October Playlist

Hello!

October is a strange month; you have artists coming out with a softer note to their music, it makes their fans and other listeners feel cozy and enjoy everything that is autumn as a season. On the other hand, you have others creating purely for the spooky vibe that is Halloween. In years past, I feel as though I haven’t appreciated the gentle side and I am noticing how much I never watched the raining of the leaves with excitement as I have recently. And because of this, the music I have wanted to listen to has taken a totally different tone.

My intake of both Evanescence and In This Moment has been massive! I feel like they are the perfect bands for this time of the year. They have a certain creepy flare and almost every song, whether it is a ballad or heavy are built around the notion of mystery. Unfortunately, I only have two full albums from each band on my iPod but thankfully I have a giant collection of other metal bands from all over the world that also love that type of thing for their music. And I share a number of them on my October playlist from Spotify. If you would like to check it out, just click here to be transferred to the see everything that has some grain of monstrous in it.

Before I start going into depth about my Top 25, I have a little surprse for you. Here is this month’s Artist Highlight!


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I am always so happy whenever artists and bands send me a message on my social medias or in a regular email – just as a warning, if you have sent me an email, please send me a DM through any of my socials as a head’s up! Mandala was very nice and patient with me while I tried to figure out the best way to highlight him and music on my blog. His newest single, “Modern Struggle” is out and he will release his album “The Chronicles Of A Blind Man” next month!

The introduction has this a nice melodic but also sounds like an ode to a cell phone ring in a way. The entire beat is really good and subtle but thanks to the fact that his voice is nice and clear, you can clearly hear the lyrics and the meaning behind it is brilliant. We, as a society have a struggle between good and evil, a mere modern take of what is right and good. So, there is a lot of things to take into consideration about what we do as individuals living our lives.

If you’d like to look into Mandala, you can find him on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


I hope you have enjoyed that little review of a brand new artist! Let’s change gears, and go back to our regular schedule. Here are my Top 25 for October and I really hope you enjoy it!

Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
I’m Not Mad by Halsey
Californian Soil by London Grammar
Wonder by Shawn Mendes
Pretty Savage by BLACKPINK

Still Have Me by Demi Lovato
Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
Power Over Me by Dermot Kennedy
Runaway by Ziggy Alberta
Eyes On The King by Benn
Moral Of The Story by Ashe featuring Niall Horan
No Place by Backstreet Boys
Running by Malinda
Change by Taylor Swift
Tears Of Gold by Faouzia
Everything I Wanted by First To Eleven

My Own Dance by Kesha
Harley by Letters From The Fire
Frontline by Pillar
Happy by Kurt Hugo Schnielder
Underdog by Alicia Keys
Together by for King & Country featuring Tori Kelly
Closer by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
Haunted by Violet Orlandi featuring Jake Munro
Blood by In This Moment

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know I have tried to do a ‘Song Of The Day’ early in the evenings, and since I listen to a lot of different music, the genres and artists differ with every post. I was inspired to finally do them after my friend Ella started them in late September and one of the songs she shared actually made it to this list, Can you spot it?

What were you listening this October?

snowflake

Music Monday | Kevin Churko

From early 2009 to late 2014, I knew of five producers in the metal scene. The first was Rick Rubin, second was Flood, who worked with Thirty Seconds To Mars, James Michael, he is the lead vocalist of Sixx:A.M. with Nikki Sixx and DJ Ashba but has produced several albums for other bands, Kevin – which I’ll explain more in a minute, and Joost van der Beork. Spoiler alert: he will be discussed in next month’s theme!

I came across Kevin Chucko in either 2011 or 2014; I know this is a big gap of time, but these were the years that my new love of music became very prominent. As I was into the genre for close to six years straight. I really made myself pay attention to various music producers just like I had in the hip hop world in my younger years.

I was actually introduced to Kevin Churko after the nu metal band Papa Roach worked with James Michael on their album “The Connection” in 2012. If you didn’t know, this is actually fairly common in music. Everyone, whether they are just a singer or in a band with more than the standard five members, can work with various people in the album making process. They are not just limited to a set and have to make it work that way. You could look at this as like playing the children’s game “duck, duck, goose” but I think it’s a smart thing to do and I feel like I played the same game in the very beginning of figuring out what I loved about the headbanging and mosh pittin’ lifestyle too.

