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

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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

 

August Playlist

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Howdy!

This past month has seen a lot of movies and music! If you’d like to check out what I’ve been watching in August, I’ve added a little series on my blog’s Facebook page that lists the ones I’ve seen lately.

As for the music part, August was just strange, I feel like that’s the best way to describe it. I started on listening to rap music for the majority of the month, but towards the end I really craved my heavy metal again. So, as much as I’ve enjoyed getting back into hip hop again, I have really missed music by Five Finger Death Punch, Xandria and In This Moment a lot.

Here is a top 10 of the song I’ve been loving in August!

1, 2, 3 by Sofia Reyes featuring Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto
Heart Attack by Demi Lovato
In My Feelings by Drake
Welcome To The Party by Diplo featuring French Montana, Lil Pump, Zhavia
Choas and Earthquakes by Nonpoint
Mantra by Bring Me The Horizon
Big Bank by YG featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj
Back To You by Selena Gomez
What I Need by Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani

The beginning of the month saw me really trying to get back to my normal routine. I managed to get two reviews up in one week, and I had plans to work on stuff last week, but I still don’t want to push myself too much.

Last Monday, I literally woke up telling myself that I was going to sit up and actually do something with my time, and I did pre-write a possible blog post, and the same happened the next day and honestly I think I should thank little Nolan for snapping me out of my slump because he made me get up and entertain him. I tried quoting The Lion King, he worked for only so long that we just had to switch to Moana and that put him to sleep. I have yet to see it all the way through, but I really adore Pua and HeiHei. Blondie and Brandon need to invest in finding stuffed animals of those two characters.

Here are the reviews I did, if you have yet to check them out!

Cinematic Songs, Volume 4 by Tommee Profitt | Mad Love The Prequel by Sean Paul 

I am getting things ready to start blogging again full time in September. I can’t wait to share those posts with you again! If you have any interesting ideas for me to write about, please send them my way!

What were you listening to in August? 

snowflake

Roaring Of Trains II

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Howdy!

Today I have another one of those posts that was fun but also very bittersweet to write, because it has something to do with my papaw. Basically anything to do with trains, just upsets me a bit. I had a difficult time holding back tears when I watched Nat and Wes (and the rest) vlog of their twins’ Liam and Judah’s birthday, because they got a mini train track and it was just a little too sweet for me to bear!

Last year, I wrote a blog post when my northern family went and took many, many pictures of the 767 Nickel Plate Locomotive Train that the Fort Wayne Historical Society had restored, they gave out rides of some of the passenger cars and showed other weathered down trains that were just placed in random areas on the track. My knowledge of trains only goes so far unfortunately, but I do find them fascinating!

This time, my cousin Kristi wasn’t pregnant and so she got to go to the event and even brought little baby Joseph along! We have to start them young! He’ll probably be introduced to Thomas the train first to get him familiar with them and when he’s older then maybe his papaw or Uncle Chris will show him the importance of the model trains and maybe one day he’ll have himself a large set up like his great-grandpa who knows!

As I’ve tried to explain in the past, trains are a big thing in my family. My papaw was obsessed with them! He seems to have gotten his love of trains from both his father Gene and his grandpa George (I like to call him “Papaw George”) because we have old photos of random trains in black and white and they’re very old and fragile. My aunt scanned a fairly good chunk of family photos of us plus some of my papaw’s relatives, like his parents and the infamous aunts you’ve heard me talk about over the years! We’ve found quite a few pictures of papaw as a youngster climbing the caboose of a train and looking at it in awe, he couldn’t have been more than five or eight years old, but it’s so hard to tell because of how scrawny he was!

I would love to go to one of these events, we find a smaller train that allows rides but those are pretty expensive compared to the tickets to this event. I’ve already been on a train, if you want to call it that. We went to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis years ago as a field trip and I was still technically healing from my surgeries, it hadn’t been a half a year yet and so I wasn’t allowed to go on very many rides at the time. However, my mom and I found this old train and it had screens inside the windows to make it seem you can going places, it rocked back and forth which made mom really worried at times. I think we sat there for two or three rides and that was good enough for me.

My friend Danielle, she went to the National Railroad Museum in York and she wrote three separate blog posts of her visit there and the pictures turned out amazing! I feel I would enjoy it more if it was indoors, my dad would probably do better with it too because hopefully it wouldn’t be so hot, but the only thing that would suck if that the trains itself wouldn’t be able to run like they do at these events in Fort Wayne. And why do they always have to be so damn far away?

Okay, I’m going to shut up now and show you some of my favorite pictures that my cousin Amber and Uncle David took while they were there this past month!

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snowflake

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