to satisfy their ever-maturing tastes!

Beetlejuice (1988)

In my last post, I talked about the fact that I was influenced by my sister and our friends to watch several of the films I had listed, but for this, all but the last two, I fell in love while watching them with my mom. Beetlejuice being the main boss, and even now if one of us see it on our guide, we’ll record it. However, I wasn’t a real fan of the character Beetlejuice, he used to scare the living daylights out of me! As an adult, I enjoy the dark tones throughout the movie. The abstract art (I know) and how much black Lydia wore in the film, but my ultimate favorite part is when Adam and Barbara go down into the underworld, I don’t know why I’ve always liked it but I do.

This is definitely not a kid-friendly movie as I remember watching it before I was the age of seven, and as I said, I was absolutely afraid of it. There are still scenes that make me uncomfortable, but for the most part I can get through it in one piece! It’s really funny, all of the characters are different and add an comical element to every scene. So, this is a good middle ground film for teens.

The Addams Family (1991)

Here’s an interesting tale for you, I actually remember watching the old black and white Addams Family episodes on TV Land years ago! I’m pretty sure I watched them with my papaw but I could be wrong too. Anyways, the films are very beloved between my parents and I, I’m not quite sure about Blondie as her tastes have always been in the adults section compared to mine, but she could still love it I guess! I think the first is the best, even though I do think the attempted killings of the baby brother in the second movie are pretty hilarious! For me, I just enjoy the weird brotherly bond between Gomez and Finister, and you should already know what I think about Gomez and his wife Morticia. She’s one of the fiercest women ever!

The Addams Family in many forms is usually very fun to watch, because you don’t want to believe that there are people out in the world like that, but in reality there are! They are also in many forms all around the continent, but the movies that came out in the 90’s are still interesting despite being close to 30 years old now! They’re fun movies and should be respected as such I think.

Casper (1995)

I have never met a person who doesn’t love the character Casper! If I was a ghost, lonely as can be, I’d probably do the same thing he did and force somebody to bring me a friend! I think the film in general is so good, and definitely a guilty pleasure for sure! There are scenes that are real serious but the majority of it is flat out hilarious! My favorite scene is when Casper cooks Kat breakfast, and basically scares her for the second time!

I know if a teenager is reading this post and wondering why I’d put this on here, is because it does still have some ominous elements featured, such as death, performing exorcisms, and the downside to the haunting of ghosts. It’s a nice medium of in between being a pure kid movie to a young adult, mostly because for the rowdy and slightly mean uncles: Stretch, Stinky and Fatso!

Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire (2005)

I really adore the Harry Potter films, but I had to really think of one that could fit this list, and the only one that has always made me feel uncomfortable is Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire mainly because of the games and how disturbing and serious the ending was when Voldemort’s physical form was shown and of course the death of Cedric Diggory.

There is a lot of graphic violence in every movie, but I always thought this was probably the worst because it was the first time where a beloved character was killed off in the story. I feel it would be too much for a young kid to watch that scene because it is pretty intense. I’m not saying the death of both Sirius Black and Dumbledore wasn’t that bad, I mean, they clearly were to everyone, but this was different. The whole tone of this film was darker and got you ready for what was to come later in the rest of the movies.

Twilight (2008)

Twilight came out before the premiere of The Vampire Diaries so it wasn’t even on my radar until about 2011, and I finally gave in and watched it for the first time because everybody around me, family included, kept driving me crazy about who I liked the most and when I didn’t have an answer to their question, they’d freak out! However, I’d get away with it once they found out I liked TVD, so that was my saving grace at the time! Anyways, I think the first movie and the final part of Breaking Dawn are my favorites! They both have different directors, so there are scenes that I think are perfect to set the tones apart.

Despite for the outside vampires: Laurent, Victoria and James it is actually really clean. You do have to keep in mind that it is about vampires and werewolves, so you know there will be lots of blood and graphic violence involved. The first film is the ideal teenager fantasy based, especially if your teen hasn’t watched anything like this before. I don’t recommend letting them watch part one of Breaking Dawn for the sex scenes featured in the story!

