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Dave B (Leeds, UK)

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Warm Aquarium
Warm Aquarium
Price: £14.39

5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Warm To This...!!, 8 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Warm Aquarium (Audio CD)
Have only downloaded one track so far "Audrey's Dance", but even if the rest was only half as good ,this would still be a 4 Star buy for sure.

Merry Pierce are a Dutch band pop-rock indie band I chanced on in tracking down Anneke van Giersbergen's many and various Guest-vocallings .Audrey's Dance on here is one of her very finest ,the band sounds not a million miles away from her former Gathering "trip rock", maybe slightly lighter .Seven minutes of sheer sublime sensuality , but lyrically one that "runs deep" (based VERY loosely I later learn on Twin Peaks whose Audrey went to work undercover in a Canadian brothel, but you don't need to know that, the song tells its own tale and is a true classic of its kind!).


Alloy
Alloy
Price: £7.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMANDA AFTER AFTER FOREVER...!., 7 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alloy (Audio CD)
I would near certainly never have bought this, had I not caught Trillium live in support of Delain on their UK this year. Until then I had only connected Amanda Somerville with After Forever & Epica, neither of which I could ever really get into at all.So I quite expected to also be underwhelmed by this band too, and was quite unprepared for the impact of her powerful stage presence and vocals ,delivering a short ,heavy set with a much simpler ,unpretentious "direct" feel, with neither any symphonics nor any "filler" thrash drumming.
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All that feel fully carries through into this album, one of those you really need to FULLY listen to ,more so than most, and preferably on decent kit (much as I also found say the later Stream of Passion albums).Otherwise ,it might well all sound rather unoriginal and vaguely like a number of other "MFV" bands out there. Amanda writes and sings strong songs "from life" and as the album's title itself hints, you can't neatly " tag" them as power,goth or any other one Metal "sub genre".

So, very glad I bought this ,and will catch hopefully up with her other "After After Forever" work before too long(and catch live again , if and when Trillium "Headline" in UK!).

To see and hear more, you can track down a near whole live gig's worth of clips from March 11 including some "Alloy "numbers. The full album list is:

Machine Gun/Coward/Purge/Utter Descension /Bow To The Ego/Mistaken/Scream It/Justifiable Casualty/Path Of Least Resistance/Into The Dissonance/Slow It Down/Love Is An Illusion


We Are the Others [Special Edition]
We Are the Others [Special Edition]
Price: £9.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Third "Go- Back-To " Album (Maybe Needs a "User Guide"!), 4 Jun. 2012
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If you want CD rather than Download, go for the" Special" Edition -as of today it costs just ONE WHOLE PENNY (!)more than the "Basic" and for that you get the 4 bonus tracks (listed below).

Things often go weird(er) like this when a new Roadrunner release hits Amazon..It was a very welcome surprise to get this extended Digipak version 2 days ahead of the UK release, especially seeing as even Delain's own website said this would only be out sometime later! So what further extras may be within the "Deluxe" edition Amazon say is yet to follow is anybody's guess ...IF it actually exists at all, but I suspect it may well be just the "Special" by another name !

Lucidity and April Rain are already equally two of my "evergreen" albums that I keep on coming back to way more than most over time. "We Are The Others" is a near cert to become a third . Fans who preferred April Rain will likely also go for this new album's direction of innovative travel further into a form Martijn Westerholt. himself says is as "pop with a heavy coat". Or should that have been "metal jacket"?

Whatever way you choose to "tag" them, Delain have now fully evolved from a studio-project-with- guests to one of the strongest self contained live-touring bands around (Marco H does guest again, but this time only on 2 of the live bonus tracks) .

Thanks to Warner delaying the release so long, some tracks have already toured live twice ,so are already well captured on Utube for "anyone new here " who wants to sample first. Full playlist is:

Mother Machine(previous working title was "Manson"/Electricity/We Are The Others/Milk and Honey/Hit Me With Your Best Shot/I Want You/Where Is The Blood (with Burton c Bell)/Generation Me/Babylon/Are You Done With Me/Get The Devil Out Of Me /Not Enough

"Special Edition"BonusTracks :

Live versions of "The Gathering"/ "Control The Storm"/ "Shattered"/ "Sleepwalker's Dream".

"USER MANUAL" stuff(if you need it!!)

LYRICS :

These are not printed in full (at least not in the Digipak version),only some sample lines . To download the full lyrics , for this .or their 2 previous albums, just go on Delain's website, select the "Releases" tab, click on each track in turn and the words of that song are all there for you to copy& paste.

UPLOADING CD INTO MEDIAPLAYER

This came up as "unknown artist" , "unknown....everything" on the UK Release Special Edition I bought . If this happens to you, just see the tips in the Comment from A Day below, these fix the problem!

PS GREAT BAND TO CATCH LIVE IF YOU GET THE CHANCE !
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2013 7:40 AM GMT


Pure Air
Pure Air

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Musical "Alchemy"....Not To Be Missed!!!, 24 April 2012
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This review is from: Pure Air (MP3 Download)
Held out ages for the CD to restock, saw Anneke's "Power of Love " (By FGTH)cover live on the web, hit the download click for the whole album-instant reflex!!!

