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Best Gothic Metal / Best Symphonic Metal / The Social Media Decade #1

1 Jan

Because there’s a hefty list below, we’ll not comment on every song. Social Media with a music focus (MySpace, Pandora, Last.FM) has been of enormous importance in the past 10 years. As well as being platforms and tools that have liberated music, they’ve become gatherings of fans and lists by the millions.

Web 2.0 allows us to bookmark, collate and re-process information in a wonderful variety of ways. We use Last.FM extensively, not least because we live most of the year outside the US of A (see footnote regarding Pandora). The list below has been gathered from “loved” tracks in people’s playlists.

Rather than say there is one winner or a ranking based on votes for a particular song, we’ve awarded Gold medals to 17 bands/projects. We’ve taken the view that, like the Olympics, it can be difficult to precisely judge styles of music. Is a gold in a marathon of more “value” than the long jump?

After-ForeverThe 54 tracks below are the best we’ve heard and noted over the past few years, representing many albums and changes in line-ups of the various groups of musicians over the past 10 years. They are, we say, among the Best of the Decade for:

  • Femme metal
  • Gothic Metal
  • Symphonic Metal

or whatever other descriptive term you’d like to use. And yes, you’re very welcome to tell us how right or wrong we are!

After Forever – Energise Me
Delain-April-RainAfter Forever – Face Your Demons
After Forever – Imperfect Tenses
After Forever – Life’s Vortex
After Forever – My Choice
After Forever – The Evil That Men Do

Darkwell – Nothingness
Darkwell – The Machine

Delain – The Gathering
Delain – Stay Forever

Draconian-Turning-Season-WithinDraconian – Bloodflower
Draconian – Serenade of Sorrow
Draconian – Silent Winter
Draconian – The Gothic Embrace

Elis – Der letzte Tag
Elis – Devil Inside You
Elis – Heart in Chains

Epica – Mother of Light (A New Age Dawns, Part 2)
Epica – Never Enough
Epica Consign to OblivionEpica – Quietus
Epica – Solitary Ground
Epica – Unleashed

Evanescence – Lose Control
Evanescence – Tourniquet

Lacuna Coil – Heaven’s a Lie
Lacuna Coil – Honeymoon Suite
Lacuna Coil – Senzafine
Lacuna Coil – Spellbound

Lacuna-Coil-ComaliesLeaves’ Eyes – For Amelie
Leaves’ Eyes – Njord

Lunatica – Emocean
Lunatica – Hymn

Nightwish – Feel For You
Nightwish – Planet Hell
Nightwish – Sleeping Sun
Nightwish – Swanheart

Sirenia – Lithium and a Lover
Nightwish-Century-ChildSirenia – The Other Side

The Gathering – In Motion
The Gathering – Nighttime Birds
The Gathering – Rollercoaster

Trail of Tears – Empty Room
Trail of Tears – Poisonous Tongues

Visions of Atlantis – At the Back of Beyond
Visions of Atlantis – Pharaoh’s Repentance

Within-Temptation-Silent-ForceWithin Temptation – Angels
Within Temptation – Ice Queen
Within Temptation – Memories
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – Stand My Ground
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – The Promise
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – What Have You Done (Featuring Keith Caputo)

Xandria – Calyx Virago
Xandria – Ginger

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Footnote: We also love Pandora but it cannot be used globally due to the archaic licensing cartels that still control so much of music.


Best Gothic Metal / Best Symphonic Metal / The Social Media Decade #2

1 Jan

This companion piece to The Social Media Decade #1 is our award of Silver medals to bands/projects. Any list of Best Of is subject to discussion (and dispute) and we welcome your comments.

The 30 tracks below grabbed our ears more than once but, for some reason, other songs by the artists failed to impress as much. For example, other Tristania tracks didn’t get added to many lists, while Elis (on our Gold list) received numerous mentions for their 3 tracks.

Amberian-Dawn-River-of-TuoniWe reckon a Silver medal is still fantastic when weighted against the tens of thousands of other tracks out there. Listen and enjoy.

Aesma Daeva – Disdain
Amberian Dawn – Sunrise
Arch Enemy – Saints and Sinners
Astarte – Deviate
Ayria – Pink Dress
Aythis – Aythis
Beseech – Everytime I Die
Bloodflowerz – Season of Love
Crucified Barbara – Feels Like Death
Kittie-Until-the-EndDelight – In Too Deep
Doro – Unholy Love
Exilia – Destroy My Eyes
Flowing Tears – Undying
Holy Moses – End of Time
Kittie – Into the Darkness
L’Âme Immortelle – Fallen Angel
Lumsk – Fagran fljotan folen
Luna Obscura – Dance of Forsaken Souls
Lycia – Silver Sliver
Midnattsol – Enlightenment
Tristania-EPMy Dying Bride – She Is the Dark
Otep – The Lord Is My Weapon
Paramore – Decode
Penumbra – A Torrent of Fears
Season’s End – Innocence
Stream of Passion – Deceiver
The Agonist – Rise and Fall
The Project Hate MCMXCIX – Loveless, Godless, Flawless
Tristania – Midwintertears
Where Angels Fall – Path of Sorrow

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo preview from the Swedish movie

4 Dec

Lisbeth Salander played by Noomi Rapace

Lisbeth Salander played by Noomi Rapace

The first novel by Swedish author Stieg Larsson was a best-seller around the world. The second and third volumes of the trilogy have increased the author’s reputation, made even sadder as the books were published after Larsson’s early death from heart failure.

The Millennium thriller series feature Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative business journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a goth-culture independent plus hacker and real star of the stories.