Dark Shadows (2012)

I watched this for the first time ever last Halloween! I decided that I was going to watch all of the spooky movies that appeared on Freeform that year, and this was the only one that I actually liked out of the four films! I really liked all of the female actors, they all had strong roles but my favorite was Michelle Pfeitter as Elizabeth Collins Stoddurd, she was intimating as hell, but then again I’ve always said that about Michelle! She scares me. Johnny Depp’s character Barnabas was creepy, but I thought he was a funny guy too. I’ve always had a tough time watching a Johnny Depp film, especially when he dresses up in full make up and basically transform into this other being that you can barely recognize him.

This is a perfect vampire based movie for teens that I could find, because it wasn’t too bloody but it still had those scary moments that (maybe not) everybody loves to watch during this time of the year! It was entertaining and kept my attention, even through the many, many commercials. I also know that the network probably took out the gory scenes, maybe that’s the reason why I enjoyed it so much! If you’re worried about that too, it might be better to have your teen watch it on that channel too.

I am not going to lie, but I am happy to be done with this section! It was pretty difficult to come up with films that I’ve watched more than once and that could be counted for teenagers! I was always afraid of paranormal things growing up and I can barely get through Ghost Adventures in one piece as an adult, so you can just imagine how I was years ago! Before I finish this, I want to add a couple of spooky television shows that your teen might like to watch if they’re not into movies: The Vampire Diaries, Shadowhunters, and Charmed. 

Do you have a favorite on the list above? How were you watching more mature scary movies or TV shows like these as a teen? Can you name any more that could fit the criteria?  

snowflake

Album Review: “Sign” by RAIGN

40393523_10158372717632837_5296621834853154816_nBack in January, British singer-songwriter RAIGN released her extended play “Born Again” and I put out a review of it on here about a month later. Now I’m back to talk about her debut album that came out in mid-September. It is called “Sign” and even though I kept seeing a couple of singles pop up on the new music tab on Spotify, I did not expect this at all! Despite only really listening to one single before working on this, I didn’t know what I was getting into but I was open to new sounds and some of the familiar stuff that made me fall in love with her music in the first place.

The album itself consists of 12 songs, which is standard for any musician but also with that amount, means you can hear a wider range of her style. I am hoping for an eclectic mix as I continue down the list of tracks. So, let’s start!

We begin with an introduction, “Sign” and it’s an instrumental start to the album. It has a dreamy quality to it as it’s soft but haunting too. I really like hearing the orchestra build up and sound like the second song “Out Of Time”. This song has a completely different tone, as it has a pop-rock sound which wasn’t something that I expected but I actually liked it! It’s something we haven’t heard from her yet and I thought it was perfect to break that barrier so early in the album. Next we have “Who Are You” and it has that familiar mysterious vibe playing throughout it. It’s very powerful but in a way gentle too!

We move on to “God Only Knows” and what I really like about this one was the fact that it started off in this soft way, with only her echo-y but deep voice and a light epic drumming in the background. It was so beautiful to only have those elements, before adding the orchestra back in too. The fourth track “Into Heaven Alone” has a melancholy sound but it does have a rock-y vibe on top of that cinematic beat, it’s not an overwhelming. I liked the uniqueness it gave the song! I feel the next song “Inside Of Me” has this motivational statement to make, as it gave you the strength to get through whatever is bothering you at that moment. The beat itself was strong in terms of matching the emotions and lyrics to the song, but it was also really light too. It was a nice balance.

When we first started the album, we had a nice epic intro with “Sign” but for the sixth track, it is the vocal version of the actual song. It still has this gentleness about it, but now that we are hearing the words along with the ominous ballad of violins, bells and of course Raign’s deep voice. It will take you away into a magical place whenever you listen to it, at least that’s what it did for me. I felt like I was walking in a snow-y, forest wonderland, I love it when music can do that in a matter of three minutes! Next, there’s “Calling” and this has another interesting quality. At first, I thought it was going to continue what we heard in the last song. I’m hearing more pop-y notes in the beat, it still has that cinematic sound in it, but it is very mild so you can hear them both at the same time. It is a cool song.

We are on the last four songs. “Hold On To The Sky” is kind of tame, almost dreamy in a way. One way to explain it, is if you were in a deep amount of water. Your body is weightless so dancing inside is a breeze. If this was a song, this would be it. I’m sorry for the weird metaphor, but that’s what I instantly thought of when it started playing! Next there’s “Find My Own Way” and this has a sexy beat behind it. It keeps you on your toes because it’s a somewhat simple song, but there’s that underling feeling you could be surprised soon. It was a pleasing track and probably one of my favorites out of the whole thing.