Sometimes acts will in fact devote their time with only one composer, engineer, songwriter and producer for their work if the chemistry is there, but in order to keep things interesting and build a relationship, you can grow out of your comfort zone and do something new. Kevin Chucko has worked with prominently rock bands. He’s based in Las Vegas and shockingly not all bands want to have fun on the Strip. For most musicians, they make the choice to stay at home and work via online or relocating to wherever their record company sends them to, which is usually where their producer lives.

The first band that I fell in love with in 2009 was female fronted was In This Moment. Since they released their album “Blood” in 2012, they have exclusively worked with Kevin. Personally, it is my ultimate favorite but I think their newest “Mother” has cemented into a stable second place. While I tend to stop following bands in between albums, ITM has been in the same bag as other bands like Linkin Park and Within Temptation where I am always looking at my trustee sources so I don’t miss out on anything they release in the future.

Kevin has also worked with heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch on their album “American Capitalist” which I think came out the same time but I’m really not for sure!Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, this was my first and most beloved album by FFDP and it was also with this collection of songs that I found out that I could enjoy the harsher style of male voices in rock ‘n roll, thanks to Chester Bennington! A year or two later, after working with James Michael, Papa Roach started going to Kevin Churko and he has produced their music since probably 2014 and even though I have only really heard the singles from the last three albums, I usually love anything they put out to the fans.

A couple of things I learned while writing this post were: I have been spelling his name wrong, so I had to change the banner and everything else, so if you notice any misspellings throughout this post, I am so sorry! The next one is he has alongside another producer that was on my original list – Mutt Lange. My mom actually suggested him but once I decided on doing this as a miniseries, he was cut out of the lineup but I thought this was interesting (but odd) to include here. And lastly, Kevin’s son Kane Churko is also a producer, and generally works with the same acts but has done a few remixes here and there too!

Have you listened to anything produced by Kevin Churko? If you have, what are your favorite(s)?

snowflake

 

Album Review: “Ritual” by In This Moment

19366082_10158910196285054_3916349050705466920_nIn 2014, the band In This Moment released their album “Black Widow” and I was really pumped for it because I enjoyed their 2012’s record “Blood” hell I even got my mom into the title track, I was so proud of myself! However when I reviewed “Black Widow” I wasn’t really into it as I figured I thought I would be. So when I found out they were releasing a new album this year I was hoping for another bad ass album but figured it would be smart to be prepared for another flop.

If you don’t know anything about In This Moment, they are a female fronted band from California and the members consist of Chris Howorth on lead guitars, Randy Weitzel on rhythm guitar, Travis Johnson plays bass, and Maria Brink is the lead vocalist. They recently replaced their drummer after he left the band early this year, but I don’t think they ever released the new guy’s name because I have yet to found who it is! So I apologize for not having that piece of information.

The album starts out with an introduction. Since “Blood” they’ve had some sort of interesting intro to the whole thing. It makes you want to sit on the edge of your seat after each one. For Ritual, the introduction is called “Salvation” and it’s like two minutes long, but it’s mostly of creepy sounds. I don’t suggest listening to it in the dark! Don’t judge me either. It has these thunder like clashes and sirens and you hear a deep male saying different chants in the background. At the end, you have Maria quote something, my guess is something from the bible but I’m not sure on that. The actual first song of the album is their first single “Oh Lord” and I will say, I didn’t like it the first time I heard it. However, later on that day my outlook of it did a 180 and I’ve loved it ever since. It has this sultry vibe and I tend to think that with previous ITM songs. Anyways, the lyrics definitely have a gospel kind of feel and surprisingly so does the music even if it’s like really dark and heavy rock.

Second track is “Black Wedding” and when I saw this, my mind went directly to Game Of Thrones and the whole “red wedding” episode. They just ended the new season and I’m still pissed at that scene because I usually see those types of things coming and I didn’t, so I’m kicking myself even today! Anyways, this has a very creepy piano beginning, almost has a feel of carnival vibe. Thankfully when the choruses start, it subsides. It features a legendary rocker by the name of Rob Helford of Judas Priest, which explains a lot because as I was listening to it at first, I didn’t think that sounded like Maria! At the end has Maria saying another quote and it is the intro to the next song “In The Air Tonight” which is a cover of Phil Collins’ song. Now I will say I have never heard the original and I’m betting my dad would make me listen to it sooner than I think. It is mellow, slow and ominous. Maria does a good job of making this song come to life.

