Archive for September, 2017

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 28, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

One year after the release of ”The Holographic Principle” Epica releases a six track long EP called ”The Solace System”. The six tracks featured are songs that got left over from the writing process of the last album, yet songs they did not want to go to waste. And now, we have this EP.

The EP opens quite powerfully with the opening track ”The Solace System”, which is somewhat what I’d expect of any Epica album. The EP continues with a heavier and rougher track in ”Fight Your Demons” Before exploding in the epic and greatness that is ”Architect of Light” before going back into the heaviness and roughness. There’s a beautiful little breakdown with ”Immortal Melancholy” to break off the pounding before tying up the album with ”Decoded Poetry”. It’s following the same theme of quantuum physics kind of lyrics, so no real new surprises there.

I like the EP. I think it’s a nice break off from The Holographic Principle, and I understand that they had a hard time not releasing this, and I’m glad they did as I really enjoy it. It’s very much the same old that we are used to with Epica – epic arrangements, bombastic song and catchy melodylines. Sadly, as far as this EP goes, nothing really new for them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, now does it?

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite:
Dance-friendliness:  2/6
Headbang-friendliness:  4/ 6
Crowd-friendliness: 1/6

// Sara

This is how We Do

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Hearing Katy Perry’s “old” song “This is How We Do” always makes me think of traveling. While her song is primarily about partying at a club, some of it is still relatable. And if you just replace things like “buying bottle service with your rent money” with “buying concert tickets with your rent money” we are getting a bit closer. And then, the next song on the album is “International Smile” about a girl traveling around for bands, and simply having an international smile. For some reason, Katy Perry’s entire “Prism” album feels very relatable right now.

Touring season, that is the reason. But it’s not all bliss sadly.

We were reached with the news recently that Lady Gaga has to postpone her European tour because of illness. She was hospitalized in Brazil as you probably have heard or remember, and she’s now in rehab for the illness. We haven’t gotten a new date for the show just yet, but I hope she takes the time to get better. I was really looking forward to the show, and now I can’t wait for her to come back, once she’s better and in one peace.

Other than that. Slow day. Work. Unpacking… well, not unpacking. I’m going to unpack about the time I’m about to leave again. As usual.

// Sara

Amerika

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, as I said. We had to leave early as hell. I think we got to bed at what, 4? 5? More like 5, in the morning, and were set to go up at 7.30, so we could go the airport by 8. Because that would leave me arriving 8.30, which is about an hour and a half before my flight. I do need a little bit of marginal. Sometimes.

All of that went smooth, got on my plane at 10.10 and got home to Sweden. Spent an hour or so at Arlanda eating proper breakfast or lunch or whatever before getting on the bus home to Karlstad. Was finally home at 20. 10 hours. Bah.

That aside, it was a great trip. It is so good to be back in the touring season again, I’ve missed it so much. I’m glad my fall is pretty stacked up. Well, at least for now.

// Sara

Lordi @ Hell Rock Fest, Ciudad Real, Spain 16/9-17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 16, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, we slept in big time, which was soooo nice. I know we didn’t go to bed THAT late in Norway, but still – always good to catch some sleep, and rest. Once you are on a vacation and all, you know.

I hopped in the shower first thing when I woke up and then we packed our stuff and headed out to the car. We stayed in Madrid, and the show was about a two hour drive away from the city, so we had a long drive. But before we could go, we had to have some breakfast, and we decided on KFC. So we had a pleasant KFC meal out in the sun. I think this is the point that it finally hit me I’m in Spain. As always on tour, I tend to lose grip on time and space, and that includes where the hell in the world I am.

Once sort of finished, we FINALLY jumped in the car and started the looong drive up to the place. I was of course dealing with being the DJ for the trip, and after a long, scenic and beautiful drive we finally found ourselves at the venue… or festival. And well… I mean.

I know it is a small festival. But this was something else. There was one open air stage – I didn’t even realize it was an open air festival – there was one bar with drinks, one place where you could get tokens and one merch booth. There wasn’t even a foodplace. Which confused me, and also made me very happy we brought some leftovers.

The first band I watched today was Prima Nocte, a female fronted metal band that was pretty good actually. I enjoyed the set!

I also saw Iridium, but eventually decided to head back to the car to get some rest, as the sun and heat were getting to me and I felt my blood sugar drop real fast. I spend a long time there, resting and getting ready, and waiting for the sun to drop. I made my way back in when Morphium was just about to wrap up their set, and ironically enough I was given a setlist. And I hadn’t even been watching the band. Like, what.

