Monday, 7 February 2011

Plinky prompts some 'Lunatica'

Struggling for inspiration today I had a look at the topics Plinky were suggesting. One of today's prompts was: 'What songs must you always sing the lyrics out loud to?'. As I read this prompt I was singing my lungs out to one my my favourite songs and decided that this had to be fate.

The song I was singing was Lunatica's 'Farewell My Love'. When I first heard this track on their 2009 album 'New Shores', I had to do a double take. It reminds me so much of a big love song in a Disney Princess movie. This song is bittersweet and beautiful. The male/female vocals are perfectly balanced and the lyrics really touch you. This song is one I always love listening to in the car on a long trip or when I am feeling really down and lonely. There is something I can relate to in there. Something I think everyone can relate to. It is without a doubt the song I must always sing the lyrics out loud to.

I've been feeling so uncertain
Since the day you left my life
Now I'm standing at the crossroads
No direction left to go

I've been thinking 'bout the good times
And I've cried a lake of tears
If losing you is just a nightmare
I hope I wake up by your side

Farewell my love
Forgive the things I've done to you
May your days be warm and bright
May your journey lead you to the light

So many words been left unspoken
And some words were far too much
Maybe sometimes love is hurting
But it's the sweetest pain I know

Farewell my love
Forgive the things I've done to you
May your days be warm and bright
May your journey lead you to the light

Farewell my love
Forgive the things I've done to you
May your days be warm and bright
May your journey lead you to the light

Ooh, farewell my love
(my love/goodbye)
Forgive the things I've done to you
May your days be warm and bright
May your journey lead you to the light
(to the light)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How to Look Like a Hot Metal Chick

During a research and fact finding expedition around the Internet this morning for ideas for this blog, I came across a video called ‘How to Look Like a Hot Metal Chick’.

On further investigation it looks as though this video has been around since 2009 and both MetalSucks and Metal Injection have already mentioned the content on their sites.  Feeling equally as baffled, I felt I had to throw in my two cents on the subject, for what they are worth.

The ‘How to Look Like a Hot Metal Chick’ video suggests that to look like a hot metal chick:
  • Hair should be brunette or blonde only or colour can be ‘fun too’
  • Hair should be messy and dirty looking
  • Particular attention should be paid to eye make up so that it looks dark and dramatic
  • Have a dramatic and defined eyebrow because that will make you look little bit more aggressive and intense
  • Wear band t shirts (of bands you know and like only)
  • Wear a nice pair of black boots
  • Nails short and painted a dark colour
These are all valid observations and as a general rule, dressing in the way she suggests would indeed help you look like a stereotypical metal chick for sure.  All the well known mainstream women’s magazines offer similar advice on what is currently fashionable, how to make your make up look better and what hair styles might suit you and so the idea behind this video really isn’t anything new or groundbreaking.  The resulting look feels very fake though.  Calling a metal gig a ‘metal concert thing’ and admitting that you prefer silver metal on your boots because it looks more ‘metal’ than any other colour of metal really doesn’t sell the content as valid or authoritative advice.

The insinuation that taking these measures will make you ‘hot’ also suggests that this look is about attracting a ‘metal head’ boyfriend rather than actually embracing the metal culture and community.

The real issue for me though is that the way we dress is an extension of our personality.  It communicates to those around us a great deal about who we are, what we stand for and what we like.  There is absolutely nothing wrong in taking advice about or pride in your appearance as long as the results are a true representation of you as an individual.  Making an effort with your clothing, hair and makeup should be because you want to feel confident in and good about yourself and not just so you fit into a specific niche or clique.

Being ‘metal’ isn’t about getting dressed in a fancy dress costume; it is a way of life, an attitude, an emotion that just can’t be authentic when forced or manipulated in the way this video suggests.  If you are ‘fancy dressing’ rather than ‘dressing’ then there is a real issue to consider with your own self image and self worth.