I was really curious about the eleventh song and final track because the titles seem so easy to figure out, I just hoped I wouldn’t get disappointed in the end. However, “Sunrise” starts with this very loud bass boom and then her voice gets echo-y and the beat itself builds into the monstrous beast. As it continues, Raign basically stays the same as far as tempo goes, but I’m glad she’s like that because the dynamic between these two makes it that much better. It has an edge, a jaggered edge that makes it powerful! Finally, we end with “Evergreen” and after the previous one, I was a little worried but thankfully it was at the same vibe, but I think I fell in love with the lyrics a lot faster than I did with “Sunrise”, plus it has a happier beat. It had a motivated outlook on it, but everything about it was inviting to me, and it made me like I could do anything so I was thinking of good things rather than the negative and that’s what I like the most about it.

One of my favorite things to do now whenever I watch a movie or television show, is that I keep an eye out for the music being played on a certain scene. When The Vampire Diaries started playing Raign’s music throughout the last four or five seasons, I did not expect to still crave her music but I do! I think she has a gorgeous voice and the beats she uses to showcase it, make me extremely happy! Raign was at the forefront of my taste for cinematic music, and I deeply encourage you to check out some of her songs! This album gave me feeling after feeling, and although I tend to listen to her music whenever I’m sad, I was happy listening to all the way through and for that to happen rarely works anymore.

Have you heard of RAIGN’s new album “SIGN” yet? If I wasn’t the one to introduce you to her music, how did you find her? What is your favorite song(s)?

snowflake

6 Halloween Movies For Kids!

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Howdy!

Since I’m not able to decorate pumpkins this year, I had to come up with another Halloween-y post for you guys and I thought collecting a bunch of movies that you either have seen at different parts of your life or not at all. For this list, I decided to talk about what is kid-friendly, it might be movies you remember watching with your parents or at a sleepover with your cousins or friends growing up. I tried to board out my search of different movies and I really like the lineup I have so far, and I hope you enjoy them as well!

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The first time I ever watched this movie was in seventh grade, weirdly enough three days before we went on Christmas break. There are not very many movies that can pass being two holiday movie lists, but this is one! Unfortunately, I didn’t want to watch it and was very happy to be sitting in the back of the room. It wasn’t until about three years later that I finally watched it on my own and I actually kind of enjoyed it.

I think this is a good, fun movie for young kids to watch because they will love the characters, but be careful they do show the Bogeyman and other monsters in the closet and under the bed, so there’s that part to watch out for the younger kids!

Halloweentown (1998)

I love Halloweentown! However, like TNBC I did not want to watch this when it aired on the Disney Channel one October night at a friend’s house. I wasn’t the bravest of kids in my age as you can see, but my sister and her friend stayed up and watched it. You’re never going to believe this, but I actually fell asleep before it even started, so at one point of time, I could fall asleep on cue apparently!

So what changed? I think I was always haunted by the fact that I couldn’t watch it back then that once I got into high school I was like, “you have to suck it up” and it’s been one of my favorite Disney Channel franchises, and my favorite one being Halloweentown High. The last one isn’t really the best because they replace Kimberly J. Brown to Sara Paxton. Nonetheless, the films are good and they’re not really dark, some of the costumes are a little “scary” for some young kids, but other than that it’s a Disney so your child should (grow to) like it very much.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Meet The Wolfman (2000)

When I decided that I wanted to write this post, this was actually the first movie that popped into my head. I remember watching this as a kid with my sister, who would have been in preschool at the time. We rarely watched Alvin and The Chipmunks and honestly I haven’t seen any of the sequals of the newer films, so the fact that this made the cut is interesting for me. I try to watch it whenever it’s on, even if I miss the majority of it!

If you’re looking for a cartoon-ish, Halloween movie for your children to watch, I’d definitely recommend this because this is generally adorable then spooky. If you didn’t love the Chipmunks, especially Theodore, you will after watching this film.

Mom’s Got A Date With A Vampire (2000)

This is another favorite of mine, that unlike the first two movies I talked about, this was easier to get into and maybe it was because Charles Shaughnessy was in it! You have to understand that when this came on, I was busy watching Full House, Mad About You, Family Matters, and The Nanny with my mother almost every other day with a bowl of potato chips for an afternoon snack when we came home from school! I don’t remember watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch so this is how I fell in love with Caroline Rhea for the first time.

