October 2005 Archives
OK, so we have ITMS in Australia, ridiculously more than two years after the USA launch in April 28, 2003 - most of Europe has had ITMS for a year.
My first thoughts are - why do I care? Is it's too late? plenty of players have got into the market here with Windows Media based download stores - Telstra, JB Hi FI etc. Internationally ITMS dominates the digital music stores by a huge margin, but again, I care more about quality than dominance.
It doesn't help that the OZ ITMS is lacking the downloadable TV episodes that the US version has recently added. Also like Japan's ITMS, Sony Music have not come to the party yet.
It's a good first step, and hopefully will firm up Apple's stronghold on digital music in Oz - however for me, ITMS in any version hasn't offered much of use.
Okay I don't like pop music at all - but ITMS brags that it sells a heap of it's back catalogue on a regular basis. There must be something there for me. But there simply isn't.
My primary genre is "the heavy" as Astrid like to call it, I like extreme music with grim vocals and something that takes a turn away from the ordinary possibly incorporating technical, hypnotic, psychadelic, folk influenced, atmosperic, carnival influences. This music is, in the main not produced by the USA, the closest they get is some good stuff trickling down from Canada. RIght now there is simply no representation of this subgenre in ITMS, not even a metal genre.
Of course the independant labels could sign up to publish their music on ITMS, it would definitely make it easier than having to send 15 euros in an envelope to finland to purchase a CD!
I'm hoping launching ITMS in oz will be a positive step for all, and that the artists currently on Sony in Oz attempt to do the same as the Japanese artists who are being stifled by Sony and try and license their music independantly to ITMS. They should get more $$ this way and Sony (like all the other major labels) needs to be taught a huge lesson - adapt - or you will not survive.
It's odd but I seem to be armassing a small collection of traditional/folk tunes performed by extreme metal types - this month that subset of my collection has expanded by two with Solefald's Red for Fire closing with the poem "Lokasenna" (an argument between gods) read by Jörmundur Ingi, the ancient supreme Godi of Iceland (an Ásatrú priest). Secondly Drudkh's excellent piece of post Burzum slavic black metal - The Swan Road closes with the planative The Song of Sich Destruction.
Reunited EMPEROR To Headline Norway's INFERNO FESTIVAL - Sep. 30, 2005
Influential Norwegian extreme metal outfit EMPEROR will reunite for the 2006 edition of the Inferno Festival, set to take place April 13-15 in Oslo, Norway, it was announced Friday night at Scream Magazine's 15-year anniversary event at the Rockefeller in Oslo. Tickets for the festival have just been made available via Ticketmaster.no.
EMPEROR split up on a high note following the release of 2001's "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire..." The members have since concentrated on other bands such as ZYKLON and PECCATUM.Emperor are truly the kings of the entire Black Metal scene, however I am surprised by this decision. I hope this will prove a re-birth of sorts for BM in it's home country as recent years have demonstrated that the black metal spirit has flown the Norwegian coop and is roosting happily in areas that were not long ago behind the Iron curtain.
This review has been way too many months in genesis, it has been a busy time for me recently. However one saviour to all that added stress has been the recent increase in activity on the new music front as the year came to a close.
Some albums that have been released in the last quarter of the year which I have paid a lot of attention to are: Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies, Sigh's Gallows Gallery, Solefald's Red for Fire: An Icelandic Oddessy Part 1
Each of the three aforementioned bands have in the past contributed pioneering and essential records that have re-defined the boundaries of Black Metal. Ironically all three bands peaked in the same year (1997) when progressive or avant garde black metal was it seemed the future of black metal.
Fast forward 8 years and these incredibly talented types are still at it, but the passage of time and changing trends in music may have sapped some of their purpose and drive.
Originally, I wanted to review all three releases in one post, however this has become unwieldy and so this first post will only briefly touch on each release. Separate full length reviews for each album might follow.
Arcturus - Sideshow Symphonies
A disappointing release, with maybe 3 good tracks - amazing musicians, too much space, not enough metal. Definitely worth checking out live where hopefully the songs will not be marred by such flat production. 6.5/10
Sigh Gallows Gallery
A stronger and more coherant release than Imaginary Sonicscape which pushed the psychedelic button way more than necessary. Gallows Gallery features a new drummer and it seems like the mix overemphasises this to the entire album's detriment. 7.5/10
Solefald Red for Fire: An Icelandic Oddessy Part 1
A strong release which seemed better due to the incredibly weak year for metal that was 2005. 8/10