Happily the full review by Carlos N already lists just who "guests" with Anneke where-all I can add to that (from Anneke's own site ) is Marike Jager on "Day After Yesterday"(Marike by the way is yet another world class songstress from the Netherlands, any or all of her 3 albums to date being well worth checking out ).

While Anneke's acoustic variants on her own songs are in themselves all well worthwhile (though why oh why is such a potentially great retake on "Witnesses"so darn short?), what really makes "Pure Air" a unique , unmissable album, is the selection of Anneke's prolific ability, in her "cover -mode" ,to work some quite magic musical alchemy that transmutes often just "not-bad" originals into something quite sublime - "Blower's Daughter" and especially "Power of Love" being stand out examples here: if you heard the "Frankie" original way back when, first time you hear Anneke's "minimalist"version , it hits you that you never REALLY heard this song before now at all, the power of the lyric somehow got quite buried alive under all the glitter -ball hype on TOTP or wherever it was I heard (but never really liked ,still less bought )the original. "To Catch a Thief" and "Wild Flowers" are also outstanding , regardless of whether you know the original or not.

I will dare to hope Anneke might before too long venture to record many more of the covers she has sung live to date:
U2 to Shane Shu, Dolly Parton to Purcell.... my web"Favourites" list just goes on growing!


The Quiet Resistance
The Quiet Resistance
Price: £11.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time To Join The "Dutch Resistance"....., 2 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Quiet Resistance (Audio CD)
Great dark,driving, heavy , very well produced Goth(ish!) metal,uplifted by some lighter pop-rock elements in the mix . Nemesea's signature sound is comparable to say the likes of Issa, only with way more credible lyrics -"say it like you mean it, say it like it is" ,to lift a line from "Say", one of seven or eight very strong tracks. When the lyrics go "dual vocal"on a track or three, the male vocals sound not unlike Nickelback , sung "straight" without any "Grunts", "Growls" or other "extreme vocals" goings-on .

As in all the best Dutch bands I've come across so far , Manda herself writes all or near all the lyrics she sings , that's why they come across as a "real" and personal exploration of dysfunctional relationships and other heavy stuff of life .

Manda's natural vocal style is not unlike Amy Lee, and there is a bit of an Evanescence feel to a few tracks -but if it had to be a choice between their latest album is and this , for me it's really a no-brainer: this one every time !!


Beauty Around
Beauty Around
Price: £2.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Whenever I feel music, I feel me.....", 9 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Beauty Around (Audio CD)
Marike is yet another world-class Dutch songstress-with-band, who by rights should be way better known here on the UK side of the North Sea than she yet is. Nor alas likely to be anytime soon, unless things change big time. Unusually though, this one does not come fronting a full 5-or 6-piece rock or metal band ..... I just chanced to click on some of her live gig clips on YouTube a week or two back, to be in rapid turn intrigued then well and truly "hooked ".

Though Amazon date it as 2011, "The Beauty Around"is in fact her 2006 debut album. "Celia Trigger" then "Here Comes The Night" have both come out since, plus a 2010 DVD Amazon don't seem to stock.

Marike is no easy lady to "tag". Wiki will offer you"jazz, pop" but for me "alternative jazz -folk" is as good a fit as any, not that it really matters a jot! If you want to look up any live clips first, the tracks on this first CD are:

Thoughts of Today/Remember/Lizzie/Hide & Seek/Fling Flack/Space/The Beauty Around/Focus/Peculiar/Reducer/Bittersweet

Marike accompanies herself on acoustic guitar on most, with 2 supporting musicians on a wondrously eclectic (eccentric even!)range of percussions, wurlitser ,kalimba ,you name it.

Marike's lyrics mostly offer an intelligent open-emotions journey of growing and learning through personal turbulences of life, here and there dancing close to the edge of sanity without quite slipping over. Reflective rather than melancholy, working through it all, grows stronger, never "wallows". The title song references Lennon's "living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see", and (just my guess, this) the title itself might well be inspired by The Gathering's "Have you forgotten all the beauty around you?" (from "Forgotten" ,on CD "Home").

"Likely to appeal to........ ???"

Well -back to Youtube again! -Marike's gigs are clearly where at least one serial-gigging fan of Anneke van Giersbergen heads for on Anneke's nights off.... so ,many thanks again to "stonegarden71" for sharing !!


THE PHOENIX SUITE
THE PHOENIX SUITE
Price: £7.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A "Battle Within"?, 5 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: THE PHOENIX SUITE (Audio CD)
Going solo after many years fronting one band runs the risk fans of that band expect more of the same. So, you lose some, keep some but also likely win some, when you instead then go explore new paths. For some MA fans anticipating a kind of "MA Version 2" , "Phoenix Suite" might come as rather a let-down, just for being "anything but".

