Album Review: “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky

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As promised I am back with another album review, but this is a tiny bit different.

You see, I was asked to check this release out and I am still wondering why I agreed because I had been asked over and over in the past two months to listen to this person or that and I always said “no” to them. Despite wanting to come back to doing more music reviews, I just don’t want another pop or indie artist. I want someone that creates music that I am truly interested in and right now, the genre is cinematic or epic music. So, that’s why I ended up agreeing to listen to Matias’s work with “Epochal” and I hope you all will enjoy what comes forth in this post.

Who is Matias Bacoñsky? Well he is an Argentinian pianist and composer for one. He has three other albums under his belt, so if you’re not exactly into this style of music, you should check out: “When The World Ends,” “Straight From The Heart,” and “Life and Death.” For this album, Epochal he is doing something unique, he was inspired to create a full on symphonic metal type of work with the addition of using a choir and has some electronical elements here and there too. Matias was lucky enough to work with two top singers in the symphonic metal world and they are: Marina La Torroaca of Exit Eden and Zuberoa Azarnez from Diabulus In Musica. So, now that I have grabbed your attention, let’s get into the songs, shall we?

We start with a great title, “New Dawn” and I like it when you begin an album on the right foot–no disability pun intended there!–and this was certainly a soft introduction as far as temple and overall sound. It had a mild earthily tone to it and I really enjoyed the pictures it allowed me to create in my mind. Next up is, “The Immortal” and as much as I wanted something very explosive, I liked the gentle build to that space I was originally hoping for, and it was somewhat subtle but again I enjoyed it. I loved the little breakthrough in the middle as I imagined myself bursting through something and flying around in the sky like a fairy. For a person who hasn’t paid that much attention to The Hobbit films, that’s all I kept seeing in my brain were images of elves and greenery!

Third in line is “A Second Chance” and no, that is not a typo! On this track, I thoroughly loved it because I thought you could hear the piano a lot easier without any other elements going on, but it was somewhat short lived because more and more things started to happen and the entire song built into a happier note. I thought the choir in the background was a tad bit much as it brought the vibe down into this mysterious atmosphere,, but it wasn’t too bad though! We move on to, “Reason To Believe” and even though we hadn’t made it too far in the album, I stopped trying to guess what each song would sound like because I was already one out of four. Anyways, I definitely sensed a shift with this track that we’d move on to the more serious take and I didn’t know if it was intentional but it was a simple turn of events.

“Breakdown” was next and it was the track featuring one of the guest artists. Zuberoa Aznarez of Diabulus In Música. I have dabbled through DIM’s music in the past but I was curious as to what Zuberoa would bring to the table. Her vocals are absolutely beautiful and soothing. She has a deeper sound to her voice and it is really powerful and yet quiet up against the piano and various bells in the background. She’s not really singing anything, I mean there are no words but you can certainly feel her presence on this song and it was very lovely! After completing that one, we have “Light On The Horizon” and it didn’t take me very long to make my overall judgements because I knew everything was perfect from the moment it begun. It was hauntingly mystic and I just couldn’t get enough of it honestly! There’s not much else I can say about it so we’re going to continue on with the list.

Our next track is called “Ambivalence” and this was another one that I noticed had a different take to it, although for me, it didn’t happen until the middle of the song but it started out with this slow almost icy way about it and then with the addition of the choir, everything became heightened and darkened at the same time. It was interesting because I wasn’t really feeling it as it began but once that door opened, my thoughts changed and so it was an odd one for me. We are nearing the end of the line and with the eighth spot, “Tree Of Life” was so pretty! I love trees in general, their way of ever growing below in the roots or up towards the sky. They are older than anyone of us, so I thought this was just gorgeous! I kept seeing the evolution of trees throughout the different seasons plus many, many shades of green too.

Next we have, “All In Vain” and despite telling myself to not judge on what it could sound like, the first words after looking at the title were “uh oh” so I was mentally prepared in case this one brought out my emotions a little bit. It did, but not in the way I expected it so that was good! The bells are notable and I have grown to appreciate them just as much as Matias’s piano skills! And finally, there’s “You” with Marina La Torraca of Exit Eden. From the moment it started, it was slightly dark and Marina’s voice is definitely higher and has a petite appeal to them so it lightens up everything and it was a fantastic finish to the whole thing. Normally, I would like to go off with a bang and thought it was different but strong at the same time.

As much as I adore music like this, unfortunately, I don’t listen to it like my heavy metal and pop records. I really thought it was enjoyable! I can definitely say without a doubt, “Light On The Horizon” is my ultimate favorite track. All of the songs were beautiful in their own ways but this really captured my heart and clearly hasn’t let it go yet and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you listened to “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky yet? If you have, what were your thoughts on it? Do you have any favorites from the track list?

Album Review: “Rhapsodies In Black” by Exit Eden

18951120_415097612216750_3197680066864352688_nSo I have a new band for you, they’re called Exit Eden! If you are into the symphonic metal scene then you might know some of the ladies in the group. Oh yeah, all four singers are WOMEN! You know, there are a lot of female fronted bands that don’t like their bands called “female fronted” but I think it’s awesome! And I love the fact that these four powerhouses that have either fronted or were background singers for other well-known bands is amazing!

