Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Jade – Flowing Tears [#646]

Album cover of Jade by Flowing Tears (2000)During the great internet download free for all of the mid to late noughties, I occasionally obtained rogue MP3s that I would review at my leisure then try to locate the artist. Often they would have been uploaded by some fan who hadn’t tagged the file correctly or they were really obscure acts that nobody seemed to know. Frequently I forgot to make a note of where I got the file from or find it again.

Two such files were ones which appeared to have had the artist tagged as Flowing Tears and Withered Flowers. They were dark.  Euro Goth with poorly pronounced English and a wistfully moribund tone. Sounded great. Sadly, in those days, the internet was relatively still in its infancy which meant that a lot of the knowledge out there today was still in people’s heads and not accessible via the likes of Wikipedia or Stegzy’s Music Project.

Of course, the reason I couldn’t find anything was partially because the files turned out to be unreleased songs by the band who later became Flowing Tears (dropping the Withered Flowers suffix). A further hurdle was that for some reason many music channels in the UK looked unfavourably on continental European bands and often searches on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music (or iTunes as it was then) and the like resulted in nothing. Which is partially why many people turned to piracy.

Recently though, it has got better. Apple Music is a lot better than it was way back when, and even Google/Youtube has improved. As a result, and partially why the Music Project was put on its second hiatus, I was able to add two Flowing Tears albums, and many other new artists and albums, to my Apple Music library.

Jade is the first release for the band under the Flowing Tears name and was released in 2000. At this point the band had changed its line up to feature Stefanie Duchêne as its lead singer replacing guitarist Manfred Bersin’s lead vocals, assumidly so he could go back to playing his guitar.

The familiar sounds created by the band in their release, Swansongs (released under their original name) are evident in Jade if not more evolved. Indeed, Jade seems like a natural shift towards what sound the band became. Its still never going to be a mainstream sound in the UK and its likely that few people in the UK or US have even heard of the band, but if you like the sounds of bands like Scream Silence or Nightwish, I suggest you give Flowing Tears a go, if you haven’t done so already. You might be similarly enamoured.

 

 

More information see: Amazon or Apple Music

 

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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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Human Equation – Ayreon #597

Ayreon_-_Human_Equation

Human Equation by Ayreon

Human Equation is a double concept album from legendary Nineties/Noughties Dutch prog experiment Ayreon.

A man in a coma for twenty days struggles with inner demons and outside influences through internal song, each day being a track on the album. A supposed break from Ayreon’s  album spanning “Forever” story arch, although in the last track we do hear albeit briefly, from Forever of the Stars from the album Final Experiment and the Dream Sequencer from Universal Migrator which ties it all in nicely.

Human Equation is not my most favourite of Ayreon discoveries instead I’m all for the drama of Into the Electric Castle but as 01011001 hadn’t been released at the time I obtained my copy of Human Equation, it was a lid on the metaphorical pie of Ayreons work for me.

Like other Ayreon albums, guest singers each take a voice of a character within the overarching story with the likes of Dream Theatre’s James LaBrie and Soul Machine’s Eric Clayton joining the cast. Even prog keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman‘s son Oliver guests as synth player on track 7.  A feast of noughties prog.

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Herzelied – Rammstein [#583]

Rammstein_Herzeleid_coverDavid Lynch’s Lost Highway is an often disregarded cinematic masterpiece. Dark, brooding and just plain fucking weird. It also happens to be right at the top of my top ten favourite films list.  For me it’s not the twisted script and imagery that makes the film so enjoyable, nor is it the years of enjoyable debate I’ve had with others trying to interpret its meaning. For me, the cherry on the top of the enjoyability of the film is its soundtrack. Upon which a, then relatively,

For me, the cherry on the top of the enjoyability of the film is its soundtrack. Upon which a then relatively unknown German band featured with two songs, Heirate Mich and Rammstein. Both of those songs appear on this album. Sadly HMV and Virgin Megastore in Liverpool

Sadly, when I was looking for albums by the band in the mid90s, neither the HMV nor Virgin Megastore in Liverpool had anything by them. I did ask a young metal loving shop assistant I knew in Virgin if he had heard of them but he declared that he wasn’t “into any of that Euro shite mate”.

Of course, having poked about on the then fledgeling internet via dial-up, I was able to locate a European exporter of the band’s albums. So, brandishing my new credit card I bought copies of both Herzelied and Sehnsucht online. They were my first ever internet purchases and they took two weeks to reach me.

Herzelied is Rammstein’s first album. It is a little boisterous for those with an ear unaccustomed to mid-nineties Euro metal and, like the guy in Virgin, you might not be “into any of that Euro shite”. But if you’re looking to leaving those big-haired American rock ninnies behind and having your head shaved and your body oiled up as you enter a world of more diverse and interesting world of Euro quasi post-industrial metal, then you won’t go wrong with a bit of Rammstein.