Once the sun went down, it went very very cold. Very rapidly. So cold I had to get back to the car to pick up another cardigan to wear outside of my leather jacket. Seriously! I took the time out of the pit to also pick up on a festivalshirt, because much to my surprise, it was actually pretty nice.

Soon enough though, it was time for the band of the bands to perform. At 00.30, or more like, 00.40, Lordi went on stage (so late right, I know!) and started off the set with Skeletor and “Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man”

Lordi

The band then continued on with “The Riff” and.. the front row was pretty good. It always fascinated me how Lordi is like, the biggest smallest band. They always have people waiting in line at the front rows on festivals, even in Sweden, at least a couple of hours before they go on, and it’s always full. Despite this the bookings aren’t there. Why? But aside that, it was a bit… well what you would expect from a small festival like this.

The new song in the setlist for the summer, “Demonarchy” was on the list, and this is still as good as the first time I heard it live. After all, it is my own favorite off the “Demonarchy” side so obviously, it makes me happy. “Hellbender Turbulence” was fired off before OX was set to have his moment. I think I’ve said it before, but I have never enjoyed a bass solo as much as I’ve enjoyed OX’s this year. He’s still doing the funk / dance kind of solo, and it really is one of the highlights. A priestess, or nun, comes on stage to tell him to shut the hell up, but he just slays her, and “Bite it Like a Bulldog” is a go.

Mana launched us into “Babez For Breakfast”, which is so good to see as a return. The cowbells chimed, which is sort of my queue. But Mr L didn’t reach all the way. For those of you who are perhaps new readers or don’t remember – for the past six years I’ve spent “It Snows in Hell” upside down at the barrier. And on certain occasions Mr L took this as a queue to try to drown me. Some occasions were more successful than others. As on the rest of the tour, it was merged together with “Children of the Night”

“Hug you Hardcore” was next on the list, followed by “Sincerely With Love”. Another new surprise for this summer, “Sick Flick” was introduced, and it took me all up ’til now to realize that the “Down with the Devil” thing is happening here – with the priest pressing a cross on Mr L’s head. I didn’t really pay attention on Vicious Rock, and for the first time in my life I wasn’t going there with a Lordi fan – which made it all a bit awkward when I tried to ask him where it was.

An old favorite – “Nailed by the Hammer of Frankenstein” was ripped off, followed by “Blood Red Sandman”. And I think I’ve said it before – but I’ll say it again. You know you have seen a band, perhaps too many times, when your timing is timed perfectly with the band. Even on a live version.

Nalle started playing the intro, and “Hard Rock Hallelujah” was a go. Surprisingly, the crowd wasn’t going as nuts as I thought they would. That’s new. Usually festivalcrowds like this loses it during this one. Hm. Amen came out, alone, did his hand-thing and “Devil is a Loser” was a go.

A sidenote, on the whole “seeing-a-band-too-much”. Nathan sent me a message during the show, asking if they were still on, and I simply sent him a picture of the stage before Amen walked on. And he was like “Ah, Devil is a Loser!” only to moments later say “Wait. Did I just call out the songs only by the lights? This is a new level.” and it’s so true. Haha.

“Who’s Your Daddy?” was the next song on the list, before they rounded the whole show up with “Would you Love a Monsterman?”. The band thanked for the show, and left the stage.

Soon after, after sorting some stuff that had to be taken care of, Santi and I left the festival ground. At like, 3 am. Two hour drive. And I was getting up at 7.30.

Fun, huh? See guys. The tourlife has it’s backside, too.

// Sara

Serious Black @ Sala Caracol, Madrid, Spain 15/9 -17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags on September 15, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, this is going to be a ride from start to finish. So bare with me, seriously. So, in the morning after Battle Beast we got up… well a bit early, I will say, but we did also go to bed fairly early so it was a win win I guess. We took the airport train out to the airport, I said goodbye to Hansi who were going to continue homewards and I got ready for my flight.

The flight was uneventful, the only thing really was that Santi, who was coming in from Mallorca, had his plane delayed, and at the time we had really no idea of knowing when he would come. So, once arrived at the airport I found a nice spot and sat down and waited for him.