Here is a link to the preview from the first movie, in Swedish with subtitles:

Movie clip and interview with the director

There are already plans for a TV series spin-off, and a possible American-produced version of the film(s).

“we must remain the wildhearted outsiders”

18 Oct

Apnea has a wonderful blog, especially for goth & tattoo & gothic & ink fans, plus sometimes topless and NSFW. The video shows some of the stars and influences of an erotic art show. Much more information at

Of bodies and boobs

18 Oct

Katy Perry in bustier a la Betty Boop

Katy Perry in bustier a la Betty Boop

“All I wanted out of life was a hit record and a great pair of boobs. I woke up one morning and I had both. I had finally arrived.”

Katy Perry made this statement in an interview with a magazine recently. My goals were a little different back in my mid-teens. Yes, I definitely wanted bigger breasts, to catch up with my – to me – huge nipples. Or, to be more accurate, big and puffy areolae around big nipples. Apparently, I have since learned, such ‘features’ are much sought after on modern websites, but back then I had a degree of self-consciousness.

Katy Perry and Hello Kitty outfit

Katy Perry and Hello Kitty outfit

Katy also mentioned her figure and this I definitely agree with. I totally wanted a figure to use as a clotheshorse for a huge variety of clothing styles. I was tall and fit but not, so far, curvy. I did see other, shorter, fuller-figure girls and would curse my tall, slim parents. Yep, if your hair’s straight, you desire curly, if you’re redhead you envy brunettes. I went through all that and it seems so childish now but, whew, it was there in all its glory then.

Katy Perry displays boobs & cleavage at the Grammies

Katy Perry displays boobs & cleavage at the Grammies

Eventually DNA came to my rescue and I grew some hips and ‘proper’ breasts, so was able to indulge in all types of fancy dress – just like Katy explains: “On a Monday I could be a Betty Boop figure. On a Tuesday I’ll be Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. On a Wednesday I could be wearing S&M rubber.”

Of course, the wardrobe buyers, make-up artists and salaried assistants have not come my way (yet?) but it seems even Katy doesn’t need them all the time: “Most of the time I welcome attention but there are days when I need to keep a healthy distance from it. When I pop down the grocery store to buy some milk I leave all my glittery costumes at home.”

Damn. Successful and sensible, all wrapped in one glorious package!

Lisbeth Salander is back :: The Girl Who Played With Fire released :: Stieg Larsson’s sequel shocker

29 Mar

girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo_150pxone of my top 3 favourite books of 2008 was a quite awesome crime thriller by a new Swedish writer, Stieg Larsson :: I say “one of” because my analytical brain and my emotional heart can swap dominance on occasion, so although the top 3 are clear, the definitive order can slip and slide

so, if you missed last year’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the introduction of Lisbeth Salander, read it NOW :: with a brilliantly quick tongue, a technogeek’s power over computers, and a fearless strength of character, Lisbeth appealed to both my brain and heart :: and she is an enormously refreshing contrast to the lead characters in so much crime fiction

girl-who-played-with-fire_150pxthe trilogy of books are the work of Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson and were a hobby for some years :: apparently he would write in the evenings after his work on a “magazine with a conscience” and, no surprises then that the first book centred on a male investigative journalist, Mikael Blomkvist :: but it was the character of Lisbeth that grabbed the attention, in all her fiery, reckless, determined, secretive and startling actions and (part-revealed) history

the second book is called The Girl Who Played With Fire and continues the story of Lisbeth, although this time the odds are stacked even more against her :: Millennium is the name of the magazine run by Mikael (and also the name of the trilogy) and the story spins around a labyrinth of death, obstruction, false leads and tremendous danger :: compulsive reading

Larsson was a graphics editor at a Swedish news agency for 20 years, before joining campaigning Expo magazine as editor-in-chief in 1999 :: he died unexpectedly in late 2004 from a heart attack, not long after deciding to seek a publisher for his hobby :: so we are lucky to have a thrilling crime trilogy, but saddened that he will write no more :: the third book is called The Girl Who Kicked Hornet’s Nests and is due to be published around September

American Idol returns – with new, improved cleavage

15 Jan

the all new, revised Season 8 of American Idol started with some clever self-marketing :: Katrina Darrell appeared in stylish high heels and … just a bikini :: Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson had no problem with Katrina’s singing, or performance, or anything else

Amanda Overmyer

Amanda Overmyer

new judge Kara DioGuardi started a bit of vocal coaching, but did admit Katrina had a great derriere :: meanwhile, our favourites from American Idol 2008 have been busy over the past 6 months, including appearances on the American Idol Live Tour which ran from May to September

Metal Sanaz

Metal Sanaz

Amanda Overmyer has finished work on her first album, Solidify, and has been gigging including a spot at Whisky a Go Go :: Amanda also has a relationship with Metal Sanaz, which we are keen to support as well

Carly Smithson, our other favourite goth-rock-chick from last year, has been on tour and also recording :: Carly’s strong vocals, stage energy and risk-taking were very much appreciated, and apparently she has been a great success on tour, not least because of her support for other artists – including comments that Amanda had been her favorite singer of the competition

Carly Smithson's warm cleavage

Carly Smithson's warm cleavage

and, of course, Amanda and Carly were usually the only on-screen eye-candy for us “goth-rock, girl-power” viewers :: as the photo of Carly shows, female-fronted is still very much an appropriate term to describe her!

don’t forget, American Idol averages 30 million viewers each week :: plus 55 million viewers for the final :: plus 97 million votes were cast for last year’s final :: so anyone getting part way into the finals is always assured of some fantastic exposure :: for music and/or body!