American singer Amanda Somerville and Brazilian vocalist Marina La Torraca have both worked with the Dutch heavy metal band Avantasia, while French soprano Clémentine Delauney has previously fronted Serenity but is now working with Visions of Atlantis. The last member of the group is German singer Anna Brunner is also the newcomer too, although I have yet to find if she’s worked with any bands yet or released her own material, she definitely has a strong voice to lend to the ensemble.

The album consists of 11 songs, but they are not singing their own songs. They’re actually covering a very interesting and unique blend of songs. I found it odd that they are covering more songs from the early 2000’s than maybe the 1980’s, but maybe there is copyright issues and were only allowed to do so many, but I still think the setlist is good though. I will say there were a few that I had to look up and see who they were originally by, but I’m hoping who the real artist is won’t cloud my judgement!

We start with Depeche Mode’s single “A Question of Time” and I didn’t know what to expect, but I sure liked it! I imagine the original version is very heavy, so the fact they is somewhat soft is fun. The song itself is very commanding so it works with the slight change of adding more symphony sounds and the male choir in the background. All of the ladies have different tones, but I really like Marina’s fierce vocals in the choruses. I apologize in advance if I get one wrong here and there. I’ve only figured out Anna and Clementine’ voices so far. The second is Rihanna’s hit “Unfaithful” that came out before she went bad. I liked the original a lot, but I’m not going to lie when I heard this one, I was shocked and happy all at the same time! I liked the raw string introduction and I really love Anna’s voice on this track. She has a strong, 80’s power-metal type of voice. It’s gorgeous! Majority of the heavy metal singers do not write personal songs so it’s a little strange to hear something that may not exactly be about them or their struggles, because half the time the music they do is more fantasy, folklore kind of stuff.

Third is another shocker and one that I really tried to keep an open mind about because they went and covered a Backstreet Boys song. Thankfully, not one of their bigger 90’s or 00’s hits, but still it’s a boy band song! However, it’s not bad! I liked the fact they kept the same slow tempo and didn’t destroy the essence of the song itself. I will say I do prefer the BSB version but this is a good effort! Next is Shontelle’s “Impossible” and I thought this was a different one. I remember it was a big hit in 2011 I think but didn’t think I’d ever see it on here. The melody’s not bad and I do like the addition of the guitar solo, but it is a hard song for me to listen to in any version so unfortunately I don’t like it as much as I wish I could and it has nothing to do with Exit Eden!

I wonder if it’s hard to do a Madonna cover? I mean, think about it. If you have listened to a song for years, know all of the words to it. How does one decide they want to not only cover it, but instead of keeping the pop sound, you change it to metal? I feel that would be difficult, but again I like the effort. This is Madonna’s “Frozen” and it’s hauntingly beautiful! Honestly, it could have been better without the beginning part of the guitar solo but that’s my opinion! Now we’re going to talk about a song that when I first heard it, I thought the original artist had covered it. No joke! It was Bryan Adams’s “Heaven” everybody has heard some version of this song at one point in their life! I have to say this is the one that I didn’t care for as much. I think there is too much and it’s mostly in the sound itself, I think the ladies were amazing but it lacked the same flair.

Keeping with the pop theme, we have Katy Perry’s “Firework” and even though Amanda Somerville is the only American singer in the group, and she seems to do most of the vocals, I think they managed to make it sound more Americana. Between Amanda and Anna’s voices, the vibe is unreal. It sounds so simple too! I don’t know how they did it! And then we have a shocker, it’s Adele’s “Skyfall” but it has become another song that has become a real hit as far as covering. The Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation also covered it in 2013. I liked the sound, it still has that powerful sound but I think it would have been better if it was only Clementine and Marina’s voices on the track.

This next one is one that everyone has heard, maybe in the right way. Several of us have only heard the crazy version on the snack commercials, like moi! It’s a good thing my mom doesn’t read my reviews! The song is Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and it does sound roughly the same, the duo vocals between a male and female, but I have no idea who the guy’s voice is. It could be another singer of a band or their guitarist voice. I’m not really sure! I think the song itself is very good though! And then we have Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” and I love the playful mobile sound at the beginning before switching to this sharp metal sound. I love Anna’s disornated voice during the bridge. I love the high vocals in the choruses – they’re going to be a bitch trying to hit once I figure out the melody again! It’s one of my favorites on here! The last song is Visage’s “Fade To Grey” and this was another song that I did not know at all. For the last song of the album, it definitely had the vibe “let’s go out with a bang” and I definitely approved of that! However, it does go a bit quiet once the verses start but it’s still very interesting though!

I was really surprised when I listened to this. I had been looking forward to it because I follow both Amanda and Clementine on Facebook, so finally I got to hear it officially was very satifasying! I almost got worried because it released in Europe first and I kept seeing on the band’s Facebook page that it was on Spotify and I kept having to check like every other day before I released we’d be second in line! I felt like an ass afterwards!

Have you heard of Exit Eden yet? Did you listen to the album too? What are your favorite(s)?

snowflake

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