An hour and a half later than he was supposed to arrive, he arrived and we headed off to the car rental place. Upon now, I notice the doors for Serious Black is opening at 19, and at the time we arrived at car rental place it was 18. Where there was a line. Because the place didn’t have enough cars or whatever.

So, at like 19.30 or so, we finally got our car. We drove to the hotel, and were lucky to get a decent parking spot. At 20 or so we were at the hotel, resting one moment, getting changed and then hitting the road again, as Serious Black would go on stage at 21.25. So, we left the hotel at 20.30 ish and left with the car at 20.50, when it was half an hour drive to the venue. Oh shit.

So, we arrived at the venue at 21.23, cutting it close…. and then we spent another 30 minutes ish looking for parking.

So for the first time in my life, I’ve managed to miss out on a band. We gladly found one of those big parking houses like ten minutes away, and we walked shitfast to the venue and arrived somewhere in the middle of the set.

Serious Black

So, yeah, the venue was half full, which was good to see! I mean, last time I saw them they were opening act for HammerFall and Orden Ogan and we weren’t many fans. Three albums in now, and they are doing so good on their own headline tours.

They had a whole theme going on based on the recent release “Magic”, and it was nice to see them with more of a stage show. Correct clothing, nice surroundings. Sadly, I do not remember exactly when in the set I actually came in, but the first song I can still remember hearing is “Castor Skies”, so lets take it from there.

“Lone Gunmen Rule” was next song on the list, and what I really love about this little gig is that, the turnout was relatively good, and I was happy to see that like, all the people in the venue knew the songs and were big fans. I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s a headline tour, but still. It makes me so happy.

“This Machine Is Broken” was next song on the list, then followed by “Now You’ll Never Know” which is, as you guys know, my favorite song on the most recent album, so I was so happy to see they actually played it.

“As Long as I’m Alive” was fired off, followed by “Setting Fire To The Earth” before it was time for the single off the recent album, “Burn Witches! Burn”. “I Seek No Other Life” and “High and Low” wrapped up a pleasant evening, and the band thanked for themselves and left the stage.

We hung around a little bit in order to catch up with them quickly, before we head off back. We tried to find a place to eat – Burger King – and instead started cruising the streets of city Madrid while blasting Rammstein about as loud as we could.

It was a beautiful evening and night, and a nice drive back to the hotel and we got to bed to enjoy a nice night of rest before the big day tomorrow.

// Sara

Battle Beast @ Hard Rock Café, Oslo, Norway 14/9 -17

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 14, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, I’m back on the road again I guess you could say. It’s a small tour, but I guess it’s a good way to start off. As I’m heading off to Spain tomorrow, I felt it was a good stop over to do in Oslo to catch Battle Beast on their first ever Norwegian show. How amazing isn’t that?

I had spent a few days with my friend Hansi before, and fairly early we headed into Oslo from his place. We went by some recordstores and dined out before getting ready and heading off to the show.

Hard Rock Café is a pretty small venue, needless to say. We arrived when the doors open – I like to be on  time, especially today seeing there were NO supportband whatsoever, making it even more risky to be late. I want to see the whole show, that’s just as it.s

Battle Beast were supposed to enter the stage ca 21, but didn’t end up entering until almost half past. Hum. Either way, they entered the stage and with flawless energy they opened their set with “Straight To The Heart”, and then launched into “Bringer of Pain”.

The house was near sold out, or perhaps even got sold out, which was a really nice thing to see. I wasn’t sure what to expect – for the first they aren’t really that big, but I’ve come to realize bands are usually bigger than you think they are.

“Familiar Hell” was next song on the list, and while there seemed to be a big bunch of Battle Beast fans, the crowd was somewhat what I expected it to be, mainly drunk norwegians. Or perhaps I should say, drunk rude norwegians. I was sorely reminded yesterday as to why I don’t like attending shows here in the North. The fucking people.

Or actually, the majority of them I guess are fine. But there’s always that one disgusting asshole, and they always target me. Remember Powerwolf? That got so bad Roel Van Helden threw the guy out? Yeah, we had something like that this time too, but a 40+ old woman who were so drunk she kept smashing me into Hansi, who on the other hand was already backed up against the bar. Despite it being A LOT of space in front of us, she was always going to lean back. Always squeeze in. After a while I got so fucking tired, that I went in infront of her, and were so fucking close to smash the phone out of her hand. Bah. People like her, and her alone, ruins experiences for people so much.