You can find this on Disney Channel too! It likes to creep up on me sometimes, because there will be times where it’s easy to find but then they don’t play it at all and that part really sucks! It is a nice Halloween movie for kids, Charles is somewhat spooky but it’s mostly because of his accent and hair!

Twitches (2005)

I literally almost forgot about this one! It does help if you make sure you have the right amount of movies that it says on your banner before saying you’re done for the day! Anyways, Twitches is such a good movie, I’d say it’s a safe movie that discusses witches in general, but what I really enjoyed about it was seeing real twins Tia and Tamara Mowry play separated after birth sisters that are indeed witches. However, the real part I loved about it were Karsh and Ilena, they are absolutely hilarious and really bring the comic relief to this movie.

This movie has some dark tones in it, but I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal for someone over the age of seven, but that’s only my opinion! I think kids will enjoy the fantasy and magic being shown between the characters, and will hopefully see through the character Thantos’s scary demeanor.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Are you surprised to see a recent release on my list? I actually had a hard time finding movies that I had seen that would work for this, and HT was the only one that fit the bill. I actually enjoyed this film, unfortunately I have yet to watch the other two and I do want to see them, because I really like the cast who are voicing these characters: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, and David Spade just to name a few.

This film is really nice, it’s not too scary for kids, it could actually help children understand to never to assume the worst out of people. I actually like this direction of the story of Count Dracula, they made the character slightly approachable whereas how they will probably learn of the real story of him, so right now this is family friendly enough right now!

So now we’re finished with the first list! I had lots of fun telling kind of embarrassing stories of my childhood on my blog again.. Oh, just wait until we get to the adult post, you’ll probably be laughing at me while reading it. I originally had seven on this, but I realized that I had two movies that I haven’t really seen a whole lot, so I figured it would be easier to talk about ones that I have watched and liked throughout the years instead. Before I go, I wanted to list a couple of TV shows for kids that have a sort of a spooky flare: Goosebumps, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.

What are your thoughts of the movies above? Which one is your favorite?

snowflake

 

What It’s Like To Be A (Disabled) Blogger

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Howdy!

Last Friday, I celebrated another milestone, nine years of blogging! I know some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t just skip celebrating it when it’ll be the big one zero next fall, but I think it’s important every single thing, big or little, that happens in your life. There’s also the possibility I may not continue blogging next year too, although that is not going to happen anytime soon, but a lot can happen between now and then honestly.

For this post, I wanted to give you an insight on what goes on as a blogger, from my point of view as a disabled person. I think it’s important to show you (someone on the outside) what I do on a monthly basis. Honestly a lot of the time I’m in a panic because I haven’t gotten one day of the week finished yet and my mind has already moved on to the next two weeks! It can get really crazy but I have made it a point to not push myself as a writer. I go at my own pace, sometimes it’s a little fast, but it’s a steady pace!

 

A Day In The Life

Where normal people have their laptops either placed on a table or on their laps, I don’t have that luxury. Mine is always at the foot of the bed so I can get to everything easily. I started going about it this way, because it is getting increasingly harder for my parents to pick me off the floor. I did try it on the floor a few times in the beginning, but it was very uncomfortable as far as how I sat on my butt and my back instantly hurt everytime I went to type on the keys. This other way became my only way to continue my blog.

One more interesting part to this set up is the fact that the laptop is not flat on the floor, unfortunately that is too low for the way my feet are arranged, so it sits on a mobile seat cushion that a person would normally use during sports events and even graduations! I’ve used two or three of these things in the last six years, and the one I have now is a beloved, family cushion of Indiana University and yes, I feel horrible that it is literally breaking at the seams!

You might see pictures of other people with their computers, they look absolutely gorgeous as they’re clean and polished. Well, mine is not that way at all! It has a lot of hairs and dust on the screen and keyboard. Hell, I’m even missing the letter “D” but like I tell everybody that takes a look at it, “it still works!” I do try to wipe it off the best I can, but nothing really works. Let’s be really honest, have you tried your best to clean your screen on your phones and/or reading tablet?

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You are probably freaking out that I actually shared a picture of it, but if I want to be brutally honest about my layout. This is part of it too. You have to remember, I use my toes to type on this, so they can collect different particles, sorry to the ones who are terrified of feet! If you had to use your feet to do everything for yourself. you’d be surprised what could happen! I mean, despite that, think about the ones who have to use pencils to prick the keys or maybe their tongue to work it, that’s a lot of different flecks from various places that get stuck in between those small areas.

