Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Into Temptation: The Best of Gothic Rock — Various Artists [#637]

intotemptationThere are as many compilations claiming to be the best of gothic rock entitled Into Temptation as there are compilations claiming to be the best of gothic rock. Confusing really as this isn’t really what I’d call Gothic Rock, it’s what I’d call Scandinavian symphonic rock fronted by tight-fitting low cleavaged black catsuit wearing busty sirens in a wind tunnel aimed at appealing to frustrated teenage males with big hair and middle-aged balding forty-somethings trying to recapture their lost youth.

When the much talked about Great Internet MP3 Download Free-for-All of the mid to late noughties hit, I was trying to develop my musical tastes in the dark elven forests of gothdom. As long-term readers may remember, one of the many tactics I use to discover music is to download compilations to figure out which bands I like the sound of.

One of the first compilations I downloaded was called Into Temptation. It had some really good songs on it from bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation and Ayreon. Sadly, I lost the first version due to file and disk corruption and, despite repeated attempts, was unable to locate the version I had. But with acts like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Ayreon, Sirenia, The Gathering, Lacuna Coil AND Tristania….it will do.

Complete tracklisting for this compilation:

1 –Within Temptation – Ice Queen
2 – After Forever – My Pledge Of Allegiance #1 (The Sealed Fate
3 –Nightwish – Ever Dream
4 – The Gathering – In Motion #1
5 – Tristania – Wormwood
6 – AyreonMy House On Mars
7 –Within Temptation – Our Farewell
8 – Ambeon – Cold Metal
9 –Lacuna Coil – Senzafine
10 –After Forever – Emphasis
11–Trail Of Tears – Driven Through The Ruins
12 – Sirenia – Meridian
13 – Beseech – Between The Lines
14 – Therion – O Fortuna

And if that list doesn’t get you running for the Kleenex you’re obviously listening to the wrong genre.

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Fairy World 3- Various Artists [#454]

Unknown-2A sampler compilation of a variety of European artists which I received for free when buying some forgettable obscure music during the end of my exploration of the European Darkfolk genre.

Nothing memorable and apart from Collection d’Arnell Andrea appearing, I’ve never heard of any of the other artists.

Disappointing.

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Eurovision Song Contest: Athens 2006 – Various Artists [#436]

For those not familiar with European traditions and culture, every year since 1956 European public broadcasters get together to find a song to unite Europe in culture.  In the UK, Eurovision is seen as a bit of a joke while the rest of the European Union see take it quite seriously. As a result it is often the case that the UK’s entry gets a low score while serious music producers across Europe are able to showcase a variety of talent which will never see the light in the UK because of inherent taught resistance to euro-culture, but will proliferate across more receptive mainland Europe.

Eurovision 2006 was possibly the most enjoyable Eurovision in the past 30 years.  2006 was the year that Goth and Rock culture broke onto the Eurovision stage with such ferocity that many returning countries in 2007 tried to mimic the whole scene too.

Unusually the contest started with quite sedate, run of the mill songs like:

Sense Tu Jenny (Andorra)

Je t’adore Kate Ryan (Belgium)

 

Other entries were more up beat such as Tornero (Romania)

and Congratulations Silvia Night (Iceland)

But while the tweeness of Switzerland’s Six4One’s If we all give a little was trying to capture the zeitgeist of peace and love arising from the conflict plagued noughties.

The shockingly bad UK entry, Daz Simpson and Teenage Life was like Timmy Mallet or Keith Harris trying to capture the gangsta culture.

But it was the winning entry, Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi (Finland) that resulted in the landslide victory that Eurovision needed to bring it back to centre stage.

 

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Couleurs Sur Paris – Nouvelle Vague [#313]

Couleurs sur Paris - Nouvelle Vague When I was at University the second time round I discovered that I had very similar music tastes to the majority of my tutors.

My journalism tutor liked the same and similar folk bands to me, my audiences and television production tutors enjoyed prog on a higher more enlightened plane than I and the guy who did a bit of lecturing while he was in training to be a teacher, Jason, liked quirky European bands and introduced me to the wonders of Nouvelle Vague.

My adventure with Nouvelle Vague began  listening to their sexy French cover version songs. They knitted a kind of aural sleaze with a cheeky faux-1960s swing style over modern songs like Visage’s Fade to Grey, Joy Division’s Love will Tear us Apart and The Clash’s Guns of Brixton. 

We’ve met Nouvelle Vague previously on the Music Project but I didn’t explain much about them. This album is unusual in that it is mostly French bands they are covering using their imitable style exquisitely. Short of a cover of Vanessa Paradis’ Jo le Taxi this gives French popular music the Nouvelle Vague treatment.

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Consign to Oblivion – Epica [#303]

Consign to Oblivion - EpicaStaying in Europe; This time with big hair, symphonic orchestral choir backed operatic female singer led metal band Epica.

As with Nightwish, Edenbridge and Therion before it, Epica arrived in my life during a scour of Usenet for interesting new music based on them appearing on a compilation and by how much people protested about me playing the music.

Tight leather pants wearing flame headed Simone Simons compliments (in the loosest sense of the word) grunt vocalist and guitarist Mark Jansen in a band backed by choir and orchestra playing predominantly some variation of symphonic heavy metal akin to other European, Scandinavian and Dutch bands of the time.

For some (usually long haired youths with confidence issues, tattoos and bad facial hair) the presence of someone like Simons on posters, album covers and Youtube videos tends to  encourage popularity even if the majority of your music is shite. See Within Temptation for example. Sadly, in my case, it isn’t lack of tattoos and bad facial hair that puts me off, however it is age, sensibility and the loss of friends that has brought me to the point where I listen to this music and think: “WTF is this shite I’m listening to?”

Consign to Oblivion? Consign to the bin more like.

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Actual Fantasy – Ayreon [#54]


Ayreon_-_Actual_Fantasy
Actual Fantasy – Ayreon (1996)

The second Ayreon album in this project.

This is a really good album. I really wish the UK made more out of our European cousins music. There are some really good bands over there and had I been aware of Ayreon in 1996, I would probably have bought this album then.

Think hair. Lots of hair. Think synth. Lots of synth. Think rock guitar. Lots of rock guitar. Add a sprinkling of Jeff Wayne and you have Ayreon.

The album is like a compendium of short stories with each song telling a tale about some weirdness involving time travellers, computer zombies or fantasy worlds where books can kill.  If you like Jeff Wayne, prog or your songs to tell stories, then this is one artist you cannot afford to ignore in your life. The best song, in my opinion, is Abbey of Synn which has a catchy tune and a chorus that will lay ear worm eggs in your mind.

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