The next one is “Joan Of Arc” and again, it has a seductive sound. At first, I was a bit worried about how this was going to go, but I actually like it. The lyrics talk about the same things that the legendary Joan of Arc was accused of in mid-1400’s. We have “River Of Fire” next and I really like this one as a whole. It has a fierce, dominating sound to it and you get a small sections with Maria’s powerful roar. I feel like she doesn’t do those as often as she used to, or is that just me? It’s also pretty catchy, so it wouldn’t take me long to learn the words to this bad boy. The seventh track is “Witching Hour” and I’ve been wanting to know how this goes, because I had fallen in love with the title without even hearing it! It has a clear witch-y vibe to it and I liked that, it was just the music that I had a hard time getting into it. It’s very tame and there’s nothing really special about it. So I was bummed about that!

After, you have “Twin Flames” which sounds like it could be like a ballad in a way, Maria’s voice is very sultry and soft, music’s about the same but the volume does increase and you hear the heavier guitars more towards the choruses. It’s not bad! This was the other one when I saw the title I was like, “please be good” and thankfully I got this one right! It’s loud and theatrical, which is something that they’re becoming more known for both on stage and in their songs! The track is called “Half God, Half Devil” now you know why I wanted it to be good! “No Me Importa” is much more softer, you have the background sound of a piano against these harsh guitars. It has a good balance of sounds with the instruments used. I like it.

These last two songs start with “Roots” and this is another badass track! Very mysterious and I love the meaning of it. The strong lyrics is what gives it life. It’ll be another I will learn, however I hear quite a few “fuck”s in this too so I won’t be singing it out loud unless a couple of people leave me alone for a bit, which won’t happen! Anyways, finally we have “Lay Your Gun Down” and this is definitely a ballad, they usually have their slower stuff at the end of their albums and it works very well because after building up the listener, you need a good ballad to kind of get them ready for the end of the cycle. It is hauntingly beautiful, that’s about all I can say! I have a few songs to check the lyrics and this will be included in the list.

I have to say, I was worried about this album, but I am glad how good it sounds! I know whenever I listen to albums I tend to compare the next record against their last and I’ve noticed I do that more whenever I’ve reviewed it on here. I don’t mean to do it, it just sort of happens. If this came out after Blood, I would have been a happy camper because I think it’s in the same category of that album than Black Widow, but like always that’s my opinion.

What do you think of In This Moment’s “Ritual” album? How are you whenever you’ve chosen a favorite album, are you very judgemental to the next or do you try to keep an open mind about it?

snowflake

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Music Haul | Rock & EDM

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Hey guys!

Earlier this month, I had a dentist appointment. It was only a cleaning and I have to say, things went better than expected, like seriously! I was still pretty nervous about the whole thing, but since I knew what to expect (meaning the shots) I was actually a lot calmer. I didn’t react like I had when it was over, I even left my dad in the room! So far, nobody has told me that they like the shots! Even the woman who cleaned my own teeth said she didn’t like them either!

This time everything was fast paced, for one thing the medicine they had given me like the last time, worked a little better! I was way more relaxed than before, but I had also spent three hours awake I was already feeling sleepy on my own. This is was just making things that much better! Anyways, like I said things went by faster. We didn’t have to deal with the X-Rays and checking out each tooth on both sides. She still did that, but it wasn’t as intensive as before. I still had my iPod and headphones on, even though I could barely hear it. I did get through like five Evanescence songs, so I was good! I figured if I listened to any of my symphonic metal bands then they would basically relax me. In the last two times, I’ve almost fallen asleep on her because I wasn’t feeling anything and my medicine kicked in!

When my sister and I were kids, everytime we had doctor’s appointment, more importantly about our eyes or teeth. If we did very well then we were rewarded. Bribing 101 folks! Well apparently, this still works! I was already in talks with my dad about him taking me to the Record Cellar there in town afterwards, but we weren’t going to decide anything until they figured out how I could deal with the numbness of my mouth and if I was exhausted or not.

I honestly don’t remember much of the appointment. When it was done I was still in good spirits. I had something to look forward to, I wasn’t going to let my emotions or tiredness stop me! So we left to go to this record cellar and I was very happy, because we were in a part of town that we rarely visit. It’s has the vibe of the old neighborhood before it expanded. There was a building that had old paint faded on the side, it was still readable. The shops were modern, but this was classic. The one bad thing about this place is that it’s not handicap accessible. However, we usually bring the push wheelchair with us and since it’s lightweight (even with my butt in it!) my parents could lift it up the two steps. I wasn’t necessarily prepared going into this place. My dreams didn’t even come close to the inside of this sucker!