To anyone not so set in their musical ways though, this EP offers a fascinating if brief glimpse of much more hopefully yet to come: intense ,dark and turbulent rock,its lyrics flow with battle, murder, weaponry, or killing through all its 5 tracks. As if something long "bottled up" in MA is uncorked at last .....and very "drinkable" it is !

In many ways , you could compare Heather Findlay `s leave-taking of MA to Anneke van Giersbergen's from The Gathering ,a year or two earlier. Anneke they say moved from a darker to a lighter place in her life around then. If so, sounds like she maybe passed Heather, going the other way?


The Way Things End
The Way Things End
Price: £14.83

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Blues-Rock-Jazz-Metal"?? ...Well Worth Giving a Whirl.....!, 4 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Way Things End (Audio CD)
Forget where I first read of this French rock band, said to have been around as long as the likes of Within Temptation . Bought this "blind"-even Amazon France gives near no clues or reviews on what back catalogue might be out there by now.

This album could best be summed up "blues-rock-jazz-metal". Backed up, on some tracks, with a quite chirpy string quartet &/or some "sort-of -Tullish " flauting . An refreshingly eclectic and often inventive mix, its real strength is in a deal of creatively fluid guitar work , often with a "retro" Santana or Zappa feel, sometimes more bluesy shades of Gary Moore (a la Parissiene Walkways), all alongside a heavier, metal style on other tracks.

Lead vocalist Adeline Gurtner is maybe for me not quite upthere with my real personal "greats", but she is consistently very listenable indeed -sounds rather like Ji In Cho (Krypteria). It is not clear how far if at all she writes the lyrics (all in English),as all the band credits are very "collective". There are no male vocals, bar brief snatches of spoken poetry of Charles Causley & others on a couple of tracks near the end.

Haven't tried to dig too deep into the lyrics, but the prevailing theme,fitting the alkbum title,seems to be around individual, personal fates -first track is "The 92nd Flight" (i.e. of 9/11), the last is " A Better End", with a "Coma" in between. So, some Doom/Death Metal roots to Akin, maybe?

Just one "beef": the all -too -minimalist packaging is just a single folded card ,so WATCH OUT the CD don't just fall out and roll off somewhere first time you unseal it !

All in all, OK probably no "classic" album this, but this band sounds like they really are in it for the music.... so if you're up for something a little more "exploratory" than most , then give this one a whirl !


Everything Is Changing
Everything Is Changing
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real "Ear - Opener" ........., 21 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like many, I first heard several tracks here live in Anneke's barnstormer of an opening set for the UK leg of the WT tour late last year. So it was already clear this was set to be stand-out album,and now it's out and here it fully lives up to that already high expectation ,exceeds it even, first track through to last.

Where "In My Room" was more upbeat that the more reflective/melancholy first solo album "Air", this third and latest all-new-tracks studio album continues in that same upbeat vein, but here the signature sound has evolved from semi-acoustic feel to a heavier -base, darker, soaringly rockier style , much more multi-layered and with some electronic sounds fed in for good measure. But please don't misread into that any hankering for a return to Gathering "trip-rock", this is very much Anneke's own original style , like all the very best albums you don't feel you have heard anything at all quite like it before! That may in part be the fruit of Anneke's working this time around with Portuguese musician and producer Daniel Cardoso.

It hardly needs adding One Thing is NOT Changing- Anneke's lyrics and vocals all come over as intensely real and wise as ever , hauntingly so on "Circles".

PS September 2012-Fingers crossed DVD of Anneke's "Everything Is Changing" headline European tour including live versions of much of this album ,recordes in Paris in June ,is now in the works for release before New Year -tour reaches UK this month , not to be missed if you get the chance!
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In Concert: Live At Sibelius Hall
In Concert: Live At Sibelius Hall
Price: £8.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Play ANY Time of Year..., 4 Jan. 2012
First off, we have a review from Peter H posted against this DVD version to warn you of poor picture quality of the BLU RAY version also available . I bought the DVD version ,and both the sound and picture quality on this are really first-rate.

Listening to the CD, this doesnt in fact come over as a "Christmas record" at all. About the only "Christmassy" track is "Walking In The Air", Tarja covered that before on "Oceanborn" way back in her early Nightwish days, nobody ever dreamed of labelling that one a "Christmas Album ", so why do so here ? The rest is what you get when you back up Tarja's classically operatic vocals with Harus (=Pipe Organist + Classical Percussionist + Jazz(ish) Guitarist ).

Call it "crossover" or whatever you will, the result is well worth a play ANY TIME OF YEAR for any Tarja fan , just so long as you know this is in her "non -metal" mode throughout. I also bought the CD-only version as a present for a relative with a taste for classical including opera (no "metal-head" she), and she says she is mightily impressed !

The DVD does feel more "Christmassy" due to the setting and Tarja's linking vocals (turn on the English subtitles) between tracks , plus an additional "Improvisation on Christmas Themes". It also includes a "bonus" interview with all of Harus


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