Besides the laptop setup, I have two other things that I use to help me out on a weekly basis. My nana gave me a small bookshelf a couple of years, and I actually have a lot of fun organizing it, as I continue to get things to help stack papers together and make more room for other things too. This was a picture I used in the original blog post, it has now changed, but I’m thinking of switching it back to this, because it looks less chaotic! Anyways, I have everything from my pens to numerous notebooks placed in the two shelves, all ready for me to grab and figure out what I need to do next.

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I have a Styrofoam box that my nana used to get her meals delivered in a couple of years ago. We had one stashed underneath the kitchen table at my grandparents house, and she let me take another one home so I could have a makeshift table to write on right by my bed. I actually use for various things; like writing out ideas in my notepads or looking at my daily planner. I can even use to do simple things like read a book or place my remote on it in the middle of the night so I don’t have to worry about kicking it off the bed!

Despite all of this, blogging is still a lonely thing to do. What gets me is that the only time we allow others to join in is when we want guest posts, other than that we are the ones that do everything for our blogs because it could be we’d rather do everything ourselves. We update our social media accounts and network our asses off! We usually get whatever ideas come to us in different times of the day (or night) and they’ll drive you nuts until you have to get out your phone or in my case To Do List and write out a collection of prompts to keep in mind for future open spots.

Overall though, blogging is fun! You get to “meet” wonderful people that are usually trying to do the same thing you are and because of them, you can express your worries and celebrate every good thing that comes your way. Unfortunately, not everyone will congratulate you on your accomplishments, but there is always someone that will send you a “good job” comment or tweet that will make you feel loved, and I think that’s part of the reason why we continue to do it, because thanks to them, we’re being appreciated for our hard work and it makes everything worthwhile!

snowflake

 

Album Review: “Heart Of The Hurricane” by Beyond The Black

34729747_951670208326241_2834433232856940544_nWe’re back with another review! This time I am talking about symphonic metal with a band that I have discussed on here in the past, it was their album “Lost In Forever” that I actually listen to almost every other month now. The band recently released their third album “Heart Of The Hurricane” in late August, and you would be very proud of me, because I have not listened to a single song–even though I really wanted to every time I saw one pop up on my Spotify–so my thoughts on the songs themselves will fresh and I seem to like it better to go about it that way.

Here’s a little background on the band, they are originally from Germany, leading the bunch is Jennifer Haben while Chris Hermsdörfer and Tobias Lodes play guitar and do some backing vocals. Stefan Herkenhoff is on bass, Jonas Roßner plays the keys and finally Kai Tschierschky does the drums. The album consists of 15 songs, which is more than I usually review on here, but I thought what the hell! So, let’s get this party started!

We start off the album with a song called “Hysteria” and this has a nice heavy metal sound with the guitars being at the center of the beginning and I like the balance between the orchestra’s light tone against the harsh guitars together, and Jennifer along with the choir, keep that soft element there throughout despite the fact that the track is about chaos. I thought that was kind of interesting! It was pretty mild to what I kind of expected but I liked it nonetheless though. Second is the title track “Heart Of The Hurricane” and I definitely like how this one starts, it’s heavy but when Jennifer comes on, the guitars die down. I had a hard time keeping myself still while listening to it the first time, which is a really good sign! I was slightly jumping up and down on my bed and whenever it got quiet, I turned to swaying side-to-side and I can’t wait to learn the lyrics to it. Next is “Through The Mirror” and a piano begins the song off which surprised me because you hardly ever hear songs like this towards the start of the album. Of course, the sound explodes into this monstrous ballad. I really like it.

 “Million Lightyears” is the fourth song and I’m not going to lie, I kept picturing Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story when I first read the title of it. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it! This has a different start, as it was a male singer, and it kind of threw me off because I couldn’t see a featured artist, so it could either be Chris, Stefan, or Tobias. However, I do like the deeper tone of his voice against Jen’s soaring vocals. It gives the song an extra edge so it’s good! We move on to “Song For The Godless” and once I saw this title, I was really intrigued; I just knew I was going to like the suspense of not exactly knowing what was going to happen with this song. The introduction in this one is so good! It has this exotic element but fierce drumming coming together, everything that I wanted was in this song! The only thing that would have made it better was if that drumming was as loud as it was throughout the choruses. I think that would have been interesting, but the song is really good otherwise!

