May Playlist

Hello!

Welcome back to another monthly playlist! We are nearing the summer months and even though the big festivals might not happen this year, it doesn’t mean that music won’t stop. I think it’s very important to say this out loud because for a lot of people out there, myself included, are always looking for the next big song that is sure to become their summer anthem. I think I might have found mine already but I’m not quite sure about everybody else’s tastes this year.

For me, May was definitely a heavy metal kind of month. At the beginning, I was listening to Sirius XM Octane and every week they help promote and play new songs from undiscovered talent all over the world. I have included two songs that I heard and immediately fell in love with on the spot. The first “Popular Monster” by Falling In Reverse and I think the main reason why I enjoy it so much is because it sounds like a Linkin Park song. I love how bands are changing up their styles with every record but I have started hearing a lot of older bands experimenting within their genre and really elevating what each is suppose to sound like, and I like how the legacy is the band is living on in that way!

The second song I recently heard is by a band called Dream State. They are a female fronted band based in the UK. Their new track called “Primrose” is so good and it came from their first album Primrose Path which came out in January. To me, it sounds like a mixture of In This Moment, Flyleaf (with Lacey Strum as vocals!) and The Pretty Reckless. If you haven’t heard the song or the full album yet, you need to do that soon! After discovering this band, I realized it was time to create another playlist on my Spotify dedicated to all and any new female fronted bands’ music and trust me when I say, it is glorious! You can click here to check out that playlist now!

Here are the rest of my Top 20 songs mentioned in the main May playlist!

Damn by LIVVIA
Why Do You Love Me by Charlotte Lawrence
Up All Night by Rachel Crow
Breathin by Perlo
Sick Individual by Halestorm
Sunday Best by Surfaces
Diamonds by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Normani
Ain’t It Fun by Paramore
Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves
Eye Of The Tiger by Tommee Profitt x FJORA
Riich by Grace Mitchell
Claws by Charli XCX
You Better Run by Unions
Be Kind by Marshmello featuring Halsey
If The World Was Ending by JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels
You Say by Lauren Diagle
The In-Between by In This Moment
Devil Pray by Madonna
Break by Eyes Set To Kill
Come For Me by New Years Day

Something that I have been doing a lot lately is actually listening to more albums. I always feel kind of guilty that I am not posting reviews of them, but I am proud of the fact that I can finally listen to a full album in one sitting and love it! My younger self would be somewhat horrified because I never did that until I was in high school. Speaking of which, I celebrate 10 years of being a high school graduate this month and I think I might do a blog post about my Top 10 songs I loved in the year 2010 in June. Oh, by the way, I was talking about my summer anthem at the top, but I forgot to mention that I even had one back in 2010 too. Can you guess what song it was? I doubt anybody will be able to get it right, but who knows somebody might surprise me!

If you want to look into the rest of this month’s playlist, click here and you will directed back to the page. Hope everyone has enjoyed this post!

What were you listening to this May?

snowflake

Blogmas |Rock Band Upon Wings Releases New Christmas Cover “O Holy Night”!

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Honestly, I wasn’t going to have a blog post for today, because all of my other ideas really take a lot of my time and even though there are essentially three days that I can write everything up, I just didn’t want to rush into anything, but then I saw a tweet that saved the day!

If you have been reading my blog for the last two years, you know how much I love the band Upon Wings. The lead singer, Anne and I have been talking to each other for the last two years now, and she knows how much I love the band’s music. She’s even written a couple of pieces on here in the past! Unfortunately, they haven’t been releasing anything new, but since last Christmas, they’ve sort of started a trend for the festive season. For this Christmas, they’ve decided to do “O Holy Night” and I am going to listen to it for the first time and review it for you.

I’d like to point out that “O Holy Night” is one of my favorites. I am quite picky when it comes to Christmas carols and hymns, so I was a bit hesitant when it came to listen to this. I think I became a fan of the song after I watched Home Alone as a kid, which I’ll let you on a secret. The scene where Kevin goes into the church and listens to the choir sing that exact song is the main reason why I wanted to join choir in school. However, I don’t remember actually performing the song ever…

The beginning of this is so charming and light, as it was mostly Anne’s voice with an acoustic guitar. Once you get towards the chorus, the sound does expand but it doesn’t necessarily stay that way all the way throughout the track. It includes a really nice guitar solo and since I have lost my love of solos in the rock world (yeah, I know!) it was a nice surprise for me. I do believe the main reason why I enjoyed it is because it was just simple. It wasn’t full of thrills and obnoxious.

For me, it was really nice to hear Anne’s beautiful voice again. Even though, I listen to their “You’re My Weapon” every other month, I do miss their music. However, I know they have other responsibilities outside the band so I will be patient like always, but if you are in need of a sweet little tune, this cover might be up your alley! Enjoy.

Have you listened to “O Holy Night” by Upon Wings yet? What were your thoughts about it? 

snowflake

Album Review: “Breathing In Colours” by Forever Still

Today I will be talking about another album that just recently came out this month. I’ve already talked about this band back in 2016, but now we have a bran new release and I am so excited to do this review for you! I’m also really happy to finally be able to listen to all of the songs too, since I’ve been trying to save them specifically for this post. 

Forever Still is a female fronted band straight out of Denmark. The group consists of Maja the lead vocalist and her band mates: Mikkel, Rune, and Inuuteg. They make some really fun and exciting hard rock music. You cannot tell that they are an international band, and Maja is true rocker as she has an amazing voice for both singing and screaming! If you’ve never heard of them or want to make your own judgement about Maja’s singing ability then you should check out the rest of their music afterwards. 