So here are Femetalism’s 'How to Look Like a Hot Metal Chick' tips:
  • Listen to, enjoy and fully appreciate metal music of whatever sub-genre you fancy
  • Go to see bands you like and not just ones you think you should like
  • Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in – you will only wear t shirts for bands you like automatically there is no forethought required
  • Have your hair in whatever style or colour you feel like
  • And remember - don’t give a toss about what people think you should look and act like … metal is about freedom of expression not conforming to socially acceptable norms.
If you are someone who still feels like you are struggling.  If you just don’t know how you are going to score that totally hot metal dude you really fancy.  Perhaps it is time to reconsider what you are looking for in a man?  Perhaps it is time to stop worrying about attracting a man so much? Perhaps it is time to just accept who you really are instead of trying to be something you clearly aren't - Now that is metal.  You never know … you might turn out to be his type after all?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Within Temptation Go Conceptual

As a big fan of Within Temptation the announcement that they would be releasing a new concept album in March 2011 was extremely exciting.  Tickets were bought for their UK tour date and anticipation and impatience ensued.

The Unforgiving is the bands fifth album release; a concept album based on a comic strip written by Steven O'Connell and illustrated by Romano Molenaar.  Although the band have previously been seen as gothic and symphonic metal, this new album will show the band taking a completely different approach to their music.  They have used the comic book concept to give them the courage and inspiration to change their sound and write what they believe are the best songs of their career.

Prequels for the comic book started to be released through the bands website in November 2010 and tell the story of a young woman called Sinead Harkin and the action she takes to protect her friend from a violent abuser. 

The album track 'Where is the Edge' was released on the 15th December 2010 and is not only the first release from the album but is also included on the soundtrack for the movie 'Me and Mr Jones'.  The track is particularly creepy and in conjunction with a video based on the movie, it leaves you with a distinct chill.  That said, I found the track to be a little softer and milder than I was expecting.  I really hope that this is more to do with the fact it was being used in a movie and that it doesn't represent the album as a whole.

In addition there are 3 short films which will provide further insight into the album concept.  The first of those films was released on January 31st entitled 'Mother Maiden'.  The film introduces Mother Maiden, a medium who recruits lost souls to be part of a task force for fighting evil.  Each recruit carries a specific guilt about something that they have done in their lives and Mother Maiden offers them the opportunity to redeem themselves.  She gives them missions to hunt down evil as penalty for their sins.   The film ends and goes straight into a band performance of the single 'Faster'.  A teaser after the band performance leaves you itching to view the next instalment.

'Faster' is a very catchy song that had my four year old dancing around the kitchen last night, singing along.  It is very easy listen to and has a very memorable repetitive chorus that will ensure this track's popularity and commercial success.

So, what do I make of all of this?  Well, I am not traditionally a graphic novel enthusiast and so some of the prequel hype has been a little wasted on me.  Updates have been provided by the band in many different forms using an impressive array of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Spotify and their own website.  As a student of e-communications I can appreciate how effective these tools have been in generating the excitement it has amongst fans.

The story of 'The Unforgiving' is intriguing and this first short film is very cleverly put together.  Mother Maiden's voice is particularly blood-curdling and the dark scenes are quite chilling.   I am not sure about the sudden jump from this dark and terrifying setting to Within Temptation singing what sounds like another classic rock song however. There seems to be a sudden jump from the dark into the light. Perhaps that is the point?

I still can't put my finger on what the new musical style really is either.  So far it seems to sound like very classic pop rock which is particularly commercial.  I had hoped for a darker and harsher sound from their new material.  I feel the build up to the album's release so far has suggested that this is something we could expect.  I really hope we are being further led on by the band and that when the album is released they haven't sold out to commerciality completely.

'The Unforgiving' is released on the 25th March 2011.  The band have rescheduled their European tour now that Sharon is expecting her 3rd child and they have added some additional venues in the UK:

Tuesday 8th November - Birmingham O2 Academy
Wednesday 9th November - Manchester O2 Academy
Friday 11th November - London O2 Academy, Brixton

Musical direction concerns aside, I will be grabbing my copy of 'The Unforgiving' as soon as it is released and am heading for Manchester on the 9th November.  Within Temptation really have made incredible use of the Internet to create a massive buzz over their new material and I am very excited about what is to come from them this year.