Friday, August 8, 2014

King's Koncert, v. 1

King's Koncert, Volume 1

"Surf Squid Warfare" by Alestorm

(The previous video for Surf Squid Warfare was claimed for copyright and was removed from Youtube, so here is a live version until a studio one is re-uploaded to the site) 

     First on the list for this week's Koncert is Alestorm, Scotland's premier keg of Pirate Metal frothy goodness, back to conquer your eardrums with their infectious privateer anthems of conquest and plunder!  They have been cruisin' the seas for about a decade now and just released their fourth album, Sunset on a Golden Age, earlier this month. The charismatic captain of this ruthless crew is Christopher Bowes, also the founder of parody Epic Symphonic Power Metal band Gloryhammer, and he steers his men to victory with just about every song they release. Sunset is already becoming one of my favorite albums of the year, but "Surf Squid Warfare" more than the others stood out for me. I have no qualms with this song whatsoever, everything works for me. For instance, the song references traveling to the past to kill vikings and take their treasure, which the band wrote about in the previous album, and that now they are traveling to the future to save the world from undead squid aliens using flintlocks, rum, and "Pirate-powered murder skills." It is so hilariously over-the-top, it is hard to not love, and they even have the gall to reference Back To The Future II ("Hey Marty, it's your kids").  Besides that, it is an easy ear-worm with trumpets and keytars flying all around the song, making an authentic-sounding pirate theme of destruction and decimation.  I would also recommend "Wooden Leg" and "Drink" from Sunset as well if you are inclined to listen to more of them.

Click here for Alestorm's official website.
Click here to buy "Surf Squid Warfare" from iTunes
Click here to buy "Surf Squid Warfare" from Amazon
Click here to listen to "Surf Squid Warfare" on Spotify


"Night Witches" by Sabaton

    Second in this Koncert is not a hysterical track, but a historical one. If you are not familiar with the Swedish outfit Sabaton, they are a Power Metal band that tends to write and play songs pertaining to war, both the glorious parts of war and the hardships it creates.  This song comes from their album Heroes, which is an incredibly good album released in May that is full of songs that discusses heroes of war, primarily those from World War II.  This song in particular is referencing the 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, also known as the "nachthexen", or "Night Witches", by the German forces, a highly decorated all-female night bomber regiment active in World War II. The history behind them is actually quite interesting, I would recommend that any history buffs go research further and specifically look at Nadezhda Popova and also Marina Raskova, who helped form the regiment.  The song itself is very fast and upbeat to the point that it will end much sooner than you would like. In fact, it clocks in at 3:01, making it the shortest song on the album, but for the short time we have with the song, it makes one hell of an impression, Very solid beat with impressive solos, grand choirs and a chorus thats soar through the air just like the Witches themselves. After a listen or two, you won't be able to help yourself singing along as best a you can. I also recommend "No Bullets Fly" and "To Hell and Back" from Heroes.

Click here for Sabaton's official website.
Click here to buy "Night Witches" from iTunes
Click here to buy "Night Witches" from Amazon
Click here to listen to "Night Witches" on Spotify

"To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth" by Burning Shadows

     The previous two bands, the headliners of this Koncert if you will, are the most well known artists on this list, and now we get to the lesser-known but just as good artists. First is Burning Shadows, an American Power Metal band i recently ran into on Bandcamp and, unlike a good amount of American Power Metal bands, this one is actually incredibly good. The amount of American Power Metal bands that are actually really good and can stand up to the greats in Europe are very few, artists like Iced Earth, Manowar, Cellador, Powerglove and Circle II Circle are some of the only ones I can think of that do, but Burning Shadows can easily hold their and I can see them becoming as popular, if not more, than those I just listed.  To be honest, that laugh in the beginning of the song sold it for me alone, then it just proceeded to get even better.  It is mixed nicely to sound like an old power metal record and the vocals are very well recorded to give a great choir-like effect.  However, on this track, the singer only sticks around for the first third of the song and the rest is an instrumental section that changes tempo half-way through, but without staggering the listener.  It all fits together nicely and also helps build with the concept of the album, which is based on the book Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber.  This song is not among the free music on Bandcamp, but Burning Shadows does have two free EP's available for free if your wallet is a bit tight at the moment, but I highly recommend supporting these guys by getting this incredibly well-crafted album from 2012.

Click here for Burning Shadows' official website.
Click here to buy "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth" from Bandcamp
Click here to buy "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth" from iTunes
Click here to buy "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth" from Amazon
Click here to listen to "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth" on Spotify

"Energy Drink" by Virtual Riot

     This is a different one for me, as I am not a huge fan of a lot of Electronic music, especially Dubstep, and this song breaches pretty far into the realm of Dubstep. I tend to listen to a lot more Electronic Rock, stuff like Blue Stahli and Celldweller, but the closest band I listen to like this is Infected Mushroom, who if you know who that is, is not a great comparison for Virtual Riot.  I think the reason I do like this is because of the energy that "Energy Drink" gives, it's pretty upbeat and doesn't go overboard on the "Wubs" that Dubstep is so notorious for using to excess.  It tends to stay with more of the treble rather than the bass, and half-way through the song, it sounds more like a chiptune, or something that Anamanaguchi would release.  Regardless, it is a barrel of electronic adrenaline that I cannot get enough of. If you like it, check out the Mediafire link below, given by Virtual Riot himself, where you can download it for free.

Click here for Virtual Riot's official website.
Click here to download "Energy Drink" from Mediafire (Artist-endorsed download)

"Icy Tempest (The Epic Frost)" by Antonio Pantano

     I will first say that the video above is not completely correct for the song, it is a teaser video for the album/musical experience that Pantano plans to release in the future called Arcandia. So instead of just listening to the above link, go to his Bandcamp page listed below to listen to the full song, which is a breathtaking masterpiece. He is really a master of the Symphonic Metal genre and I think can stand up to the likes of greats such as Ayreon, if he just gets the audience for it.  "Icy Tempest (The Epic Frost)" is the first full song he has released for streaming from the album, besides a bonus track, and it really has me pumped for the album. Very impressive and grand arrangement of orchestral magnificence, featuring a lot of brass, which is odd for symphonic metal, which usually sticks more to the strings.  It really gives you an adventurous/perilous feeling of the Tempest in the title without using a single verse or lyric, in fact the only vocals he uses to my knowledge is a professional voice-over artist that does the narration for the album.  Since the album is to be a whole concept work that describes this entire world that Pantano is creating, this song is just a small piece in the puzzle, but one hell of a piece at that. Please listen to it on the bandcamp page to feel the full brunt of emotions it gives you, and if you want it now, you can get it by pre-ordering the album, which comes out on the 21st of September.

Click here for Antonio Pantano's official website.
Click here to buy "Icy Tempest (The Epic Frost)" from Bandcamp

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