When you first walk inside, it was like walking into Hot Topic at the mall every time we go; it felt like home to me. I was expecting to see more vinyls than CDs but in a way, I liked it better that way! My dad was busy most of the time talking to the owner while my poor mom pushed me through every corner of the store. The best way to describe the walls are what I hope I can do with my bedroom one day. Every open area of the place was covered with different posters of both classic rock bands like Nirvana, Motorhead, Motley Crue, I even saw a Purple Rain era poster on the ceiling! Of course you had the modern, popular bands and artists of today like Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Halestorm, and Linkin Park.

I wasn’t even looking at the CDs yet, I was too busy distracted at all these posters and seeing who all I recognized and then we found these wooden boxes full of CDs that I have to say were better categorized than Wal-Mart where they’re all over the place! They had them alphabetical and only in two groups “pop/rock” but they also had different areas for Jazz, Rap/Hip Hop, and the new releases. My mom and I were too busy in the back that I actually missed the new releases section!

The first CD I found was Eyes Set To Kill’s album “Masks” it came out in 2014 and I have to say, this album was so good! It was also $5.55 which was the cheapest one I bought! Second was In This Moment’s “Black Widow” and I think this was a “try again” deal. I did a review for this album when it came out in late 2014 and honestly didn’t love it as much as “Blood” but my cousin and I had talked about it while she was down for Christmas so I decided to buy it. I kind of regret that decision now. Last one was “Going To Hell” by The Pretty Reckless, this one and ESTK’s album I can listen from first to last without skipping. I also bought two other albums, but they had to be ordered. They were “Skrillex and Diplo Presents Jack Ü” by Jack Ü and then “Peace Is The Mission” by Major Lazer.

All in all, I spent $80 of my Christmas money at this place! My parents weren’t too surprised on that price considering they know my history! However, since I didn’t bring up this whole “go to record place after the dentist” until we were actually in the waiting room, so I didn’t bring my purse! Hence why I didn’t get a picture of that building when we were first there! So my dad had to pay for me, but I paid him back and I just gave him the whole $100 and he gave me $10 back. Now they’re saying “start saving up so you can go back.” It’s a good thing I agreed to teach my nana how to do her camera because I’ll be able to go back sooner than later! I’m already getting started on my next batch that I want. I’m thinking some more pop this time around; I will buy Adele’s album and do an album review!

Before we left, the owner gave us a Winter Sampler from RoadRunner Records. It’s got new tracks from Killswitch Engage, The Amity Affliction, and Wild Throne. We listened to it on the way home that day. My dad said he’s a little addicted to it, so if I find it missing in a couple of days I’ll know which parent has it. My mom’s supposed to get her subs and new radio put into her car soon. The new radio that my dad got her for Christmas, it doesn’t allow CDs so at least I won’t have to worry about her stealing my music anytime soon! When we went back to the dentist two days after the girl who cleaned my teeth asked if we went and when my mom said “yes and she spent $80” we all kind of laughed. I had a smirk on my face! I couldn’t help it. Well, I could but that wouldn’t be as fun!

Am I a crazy music fan or what? You can be honest! Is there any music you think I should get as a “curious” buy the next time I go? 

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snowflake

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Album Review: In This Moment’s “Black Widow”

I am one of those fans, especially in the music world that is less surprised of what happens next. I’ve seen so many changes of different artists/bands that I think I’ve been able to accept change within myself because if things happen that you can’t control, you can either learn how to adapt to it or run away from it. Let’s be honest about that second one, you can’t runaway from everything. In the music industry, everybody is always trying to do something different. From the first album, everything is usually pretty mild; something to get their feet wet and gain a bigger fan base on what they have to offer to their listeners. By the third or fourth album though, all rules are gone and they are ready to unleash themselves from what everybody thinks of them. I think the female fronted metal band In This Moment is one of these bands. I became a fan of ITM kind of late in their reign. They were the reason why I have a larger than life love for any female fronted heavy metal or rock band out there.