Next there’s “Escape From The Earth” which is another song that grabbed my attention right away and it has a somber undertone that you hear immediately. I liked the fact that it was softer, but it had some interesting edges to it with the fast strumming in the mist of the second verse, so it sort of changed the tempo and direction of the “normal” ballad. I also enjoyed the very loud slap of the drums, unfortunately I don’t know anything but drums but I still liked that little surprise because it made that song even better. Now, we have “Beneath A Blackened Sky” and I’m happy to say that this is another heavy epic track. The haunted sounds of the orchestra, with the choir singing in the introduction really excited me, but those elements kind of took a back step whenever Jennifer would start singing. They would start up again towards the choruses so I wasn’t that disappointed with it! It’s actually a really good track.

The eighth song is “Fairytale Of Doom” which made me really curious, because the first thing that popped into my head was a darker turn of Alice In Wonderland, although I had clue to what I would actually hear when the song played. I think this has a bit of a thrash-y sound to it, as the symphonic part of it isn’t as powerful, but I thought it was okay to go that route. Honestly, I would have been mad if they had went a sweeter and angelic sound with this, so instead they went with a hardier vibe that still told a good story. This one sort of threw me off, it’s called “My God Is Dead” and I’m always worried with these types of songs, but knowing the genre itself, they’re not talking about their lives, rather than a character made for the album itself. The track is a nice ballad again, but I really enjoyed whoever does the harsh vocals in the choruses, it was different but not enough to  divert the sound as a whole a lot.

We have “Dear Death” next and here was another title that got me wondering, I really enjoy doing that, I rarely expect how it’s going to sound but I try to guess the story behind it. I think it’s the storyteller in me! Anyways, I’m glad that it has a hefty sound in the beginning but honestly that really dies down as it continues to the point where I kind of grew to not like it. I can’t really explain it. So, let’s move on to the other song, “Scream For Me” and I really like it! The introduction made me slightly worried because they have a lot of mellow songs and I thought this was just another one, but they gave us a big surprise as the choruses are explosive! Everything is heightened and for once, I liked the guitar solo! I hardly ever like the solos anymore.

The last four songs, and we start with “Freedom” and it definitely has more of a power metal vibe going on, if you like to headbang, you can really do it with this one. I like the creepy and slow notes of the piano in the background with all of the chaos being center stage. I’m happy that Jennifer was able to control her voice in that type of environment . My voice would have been all over the place and that’s the truth! Next there’s “Breeze” which sounds sweet when you first read it, and then when it starts to play and you Jen’s voice basically stripped down with only a piano, strings and a choir gave it a classy tone and it’s the perfect calm down after the previous song! It’s really pretty!

“Echo From The Past” is the fourteenth song of the album. It seems like we go back to the mild soundings, as the it has a mysterious introduction with what sounds like church bells ringing in the background leading to some of the rough guitars. It wasn’t what I was expecting but I like that about it. And finally, the last song is “Parade” and I was utterly surprised with this because if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this had some electronic elements in it! I don’t really know what to say about it, other than it’s interesting but it’s not my favorite off the album.

I am officially done! I have to say, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into with this album mostly because I’ve only listened to one album all the way through and I kind of liked it, whereas this one was slightly boring. It didn’t keep me interested and they all just blended together in a bad way unfortunately. It’s a nice effort in my opinion.

What do you think about Beyond The Black’s new album “Heart Of The Hurricane”? Did you like it or were you not pleased with it at all?

snowflake

Album Review: “Dogviolet” by Laurel

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I am very behind on some of my new releases lately. I had plans on putting up at least four reviews throughout September, but I just didn’t feel like it, so I eventually decided on the two that I knew I wanted to talk about the most, and we start with Laurel’s first full album called “Dogviolet” that was came out on August 24th 2018! The album itself consists of 12 songs so we’re going to be here for a while.

I have talked about Laurel before, the first time I was introduce to her mysterious voice, was during a steamy scene on The Vampire Diaries with Damon and Elena, they were basically having vampire sex and her song “Fire Breather” came on and I remember rewinding that scene so I could hear that song again. At that time, I wasn’t a “Delena” fan so that definitely wasn’t the reason for the repeat of that activity I swear! When she released her EP “Holy Water” back in 2014, and it kept that dark alternative sound to it and I just loved it! However, I’ve noticed that her music has went in a totally different direction, it’s more in the indie rock category now and even though I was a bit taken back at this new sound, I did slowly coming into it with an open heart purely because I love her voice, and honestly it works with both genres in a way.