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Desensitized – Drowning Pool [#361]

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 19.58.57Angry shouty metal from the noughties.

Utter bollocks.

 

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Deggial – Therion [#357]

440px-Therion_Deggial_coverEvery so often during this music project I reach a point where I think “OMG, the next X albums are so utterly bobbins I don’t know what I’m going to write about them!”. I nearly feel like giving up but giving up is not allowed.

We’ve met Therion on the Music Project once before. Remember Bells of Doom? Remember Beyond Sanctorum? How about A’arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming? No? Neither do I really.

Therion took the operatic singer/Metal band fusion that one step too far by having an entire choir. Think Iron Maiden meets Enigma or something. Yeah it doesn’t bode well does it? Well this is the album from which my favorite Therion song comes from and the only reason that it will survive the PURGE. The rest of it really is shockingly bad.

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#102: At Sixes and Sevens – Sirenia

At Sixes and Sevens by SireniaScreen Shot 2014-07-23 at 21.53.45

More Nordic big boobed Valkyrie warbling this time enhanced by death growls and choir.

Never understood death growls. They’re not singing, they just make you lose your voice and do untold damage to your vocal chords. Still, it’s popular with some. So who am I to tell them not to?

So yes, big boobed warbling and death growls. Just what you want to unwind to after a hard day’s work and Stress Gen plc.

 

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Album #84 – Arcana – Edenbridge

Edenbridge - Arcana (Front)Arcana – Edenbridge

Guess what?

More tight leather trousered European women with dark flowing hair singing along to twiddly keyboards and chuggachugga guitar riffs. Brilliant.

Austria’s Edenbridge were the last of my big boobed metal band discoveries. On the basis that Shine was quite enjoyable, I sourced the entire Edenbridge back catalogue and now wish I had better taste in music. Sabine Edelsbacher melodically shrieks fairy tale lyrics to boyfriend Lanvall’s speed metal guitar twiddling and Roland Navratil’s RSI inducing drum beats.

I quite like this album. It sneaks up on you like a bad cold in June. I’ve almost deleted it a number of times but I keep fetching it back out from the recycle bin so I must like it.

Nothing really of note memory wise to tell about this album. It’s typical Edenbridge fayre on the back of the metal bands lead by women movement of the noughties.

 

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Music Project – Album #47–A’arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming–Therion

 

imageA’arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming by Therion

Back in the good old late nineties, Scandinavian metal and rock bands started to experiment with their sound. Whilst the likes of Nightwish and Within Temptation experimented with female operatics, Therion went the whole hog and opted for a full choir.

 

Curiously it works.

A’arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming is an early release for the band and the style they later became synonymous for is still on the carpenters bench at this stage so to speak.

I first came across Therion on a “goth rock” compilation album which, is as goth as Metallica. But still, the sound they create is unique and unusual, both aspects that float my boat so it comes as no surprise that I downloaded their back catalogue based on the listening of one song.

Sadly my brain is now becoming close to full with music and my consumption of music has changed dramatically so it takes exceptional musicianship to make me listen to the album in its entirety. Unfortunately, this album isn’t too exceptional.

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Music Project – Album #46 – A World We Pretend–Twilight Garden

 

imageA World We Pretend by Twilight Garden

Every so often I come across a band in my library and I think “How the hell did I ever get this?”

 

Twilight Garden are one of those bands.

 

 

They are a curious cross of Depeche Mode, the Cure and maybe a tiny bit of Bauhaus. Lots of echoey guitar, forlorn vocals and the kind of production that makes it sound like they’re recording in some disused quarry. In the rain. After a group of smack head punks from the 80’s have been and daubed the walls with political slogans.

 

Perhaps they recorded in the foot tunnel depicted in their album cover?

 

 

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Music Project – Album #45 – A Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

 

imageA Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

Possibly one of the best compilations I have in my library. The Metal Tribue To Abba compilation never fails to raise a smile on faces as a group of (mostly) European metal bands rip into some of Abba’s popular pop songs with the power of a force ten gale. And it works.

 

Starting with Summer Night City performed by choral metal group Therion the listener is carried through Thank you for the Music, Voulez-Vouz and Chiquitita by bands whose names probably won’t be familiar to people inside the UK. Really, this is a treat. I urge anybody with even the slightest penchant for chugga-chugga guitars, thrash drums and chicks in latex with long hair and comedy inflatable breasts to find and listen to this album.

 

In the meantime….here is a Youtube clip

 

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