When their last album, “Blood” came out last year. I didn’t even listen to it on Spotify, when I had the money to get it, I got it. At that time, I had only heard their title track and “You’re Gonna Listen” on YouTube. I was instantly hooked. I was actually shocked of how fast they announced that they were going to release a new album in 2014. The shock only lasted but a day until I heard “Sick Like Me” and I was like, “Blood” was just the start. We had some warning of what kind of direction they may go with this album as they have said they liked the theatrical side they got to go as far as bringing it to a live show. Now that it’s out, I’m happy that Maria is letting herself out more and more. She’s becoming of a teacher in a way, I always liked the singers who didn’t care about what anybody says and nobody really tells them what to do. The fact that she’s in a band full of four other guys, they help create the sound behind their vixen. Without Chris, Travis, Randy, and Tom the songs would not have body and be so damn powerful. Not saying Maria isn’t powerful but I mean I look beyond vocals and lyrics first, so they build me up and grab my attention first.

So to really start this album review off, this get into the songs. The introduction is my kind of intro, it’s called “The Infection” and it has the pull you in closer to death kind of intros. Once it is finished, then “Sex Metal Barbie” begins and oh my god, do I love this song! Of course, when they released it on Spotify it took me three days to be able to listen to it out loud. When I first heard their cover of Nine Inch Nails’ song “Closer” and realized that I was trying to learn the words to this very dirty song and my parents were just inches away from my room. Everything that has the word, “sex” I tend to be a little careful. However, I think this is an amazing song. It sounds like ITM song but I really like that little drop of the chorus. Makes you want to dance, but not in a sexy way. This is the ideal song for every hater of their music. The next song is “Big Bad Wolf” and I love this song too! That intro affects me in the same way of “Sick Like Me” it just builds me up and turns me into something else. I have yet to figure out what the metaphor is for this song. The lyrics alone confuse me, but I like everything else about it so I’ll deal with it.

The next round of songs are ones that I haven’t heard yet, well except for one but I only listened to it twice and both times it gave me a weird vibe. It doesn’t matter though, because I listen to the album more and more I’ll grow to like it too! The first song of this round is called “Dirty Pretty” and it’s got this dark, slow, but sultry sound to it. In ways, it sounds like a true ITM song but it’s also different too. It’s got a good balance of something familiar and new. I like it. The next song is the title track, “Black Widow” and I have always loved those songs that bring in this old radio/TV sound and the intro is of this old reporter telling its listeners of the dangerous effects of a female black widow spider. This is a brilliant metaphor of Maria as even me, as a woman too, just one look at this woman and she pulls everybody down to their knees and commands your full attention but with her fierce screams she does she can very well kill you by bursting your ear drums. The song “Sexual Hallucination” with featuring vocals of the band Shinedown Brent Smith is a very deep, slow, and sexy duet between these two singers. The first single off the album is next, “Sick Like Me” and since I actually did a music video review of it, I don’t think I really need to talk about it, but I will leave a link for you to check out what I really think of the video and I do review the song a bit too! Click here.

The next song is the one song that makes me feel funny, “Bloody Creature Poster Girl” it definitely doesn’t sound like a ITM track but I’m not quite sure if I’m meaning that in a bad way though. You do hear Maria’s infamous screams but it’s got this bluesy/jazzy vibe throughout the song even with the guitars, it’s a jazzy/metal sound. Next up is called, “The Fighter” and I already like this title. The beginning of just the calming piano and Maria’s clean vocals are just beautiful. This song is another finding strength and fight song for anybody who needs it. This might one were I’ll know every word to it and be able to sing it out loud. The next song is called, “Bones” and it’s that familiar sound of a dark and full metal feel. I’m pretty sure those drum sounds would be amazing on my stereo on the chorus part. The next is very interesting, it’s called “Natural Born Sinner” and if I didn’t know any better, I think Maria says a part of a verse in the Bible, I could be wrong. The song is another metal sounding kind of song, some synths throughout it but it screams (well, technically Maria screams it) metal. The next one leads into the last one of the album, “Into The Darkness” and it’s very, very dark. It’s got a very demonic and good battle at the beginning, Maria is whispering to a strange dark voice and then she starts to break down and cries, then the actual song starts to take form and its called, “Out Of Hell” and it’s a piano and story telling type of song. Maria has an amazing way of bringing out the darkest side of herself and showing her vulnerability to the world.

I think this album is amazing! It’s very different from what as their big fans thought it would sound like, but that doesn’t always mean that those bigger fans will like it either. If you buy the album as a deluxe there are two extra songs, I’ve decided not to include them inside this review. They are called though, “Turn You” and “Ribcage.” If you’ve listened to the album already, I would like to hear what you think of it. What are your favorite tracks?