Laurel did release a first single back in June I think and afterwards she began to put out three to four songs on EPs throughout the summer. I was tempted to listen to those but I knew this was coming so I kept myself away for as long as I could! So, let’s start with the first track “Life Worth Living,” I want to say that I like the title, but the song itself is fairly soft, although I do like when the drums make their presence known, against her raspy voice, she has such a blues-y tone that it works that good with this sound. It actually made me feel good, and I was even dancing too! I liked it a lot. Next we have “All Star” and this one has a seductive tone to it in the way she sings her way through the story, and again I had trouble not dancing to the gentle groove of the guitars.

Third is “Same Mistakes” and this has a more hearty sound, it still that soft undertone but the best way I can describe to what I’m hearing is a sassy sound. I think it fits with the topic of the actual song, because it’s very upbeat and I was somewhat surprised that I liked it that way even though it was basically a break-up song. After that is “South Coast,” I generally loved this. I thought it’s an ideal autumnal type of song by the fact that it’s so easy-going and full of emotions. I didn’t really want it to end that’s how much I enjoyed this one! Next is “Hold Tight” and from the moment it started, I was glad to hear a different cord on the guitars. It’s definitely a lot calmer in the groove. The song is so different compared to the previous tracks, and I’m so glad because I can’t stand when most, if not, all of the songs on an album sound alike, it’s annoying!

“Adored” is next and I really love this one! When it first came on, I was like “this is going to be good” and I was right. It has this fierceness quality about it, and another uniqueness that I enjoyed was the “ah, ah, ah” throughout the choruses, they just added another element to this track.  Next is “Sun King” which at first reminded of what people called the Kings in France before the monarchy was overthrown in the 1700’s. That’s strange, I know! Anyways, the song itself is interesting because it’s an admiration song for whoever she’s talking about, and the sound is quiet but in a good way. You only hear two things: Laurel’s beautiful and dreamy voice and a breezy electric guitar. It’s actually very pretty!

We move on to “Crave” and as I figured we have a song that has a more seductive way about it. It’s not that dirty but with just the cords and velvet voice, it gives the song a sexy vibe. I can tell it more so with this track than any of the other songs which surprised me because they all are somewhat similar in their own ways, but we’ll get that in a bit. Next there’s the first single that came out in the early part of summer, “Lovesick” and what shocked the most was when I heard this for the first time, I didn’t think I’d really like this direction, but the song changed my point of view. Unfortunately, there is one bad part of this song. Since I’ve heard the rest of the album after listening to this on repeat, it does sound incredibly similar to “South Coast” as far as the tone and sound around the choruses, so that is a bit of a let down for me. but it makes sense in a way since I really meshed with both tracks in the same way!

We’re almost done with the review, we only have three songs left. “Take It Back” is this fun song to listen while cruising in the countryside in the middle of the afternoon. At least, that was came to me when I started listening to it! It’s upbeat and chill at the same time, and I really liked it. There’s “Empty Kisses” and I hoped that this would be a quieter sound to it, and I wasn’t necessarily happy or sad on what I got with this, because the sound itself was a little cheerful – although the tempo never went away so it still kept that quiet way to be counted as a sweet, love song to my standards. Lastly, we have “Recover” and I decided to let it play and see what the outcome would be and somehow what I wanted in the previous song, I got with this one but I actually liked it better because I would rather have an album like this, fade off into the distance. I’ve always been this way and I’m glad that this is how it ended. It even ended with this last shard of uniqueness of what sounded like a ukulele in the background of the song, I thought it was an interesting element to add for this song.

 Now that we’re done officially, I can say that even though there were many songs that sounded like the other, it was actually pretty good! One of the things that I thoroughly enjoyed (which freaked me out) was the clear 1970’s vibe I was getting from majority of the songs on this album. I thought at first, that this was caused by Laurel’s voice but then my views quickly changed when I discovered that it was the blues-y guitars. It was a fun and interesting pop-rock album, definitely not what I was expecting, but a good end of the summer release though!

Have you listened to Laurel’s new album yet? We’re you supportive in the change to her music? I’d like to hear some of your thoughts in the comments below!

snowflake