“We Will Fight” was next on the list, before they continued on with “Let it Roar”. This is one of the few times you will see me standing glued with a phone, as I was trying out this cute little live feature, which worked well.

“Black Ninja” was next on the list, and this was well received by the crowd, gladly! The beautiful “Far From Heaven” was next, followed then by “Lost in Wars”. This song has grown so much on me lately, becoming better and better.

The heavy powerpackage that is “Iron Hand” was next, and can we just stop one moment and appreciate this band, and mostly so Noora? What an incredible front woman she is. A complete powerpackage. I could just watch her perform all day, all night.

Noora asked us if we wanted to dance with them, which only means one thing: “Touch in the Night”. And I’ll tell you this – I have never in my life missed my dearest Laura as much as now. Last time I saw Battle Beast we were together, and “Touch in the Night” is kind of our song. Sure, the song was also the themesong of both Powerwolf trip in 2015 AND United States this year, but it’s nothing like how it has become mine and Laura’s song. And I stood there almost looking around to see if I could just find her somewhere… It was empty without her. BUT, Battle Beast performed it well.

Vikings. Unlike the other shows I’ve seen with Battle Beast on this tour, this time, when they asked if there were any vikings in the crowd, it actually makes sense. Of course – this won’t even be hard for you to figure out, “Bastard Son of Odin” was next on the list. “Out of Control” was next, “King for a Day”, and finally, we could see the crowd waking up a bit, before they wrapped up the entire set with “Beyond Burning Skies”.

The band thanked for the show, and then they left the stage. Notice that this is a show without the encore thing going on, which is really cool, I don’t mind to be honest.

The show was great. Like, Battle Beast is one of those bands that you can see live how many times you want, but they will still blow you away everytime. I can’t wait to see them again later this year, will be amazing.

On our way out I ran into Helle, a girl I originally met at Sabaton Open Air last year, and got to catch up a bit with her, which was nice. It was unexpected, but now I know.

We picked up some food, made our way back to the hotel and crashed in bed. Tomorrow I’m off again, to Spain this time and Serious Black and 3 Hell Rock Fest.

// Sara

REVIEW: Serious Black – Magic

Posted in CDs, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 8, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Serious Black – probably one of the most productive bands in metal today, is out with their third album in just three years – and their career has been going nothing but up. Starting out with a few tours with HammerFall and Gamma Ray, they then continued on to have successful headline tours – and are currently out on one more as we speak. “Magic” is their first attempt at a concept album – fitting concept, seeing the name is inspired by Sirius Black from Harry Potter. Aside the concept, the band hoped to achieve a diverse and organic- feel album, without too much production.

So how about the album then?

As mentioned, this is a conceptalbum. Throughout the album, lyrically, we follow the story of Mr Nightmist and his journey to unravel the secrets and mysteries of the world. The lyrical theme follows through on each song, binding it all together. The lyrics are well made – you can follow the story quite easily, and they all link together.

Musically, the album starts off with a, at first spoken, intro that moves into instrumental, launching you into the first song of the album, “Binary Magic” which carries and in-your-face kind of intro, and then calms down for the verse only to pick up the speed again, merging into a pretty powerful chorus. The album then continues on with an aggressive second song, “Burn! Witches Burn!”, which sadly falls a bit flat at the chorus for me personally.

And the album moves a bit up and down like this – the catchy “Lone Gunmen Rule” to the very sentimental “Now You’ll Never Know” which quickly grew into be one of my favorites off the album. While the album is quite diversed, they still link together nicely, with the common Serious Black sound we have all gotten used to.

The final ending of the album is a more calm and hidden song called “One Final Song” which I find very interesting – consisting of hints toward “Bohemian Rhapsody” it quickly becomes the most interesting song on the album, and also personally for me, the only song that actually grasps the context of magic.

Because that is what I felt was missing. The songs linked together, the lyrics was fine – but I missed some sort of ‘magical’ or ‘carnival’ kind of accessory to keep the concept up, making it a red thread, which shouldn’t be an impossibility as we’ve seen bands like Lordi and Avatar do it before – and even the band themselves in their last song.

The album is, all in all, pretty good though. Certain points as mentioned would have made it even better, but songwriting wise it was really good. All that is missing is the whole feel of a concept.

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite: Serious Black Magic. But it’s hard to pick.
Dance-friendliness:  4/14
Headbang-friendliness:  8/ 14
Crowd-friendliness: 3/14


(Label: AFM Records)

// Sara