This album has a total of 12 tracks and we start it with a song called “Rewind”. It has an eerie introduction that only lasts a few seconds and immediately hear this static-y sound before Maja starts singing. I enjoyed the familiarity in the entire song. I don’t listen to them a lot, much less rock music, as I used to so it was nice to instantly fall back in love with the band again. One thing that I noticed was the range in Maja’s voice. Whenever she went up to do those high notes in the choruses, you could hear the power. It wasn’t forced so it was perfectly done. I really liked this the most I think. Next, there’s “Fight” and you have this hard, head-banging kind of song. It still has these softer notes in it, which I ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would. I also want to say that I think Maja has learned the safer way to conduct her screams, because it did feel a little bit held in parts, it wasn’t as intense as I’m used to hearing it but that doesn’t mean it was bad though. 

Click here to read Forever Still’s “Tied Down” album review now!

Our third track is “Breathe In Colours” and this is much more gritty compared to the first two songs. When it starts, you think it’s going to stay in one lane but it doesn’t, everything changes during the choruses. One giveaway for this, is when Maja suddenly goes quiet and whispers a few words before screaming into the microphone. I like the commanding presence it had, I wanted it to continue on and on just so I could absorb that vibe a little bit more. I think it’s my favorite, but we have to keep going to see what else we have on here. “Is It Gone?” was actually on one of my favorite rock stations, Sirius XM Octane a couple of weeks ago and as much as I was excited for them to be played on there, I forced myself away and I was really sad I did to myself. The song itself is really light, it’s not obnoxious like I thought but I really liked it for what it was, a really hard rock song that is perfect for radio too! 

We move on to, “Survive” and I really hoped for another loud, in your face type of song and that’s exactly what I got! It was strong and made me chill out, which was strange in a way because usually this type of music has the opposite effect. I have to point out though, I wasn’t just swaying side-to-side, whenever the pace increased, I was head-banging right along to her screams! It was a good and interesting mix! Number six was “Do Your Worst” and this is a monster! From the time it starts until the ends, it’s just intense! Maja does a lot of singing in this one, but I actually prefer it, you can feel and the emotions coming out of her in this, and that was what really made me fall in love with it. 

We are almost done, and I am already sad! Next there’s “Pieces” and it’s another light rock song. The screams are not at the forefront of the song, so instead you hear this angelic singing and mysterious choir in the background too. It was really great! We go back to the heavy hitters in the eighth track, “Rising Over You” and it actually gave me “Scars” vibes in various parts of the song. If you don’t know, “Scars” is one of my favorites on their previous album, so the fact that we have a similarity between these two songs kind of made me worried at first, but this is a completely different song, and I’m glad the whole thing a whole new identity. 

We move on to, “Say Your Goodbyes” the song that I forgot to write down on my list before I got started on this post. It happens sometimes, especially with me! Anyways, this has a darker direction but the sound itself is not muddled, meaning the softer and gritty sounds don’t overwhelm each other as they trade off. Our final song, is “Embrace The Tide” ends this journey on a very easy-going note. It’s not in your face, heavy, but it still has a soul with the orchestral elements added onto it. I really liked, even though it isn’t what I would normally like for the end of this album, still it’s really good too! 

I know I mentioned in the beginning that this had twelve songs on here, but I don’t normally like to talk about acoustic versions of the same song I just listened to. Normally I do say something about it, but honestly I don’t really care for acoustic songs, so I apologize for the false advertisement there. Other than that, this was a really good album. I really actually surprised in a way because I hadn’t seen that much about it online, so I was a bit scared going into this. Second albums are usually a hit or a miss too, so that was my other worry about listening to it, but we’re good! It was a great album with some nice changes too.

Have you heard Forever Still’s new release “Breathing In Colours” yet? If you have, what did think of it?  Do you have any favorites that you’d like to share with us?  

Song Review: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel / God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Upon Wings

Over the summer, I wanted to do something different for my summer Tune Tuesday series and I got the idea to let other artists that not only do I enjoy but everybody would get to know and love too. Anne Erickson of Upon Wings wrote a couple of great pieces back in June and I really appreciated that she took the time out of her life to do something as great as this for all of us. Upon Wings have been working a lot lately to release some new music to their fans and this week, we got a treat with a Christmas song. Well, technically, it’s two songs mashed up into one track, but you get what I’m trying say, right?

So, this starts off with a section of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and I really like the acoustic guitar in the introduction. It has a light vibe going about it but you still get a happy feeling as it goes on. To me Anne’s voice is in a darker tone but I actually like it. They are a rock opera band so it sounds kind of mysterious but it’s gentle and still has that cheerful quality you’d normally hear with a song like this.

Now when the next song starts up, you still have the same elements playing on, but the only subtle additions are the drums and violins in the background. This song is called “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and just for fun, I watched the movie A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in it and this song is sung by a family group begging for money on the sidewalk. When I saw this, I instantly remember that scene and the fact that I haven’t finished watching it yet. Anyways, the track does pick up pace once we move onto this song. and we get a nice guitar solo and everything sounds really lovely together.

It was a nice little surprise for not only the fans  (myself included) but the actual track was really great. I like different variations of songs, that’s why I enjoy listening to covers and remixes on a daily basis. However I know, when it comes to Christmas music, it can be a little daunting because you’re so used to hearing them in one way and to find them in a completely different singer and most importantly new genre, it can really make you into a critic really quick, but you can’t hate on the artist(s) that do remake these beloved songs because they’re only reinventing them into what they like to listen to on a daily basis, you know? So, I give Upon Wings a lot of credit for putting this together for this holiday!

What do you think Upon Wings’s new take to these traditional Christmas songs? How are you about the various versions of your favorite holiday songs? Have you ever been converted into one or the other before?

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